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Title: Social Origins and Primal Law
Author: Lang, Andrew, Atkinson, James Jasper
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.

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Dear Annie,

As you first pointed out to me the facts which are the germ of my
Theory of the Origin of Totemism, you are one cause of my share in this
book. The other is affection for the memory of the author of 'Primal

Yours always,


St. Andrews: Feb. 13, 1903.


The portion of this book called 'Primal Law' is the work of the late
Mr. James Jasper Atkinson. Born in India, of Scottish parents (his
mother being the paternal aunt of the present editor), Mr. Atkinson
was educated (1857-1861) at Loretto School, then managed by Messrs.
Langhome. While still young he settled on certain stations in New
Caledonia bequeathed to him by his father, and, except for visits to
Australia and a visit to England, he lived and died in the French
colony. His ingenious mind was much exercised by the singular laws
and customs of the natives of the New Caledonian Archipelago and the
adjacent isles. These peoples have been little studied by competent
European observers--that is, in New Caledonia. Mr. Atkinson wrote an
account of native manners before he had any acquaintance with the
works of modern anthropologists, such as Mr. Tylor, Mr. McLennan,
Lord Avebury, and others. To these he later turned his attention; he
joined the Anthropological Institute, and, in the course of study and
observation, he discovered what he conceived to be the 'Primal Law'
and origin of morality, as regards the family. In his last illness,
in 1899, he was most kindly attended by Commander John Haggard, R.N.,
then Her Majesty's Consul in New Caledonia. Mr. Atkinson's mind, in his
latest moments, was occupied by his anthropological speculations, and,
through Mr. Haggard, he sent his MS. to his cousin and present editor.
I have given to it the last cares which the author himself would have
given had he lived. But I have also taken the opportunity to review, in
the following pages, introductory to 'Primal Law,' the present state
of the discussion as to the beginnings of the rules regulating marriage
among savages.

The discussion is now nearly forty years old, if we date it from the
appearance of Mr. J. F. McLennan's _Primitive Marriage_ in 1865. Yet,
in spite of the speculations of some and the explorations of other
distinguished students, the main problems are still in dispute. Was
marriage originally non-existent? Was promiscuity at first the rule,
and, if so, what were the origins, motives, and methods of the most
archaic prohibitions on primitive license? Did man live in 'hordes,'
and did he bisect each 'horde' into exogamous and intermarrying
moieties, and, if he did, what was his motive? Are the groups and
kindreds commonly styled 'totemic' earlier or later than the division
into a pair of moieties or 'phratries'? Do the totem-kins represent the
results of an early form of exogamous custom, or are they additions to
or consciously arranged subdivisions of the two exogamous moieties?
Is a past of 'group marriage' or 'communal marriage' proved by the
terms for human relationships employed by many backward races, and by
survivals in manner and custom?

These are among the questions examined in the introductory chapters
that may be read either before or after Mr. Atkinson's _Primal Law_. To
him I am indebted for the conception of sexual jealousy as a powerful
element in the evolution of exogamy.

Since my attention was first directed to these topics, I have felt that
a clear and consistent working hypothesis of the origin of totemism
was indispensable, and such an hypothesis, with a criticism of other
extant theories, is here offered. Throughout I have attempted to
elucidate and bring into uniformity the perplexing and confused special
terms employed in the discussion. Here it should be explained that
by 'marriage' in this work I mean permanent cohabitation of man and
woman, sanctioned by tribal custom, and usually preceded by some rite
or initiation which does not prelude to casual amours. By family or
fire circle I mean the partners to this permanent cohabitation, their
offspring, and such kinsfolk by blood or affinity as may be members of
their camp. In the first sentence of the book I speak of the family as
'most ancient and most sacred,' and I do so deliberately. The primitive
association described I take, with Mr. Darwin and Mr. Atkinson, to be
'most ancient,' and to be the germ of the historic family, which is
'most sacred.' But to 'sacred' when I apply the word to the primitive
fire-circle I give no religious sense, such as the Greek hearth enjoyed
under Hestia, youngest and oldest daughter of Zeus. I mean that the
rules given to the primitive fire-circle by the sire were probably the
earliest and the most stringent, though not yet sanctioned by a tabu or
a goddess.

Such a small circle, and not a promiscuous horde or commune, I
conceive, with Mr. Darwin and Mr. Atkinson, to have been the earliest
form of human society.

The book deals only with the institutions of races certainly
totemistic, and mainly with the Australian and North American tribes,
which present totemism in the most archaic of its surviving forms. But
little is said, and that tentatively, on the question as to whether or
not the ancestors of the great civilised peoples, ancient and modern,
have passed through the stage of totemic exogamy, as our evidence is
weak and disputable. Too late for citation in the body of the book I
read Mr. A. H. Keane's theory of the origin of totemism.[1]

Mr. Keane's theory is much akin to my own as it stood in _Custom and
Myth_ (1884) and to that of Garcilasso de la Vega, the oldest of all.
Garcilasso (1540-1616), an Inca on the mother's side, describing the
animal and plant worship of the low races in the Inca Empire, says
'they only thought of making one differ from another and each from
all.'[2] But it may be that he had not totemism in his mind; the
passage is not too explicit.

Mr. Keane says: 'And thus the family, the initial unit, segments into
a number of clans, each distinguished by its totem, its name, its
heraldic badge--which badge, becoming more and more venerated from age
to age, acquires inherited privileges, becomes the object of endless
superstitious practices, and is ultimately almost deified.... Its
origin lies behind all strictly religious notions, and it was at first
a mere device for distinguishing one individual from another, one
family or clan group from another.[3] Thus among the Piaroas of the
Orinoco below San Fernando de Atabapo the belief holds that the tapir,
originally the totem of the clan, has become their ancestor, and that
after death the spirit of every Piaroa passes into a tapir; hence they
never hunt or eat this animal, and they also think all the surrounding
tribes are in the same way each provided with their special animal
fore-father. It is easy to see how such ideas tend to cluster round
the clan[4] or family totem, at first a distinguishing badge, later a
protecting or tutelar deity of Protean form. It should be remembered
that the personal or family name precedes the totem, which grows out of
it, as seen by the conditions still prevailing amongst the very lowest
peoples (Fuegians, Papuans of Torres Strait[5]).'

I am indebted in various ways to assistance, chiefly in the interchange
of ideas, from Mr. A. C. Haddon, Mr. G. L. Gomme, Miss Burne, and Mr.
A. E. Crawley, author of _The Mystic Rose_. Mr. Crawley kindly read
the book, or most of it, before publication, and collaborated most
efficiently in the way of suggesting objections. It is not implied that
any of these students accept the ideas of the two authors. I regret
that it has been found impossible to wait for the publication of a new
book by Mr. A. W. Howitt, from which we may expect much new information.

The question of the relations of religion and totemism is scarcely
touched on in this work. A certain amount of regard is given to their
totem animals and plants by some of the Australian tribes, to the
extent of not killing, plucking, or eating them, except under stress
of need, but even this is not universal. There also exists, in some
cases, a sense of kinship with them. They are not worshipped. That
magic is worked for their preservation and propagation, as by the
Arunta, proves nothing in the nature of a religious attitude towards
them. In my opinion this religious regard for the totem does not
appear till ancestor worship, which does not occur in Australia, has
made considerable advance and a myth arises that an ancestral spirit
or family god is incarnate in the animal which originally was only a
totem. If so, totemism is not an element in the origins of religion,
but a field later invaded by religion.

On the other hand, Dr. Achelis, of Bremen, writes that to savage man
'animals are his equals. To the ancient worship of animals is added,
under the influence of sympathetic emotion, the worship of ancestors
and totemism, which sees in a beast worshipped as a god the ancestor of
the whole tribe.'[6] Clearly this sentence is replete with errors and
confusions. The whole tribe, in Australia, does not regard any animal
as its ancestor. No beast is worshipped as a god. No ancestors are
worshipped. If the animals are 'his equals,' why did man worship them,
and that apparently before the worship of ancestors and totemism arose?
In an essay like that of Dr. Achelis on _Ethnology and Religion_ the
facts ought to be correctly ascertained.

I have been obliged to place in Appendix A certain facts about group
names derived from animals which came late to hand, among them Mr.
Robertson's interesting letter on many such names in the Orkneys, and
some remarks on village names derived from animals among the ancient

[Footnote 1: _Man, Past and Present_, Cambridge, 1899, pp. 396, 397.]

[Footnote 2: _Royal Commentaries_, i. 47.]

[Footnote 3: _The Import of the Totem_, Amer. Ass., Detroit, 1897.]

[Footnote 4: M. Chaffanjon, _Tour du Monde_, 1888, lvi. 348.]

[Footnote 5: _Ethnology_, pp. 9, 11.]

[Footnote 6: _The International Quarterly_, Dec.-March, 1902-1903, p.





The family. Theory of Mr. Atkinson--Primitiveness in man--Recent
history of the speculation as to the early human family--What is
exogamy? Difficulties of terminology--Totemism and exogamy--Theories of
exogamy. Mr. McLellan's theory--Mr. Crawley's theory--Dr. Westermarck's
theory--Mr. Morgan's theory:--Return to the author's theory



The class system in Australia--The varieties of marriage divisions in
Australia--Mr. Fison on the great bisection--'Primary classes?'--The
'primary divisions' are themselves totemic and exogamous--The totem



American support of the author's hypothesis--Deliberate
arrangement--Totems all the way--Distribution of totems in the
'phratries'--The ideas of Mr. Frazer. His earlier theory--Objections
to Mr. Frazer's early theory--Mr. Spencer's theories of the
bisection--Advantages of the system here proposed--The Arunta--Arunta
metaphysics--Arunta totem eating and traditions--Dr. Durkheim on
the Arunta--The relations of totems and 'phratries' among the
Arunta--Arunta myths--Mr. Spencer on Arunta legends



Views of Dr. Durkheim--How did the Aranta anomaly arise?



'Group marriage'--Mr. Morgan and the class system--Difficulties of
Mr. Morgan's theory--Mr. Morgan on terms of relationship--How the
terms of relationship originally arose--Supposed survivals of group
marriage--Piraungaru and piraura--Growth of social rules in the
tribe--Group marriage and Mr. Tylor's statistics



The system of Herr Cunow--Classes again



Lord Avebury on totemism--Lord Avebury on the origin of totemism
--Communal marriage--Lord Avebury on relationships



Sacred animals in savage society--Proposed restriction of the use
of the word 'totem'--The word 'totem'--The totem 'cult'--'Totem
gods'--Savage speculations as to the origin of totemism--Modern
theories--Mr. Max Müller's theory--The theory of Mr. Herbert
Spencer--Mr. Frazer's theories--Suggestion of Mr. N. W. Thomas--Dr.
Wilken's theory--Miss Alice Fletcher's theory--Mr. Hill Tout's
theory--Messrs. Hose and McDougall--Mr. Haddon's theory--An objection
to all the theories enumerated--Statement of the problem--The author's
own conjecture--The connection between groups and totems--No 'disease
of language'--Hypothetical early groups before totemism--How the
groups got names--Illustration from folk-lore--How the names became
known--Totemic and other group names. English and North American
Indian--Theory that Siouan gentes names are of European origin



How the origin of totem names was forgotten--Other sources of
sacredness in plants and animals--Recapitulation--An objection
answered--Other objections answered--Totems and magical
societies--Totem survivals--Did the ancestors of the civilised races
pass through the Australian stage?




Mr. Darwin on the primitive relations of the sexes--Primitive man
monogamous or polygamous--His jealousy--Expulsion of young males--The
author's inferences as to the evolution of Primal Law--A customary
rule of conduct evolved--Traces surviving in savage life--The customs
of avoidance--Custom of exogamy arose in the animal stage--Brother
and sister avoidance--The author's own observation of this custom in
New Caledonia--Strangeness of such a custom among houseless nomads in
Australia--Rapid decay under European influences



Brother and sister avoidance, a partial usage among the higher
mammals--Males' attitude to females in a group dominated by a single
male head--Band of exiled young males--Their relations to the
sire--Examples in cattle and horses--In game-fowl--Strict localisation
of animals--Exiled young males hover on the fringe of the parent



Effect of the absence of a special pairing season on nascent
man--Consequent state of ceaseless war between sire and young males
--Man already more than an ape--Results of his prolonged infancy
and of maternal love--A young male permitted to live in the parent
group--Conditions in which this novelty arose



Truce between semi-human sire and son--Consequent distinction taken
between female and female, as such--Consequent rise of habit of brother
and sister avoidance--Result, son seeks female mate from without--Note
by the editor



Results in strengthening the groups which admit several
adult males--Disappearance of hostile band of exiled young
males--Relations of sire and female mates of young males now within
the group--Father-in-law and daughter-in-law avoidance--Rights as
between two generations--Elder brother and younger brother's wife
avoidances--Note on hostile capture



Resemblance of semi-brutal group, at this stage, to actual savage
tribe--Resemblance merely superficial--In this hypothetical
semi-brutal group paternal incest survives--Causes of its decline
and extinction--The sire's widows of the group--Arrival of outside
suitors for them--Brothers of wives of the group--New comers
barred from marital rights over their daughters--Jealousy of their
wives intervenes--Value of sisters to be bartered for sisters
of another group discovered--Consequent resistance to incest of
group sire--Natural selection favours groups where resistance is
successful--Cousinage recognised in practice--Intermarrying sets of
cousins become phratries--Exceptional cases of permitted incest in
chiefs and kings--No known trace of avoidance between father and
daughter--Progress had rendered such law superfluous



Survivals in custom testify to a long period of transition from group
to tribe--Stealthy meetings of husband and wife--Examples--Evidence
to a past of jealousy of incestuous group sire--Evidence from
teknonymy--Husband named as father of his child--Formal capture as
a symbol of legal marriage--Avoidance between father-in-law and
son-in-law--Arose in stage of transition--Causes of mother-in-law
and son-in-law avoidance--Influence of jealousy--Examples--Mr.
Tylor's statistics--Resentment of capture not primal cause of this
avoidance--Note on avoidance.



The classificatory system--The author's theory is the opposite of Mr.
Morgan's, of original brother and sister marriage--That theory is based
on Malayan terms of relationship--Nephew, niece, and cousin, all named
'sons and daughters'--This fact of nomenclature used as an argument
for promiscuity--The author's theory--The names for relationship
given as regards the group, not the individual--The names and rules
evolved in the respective interests of three generations--They
apply to food as well as to marriage--Each generation is a strictly
defined class--Terms for relationship indicate, _not kinship_,
but relative seniority and rights in relation to the group--The
distinction of age in generations breaks down in practice--Methods
of bilking the letter of the law--Communal marriage--Outside suitors
and cousinage--The fact of cousinage unperceived and unnamed--Cousins
are still called brothers and sisters; thus, when a man styles his
sister's son his son, the fact does not prove, as in Mr. Morgan's
theory, that his sister is his wife--Terms of address between brothers
and sisters--And between members of the same and of different
phratries--These corroborate the author's theory--distinction as
to sexual rights yields the classificatory system--Progress outran
recognition and verbal expression--Errors of Mr. Morgan and Mr.
McLennan--Conclusion--Note--'Group marriage'











The Family is the most ancient and the most sacred of human
institutions; the least likely to be overthrown by revolutionary
attacks. In epochs of change the Family naturally invites the
attentions of impetuous reformers, like Shelley (who advocated a scheme
more than any other apt to shock the conscience of a savage), and
like the friends of 'Free Love,' who would introduce a license beyond
the Urabunna model. The horror aroused by certain relations, such as
that of brother-and-sister marriage, is perhaps the oldest of moral
sentiments, yet it has lost its hold of some barbaric races, and has
been overcome by dynastic pride, as in the Royal House of the Incas
of Peru, and in that of Egypt. While the Family, everywhere almost,
has been secured by a religious and all but instinctive dread of
certain aberrations, the laws or customs which may not be broken have
varied in different lands, and in different stages of civilisation.
What is incest in one age or country is innocent in another; still
certain unions, varying in various regions, have always been regarded
with loathing. No such emotion is known to be felt among the lower
animals, and scientific curiosity has long been busy with the question,
why should the least civilised of human races possess the widest
list of prohibited degrees? What is the origin of the stringent laws
that, among naked and far from dainty nomads, compel men and women to
seek their mates outside of certain large groups of real or imagined
kindred? The answers given to this question have varied with the
facts of savage law which chanced to be at each moment accessible to
inquirers, and all attempts to solve the problem must be provisional.
New knowledge may upset even the most recent theory, and, indeed,
new knowledge of the rules of certain Australian tribes has already
produced fresh hypotheses, as regards certain aspects of the problem.

The whole subject is thorny, and I must crave pardon for venturing to
differ, provisionally, on several important points, from authorities
whose learning, research, and experience far exceed my own. The facts
which they have collected from personal knowledge of savages, and
from reading, often group themselves otherwise in my eyes than in
theirs--the perspective is different. My observations, therefore, are
submitted to criticism with all diffidence. Only the main lines of a
complex discussion are here traversed, and the works cited are, as a
rule, either by English-speaking authors, or, at least, are sometimes
accessible in English translations. It will be seen that students have
differed greatly, not only from each other, but, at different times,
from themselves, under the influence of new facts brought in from the
most remote and isolated of savage races. One author is most interested
in this, another in that, factor of the problem. The difficulty of the
subject cannot be exaggerated; for the origins of our human society
cannot be _historically_ traced behind the institutions of the races
now lowest in the scale of culture. We are driven to risk hypotheses.
Again, it is by no means certain that some of these lowest peoples of
to-day (say the Arunta of Central Australia) represent a moment in the
main current of the stream of tendency, a point through which all
progress has passed. The ideas and institutions of such tribes may
be mere local 'sports,' other divergencies may have arisen in other
quarters, and it would be an error (repudiated by Mr. McLennan, the
founder of the study in England) to suppose that, everywhere, exactly
the same series of changes evolved itself in due sequence. 'In one
place or another everything may have been going on,' I have heard Mr.
McLennan observe.

Once more, the subject is obscure because the races apparently 'nearest
the beginning,' the naked Australians, houseless hunters, just
emerging from the palæolithic condition as regards implements, are,
as to society and system of thought, very far from being 'primitive;'
very remote from 'the beginning.' Their social rules are various and
extremely complex, especially as regards marriage: some of their social
customs are perhaps inexplicable--a field for modern guesswork--their
speculative philosophy is, in one instance, ingenious, elaborate,
and highly peculiar. The 'beginning' lies far behind them, yet their
society and institutions may have their germs (on the Darwinian theory)
in a state of all but complete brutality.

To trace human institutions back to that hypothetical stage of first
emergence from the brute is the purpose of the following treatise,
'Primal Law,' by Mr. Atkinson. It were superfluous for me to dwell on
the audacity of his enterprise. Of thoroughly human man we know a good
deal: of the brutes we know something. Of a hypothetical creature, not
wholly brute, but not yet 'articulate-speaking man,' we know nothing,
and as to the ways of his supposed next of kin, 'the great extant
anthropoid apes,' our knowledge is vague, resting on the accounts of
native observers. Such a creature, however, half ape, half human, is
in part the theme of Mr. Atkinson's speculations, on which I venture
to express no opinion: as not being persuaded that man ever had such a
direct ancestor.


As to men really primitive, and their social arrangements, I only
venture to conjecture that, in the nature of the case, they probably
lived a nomadic life, 'selecting a temporary place of abode, whether
a cave, rock, shelter, or hut, influenced chiefly by the amount of
edible materials to be found in the neighbourhood.'[1] The area of the
wandering of each group of hearth-mates would be limited, probably, by
the existence of other groups, which would resent poaching. A large
trout may often be seen to turn angrily and drive away a little trout
that has ventured too near the bend of the brook which the large trout
finds a good station for flies; and human groups would also, as in
cases to be cited they do, mortally resent intrusions. I conceive that
the males would be polygamous (like the gorilla) and jealous, killing
or expelling the young males, as in the theories of Mr. Darwin and Mr.
Atkinson. Thus groups would, on the whole, be hostile,[2] 'wandering
from one locality to another, now gathering fruits and seeds, now
hunting wild animals, or, as a last resource, feeding on shell-fish and
other produce of the shore.'[3] The implements now used by backward
savages for fish-catching, nets, spears, and barbed hooks, cannot be
precisely primitive. Primitiveness, we must remember, does not depend
on antiquity of date.

The Australians, though now their groups have coalesced into local
tribes in defined areas, and though their customary law is extremely
complex, are least remote from the primitive, least remote, but very
far removed. They are, though our contemporaries, infinitely beneath
the status in culture of palæolithic man of the mammoth and reindeer
period. It is not improbable that he had domesticated the ox, goat,
pig, horse, and dog. 'They manufactured fine needles of bone, with
which they sewed their skin garments. They adorned their persons
with a variety of beads....' Their art was of notorious and amazing
excellence. Dr. Munro says that they were 'ignorant of the rearing of
domestic animals,'[4] but also that 'there seems to be no inherent
improbability in the idea that some of them' (ox, goat, horse, pig,
and dog) 'had been domesticated by the indigenous inhabitants prior
to the coming of the neolithic brachycephals into France.'[5] A
palæolithic sketch of a horse 'with a supposed cover,' and another of
a horse with a bridle,[6] may be misinterpreted: Dr. Munro thinks that
the horse-cloth 'may be no more than the hunter's skin coat thrown
over the back of the animal when led home by means of a halter made
of thongs or withes to be there slaughtered.' If palæolithic man had
advanced as far as Dr. Munro supposes, it was a short step to the
domestication of the horse. It is hardly conclusive to say that, if
he had tamed the horse, 'we would undoubtedly ere now have had an
equestrian representation of the fact,' though it is also said that 'we
have only as yet a preliminary instalment of these most interesting
art productions.'[7] The representation may later be discovered. That
palæolithic man, so far advanced as he was, was 'ignorant of the
principles of religion,'[8] seems a hasty conclusion. If he had the
beliefs of our Australians in such potent beings as Baiame, Nooreli,
Daramulun, Mungun-ngaur, Pirmaheal, and Pundjel, that belief would
leave no material traces, except, perhaps, the Bull-roarer, whose noise
represents the voice of one or other of these beings. Now a small but
unmistakeable pair of palæolithic bull-roarers in bone, or of amulets
which are bull-roarers in miniature, one of them decorated with the
sacred Australian pattern of herring-bone and concentric circles, have
been found in a quaternary station in France.[9]

Palæolithic man in France, countless ages ago, was thus, especially
if he had domesticated animals, immensely more remote from 'the
beginning' than contemporary wild Australian tribes. They, again, with
their copious languages, ingenious implements, complex institutions,
and prolonged tribal assemblies, are infinitely in advance of those
really primitive men among whom we must tentatively seek the origins of
customary law regulating the family and marital arrangements. A society
almost incalculably ancient may have been much more advanced than a
society of to-day, and the society of the lowest known modern savages
must be equally advanced from the status of 'primitive man'.

The best proof of all that no Australians are now in or near 'the
chrysalis state' of humanity, is to be found in their combinations
into large friendly tribes, each covering a wide extent of country,
and holding stated meetings, for social, political, religious, and
commercial purposes. Mr. Matthews remarks on 'articles of barter,'
exchanged 'at the great meetings which were held for the initiation of
the youths of the tribes.' Among these articles were stone hatchets,
first chipped, then ground, the tribes having passed out of the
stage in which mere rude flaking sufficed. 'At the conclusion of the
ceremonies, before the people dispersed, a kind of fair was held, when
natives in whose country stone was plentiful, would barter their things
with other people for reeds for making spears, rich plumage of birds,
&c ... or for any other articles brought by the various tribes for the
purpose of exchange.'[10] We can scarcely conceive that this amount
of tribal or inter-tribal unity was possible to man really primitive.
Backward and conservative as the Australians are, we must not expect
to find among them, with their highly complex customary laws, anything
like the first beginnings of social regulations. To look for these,
even among the naked and houseless hunters of Australia, is to organise
failure in this research as to origins.


From the age of Aristotle onwards, inquirers naturally began with a
belief in the Patriarchal Family as the original social unit. To this
opinion, in a peculiar form, Mr. Atkinson returns, as will be seen.
The idea was natural. Aristotle, like Hesiod, starts from 'the Man,
the Woman, and the labouring ox,' though men and women were wedded
long before oxen and other animals were domesticated. The Biblical
account in Genesis opens with the same theory of the primal pair, whose
children, brother and sister, must have married each other, as in the
late Mr. Morgan's hypothesis of the 'Consanguine Family;' but, contrary
to almost universal savage custom, and to Mr. Atkinson's 'Primal Law.'

In 1861, Sir Henry Maine's celebrated book, 'Ancient Law,' appeared.
Herein he wrote that it was difficult to say 'what society of men had
not been originally based on the Patriarchal Family.[11] His studies
had lain chiefly in the law of civilised peoples, Romans, Hebrews,
Greeks, Irish, and Hindoos; not in the customary law of the lowest
races. He, like Mr. Freeman, concluded that the patriarchal family, by
aggregation of descendants (and aided by adoption of outsiders, and by
the _ownership_ of the family by its Head), formed the gens, while the
aggregation of _gentes_ formed the tribe, and the aggregation of tribes
made the State. But, as the _gentes_ had traditions contrary to this
theory, traditions of separate origins, he supposed that 'the incoming
populace should feign themselves to be deduced from the same stock as
the people on whom they were engrafted.' Thus we know that McUlrigs
(Kennedys) of Galloway joined the remote Macdonnells of Moidart and
Glengarry, and wore the Macdonnell tartan[12] (1745-1760), and so might
come to pass as Macdonnells, though they still regard the Marquis
of Ailsa, a Kennedy, as their chief, at least in Eilean Shona (Loch
Moidart). In the same way the Camerons of Glen Nevis, though called
'Camerons,' were really MacSorlies, a branch of the Macdonnells, and
from the sixteenth century to 1754 were always on ill terms with the
chief of the clan Cameron, Lochiel. These are very modern instances,
but illustrate Sir Henry's theory of incomers.

The members of the Roman tribes had traditions that they were _not_,
really, of the same original blood with each other. Only by a fiction
were they of the same blood. They did not all descend by natural
increase from one patriarchal ancestor. There really did exist 'a
variety of alien groups in a local tribe,' however they might all
adopt the same name, and assert descent, in West Scotland from
Somerled, let us say. This fact, of heterogeneousness within the
'tribe' among others, was so obvious and so imperfectly explained,
by friends of the Patriarchal theory, that it occupied 'writers
belonging to the school of so-called prehistoric inquiry,' as Sir Henry
styled it.[13] They were not satisfied with the theory that Society
arose in the Patriarchal Family, based on direct descent from, and
ownership by, a single male ancestor. To be sure a Cameron will 'cross
the hill,' and call himself Stewart, and a Chinese immigrant into
Australia has discreetly entitled himself Alexander Mac-gillivray.
But such accretions, and such legal fictions, do not explain the
heterogeneousness of the local tribe, which, by the theory of some
historians, is of common descent. 'Prehistoric inquirers' could not
but notice that, among ruder 'non-Aryan' races of various degrees
of culture, 'the family is radically different from the Patriarchal
Family,' and suggests a different origin.

Roughly speaking, the groups of real or fancied kindred among various
low races exhibit the peculiarity that the kin-name is often inherited
from the mother, not from the father; that the maternal blood is
stronger in determining such cases of inheritance as arise; and that
marriage is forbidden within the recognised limits of the _maternal_
kinship. It was natural for inquirers to derive this condition of
affairs, this reckoning in the female line, from a state of society
in which fatherhood (owing to promiscuity, or to polyandry--several
husbands to one wife) was notably uncertain. Bachofen, who first
examined the problem, attributed the system to a supposed period of the
Supremacy of Women: McLennan to dubious fatherhood, and possible early
promiscuity. The recovery of supremacy by men, or the gradual advance
in civilisation, especially in accumulation of property, would finally
cause descent to be reckoned through the male line, as among ourselves.

As to the question of early promiscuity--sexual relations absolutely
unregulated--Dr. Westermarck, Mr. Crawley, and others have argued,
and Mr. Atkinson argues, that it never existed, at least to any wide
extent, and with any potent influence. We hear rumours of savages
utterly promiscuous, say the Mincopies of the Andaman Islands, just
as we hear of savages utterly without religion. But later and better
evidence proves that the Andamanese have both wives and a God.[14]

Again, the lowest savages known are so far not 'promiscuous,' that they
recognise certain sets of women as persons with whom (as a general
rule, subject to occasional exceptions) certain sets of men must have
no marital relations. It was the opinion of Mr. Darwin, as of Mr.
Atkinson, that sexual jealousy, from the first, must probably have been
a bar to absolute promiscuity, even among the hypothetical anthropoid
ancestors of human race. To tell the truth, our evidence on these
points, as to existing savages, is, as usual, contradictory.[15]


In these inquiries a great source of confusion arises (as all students
must be aware) from the absence of exact terminology, of technical
terms with a definite and recognised meaning. Thus when my friend,
the late Mr. John Fergus McLennan, introduced the word 'Exogamy,' in
'Primitive Marriage' (1865), he probably knew perfectly well what
he meant. But he did not then, from lack of practice in an inquiry
practically novel, and originated by himself, express his meaning with
exactness. He at first spoke of exogamy as the rule 'which prohibited
marriage within the tribe.'[16] But the word 'tribe' was later taken
by Mr. McLennan to mean, and is now used as meaning, what cannot be a
primitive community, a local aggregate of groups amicably occupying
a considerable area of country; say the Urabunna tribe of Central
Australia. Mr. McLennan did not wish to say that exogamy forbids an
Urabunna tribesman to marry an Urabunna tribeswoman; he meant that
exogamy prohibited marriage within the recognised kindred--that is,
in this case, between members of totem kindreds of the same name,
say Emu or Kangaroo. This fact he later made perfectly clear. But
meanwhile such terms as 'horde,' 'tribe,' 'sub-tribe,' 'family,'
'gens,' 'section,' 'phratria,' 'clan,' many of them derived from
civilised classical or Celtic usage, have been tossed up and down,
in company with 'class,' 'division,' 'section,' and so on, in a
way most confusing.[17] Odd new terms come from America, such as
'socialry,' 'tutelaries,' 'ocular consanguinity,' 'ethnogamy,'
'conjugal conation,' and so forth.[18] Most perplexing it is to find
words like clan, family, tribe, _gens_, phratry, words peculiar to
civilised peoples, Greek, Roman, or Celtic, applied to the society of
savages. 'The term "clan" implies descent in the female line,' says
the late Mr. Dorsey, following Major Powell; but why take the Celtic
term 'clan,' which has no such signification, and confer it on what
is really a totem kindred with descent in the female line?[19] Next,
'several of the Siouan tribes are divided into two, and one into three
sub-tribes. Other tribes are composed of phratries, and each sub-tribe
or, phratry comprises a number of _gentes_.' Is there a distinction
between the 'sub-tribes' of some tribes, and the 'phratries' of others,
or not? Apparently there is not, but the method of nomenclature is most

I shall understand the terms which I employ, as follows:

The tribe, speaking of the Australians, for instance, is a large
aggregate of friendly or not hostile human groups, occupying a
territory of perhaps a hundred square miles, and holding councils and
meetings for social and religious purposes. It is so far 'endogamous'
that its members _may_ marry within it--that is to say, it is no more
endogamous than the parish of Marylebone. An Urabunna man, a man of
the Urabunna tribe, may marry an Urabunna woman--if no special native
law interferes. He may also at pleasure marry, out of his tribe, say a
woman of the neighbouring Arunta tribe, again, if no special law bars
the arrangement. So far the tribe, the large local aggregate of groups,
stands indifferent. But, within the tribe, there are laws barring
marital intercourse. First, each tribe is usually composed of two
'primary exogamous divisions,' or 'phratries,' so called; in the case
of some tribes the phratries are named; for example, _Matthurie_ and
_Kirarawa_. Every man and woman, in such tribes, is either a Matthurie
or a Kirarawa, and can only marry into the opposite division, and the
children follow the name of the mother. These two divisions are called
'primary classes' by some students; 'phratrias' (from the [Greek:
phratria]) by others; 'sub-tribes' by others; or, again, 'moieties,' or
'groups.' I shall, in each instance, use the term ('class,' 'phratria,'
'moiety,' 'primary exogamous division,' 'group,' and the like) employed
by the author whose opinion I am discussing, though I prefer 'phratry,'
as 'class' has another significance; so has 'group,' &c.

Again, the tribe contains a number of totem kindreds (often called
'clans' or _gentes_, rather at random), that is, of sets of kin
deriving their names from _totems_, plants, animals, or other objects
in nature. To the possible origin of Totemism we return in a separate
section. No Urabunna man may marry a woman of his own 'phratry,' nor
of his own _totem_, and the children inherit the phratry and totem
names from the mother. Finally, there are sets of relationships,
roughly indicating, it would seem, seniority by generations, and
degrees of actual or supposed kindred. Within many of these, which
I shall style 'classes' (they have other terms applied to them),
marriage is forbidden. Thus there are bars of three several sorts on
the intermarrying of an Urabunna man with an Urabunna woman. In a way,
there are three grades of exogamous prohibitions.

Mr. McLennan, who introduced the word 'exogamy,' defined it thus: 'an
exogamous marriage is a marriage between persons of different clans of
kinship, not entered into fortuitously, but because of law declaring
it to be incest for a man to marry a woman of his own clan.'[20] The
same community cannot be 'both exogamous and endogamous,' as some
suppose. Thus Lord Avebury writes, 'some races which are endogamous as
regards the tribe, are yet exogamous as regards the gens.' But really
'exogamy is the law prohibiting marriage between persons of the same
blood or stock as incest--often under pain of death--and endogamy is
the law prohibiting marriage except between persons of the same blood
or stock.'[21] In Mr. McLennan's sense I shall take the word 'exogamy,'
while dealing with peoples apparently nearest the beginning.

Later, when descent in the male line is established, the prohibition
on marriage within the totem name comes to apply, sometimes, to
marriage within the local district held by the men of the name. The
old prohibition, we see, is to many within the recognised limit of the
blood kinship, or stock, designated by the totem name. But, as tribes
advance to kinship through males, and as, thereby, groups of one totem
name come to possess one region of country, it often happens that
exogamy prohibits marriage between persons dwelling in that region.
Whereas Grouse was forbidden to marry Grouse; later, the Grouse living
together, say in Corradale, the exogamous prohibition takes the shape
'persons dwelling in Corradale must marry out of Corradale.' The name
marking the exogamous limit is now, in such cases, local, but the
prohibition is derived from the older tabu on marriage between 'persons
of the same blood or stock'--all those in Corradale being conceived to
share the same blood or stock. This origin of 'local exogamy' must be
kept in mind, otherwise confusion will arise. There are a few cases,
even in Australia, where even local exogamy has become obsolete, and
marriage, as with ourselves, is prohibited between persons of near
kindred simply.

Now, if I may venture to interpret the mind of Mr. John Fergus
McLennan, I conceive that he regarded the totemic division as older
than the 'phratry' or the 'class' bar, and he thought it the oldest
traceable exogamous limit. Not to marry within the totem name (no
male Emu to marry a female Emu) was, in Mr. McLennan's opinion, the
most archaic marriage law.[22] This appears from the words of Mr.
McLennan's brother, Mr. Donald McLennan.[23] He writes: 'As the theory
of the Origin of Exogamy took shape, and the facts connected reduced
themselves to form in his mind, the conclusion was reached that the
system conveniently called "Totemism" ... must have existed in rude
societies, prior to the origin of Exogamy.[24] This carried back the
origin of Totemism to a state of mind in which no idea of incest
existed. From that condition my brother hoped to trace the progress of
Totemism--necessarily a progress upwards--in connection with kinship
and Exogamy. It may here be said that he had for a time a hypothesis of
the origin of Totemism, but that he afterwards came to see that there
were conclusive reasons against it.'

Meanwhile may we not, then, assume that, in Mr. McLennan's opinion, the
earliest traceable human aggregate within which matrimony was _legally_
forbidden was the totem kin, indicated by the totem name, the totem
tabu, and the totem badge, or symbol--where it existed?

We now see how heterogeneous elements came to exist in the tribe of
locality, a puzzle to the friends of the theory of the Patriarchal
Family. For the nature of totemism, _plus exogamy_ and _female
descent_, is obviously such that under totemism, each family group
even (each 'fire circle' of men, wives, and children), _must_ contain
persons of different totems. The father and mother _must_ be of
different totems (persons of the same totem not intermarrying), and
the children must inherit the totem either of the father or of the
mother.[25] When paternal kinship is not only recognised (as, in
practical life, it always is), but becomes exclusive in its influence
on customary law, and when an approach to the Patriarchal Family, with
the power of the patriarch, is evolved, all the members of the family
in all its branches will (if Totemism persists) have the same totem;
derived from the father. Thus there will now be a _local_ totem group,
a group mainly of the same totem name, as is practically the case in
parts of Central Australia.[26]

It is necessary to understand this clearly. Take a very early group,
in a given district; suppose it, at first, to be anonymous, and let it
later be called the Emu group. So far, all members of the group will
be Emus, they will form an Emu _local_ group. But, next, suppose that
there are many neighbouring groups, also at first anonymous; let them
later be styled Rat, Cat, Bat, Sprat. Suppose that each such group now
(for reasons to be indicated later) takes its wives not from within
itself, but from all the other groups; that these women bring into the
Emu group their group names; and that their children inherit their
names from their mothers. Then the name, 'Emu group,' will cling to
that _local_ aggregate, as such; but, in time, the members of the Emu
group will all be, say, Rats, Cats, Bats, and Sprats, so called from
the group-names of their alien mothers. Suppose that, for one reason
or another, children at last come to inherit their names and totems
from their fathers. Then a Cat father will have Cat children, though
his wives may still be of different totems, and his sons' children will
also be Cats, and so the local group will become mainly, if not wholly,
a group of one totem, the Cat. The Arunta of Central Australia do trace
kinship in the male line, and thus there is 'one area which belongs to
the Kangaroo men, another to Emu men, another to Hakea flower men,' and
so on. This has reached such a pitch that 'in speaking of themselves
the natives will refer to these _local_ groups,' not by the prevalent
totem names in each, but 'by the name of the locality which each of
them inhabits,' namely, as men of the Iturkawura camp, and so on.[27]
Thus we might say 'the Glen Nevis men,' 'the Corradale men,' and so on.

Thus we begin with an anonymous group, or group of unknown name, a
local group. We introduce Totemism, and that group becomes a local
group with a totem name. Granting exogamy (prohibition of marriage
within the group), and reckoning in the female line, it soon developes
into a local group made up of various totems, but, at first, _as a
local group_, it probably retains its original totem name among its
neighbours. Reckoning, still later, through the male line, we again
meet, as at first, a local totem group, but already Totemism is on
the wane, and the groups are soon to be called by the territorial
names of their lands. At this stage totem names are tending to decay,
and the next step will probably be to style the group by the name of
some remembered, or mythical, male ancestor, such as 'children of

Thus if, at a given time, the name of a certain male ancestor is
substituted, as 'eponymous,' for the totem name, or the district name,
we shall find a local group of, say, Sons of Donald, into which other
groups, Sons of Sorlie, or Ulrig, will enter, as occasion serves, and
be more or less absorbed. A State may at last arise, say, 'Softs of

We are not assuming, however, that all human societies have passed
through the totemistic and exogamous stages.


But what was the original unit, the totem group, or other division
outside of which alone could marriages be arranged? And why was the
totem name the limit? Returning to Mr. Donald McLennan's account of the
opinions which his brother did not live to set forth, Totemism arose
'in a state of man in which no idea of incest existed.' On this theory,
I presume, there would be totem groups before exogamy arose; before
it was reckoned 'incest' to many within the totem name. This, as we
shall see, appears to be sometimes the opinion of the best Australian
authorities, Messrs. Fison and Howitt, and Messrs. Spencer and Gillen.
It is also the theory of Arunta tradition. The totem belief, as it now
exists, imposes many tabus: you may not (as a rule) kill, eat, or use
the plant or animal which is your totem; still less perhaps, in the
long run, may you 'use,' sexually, a woman of your totem. If _this_,
or a kindred totem tabu, is the origin of exogamy, then to exogamy (as
a law, though not necessarily as a tendency) the totem is prior in
time. But I have no reason to suppose that Mr. McLennan ever regarded
the totem tabu as the origin of exogamy. In his published works he
offers another theory, not commonly accepted.

But the important thing to note is that exogamy may conceivably
(contrary to Mr. McLennan's opinion, but in accordance with that of Mr.
Atkinson) have existed, or rather tended to exist, before totems arose;
much more, then, previous to the evolution of totem names, of totem
tabu, and of the idea of incest, _as a sin_, or mystic misdeed, and as
an offence to the totem--a religious offence to God, or to ancestral
spirits. Persons may have been forbidden to marry within their local
group, their 'fire circle' before that group had a totem, or a totem
name, and they may have been forbidden for reasons purely secular, to
which the totem later lent a sanction, and a definite limit. Thus Mr.
Tylor, our most sagacious guide in all such problems, writes 'Exogamy
can and does exist without Totemism, and for all we know was originally
independent of it.'[28]

It is part of my argument that exogamous tendencies, at least--that
is, a habit of seeking female mates outside of the fire-circle--may
very well have prevailed before any human group had even a totemic
name. But exogamous tendencies are not, of course, the same thing as
exogamy strictly defined, and sanctioned by religious or superstitious
fear, and by secular penalties inflicted by the tribe. Against the
notion that exogamy may have been prior to Totemism, Mr. Robertson
Smith argued that very early man would not be restrained from
marriages by such an abstract idea as that of kindred--'not to marry
your near kin'--while the idea of kindred was still fluid, and not
yet crystallised around the totem name.[29] But, without thinking of
kindred by blood, perhaps without recognising consanguinity (though it
must have been recognised very soon), early man may have decided that
'thou shalt not marry within this local group or crowd, of which I am
head.' Nothing abstract in that! There was no tribal law--there were as
yet (I suppose) no tribes--only the will of the head of each small set
of people practically enforced exogamy.

We can have no certainty on this point, for we know of no pre-totemic
race, no people who certainly have not yet entered into the totemic
stage. Any such people, probably, in the remote past, had no idea of
incest as a sin, or of exogamy as a law sanctioned by a tabu. But they
may have, at least, had a strong tendency to marry outside of the
circle of the hearth, the wandering hearth of homeless nomads ranging
after food.

The reader of Mr. Atkinson's treatise will find that this kind of
exogamy--marriage outside the local group--would, on his theory, be
the rule, even when no idea of blood kindred, or of incest as a sin,
need have arisen; and no totem, or anything else, had yet been named.
The cause of the prohibition would, in Mr. Atkinson's opinion, be the
sexual jealousy of the hypothetical patriarchal anthropoid male animal;
and, later, the sexual jealousy of his adult male offspring, and of
the females. Still later the group, already in _practice_ exogamous,
would accept the totem name, marking off the group from others, and
the totem name, snipe, wolf, or what not, would become, for the time,
the exogamous limit. No man and woman of the same totem name could
intermarry. Still later, a myth of kinship with the totem would arise,
and would add the religious sanction of a tabu.

A prohibition may perhaps have arisen very early, even if Mr.
Atkinson's hypothesis (that the rule of marriage outside the group
arose in a state of brutality) be rejected. 'The origin of bars to
marry is, in fact, complex,' writes Mr. Crawley. A dislike of marriage
with a group-mate, familiar, through contiguity, from infancy, may
have been developed among early men;[30] and may have been reinforced
by the probably later superstitions which create 'sexual tabu,' and
mutual avoidance, among many existing peoples. Men and women are,
by savages, conceived to be mysteriously perilous to each other,
especially when they live in close contiguity. Mr. Crawley also allows
for Mr. Atkinson's main factor, jealousy, 'proprietary feeling,
which is one crude means by which the family has been regulated and
maintained.'[31] If these things were so (whether we go back to Mr.
Atkinson's semi-brutal ancestors, or not), then, contrary to Mr. Donald
McLennan's opinion, and to general opinion, it would not 'appear to be
possible to demonstrate that Totemism preceded exogamy,' or at least
preceded the exogamous tendency. For, in the first place, exogamy might
conceivably tend to arise before the explicit idea of kinship--whether
male or female--arose. Mr. Atkinson's 'primal law' would be unuttered
in speech (speech, by his theory, there was none), but would amount
to this: 'I, the patriarchal bull of this herd, will do my best to
kill you, the adult young bulls, if you make any approaches to any of
the cows in this crowd.' There is no notion of 'incest,' but there is
jealousy producing the germ exogamy. The young bulls must find mates
outside of the local herd--or do without. This rule persisted, on Mr.
Atkinson's theory, till the hypothetical anthropoid became a man, and
named his group (or had it named for him, as I later suggest) by a
totem name.

But real human and speaking beings might enforce marriage outside of
the group, though they did not perhaps think explicitly of kindred (or,
at least, did not think the idea fully out), still less of 'incest,' as
sin. Mr. McLennan's theory, as given in his works, was partly identical
with that of Mr. Atkinson. 'The earliest human groups can have had
no _idea_ of kinship'--they must, therefore, have been rather low
savages. 'But,' he said, 'they were held together by a _feeling_ of
kinship,' not yet risen into explicit consciousness. Cat and kitten
have, probably, _feeling_ of kinship, and that _feeling_ is very
strong, while it lasts, in the maternal cat, while between semi-human
mothers and children, arriving so very slowly at maturity, mother-kin
must have been consciously realised very early. Mr. McLennan then
showed the stages by which the savage would gradually, by reflection,
reach explicit consciousness of female kinship, of mother-relationship,
sister and brother relationship, and all the degrees of _female_ kin.

But Mr. Fison and others have argued powerfully against this
theory.[32] Moreover, we find male relationships, as we saw--'descent
counted in the male line'--among the Arunta of Central Australia,
whom Mr. J. G. Frazer regarded, in 1899, as actually 'primitive;'
while the neighbours of the Arunta, the Urabunna, reckon through the
female line.[33] Mr. Crawley, for various reasons, says, 'the famous
Matriarchal theory' (the prepotency and dominion of women) 'was as
exaggerated in its early forms as was the Patriarchal.... It is a
method of tracing genealogy, more convenient in polygamous societies
and more natural in primitive times when the close connection of
mother and child during the early days of infancy emphasises the
relation.'[34] Dr. Westermarck argues to a similar effect.[35] His
motive is to discredit the theory of promiscuity, and consequent
uncertainty of fatherhood, as the cause of reckoning on the spindle
side. But the Arunta, who reckon on the sword side, actually do
not even know that children are the result of sexual intercourse,
according to Messrs. Spencer and Gillen. How they can have any idea
of blood-kinship at all is, therefore, the mystery. It may perhaps be
argued that they have none. But these ignorant Arunta reckon descent
through the male line--while the Royal Picts, in early Scotland,
infinitely more civilised, reckoned by the female line.

For myself, I still incline to the opinion[36] that the reckoning of
descent through the woman is the more archaic method, and the method
that, certainly, tends to dwindle and disappear, as at last it did
among the Picts. This applies to human society, not to that of Mr.
Atkinson's hypothesis, in which the question is not of kin, but of
property. 'Every female in my crowd is my sole property,' says--or
feels--Mr. Atkinson's patriarchal anthropoid, and the patriarch gives
expression to his sentiment with teeth and claws, if he has not yet
learned to double up his fist, with a stone in it. 'These were early


In any case, Mr. McLennan's hypothetical first groups, like Mr.
Atkinson's, were very low indeed. They developed exogamy, not (as
in Mr. Atkinson's theory) through sexual jealousy on the part of
the sires, but, first, through regular female infanticide. This
practice, being reasonable, could not prevail among Mr. Atkinson's
anthropoids.[37] Girl babies being mostly killed out, women became
scarce. Neighbouring groups being hostile, brides could only be
procured by hostile capture. Each group thus stole all its brides and
became exogamous, and marriage inside the group became a sin, by dint
of 'a prejudice strong as a principle of religion.'

This theory of Mr. McLennan's is, I think, quite untenable. The
prevalence of female infanticide, at the supposed very early stage of
society, is not demonstrated, and did not seem probable to Mr. Darwin.
Even if it existed, it could not create a prejudice against marrying
the few women left within the group. Mr. McLennan, unhappily, was
prevented by bad health, and death, from working out his hypothesis
completely. His most recent statement involves the theory that the
method of the Nairs of Malabar, living in polyandrous households (many
men to each woman) was the earliest form of 'marriage.' But people who,
like the Nairs, dwell in large households, are far indeed from being
'primitive.' 'A want of balance between the sexes' led, Mr. McLennan
held, to 'a practice of capturing women for wives,' and was followed
by 'the rise of the law of exogamy.' The first prohibition would be
against capturing women of the kindred (marked by the totem), for such
capture, if resisted, might involve the shedding of kindred blood.
Women being scarce, through female infanticide, kindred groups would
not give up or sell their women to each other (though to the males of
the groups, such women could not be wives), nor could women be raided
from kindred groups, as we saw. So they would be stolen from alien
groups, 'and so marriages with kindred women would tend to go into
desuetude.' The introduction of captured alien wives would change the
nature of matrimonial relations. Under the Nair system 'a woman would
live in the house of her mother, and under the special guardianship and
protection of her brothers and her mother's brothers. She would be in a
position of almost absolute independence of her husbands....'

But really pristine man and woman can have had no houses, no
matriarchal rule of women. The Nairs, not being primitive, have
houses, and their women have authority: pristine man was not in their
condition. However, captured alien wives would, Mr. McLennan argues, be
property, be slaves; and men would find this arrangement (now obsolete)
so charming that polyandry and the reign of woman would go out. The
only real legal marriage would be wedlock with an alien, a captive,
a slave woman. Marriage with a woman of the same stock would be a
crime and a sin. It would be incest.[38] Really it would be, at worst,

This theory seems untenable at every point, community of wives, female
infanticide, household life, supremacy of women in the household,
living with a non-captive wife reckoning as incest, and, in short, all
along the line. Even if the prejudice against marrying native women
did exist, it could not be developed into the idea of sin--granting
that the idea of sin already existed. To be sinful, endogamy within the
group must have offended some superstitious belief, perhaps the belief
in the totem, with its tabu.[39]


To disengage from his learned book, _The Mystic Rose_ (1902), Mr.
Crawley's theory of the origin of exogamy is no easy task. He strongly
insists on the 'religious' element in all early human thought, and
as in 'religion' he includes the vague fears, misgivings, and ideas
of 'luck,' which haunt even the least religious of modern men, we
may say that 'religion,' in this sense, mingles with the thought of
all ages. The present writer, like Dr. Johnson, is an example of
the 'religious' character, and of Mr. Crawley's remark that 'human
nature remains potentially primitive.' To the 'religious' man or
woman (using 'religious' in this sense) the universe is indeed a
thing of delicate poise, and may 'break, and bring down death,' if
we walk under a ladder, or spill the salt, or enter a doorway with
the wrong foot foremost, or fail to salute a magpie, or the new moon.
The superstitious anthropologist, of course, knows that all these
apprehensions of his are utterly absurd, but the savage is careful
and troubled about them. The Philistine, on the other hand, is proud
of his conquest of these airy terrors: he 'cannot imagine what people
mean by such nonsense,' and, exactly so far as he is sincere, he cannot
comprehend early mankind.

Now, as to exogamy, our difficulty is to understand why breach of
the rule against certain marriages is, everywhere, so deadly a sin:
so black an offence against 'religion.' Mr. Crawley's explanation
is not, perhaps, easily to be disengaged from the mass of his work,
but it begins in his appreciation of the δεισιδαιμονία of early men,
their ever-present sense of 'religious' terrors. 'Thus all persons
are potentially dangerous to others, as well as potentially in
danger....'[40] This sense of peril arises 'in virtue simply of the
distinction between a man and his fellows.' Much more, then, are women
dangerous to men, and men to women, the sexes being so distinct from
each other. We know that the most extraordinary precautions are taken
to avoid contact with women in certain circumstances, and a well-known
story of Sir John Mandeville's is only one case of the fact that the
bridegrooms of some races, from a superstitious terror, insist on being
made _cocus en herbe_. Messrs. Spencer and Gillen give the instance
of 'the marriage ceremony' (an odious brutality) among the Arunta of
Central Australia.[41] It is perhaps intended to deliver the bridegroom
from a peril imagined by superstition (as in Mandeville's tale);[42]
and, without it, the Australian would resemble the man derided in the
old Scottish song:

The Bridegroom grat when the sun gaed doon.

Thus a 'religious' dread attaches among savages (the theory holds) to
all marriages; all are novelties, new steps in life, and therefore
are so far 'sinful' that they involve a peril, vague but awful, the
creation of superstition. Marriages contrary to the exogamous rule,
are only especially and inexplicably bad cases of the 'sin'--that is,
mystic danger--of marital relations in general, as I understand Mr.
Crawley. Marriage ceremonies of every kind are devised to avoid 'sin,'
as our Marriage Service candidly states, using 'sin' in the Christian
sense of the word. But there are savage marriages, those forbidden
by the law of exogamy, which, as a general rule, no ceremony can
render other than sinful. So great and terrible is the danger of such
marriages--namely, among many savages, between persons of the same
totem, that it threatens the whole community, just as the marriage
of Charles I. with a Catholic bride caused the Plague, according to
the Rev. Mr. Row, and therefore such unions are punished by the death
penalty, and are but seldom left to the automatic vengeance of the
tabu. Foremost in this black list of sins are the unions of brothers
and sisters of the full blood, though, we must remember, these are not
more heavily punished than marriage between a man and woman of the
same totem, even if the pair come together from opposite ends of the
continent, and are not blood relations at all. Why is this?

As I understand Mr. Crawley, the sexes, in savagery, avoid each other's
society in everyday life, partly from 'sexual tabu'--the result of the
superstitions already indicated; partly because of 'sexual solidarity,'
perhaps even of 'sexual antipathy.' In fact, men and women are often
very much in each other's way. We do not want women in our clubs and
smoking-rooms--nor do savages--and we despise a man who lurks in
drawing-rooms when his fellows are out of doors; a man who is a pillar
of luncheon parties and of afternoon tea. But this separation of the
sexes is especially rigid between the children of the same hearth, even
among nomads. The boys go with the father, the girls with the mother.
The manlike apes have the same ideas. 'Diard was told by the Malays,
and he found it afterwards to be true, that the young Siamangs, when
in their helpless state, are carried about by their parents, the males
by the father, the females by the mother.' 'The nests ... are only
occupied by the female and young, the male passing the night in a fork
of the same tree or another tree in the vicinity.'[43]

These facts of ape etiquette would, to use an Elizabethan phrase, have
been 'nuts' to Mr. Atkinson, and prove that sexual separation of the
children is a very early institution. In Australia, New Caledonia,
and other countries, brothers and sisters must not even speak to each
other, and must avoid each other utterly. Thus the danger and 'sin'
of the most innocent intercourse between brothers and sisters is
emphasised; much more awful, then, are matrimonial unions of brother
and sister. 'The extension' (of this idea) 'by the use of relationships
produces the various forms of exogamy,' says Mr. Crawley.[44] There are
difficulties here; for example, Mr. Crawley tells us that incest did
not 'need prevention,' though the rules of brother-and-sister avoidance
seem really to mean that it did, or was thought to do so (but perhaps
only superstitious dread of ordinary intercourse caused the rule?), and
though we know of regions where such incest, in early youth, is said
to be universal.[45] 'Such incest,' says Mr. Crawley, 'is prevented by
the psychological difficulty with which love comes into play between
persons either closely associated, or strictly separated before the
age of puberty....'[46] Now we know that lust does come into play--for
example, among the Annamese--between brothers and sisters not closely
separated; and we also know that, the more persons are 'strictly
separated,' the more does the novelty and romance, when they do meet,
produce natural attraction, as between Romeo and Juliet. Incest among
the young is really prevented by the religious horror with which, by
most peoples, it is regarded; as well as, among the civilised, by the
constant and sacred familiarity of family life. The bare idea of it
can only occur, as a desirable notion, to a boyish revolutionary, like
Shelley, or to minds congenitally depraved.

Again, men and women of the same totem have no 'avoidances' forced
upon them, as far as I know (and, as they may not marry, this is an
oversight); yet their marriages are as terribly sinful as marriages
between brother and sister of the full blood. Mr. Crawley writes,
'Obviously the one invariable antecedent in all exogamous systems,
indeed in all marriage systems, is the prohibition of marriage "within
the house."' But, we reply, A (a male) and B (a female), of the same
totem, may never have been in the same house, or in the same degree
of latitude and longitude, before they met and fell in love. As to
'house,' houses they may have none. Yet their union is a deadly sin.
Mr. Robertson Smith is said to have 'set the question in the right
direction,' when he wrote, 'whatever is the origin of bars to marriage,
they certainly are early associated with the feeling that it is
indecent for house-mates to intermarry.'[47]

But what is early need not be primary.

Again, if Mr. Crawley reads on, he will find, I think, that the context
of Mr. Robertson Smith's argument shows him not to have held that
exogamy arose in 'the feeling that it is indecent for "house-mates"'
(or tent-mates) 'to marry.' For Mr. Robertson Smith adds, 'it will not
do to turn this argument round, and say that the pre-Islamic law of
bars to marriage may have arisen ... in virtue of a custom that every
wife and her children shall have their own tent.[50] In any case, we
cannot speak of 'house-mates' before there were houses. But if for
'house-mates' we read 'hearth-mates,' then no sense of 'indecency,'
as on Mr. Crawley's theory, need necessarily attend their marriage,
for hearth-mates may be of different totems, derived from different
mothers, and may be marriageable enough, at least as far as totem
law is concerned. A, male, an Emu, marries B, a Bandicoot, and C, a
Grub. His children by B have the Bandicoot totem, his children by C
have the Grub totem. As far as totem law goes, these children may
intermarry, but this is not allowed in practice to-day. Mr. Mathews
says, of the Kamilaroi, 'in order to prevent such a close marriage'
(of brother and sister on the father's side), 'every tribe has strict
social customs, founded upon public opinion, which will not tolerate
the union of a man with a woman whose blood relationship is considered
too near.'[48] Australian ethics, long trained under the old totem
and phratry prohibitions, are now sufficiently enlightened to reject
unions which we also forbid. But it cannot have been so in the
beginning, or the totem and phratry tabus on marriage would have had
no occasion to exist. It would have sufficed to say, 'Thou shalt not
marry thy sister, or mother,' and the totemic rule would have been a
cumbrous superfluity. Superfluous it would have been, even under the
hypothetical 'group marriage system,' where the law would have run
'Thou shalt not marry thy group-sister or group-mother.'

While Mr. Matthews gives a kind of bye-law, forbidding marriage, under
female descent, with the paternal half-sister, Mr. Fison avers that the
Kamilaroi do allow such unions. 'It is marriage within a phratria,' but
not within a totem.[49] The fact was denied, or at least questioned,
by many correspondents, but Mr. Fison believed it to be authentic.
'The natives justified it on the ground that the parties were not of
the same _mudji_' (totem). Apparently these natives, who let a man
marry his father's daughter, had not arrived at an objection to unions
of 'too near flesh.' But mere decadence, under European whisky, may
be the explanation. Mr. Matthews denies, as we saw, what Mr. Fison
asserts, as to the Kamilaroi. Mr. Crawley writes, 'if we apply to the
word "indecent" the connotation of sexual tabu ... and if we understand
by "house-mates" those upon whom sexual tabu concentrates, we have
explained exogamy.'[50]

Scarcely, for sexual tabu against marriage, in fact, now, at least,
concentrates on people of near kin, and on totem-mates, man and woman
of the same totem, and they may be 'house-mates,' or 'hearth-mates,'
or they may not (in polygamous society), and the hearth-mates (as
far as the totem rule goes, but not now in practice) may thus be
intermarriageable, as not of the same totem, while totem-mates, from
opposite ends of a continent, are not intermarriageable (except in the
peculiar case of the Arunta and cognate tribes).

But Mr. Crawley may reply that each totem, originally, did really
pertain to all members of each small local group, and that the totem
prohibition was extended, later, to all groups of the same totem name,
however distant in space. Thus according to the Euahlayi blacks there
were originally no totem names, but the divine Baiame gave them to
mortals with the rule that no pair of the same totem name were to
marry, 'however far apart their hunting grounds.' Thus considered,
the tabu which forbids an Emu man to marry an Emu woman, would mean
no more, originally, than that marriage between persons living in the
close contiguity of the same local group (in this case the Emu group)
was forbidden. There might be no original intention of prohibiting
marriage with a person of an Emu group, dwelling a thousand miles
away; probably no such group was known to exist. The original meaning
of exogamous law, I repeat, would be merely 'you must not marry
a hearth-mate,'--or a 'house-mate,' in Mr. Crawley's phrase--the
hearth-mates, in this particular instance, being delimited by the
name 'Emu.' So far my conjecture agrees with that of Mr. Crawley. The
extension of the prohibition to persons of the same totem-name, however
remote their homes and alien their blood, I am content to regard as a
later kind of accidental corollary. There came to be totem kins of the
same name, far remote, and thus, as it were casually, the law acquired
an unpremeditated sweep and scope, including persons not really of the
same group or blood, only of the same name.

But why was there originally any objection at all to marrying the most
accessible bride, the female hearth-mate? Here, as I have tried to
show, Mr. Crawley would explain by his idea of sexual tabu. All men are
regarded with superstitious dread by all women, and _vice versa_; above
all, as a daily danger, the men, or women living in close contiguity
must avoid each other. To keep them apart all sorts of tabus and
avoidances are invented, including the tabu on their marriage.

This is a plausible and taking theory, and I am far from arguing that
it cannot be a true theory. But the insuperable difficulty of deciding
arises from the circumstance that we know nothing at all about the
intellectual condition of the more or less human beings among whom
the prohibition of marriage within the group first arose. Were they
advanced enough to be capable of such a superstitious dread of each
other as the supposed cause of the prohibition takes for granted? Males
and females, among the lower animals, have no such superstition. It
requires human imagination. On the other hand, animal jealousy was well
within their reach, and Mr. Atkinson derives the original prohibition
of marriage within the group from the sheer sexual jealousy of the
animal-patriarch. In his opinion the consequent aversion to such
wedlock crystallised into a habit, as the race advanced towards full

Even before his anthropoid clients were completely human, the group
would be replete with children of females not of the full group blood,
captives, and therefore these children (if blood kin through females
were regarded) would be eligible as wives. But this would not yet, of
course, be understood. Perhaps it would not be fully understood till
the totem name was given to, and accepted by, each group, and so there
was a definite mark set on each woman brought in from without the
group, and on her children, who bore her totem name. After that, each
totem group obviously contained members of other totems, and those,
being now recognised by their mother's totem names, were technically
intermarriageable. What had been a group not explicitly conscious of
its own heterogeneous elements, became, in fact, an assemblage of
_recognised_ heterogeneousness, capable of finding legal brides within
itself, and no longer under the necessity (had it understood) of
capturing brides from without in hostile fashion. Such an assemblage
would, or might, come to consist of families, dwelling, or rather
wandering, within a given region, all on terms of friendship and mutual
aid. I take it that, by this time, improved weapons and instruments,
and improved skill, enabled groups larger than the small original
groups to live in a given area. In fact, the group would, or might,
be a small local 'tribe,' but, probably, was unconscious of the
circumstance. If conscious, one cause of hostility among the groups
was at an end, there was no necessity for stealing women, a system of
peaceful betrothals within the group might now arise, though certain
facts, to be dealt with later, raise a presumption, perhaps, that this
relatively peaceful state of life did not appear until two of the
original local totem groups coalesced in _connubium_, intermarrying
with each other, in fact becoming 'phratries.'

To produce the new condition of affairs, two factors were necessary:
first, a means of distinguishing the captured women within every group
from each other, and from the group into which they were brought by
capture. This means of distinction was afforded by the totem names.
Next, a recognition of kinship was needed, and this was supplied, let
us conjecture, by naming the children of each of the captive women
after the totem name of the group from which she was captured. If all
the children indiscriminately were called by the totem name (say Emu)
of the local group into which their mothers had been brought--that is,
by the totem name of their fathers--there would be no recognisable
heterogeneity within that group, and so there would be, within the
local group, no possible wives, under the exogamous rule. Whether
polyandry then existed, or not, still all the fathers were of one
local totem name, say Emu, and children could only be differentiated
by styling them after the totem names of their alien mothers. This
is usually done among the savages who are least advanced, but not
among the Arunta, whose totem names, as we shall see, by a curious
divergence, do not indicate stock, but are derived from a singular
superstition about ancestral spirits, of various totems, incarnating
themselves in each new-born child.

Mr. McLennan, in _Primitive Marriage_ (1865), had arrived at
conclusions very like these. The primitive groups 'were assumed to
be homogeneous.... While as yet there was no system of kinship, the
presence of captive women in a horde' (group), 'in whatever numbers,
could not introduce a system of betrothals'--the women and their
children not yet being differentiated from each other, and from the
group in which they lived. Mr. McLennan, in 1865, did not ask how
these women ever came to be distinctly differentiated, each from
each, and from the group which held them, though that differentiation
was a necessary prelude to the recognition of kindred through these
women. But presently, in his _Studies of Totemism_ (1869), he found,
whether he observed the fact or not, the means of differentiation.
Differentiation became possible after, and not before, each primitive
group received a totem name, retained by its captive women within each
group to which they were carried, a name to be inherited by their
children in each case.

He says, 'heterogeneity as a statical force can only have come into
play when a system of kinship led the hordes to look on the children of
their foreign women as belonging to the stocks of their mothers.' That
was impossible, before the totem or some equivalent system of naming
foreign groups arose, a circumstance not easily observed till Mr.
McLennan himself opened the way to the study of Totemism.[51]

It thus appears that Mr. Crawley's theory of exogamy and mine are
practically identical in essence (if I rightly interpret him). The
original objection was to the intermarriage of the young of the
group of contiguity, the hearth-mates. If there was but one male of
the elder generation in the group of contiguity, these young people
would be brothers and sisters. If there were two or more males of
the elder generation, brothers, the group would include cousins, who
(even before the totem name was accepted by the group) would also be
forbidden to intermarry. When the totem name was accepted, cousins,
children of brother and sister, and even brothers and sisters, children
of one father, by. wives of different totems, would be, technically,
intermarriageable: though their marriages may, in practice, have been
forbidden because they were still of the group of contiguity, and as
such bore its _local_ totem name, say, Emu, while, by the mother's
totem name, they may have been Bats, or Cats, or anything. Where I must
differ from Mr. Crawley is in doubting whether at this hypothetical
early stage, the superstitions which produce 'sexual tabu' had arisen.
We cannot tell; but certainly, as soon as the totem name had given rise
to the myth that the totem, in human beings as in animals and plants,
was inviolable--the beast or plant of the totem blood not to be killed
or eaten,[52] the woman of the totem name not to be touched--so soon
would endogamy, marriage within the totem, be a sin, incest. This it
would be; the totem tabu once established, whether sexual tabu, or
sexual jealousy, or both, caused the first prohibition, not to marry
group, mates. Here we may briefly advert to Dr. Westermarck's theory of
exogamy, though it interrupts the harmonious issue of our speculations.


As to exogamy, Dr. Westermarck explains it by 'an instinct' against
marriage of near kin. Our ancestors who married near kin would die out,
he thinks, and they who avoided such unions would survive, 'and thus
an instinct would be developed,'[53] by 'Natural Selection.' But why
did any of our ancestors avoid such marriages at all? From 'an aversion
to those with whom they lived.' And why had they this aversion?
Because they had an instinct against such unions. Then why had they
an instinct? We are engaged in a vicious circle. 'Lastly it is not
scientific to use the term instinct of this kind of thing.'[54]


As to Mr. Morgan's theory, in his _Ancient Society_ (1877), of a
movement of sanitary and moral reform, which led to prohibition of
'consanguine marriages' I shall return to it in a later part of this
essay ('Other Bars to Marriage'). Here it will be found that Mr. Morgan
is the source of certain other theories which we are to discuss, a fact
involving a certain amount of repetition of arguments already advanced.


We conclude, provisionally, that exogamy, for various reasons of
sexual jealousy, and perhaps of sexual superstition, and of sexual
indifference to persons familiar from infancy, may, at least, have
tended to arise while each little human group was anonymous; before the
acceptance of totem names by local groups. But this exogamous tendency,
if it existed, must have been immensely reinforced and sweepingly
defined when the hitherto anonymous groups, coming to be known by
totem names, evolved the totem superstitions and tabus. Under these, I
suggest, exogamy became fully developed. Marriage was forbidden, amours
were forbidden (there are exceptional cases), within the totem name.
This law barred, of course, marital relations between son and mother,
between brother and sister, but, just as it stood, permitted incest
between father and daughter, so long as the totem name was inherited
from the mother. But that form of incest, in turn, came to be barred
by another set of savage rules, which, whatever their origin, prohibit
marriage _within the generation_. That set of rules, noted specially
in Australia and North America, is part of what is usually styled 'The
Class System.'

[Footnote 1: Dr. Munro, _Archæological Journal_, vol. lix. no. 234, pp.
109-143: (_Tire à part_, p. 1.) See also later, _Hypothetical Early

[Footnote 2: To this point, hostility, I return later.]

[Footnote 3: Dr. Munro, _Archæological Journal_, vol. lix. no. 234.]

[Footnote 4: Munro, _Archæological Journal_, vol. lix. no. 234, p. 22.]

[Footnote 5: _Ibid._ p. 32.]

[Footnote 6: _Ibid._ p. 18.]

[Footnote 7: _Ibid._ p. 20.]

[Footnote 8: _Ibid._ p. 22.]

[Footnote 9: L'Anthropologie, Mars-Avril, 1902. For a brief
bibliography of the bull-roarer see Mr. Frazer, _The Golden Bough_,
iii. pp. 423-4, note 1.]

[Footnote 10: _Journal and Proceedings Royal Society N.S.W._, vol.
xxviii. p. 305. See also Roth, _Ethnological Studies_, pp. 132-138.

[Footnote 11: Ancient Law p. 132.]

[Footnote 12: Major Kennedy's portrait of 1750-1760 represents him in
Macdonnell tartan. He was an agent of Prince Charles.]

[Footnote 13: _Early History of Institutions_, pp. 310, 311.]

[Footnote 14: Westermarck, _History of Human Marriage_, pp. 53-57.]

[Footnote 15: Mr. John Mathew declares that 'jealousy is a powerful
passion with most aboriginal husbands' in Australia. Messrs. Spencer
and Gillen, on the other hand, represent the aboriginal husband as
one of the most complacent of his species, jealousy being regarded
as 'churlish.' Messrs. Spencer and Gillen are decidedly the better
authorities. Mathew, _Jour. Roy. Soc. N.S.W._, xxiii. 404. Westermarck,
p. 57. _Native Tribes of Central Australia_, p. 99.]

[Footnote 16: _Studies in Ancient History_, 1876, p. 41.]

[Footnote 17: The late Major Powell, of the American Bureau of
Ethnology, used _gens_ of a totem kin with descent in the male line,
_clan_ of such a kin with descent in the female line, and his school
follows him. Mr. Howitt, on the other hand, uses 'horde' for a local
community with female, 'clan' for a local community with male descent.]

[Footnote 18: 'The Seri Indians,' by W. J. McGee. _Report of Bureau of
American Ethnology_, Washington, 1898.]

[Footnote 19: 'Siouan Sociology,' _Report of American Ethnological
Bureau_, 1897, p. 213.]

[Footnote 20: _Studies in Ancient History_, second series, p. 265.]

[Footnote 21: _Studies in Ancient History_, second series, p. 46. In an
appendix to Mr. _Morgan's Ancient Society_, Mr. McLennan's terms are
severely criticised.]

[Footnote 22: I shall call each set indicated by a totem name a 'totem
group,' if the members live together; a 'totem kin,' if they are
scattered through the tribe.]

[Footnote 23: _The Patriarchal Theory_, pp. 6, 7, 1885.]

[Footnote 24: Meaning by Exogamy, not a mere tendency to marry out of
the group, but a customary law with a religious sanction.]

[Footnote 25: Here the unusual case of the Arunta offers an exception
to the rule; a point to be discussed later.]

[Footnote 26: Spencer and Gillen, pp. 8-10.]

[Footnote 27: _Ibid_. pp. 8-9.]

[Footnote 28: 'Remarks on Totemism,' _Jour. Anthrop. Inst._, August,
November, 1898.]

[Footnote 29: _Kinship in Early Arabia_, p. 187.]

[Footnote 30: But, as Dr. Durkheim says, man and wife might soon
abandon each other, if familiarity breeds contempt.]

[Footnote 31: _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, May, 1895, p.

[Footnote 32: _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, p. 132. 1880.]

[Footnote 33: Spencer and Gillen, p. 70. Frazer, _Fortnightly Review_,
April, May, 1899.]

[Footnote 34: _The Mystic Rose_, p. 460.]

[Footnote 35: _History of Human Marriage_, pp. 105-113.]

[Footnote 36: Tylor, _J. A. I._ xviii. 3, 254.]

[Footnote 37: The practice however, is attributed to tame canary birds.]

[Footnote 38: _Studies in Ancient History_, second series, pp. 57-65.]

[Footnote 39: Cf. _Custom and Myth_ (A. L.), p. 258.]

[Footnote 40: _Mystic Rose_, p. 31.]

[Footnote 41: Spencer and Gillen, pp. 92-93.]

[Footnote 42: Lord Avebury's view that the 'rite' implies compensation
to the other males of the community will be considered later.]

[Footnote 43: Westermarck, p. 13. Citing Brehm, 'Thierleben,' i. 97,
_Proceedings R.G.S._ xvi. 177.]

[Footnote 44: _Mystic Rose_, p. 443.]

[Footnote 45: Westermarck, p. 292.]

[Footnote 46: _Mystic Rose_, p. 222.]

[Footnote 47: _Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia_, p. 170.]

[Footnote 48: _Proc. Roy. Soc. N.S.W._ xxxi. 166.]

[Footnote 49: _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, pp. 42,46, 47, 115.]

[Footnote 50: _Mystic Rose_, p. 443.]

[Footnote 51: See _Studies in Ancient History_, pp. 183-186.]

[Footnote 52: This is the view of Dr. Durkheim, who explains the blood
superstition. Cf. Reinach, _L'Anthropologie_, x. 652.]

[Footnote 53: _History of Human Marriage_, p. 352.]

[Footnote 54: Compare Mr. Crawley, _Mystic Rose_, pp. 444-446.]



Under this name appear to be blended, (1) the prohibition to marry
within a division, which, in its simplest form, is said to cut the
tribe into two 'classes' or 'phratries,' or 'groups;'[1] (2) the
prohibition to marry within the totem name; (3) the prohibition to
marry within the generation, and within certain recognised degrees
('classes,' 'sections') of real or inferred kinship--'too near flesh,'
too close consanguinity, which, in their present condition, many
Australian tribes undoubtedly regard as a bar to matrimony. But it does
not follow that they _originally_ held this opinion.

We shall first examine what authorities who differ from me, call the
great 'bisection' of the tribe, into, say, Matthurie and Kirarawa,
members of which must intermarry, the totem prohibition also remaining
in force. It will here be suggested, in accordance with what has
already been said, but contrary to general opinion, that the totemic
prohibition is earlier than the prohibition of marriage between persons
of the same segment of the 'bisection.' The opinions of most students
appear, at present, to be divided thus. We hear that:

1. The exogamous division into two moieties, or 'phratries,' is
_earlier_ than the division of each into numerous totem kins. The totem
kins are regarded as later 'subdivisions' of, or additions to, the two
'original' moieties.

2. Totem groups are earlier than the 'bisection' (though somehow,
according to the same authors, the two moieties of the bisection bore
totem names), but, before the 'bisection,' these _totem groups were
not exogamous_. They only became exogamous when six of them, say, were
arranged in one of the two moieties (phratries), now forbidden to
marry, and another six in the other.

I venture to prefer, as already indicated, the system (3) that totem
groups not only existed, but were already exogamous, before the great
'bisection' producing the 'phratries' came into existence, though I
argue that 'bisection' is a misleading term, and that the apparent
division was really the result of an amalgamation of two separate and
independent local totem groups.

This theory (presently to be more fully set forth) is original on my
part, at least as far as my supraliminal consciousness is concerned. I
mean that I conceived myself to have hit on the idea in July 1902. But
something very like my notion (I later discovered) had been printed by
Dr. Durkheim, and something not unlike it was propounded by Herr Cunow
(1894). Mr. Daniel McLennan had also suggested it: and I find that the
Rev. John Mathew had stated a form of it in his _Eagle-Hawk and Crow_
(1899), (pp. 1922, 93-112). Mr. Mathew's hypothesis, however, involves
a theory of contending and alien races in Australia. This theory does
not seem well based, but, however that may be, I recognise that Mr.
Mathew's hypothesis of the origin of exogamy (p. 98), and of the origin
of the 'phratries' or 'primary classes,' in many respects anticipates
my own. He opposes Mr. Howitt's conclusions, and I may be allowed to
say that I would prefer Mr. Howitt, owing to his unrivalled knowledge,
as an ally. On the other hand, the undesigned coincidence of Dr.
Durkheim's, Mr. Daniel McLennan's, Mr. Mathew's, and Herr Cunow's ideas
with my own, raises a presumption that mine may not be untenable.


Though the existence of what are called exogamous 'phratries' (two
to each tribe) was made known, as regards the North American tribes,
by Mr. Lewis Morgan (to whose work we return) in the middle of the
nineteenth century, almost our earliest hint of its existence in
Australia came from the Rev. W. Ridley, a learned missionary, in
1853-55. In Mr. McLennan's _Studies in Ancient History_[2] will be
found an account of Mr. Ridley's facts, as they gradually swelled
in volume, altered in character, and were added to, and critically
constructed, by the Rev. Mr. Fison, and Mr. A. W. Howitt. These
gentlemen were regarded by Mr. McLennan as the allies of Mr. Morgan,
in a controversy then being waged with some acerbity. He, therefore,
criticised the evidence from Australia rather keenly. It is probable
that Mr. Morgan and Mr. McLennan both had some right on their
parts--seeing each a different side of the shield--though a few points
in the discussion are still undecided. But it seems certain that the
continued researches of Messrs. Fison and Howitt, reinforced by the
studies of Messrs. Spencer and Gillen in Central Australia, have
invalidated some of Mr. McLennan's opinions as to matters of fact.

Much trouble and confusion will be saved if we remember that, as has
been said, under the 'classificatory system,' three sets of rules
applying to marriage exist. The totem rule exists, rules as to marriage
in relation to generations and so-called degrees of kindred (real or
'tribal') exist ('classes'), and, thirdly, there are the rules relative
to 'phratries,' the phratries, being, I think, in origin themselves
totemic. We shall mainly consider here the so-called 'bisection'
of a tribe into two exogamous and intermarrying 'phratries,' while
remembering Herr Cunow's opinion that a 'class' is one thing, a
'phratry' quite another.[3]


Perhaps the most recent, lucid, and well-informed writer on the various
divisions which regulate the marriages of the Australian tribes is Mr.
R. H. Mathews.[4] In some regions, the system of two intermarrying
phratries exists, without further subdivision (except in regard to
totem kins). Sometimes each phratry is divided into two 'sections'
(or 'classes'), making four for the tribe. Again, each phratry may
have four 'subsections' or 'classes,' making eight for the tribe. Each
phratry, like each 'class,' 'has an independent name by which its
members are easily recognised.'

Obviously we need, of all tilings, to know the actual meanings of these
names, but we do not usually know them. As we shall see, where a tribe
has two 'phratries' and no subordinate 'classes,' the names of these
'phratries,' when they can be translated, are usually names of animals.
In a few cases, as will later appear, when there are 'classes' under
and in the 'phratries' their names seem to indicate distinctions of
'old' and 'young.' But Mr. Mathews nowhere, as far as I have studied
him, gives the meanings of the 'class' names, some of which are of
recent adoption. Mr. Mathews usually gives only 'Phratry A' and
'Phratry B.' We now cite his tables of the simple 'phratry' system, of
the 'phratry' plus two classes system, and of the 'phratry' plus four
classes system; making four, or eight, such divisions for the tribe.

'In describing the social structure of a native Australian community,
the first matter calling for attention is the classification of the
people into two primary divisions, called phratries, or groups--the men
of each phratry intermarrying with the women of the opposite one, in
accordance with prescribed laws.'

Mr. Mathews then mentions that some tribes have (1) this simple
division only (of course, as a rule, plus totem kins). (2) Elsewhere
each phratry is composed of two 'sections' (called by us 'classes').
(3) Elsewhere, again, each phratry has four sections (we need not
discuss here the tribes where none of these things exist).

Mr. Mathews now gives tables representing the working of the system in
each of the three cases.[5]

              Father        Mother       Son        Daughter
Phratry A     Kirraroo      Matturrin    Matturri   Matturrin
Phratry B     Matturri      Kirrarooan   Kirraroo   Kirrarooan


              Father        Mother       Son        Daughter
            { Murri         Buta         Ippai      Ippatha
Phratry A   { Kubbi         Ippatha      Kumbo      Butha
Phratry B   { Kumbo         Matha        Kubbi      Kubbithai
            { Ippai         Kubbitha     Murri      Matha


              Father        Mother       Son        Daughter
            { Choolum       Ningulum     Palyarin   Palyareenya
Phratry A   { Cheenum       Nooralum     Bungarin   Bungareenya
            { Jamerum       Palyareenya  Chooralum  Nooralum
            { Yacomary      Bungareeny   Chingulum  Ningulum

              Father        Mother       Son        Daughter
            { Chingalum     Noolum       Yacomary   Yacomareenya
Phratry B   { Chooralum     Neenum       Jamerum    Neomarum
            { Bungarin      Yacomareenya Cheenum    Neenum
            { Palyarin      Neomarum     Choolum    Noolum

It will be seen that, under the simple phratry system, children of the
female Matturrin are always Matturri and Matturrin, children of the
female Kirrarooan are always Kirraroo and Kirrarooan. On the phratry
_plus_ two classes system, female Butha is mother of Ippatha and
Ippatha of Butha for ever. On the phratry _plus_ four classes system,
female Ningulum has a Palyareena daughter, who has a Nooralum daughter,
who has a Bungareenya daughter, whose daughter reverts to the original
Ningulum class, and so on, _ad infinitum_. The women remain constant to
their 'phratry,' and marry always the men of the opposite phratry.

It is to be observed that, by customary law, brothers and sisters
_actual_ (and not 'tribal') may never intermarry.[6] In short,
consanguinity is now fully understood by the natives, and too close
unions are forbidden on the ground of consanguinity. It also seems
that, though the blacks are all on the same level of material culture,
yet reflection on marriage rules, and modification of these rules
by additional restrictions and alterations, have been carried much
further by some tribes than by others. I by no means deny, but rather
affirm, that consanguinity is now understood, and that rules have
in some tribes been consciously made, and altered, to avoid certain
marriages as of 'too near flesh.' But I do not think that, at the
beginning, the objection to consanguineous marriages, _as such_, can
have been entertained, and I am not of opinion that, for the purpose of
preventing such marriages, in the beginning, a horde was bisected into
two phratries, and each phratry split up into totem groups. Rather, I
conceive, certain primitive conditions of life led to the evolution
of certain rules, independent of any theory about the noxiousness or
immorality of marriages of near kin; and then reflection on those
primal rules helped to beget moral ideas, and improvements on the rules
themselves. In the original restrictions, morality, in our sense, was
only implicitly or potentially present, though now it has risen into
explicit consciousness. The tribes came to think certain marriages
morally wrong, or physically noxious, _because_ they were forbidden;
such unions were not, in the first instance, forbidden because they
were deemed physically injurious, or morally wrong. These ideas have,
by this time, been evolved; but it does not follow that they were
present at the beginning.

I took the liberty of laying a brief sketch of my own theory before Mr.
Howitt, who, after considering it, was unable to accept it. He was kind
enough to send me a summary account of many varieties of institutions,
which, as we have seen, prevail--from tribes with totems and the simple
phratry and female descent, up to tribes which have lost their classes
and totems, count descent in the male line, and permit marriage only
between persons dwelling in certain localities, or not of 'too near
flesh.' All sorts of varieties of custom, in fact, prevail. Again, the
most backward tribes, in Mr. Howitt's opinion, have group-marriage;[7]
the more advanced have individual marriage, with rare reversions on
special occasions. Each advance, from mere phratry to phratry _plus_
eight 'classes,' reduced the number of persons who might intermarry,
and extended the range of exogamy (except where, as among the Arunta,
the totem prohibition has ceased to exist). The marked tendency of the
developing rules is to prevent marriage between persons 'too near in
flesh,' or 'of the same flesh.' Mr. Howitt argues that, if the later
stages of prohibition are the result of deliberate intention to prevent
too near marriage, we may infer that the original 'bisection' of the
'undivided commune' was also consciously designed to prevent unions of
persons of too near flesh.

To this I would reply, that the circumstances were different. The
savages of recent centuries have been trained in the totem and phratry
systems, and have now, like Mr. Howitt, excogitated the theory that
these were originally designed for the purpose of preventing marriages
of 'too near flesh,' wherefore all such marriages (even if permitted by
the totem law) must be morally or materially evil. This is the theory
expressed in the myths of the Dieri, Woeworung, and others; and it is
the theory of many scientific writers. In brief, it is the hypothesis
of men already trained to think near marriages morally wrong, or
physically injurious. But how could this idea occur to members of 'an
undivided commune,' who had never known anything better?

That is the difficulty; and we get rid of it by disbelieving in a
primeval undivided commune; and by supposing a long past of forbidden
unions, the prohibition then resting on no moral ideas, but on the
interest of the strongest, the jealousy of the adult sire. These
prohibitions later evolved into conscious morality; and were at last
susceptible of improvement by deliberate design. I shall now examine
more in detail the ideas which do not win my assent.


In 1880, in _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_,[8] Mr. Fison, a learned missionary
and anthropologist, gave his account of the organisation of certain
Australian tribes. He speaks of (1) The division of a tribe, or
community, into two exogamous intermarrying classes.[9] (2) 'The
subdivision' (mark the phrase) 'of these classes into four.' (3)
'Their subdivision into _gentes_, distinguished by totems, which are
generally, though not invariably, the names of animals.'

Now totems we know, and we have cited Mr. Mathews for the other
divisions. Take (1) 'the two exogamous intermarrying classes.' Examples

    Male, Kumite; female, Kumitegor (one 'class,' which I call 'phratry').
    Male, Kroki; female, Krokigor (the other 'class,' 'phratry').


    Male, _Yungaru_ (_opossum_); female, _Yungaruan_.
    Male, _Wutaru_ (_kangaroo_); female, _Wutaruan_.

What _are_ these two '_primary_' exogamous divisions? And why call them


My object, as has been said, is now, contrary to general opinion,
to repeat that the great dichotomous 'division' of a tribe into two
exogamous, intermarrying, 'classes' or 'phratries,' is not 'primary'
at all, but is secondary to groups at once totemic and exogamous, and
is not, in origin, a bisection, but a combination. If I am right, the
consequences will be of some curiosity. First, it will appear that the
'primary divisions' are themselves totemic in origin, thus implying the
pre-existence of Totemism. Next it will be made to appear probable that
the pre-existing totems were already exogamous before the phratries
arose, and that exogamy does not date, as the best authorities hold,
from the making of the great dichotomous divisions or 'phratries.' For
no such dichotomous division, I suggest, was ever made.


We see that, of the two 'phratries' Yungaru and Wutaru, Yungaru is
'opossum' (according to Mr. Chatfield) or 'alligator' (according to Mr.
Bridgman); while Wutaru is 'kangaroo.' These two primary 'phratries,'
therefore, have totemic names, and (in my opinion) were originally two
local totem groups, each containing members of various totems derived
from alien mothers. The same thing may be true when the meanings of the
'primary class names' ('phratries') can no longer be discovered. If
so, the 'primary divisions' are, in origin, mere totem distinctions,
involving, I think, the pre-existence of the rule of exogamy, which
is also involved in the rules of the 'primary divisions.' Mr. Fison
writes (what is obvious) 'in some places the primary divisions are
distinguished by totem names at the present day.'[10]

'Probably they were so distinguished everywhere, in ancient times,' he
adds, and this is certainly the case in North America, as we shall see
later. Mr. Fison's opinion is my own so far, and, if it is right, if
the 'primary class divisions' ('phratries'), within which marriage is
now forbidden, were originally two totem divisions, then Totemism is
earlier than the 'primary divisions.' On this point Messrs. Fison and
Howitt say that the divisions on which marriage regulations are based
'are denoted by class names or by totems--frequently by both class
names and totems.' In a note they add, 'Class names, so called by us
solely for the sake of convenience, and because they cannot always be
positively asserted to be totems, though the strong probability is that
they are always totems.'[11]

By 'class names' the authors, I think, here mean the names of the
'primary exogamous divisions' or 'phratries.' These are often, if not
always, known by totem names. But the 'classes,' as distinguished from
the 'phratries,' are not known by totemic names, as far as I am aware.
Herr Cunow, we shall see, asserts that in some cases they denote mere
seniority, 'big' and 'little,' 'young' and 'old.' Unless they can be
proved to be totemic, we must, I repeat, carefully avoid confusing
the 'classes,' four or eight, with the 'phratries,' in which they are
included. The confusion is general and very misleading.

Totemism, according to Mr. McLennan, preceded exogamy, and made exogamy
possible. Thus totem distinctions, with exogamy, may be older than the
'two primary class exogamous divisions,' in which, according to most
authorities, exogamy began. Mr. Tylor is cautious: 'the dual form of
exogamy' (the 'phratries,' or 'two primary divisions') 'may be the
original form,' or at least that view is tenable.[12] The origin of
exogamy is, however, unknown, in Mr. Tylor's opinion, which commits him
to nothing.

Mr. Howitt, if I do not misinterpret him, also regards the two
divisions, 'phratries,' as primary, but at the same time agrees with
me, and Mr. Fison, that the two 'phratry' divisions were themselves in
origin totemic.


At this point I lose Messrs. Fison and Howitt. I do not know what
they mean, and, unless I misconstrue them, they unconsciously hold
different opinions at different moments. They start with an 'undivided
commune.' Mr. Fison, however, is not certain on this point. To prevent
near marriages (previously universal), the commune is split into two
exogamous intermarrying phratries. The names of these phratries are
totemic, and each phratry has its totem. Such is their theory. How and

Did totemic divisions already exist in 'the undivided commune'? If
so, the commune was not undivided! Or were totem names given, nobody
knows why, to the two phratries at the time when the 'bisection' of
the commune was made? Did the legislator send half the horde to the
right, crying, 'You are sheep,' and half to the left, saying, 'You
are goats,'--or rather, say, Emus and Kangaroos? This is not easily
thinkable. But, if this was done, whence came the other totem kins,
often numerous, within each phratry?

Mr. Fison says that the totem kins (or 'gentes') 'arose out of two
primary divisions, by an orderly process of evolution, such as might
be expected from the forces at work,' and 'we have seen how' the
phratries subdivided 'into other subdivisions, distinguished by
totems.'[13] But, alas, I have seen nothing of the sort! Mr. Fison
has merely asserted the fact. 'The totems affect the intersexual
regulations ... by narrowing the range of matrimonial selection.'[14]
Here would be a reason for the evolution of these totem kins. But this
added restriction is exactly what (given phratries) the totems do not
effect. There are so many totems in each phratry, but as the same
totem (except among the Arunta and similarly disorganised tribes) never
occurs in both phratries, the range of sexual selection is thus not
more restricted by the totem than by the phratry. The members of each
phratry may not intermarry, and all persons of their totem are in their
phratry and so are not marriageable to them. They would all be exactly
as exogamous as they are, if there were no totem rules, nothing but
phratry rules. Thus the totems cannot be later deliberate segmentations
of the phratry, for additional exogamous purposes, because they serve
no such purpose, except where, among the Kamilaroi, a man may marry in
his phratry, if he marries out of his totem. But that is a peculiarity.

Mr. Mathews writes, 'Under the group' (phratry) 'laws it is impossible
for a Dilbi or Kupathin' (phratry names of the Kamilaroi) 'to marry a
woman bearing the same totem name as himself, for the reason that such
a totem does not exist in the division' (phratry) 'from which he is
bound to select his wife. But when persons of the same group' (phratry)
'were permitted to marry each other, it became necessary to promulgate
a law prohibiting marriage between persons of the same totem.'[15] But
there were totems before that novelty of marriage within the phratry,
and why were they there? Moreover, under phratry laws it was already
the rule that no man could marry a woman of his own totem. Obviously
we are not told how the totem kins arose out of the phratries, 'by an
orderly process of evolution such as might be expected from the forces
at work.' One sees no reason at all for the rise of totem kins within
the phratry, itself, by Mr. Fison's theory, originally totemic.

Totem kins are called 'subdivisions' by Mr. Howitt, but why were the
phratries subdivided into totem kins, and why were there totem groups
in 'the undivided commune' before the bisection, the phratries (the
result of the bisection) being themselves, in Mr. Howitt's hypothesis,
totem groups? I quote a statement of the case by Mr. Howitt (1889):
'The fundamental principle of aboriginal society in Australia is the
division of the community into two exogamous intermarrying moieties.
Out of this division into two groups, and out of the relations thus
created between the contemporary members of them and their descendants,
the terms of relationship must have grown. As the two primary divisions
(classes)' ('phratries') 'have become again divided in the process of
social development, _and as the groups of numerous totems have been
added_,' &c.[16]

Here the totem kins are not orderly evolved out of the phratries, nor
subdivided out of them, but are 'added.' Where were they picked up,
whence did they arise, why were they 'added'?

May we not conclude that no clear account, or theory, of the origin and
purpose of totems and totem kins has been laid before us?

Mr. Howitt elsewhere writes, 'If the supposition is correct that,
in the primary divisions, we may recognise the oldest forms, and
in the subdivisions somewhat newer forms of Totemism' (newer names
of totems?), 'it should be found that these earlier divisions show
signs of antiquity as compared to the totems which are, according to
this hypothesis, the nearest to the present time. This, I think, is
the case.' Thus, in fact, some of the Australian names for the _two_
divisions are no longer to be translated,[17] perhaps owing to their
antiquity, and sometimes the names are lost, as, elsewhere, in Banks
Island. When translatable, the phratry names are totemic.

But this hardly amounts to proof that the 'primary divisions' are
really older than totemic divisions, _plus_ exogamy. The existing
_names_ of the 'primary divisions' may be older than existing totem
names, in some cases. But that may be because the two 'primary
divisions' endure, unchanged, while a local totem group may become
extinct.[18] Its place, perhaps, may be filled up by a totem group of
relatively recent name, or, perhaps, in a great trek into a land of
novel fauna and flora, old totem names might be exchanged for new ones.
'Munki' (sheep) is said to have been recently adopted.[19] Mr. Fison
here corroborates my suggestion. 'If a tribe migrate to a country in
which their totem is not found, they will, in all probability, take as
their totem some other animal which is a native of the place.'[20]

Mr. Howitt, then, believes that 'the primary class divisions' were
originally totemic, and also that the 'class system' as a rule has been
developed through the subdivision of the earlier and simpler forms by
'_deliberate arrangement_.'[21]

This appears to mean that savages began by making two divisions,
bearing totem names, and established them as primary _exogamous_
divisions. Later they cut them up into slices, each slice with a
newer totem name. Or the totem divisions are evolved within the
phratry, somehow or other, as in one of Mr. Fison's views. Or they are
'added'--for what purpose? Thus every tribesman has now a 'class name'
(phratry name)--an _old_ totem name (say either Eagle-Hawk or Crow),
and no Crow may marry an Eagle-Hawk. But, later, they split Crows up
into, say, bats, rats, cats, and kangaroos, while they split Eagle-Hawk
up into, say, grubs, emus, mice, and frogs. Now each person, under this
arrangement, has two totem names. He is Eagle-Hawk (old) and (new)
grub, emu, mouse, or frog: or he is Crow (old) and (new) bat, cat, rat,
or kangaroo. If cat, he may not only not marry a Crow, but also he may
not marry a cat. What could be the reason for this new subdivision
of Eagle-Hawk and Crow, and for this multiplication of marriage
prohibitions, which, given the phratries, prohibit nothing?[22] I
shall try to show, and have already suggested, that, from a period
infinitely remote, each member of the Eagle-Hawk and Crow _local_
groups may also have been, or rather _must_ have been, a grub, emu,
mouse, or frog, bat, rat, cat, or kangaroo, by inheritance and birth.
So understood, the 'primary divisions' (Eagle-Hawk and Crow) were not
deliberately subdivided (as I conceive them to have been on Mr. Ho wit
Vs system) into the other numerous new totem groups, nor were the totem
kins added to the phratries, nor were they orderly evolved out of the
phratries, but, from the dawn of Totemism with exogamy, they contained
these totem groups within themselves; a fact which early man came to

Mr. Howitt adds, 'If the two first intermarrying groups' ('phratries')
'had distinguished names, they were probably those of animals, and
their totems, and, if so, the origin of Totemism would be so far back
in the mist of ages, as to be beyond my vision.' In the chapter on
the 'Origin of Totemism,' we try to penetrate 'the mist of ages,'
and to see beyond the range of vision of Mr. Howitt. But the 'Origin
of Totemism' cannot be beyond Mr. Howitt's range of vision, if he
agrees with Mr. Fison that the totem kins were orderly evolved within
the phratry, or were segmented out of the phratry, or split off, as
colonies, from the phratry (Dr. Durkheim's theory), or were added to
the phratry, for some reason.

It seems, then, that he does not commit himself to any of these four
theories. He appears to confess to having no theory of the origin of
Totemism, which, in his opinion, gave the names to the phratries,
these being the result of the primary bisection. Probably his best
plan would be to say 'the horde was bisected into two moieties, for
exogamous purposes, and animal names, for the sake of distinction, were
arbitrarily imposed on the phratry divisions.' But, then, what about
the many totem kins within the phratry? We receive no solid theory
about them. They were certainly not arbitrarily marked out later,
within the phratry, for exogamous purposes which they do not fulfil. If
they were picked up elsewhere, and added into the phratry, where did
they come from? Crowds of totems were not going about, Mr. Howitt seems
to think, before the bisection, because, if so, we saw hordes were not
'undivided,' before the bisection, but were already divided into totem

Or shall we say that the undivided communes had already organised
distinct co-operative magical totem groups, to do magic for the good of
the food supply, plants and animals, but that these totem groups were
not _exogamous_ before the bisection? After the bisection two of these
magical totem groups, say Eagle-Hawk and Crow, were selected, shall we
guess, to give names to the two moieties or phratries? The other totem
groups fell, or were meted out, some into Crow, some into Eagle-Hawk.
This is a thinkable hypothesis, but it is fatal to the theory of
subdivision, or of segmentation, or of evolution, as causes of totem
kins within the phratries; and it is not suggested by Messrs. Fison and

Thus we must construct for ourselves, later, a theory of the Origin of
Totemism. We are actually constrained to make this effort, because it
will probably be admitted that, having no theory, or hesitating between
three or four theories, of the origin of totems and of totem kins,
Messrs. Fison and Howitt produce an hypothesis of the evolution of
Australian society which cannot be construed by us into an intelligible

Mr. Howitt elsewhere writes, 'The existence of the two exogamous
intermarrying groups' ('phratries') 'seems to me almost to require the
previous existence of an undivided commune, from the segmentation of
which they arose.'[23] But they, the phratries, were totemic, and why?
Once again, why was the undivided commune divided? We know not the
motive for, much less the means of effecting, such a great change 'in
the beginning.'

In 1885, Messrs. Howitt and Fison were aware of, and expressed
their sense of this difficulty (that of dividing people out into
arbitrary groups) in the case of ancient Attica. Speaking of the
γένος, or clan, in Attica, they combat the opinion
of Harpocration, that the people were 'arbitrarily drafted into the
γένη.[24] Our authors remark, 'Ancient society--the
more ancient--does not thus regulate itself. _Nascitur non fit_. One
can understand a Kleisthenes redistributing into demes a civilised
community which has grown into a State, but the notion of any such
arbitrary distribution of men into γένη; in the beginning of things
cannot be entertained for a moment.'[25]

This being so, how can our authors maintain that, 'in the beginning of
things,' given an 'undivided commune,' all its members were 'drafted'
into one or other of two divisions, and again into totem groups.
A subdivision of the 'phratries' into totem groups, by deliberate
arrangement, is clearly as artificial and arbitrary as the scheme
suggested by Harpocration, 'which cannot be entertained for a moment.'

We are speaking of 'the beginning of things,' not of the present state
of things, in which we know that modifications of the rules, e.g. the
division into eight 'classes,' are being deliberately adopted.[26]
In 'the beginning of things,' as Messrs. Howitt and Fison, in 1885,
maintained, society _nascitur non fit_. Our effort is to show the
process of the birth of society before conscious and deliberate
modifications were made to prevent marriages, of 'too near flesh.' Our
criticism of Messrs. Fison and Howitt's theories may perhaps indicate
that they are insufficient, or but dubiously intelligible. Something
clear and consistent is required.

[Footnote 1: Apparently, among the Kamilaroi, members of the same
phratry may intermarry, avoiding unions in their own totems. Mathews
(_Proc. Roy. Soc. N.S.W._ xxxi. 161, 162). Mr. Mathews calls a
'phratry' a 'group.']

[Footnote 2: Second series, pp. 289-310.]

[Footnote 3: I shall, for my own part, use 'phratry' for the two
'primary exogamous divisions' of a tribe, and 'class' for the divisions
within the 'phratry' which do not appear to be of totemic origin. Mr.
Fison applies 'class' to both the primary divisions and those contained
in each of them, observing that 'the Greek "phratria" would be the most
correct term.' He is aware, of course, that this employment of phratria
is arbitrary, but it is convenient. While he applies 'class' both to
'the primary divisions of a community, and their first subdivisions,'
to the latter I restrict 'classes,' using phratry for the former
(_Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, p. 24).]

[Footnote 4: _Jour. and Proc. of the Roy. Soc. N.S.W._, xxviii, xxxii,

[Footnote 5: _Proc. Roy. Soc. N.S.W._ xxxiv. 120-122.]

[Footnote 6: _Prov. Jour. Roy. Soc. N.S.W._, xxxiv. 127. Mr. Fison
makes an exception for some Kamilaroi.]

[Footnote 7: This view is discussed later.]

[Footnote 8: P. 27 _et seq_.]

[Footnote 9: There is a tradition of an aboriginal Adam, who had two
wives, Kilpara and Mukwara, these being the names of two phratries. On
this showing brothers married paternal half-sisters (_Kamilaroi and
Kurnai_, p. 33).]

[Footnote 10: _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, p. 40.]

[Footnote 11: _J. A. I._ xiv. 142.]

[Footnote 12: _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, xviii. 264.]

[Footnote 13: _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, p. 107.]

[Footnote 14: _Op. cit._ p. 41.]

[Footnote 15: _Proc. Roy. Soc. N.S.W._ xxxi. 162.]

[Footnote 16: _On the Organisation of Australian Tribes_, p. 129;
_Transactions of Royal Society of Victoria_, 1889.]

[Footnote 17: The natives retain sacred songs to Daramulun, but cannot
(or will not?) translate them. _Proc. Roy. Soc. N.S.W._ xxxiv. 280.]

[Footnote 18: Spencer and Gillen, p. 152.]

[Footnote 19: Howitt, _J. A. I._ xviii. 37-39.]

[Footnote 20: _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, p. 235, note.]

[Footnote 21: _Op. cit._ pp. 59, 62, 63, 66.]

[Footnote 22: New marriage prohibitions may have been, and, I believe,
were added, but the divisions thus made were not, I think, totemistic.]

[Footnote 23: _Organisation of Australian Tribes_, p. 136.]

[Footnote 24: Harpocration _s.v._ γεννῆται.]

[Footnote 25: _J. A. I._ xiv. 160.]

[Footnote 26: Spencer and Gillen, pp. 72, 420.]




The system which I advocate here, as to the smallness of the original
human groups, and their later combination into larger unions, seems
to have, as regards America, the support of the late Major Powell,
the Director of the Bureau of Ethnology, and of Mr. McGee of the
same department. This gentleman writes, 'Two postulates concerning
primitive society, adopted by various ethnologic students of other
countries, have been erroneously applied to the American aborigines ...
The first postulate is that primitive men were originally assembled
in chaotic hordes, and that organised society was developed out of
the chaotic mass _by the segregation of groups_ ...' This appears to
be Mr. Hewitt's doctrine. In fact, Mr. McGee says, American research
points, not to a primal horde, 'bisected' and 'subdivided' into an
organised community, but to an early condition 'directly antithetic
to the postulated horde, in which the scant population was segregated
in small discrete bodies, probably family groups....' The process of
advance was one of 'progressive combination rather than of continued
differentiation.... It would appear that the original definitely
organised groups occasionally coalesced with other groups, both simple
and compound, whereby they were elaborated in structure....' Mr. McGee
adds, 'always with some loss in definiteness and permanence.' As far as
concerns Australia, I do not feel sure that the last remark applies,
but, on the whole, Mr. McGee's observations, couched in abstract
terms, appear to fit what I have written, in concrete terms, about the
probable evolution of Australian tribal society.[1]

The theory thus suggested makes little demand on deliberate
legislation, as we shall see later.


This I take to be important. It seems well to avoid, as far as
possible, the hypothesis of deliberate legislation in times primeval,
involving so sweeping a change as the legal establishment of exogamy
through a decree based on common consent by an exogamous 'Bisection'
consciously made. Exogamy must have been gradually evolved. But, if
we begin with Mr. Howitt's original undivided commune, and suppose a
deliberate bisection of it into two exogamous phratries, each somehow
containing different totems; or if we suppose a tribe of only two
totems, and imagine that the tribe deliberately made these totems
exogamous, which they had not been before, and then subdivided them
into many other totem groups, we see, indeed, why persons of the
same totem may not intermarry. They now, after the decree, belong to
the same exogamous 'phratry' within which marriage is deliberately
forbidden. But, on this theory, I find no escape from the conclusion
that the 'bisection' into 'phratries' was the result of a deliberate
decree, intended to produce exogamy--for the bisection has not, and
apparently cannot have, any other effect. Now I can neither imagine
a motive for such a decree, nor any mode, in such early times, of
procuring for it common consent. At this point we have laboured, and
to it we shall return, observing that our hypothesis makes much less
appeal to such early and deliberate legislation.


In any case, by Mr. Fison's and Mr. Howitt's theory and our own, we
have totems almost all the way: totems in the so-called 'primary
divisions' (phratries); totems in the so-called _gentes_, and all these
divisions (setting the Arunta apart) are strictly exogamous. The four
or eight 'classes,' on the other hand, are apparently not of totemic
origin. However much the systems may be complicated and inter-twisted,
the basis of the whole, except of the four or eight 'classes,' is, I
think, the totem exogamous prohibition. There are many examples of the
type; thus the Urabunna 'are divided into two exogamous intermarrying
classes, which are respectively called Matthurie and Kirarawa, and the
members of these again are divided into a series of totemic groups,
for which the native name is _Thunthunnie_. A Matthurie man must marry
a Kirarawa women' (as in the system of the Kamil-speaking tribes, or
Kamilaroi, reported on by Mr. Fison)--'and not only this, but a man of
one totem must marry a woman of another totem.' This is precisely what
I should expect. It works out thus:

    { Old Local Totem Group } Matthurie.
    { New 'Phratry'         }

    { Old Local Totem Group } Kirarawa.
    { New 'Phratry'         }

Each of these 'phratries' has five totems, not found in the other
class, and how this occurred, if not by actual deliberate arrangement,
I do not know. One thing is clear: totem and phratry are prior to
'class' divisions. They occur where 'class' divisions do not. But my
theory does not involve the deliberate introduction of exogamy, by an
exogamous bisection of groups not hitherto exogamous, or by making two
pre-existing totem groups exogamous. I take the groups to have been
exogamous already, before the blending in _connubium_ of two local
totem groups (now 'phratries'), each including numbers of already
exogamous totem kindreds. They were exogamous before the 'phratries'
existed, and after their falling into the two phratries, exogamous they


Mr. McLennan, ere he had the information now before us, wrote, in 1865,
'Most probably contiguous groups would be composed of exactly the same
stocks' (we can now, for 'stocks,' read 'totem kins')--'would contain
gentes of precisely the same names.'[2] This is obvious, for Emu,
Kangaroo, Wild Duck, Opossum, Snake, and Lizard, living in the same
region, would raid each other (by the hypothesis) for wives, and each
foreign wife would bring her own totem name into each group. Yet we
find that the two 'primary classes' (phratries) of the Urabunna (which,
on my theory, represent two primitive totem local groups, say Emu and
Kangaroo, each with its representatives of all other totem groups
within raiding distance) _never_ contain the same totems.

It is mathematically impossible that this exclusiveness should be the
result of accident. On a first consideration, therefore, I took it to
be the result of deliberate legislative design, at the moment when on
my hypothesis two _local_ totem groups, containing members of several
_totems of descent_, united in _connubium_. The totem names, I at first
conceived, with reluctance, must have been consciously and deliberately
meted out between the two local totem groups, now become phratries.
This idea did not involve so stringent and useless a measure as that
of segmenting the two phratries into minor totem groups: however the
idea was still too much akin to that of Harpocration as regards the
arbitrary drafting of the Attic population into γένη [Greek: genei].
But, on further reflection, I conceived that my first theory was
superfluous. Given the existence of local groups, as such totemic, and
of totem kins of descent within the original local totem groups, the
actual results, I thought, arise automatically, as soon as two local
totem groups agree to intermarry. Men and women must many out of their
local totem group (now 'phratry') and must marry out of their totem
of descent. Consequently, no one totem could possibly exist in both
phratries. This I now, on third thoughts, 'which are a wiser first,'
deem erroneous. The automatic arraying of one set of totems into one,
or another set into the other, phratry, would not occur. The totems
have been divided between the two phratries.[3] This condition of
affairs is universal in Australia, except where, as among the Arunta
and similar tribes, the same totem comes to exist in both phratries, so
that men and women of the same totem, but of opposite phratries, may
intermarry. That breach of old rule, we shall try to show, arises from
the peculiar animistic philosophy of the Arunta, by virtue of which
totems are no longer totems of descent, but are otherwise obtained. The
Kamilaroi practice of interphratry marriage arises out of respect for
totem and neglect of phratry law.

My conjecture takes for granted, let me repeat, that, before the
'bisection,' or the amalgamation, which produced the two exogamous
'classes,' the totem kindreds were already exogamous. My reasons
for this opinion have already been given, in the discussion of
Mr. Crawley's theory of the origin of exogamy (_supra_), to which
the reader may refer. My suggestion makes the growth of exogamy
non-moral, gradual, and almost unconscious, till it is clinched and
stereotyped by the totem tabu.[4] The opposite theory--namely, the
deliberate bisection into exogamous 'classes,' of totem groups, or of
an 'undivided commune' not previously exogamous, appeals too much, I
repeat, to conscious and--as far as we can see--motiveless legislation,
at an early stage. The bisection must have had a purpose, and has no
visible purpose except the establishment o f exogamy, and why did the
'undivided commune' establish that?


It cannot be concealed that my conjecture is opposed to the mass of
learned opinion, which represents the primary 'phratries' as the first
exogamous bodies, and the totems in each as later subdivisions of
the phratries. The writers who, like Mr. Fison, recognise that the
primary subdivisions are themselves, in origin, totem divisions, do not
(as I understand) regard these very ancient totem groups as already
exogamous, _before_ the institution of 'phratries.'

Again, turning from Australia to North America, we find Mr. Frazer,
at least in one passage, on the side of the view generally held. Of
the 'phratry,' in America, he says, 'the evidence goes to show that
in many cases it was originally a totem clan which has undergone
subdivision.'[5] Many examples are then given of the North American
'phratries,' which include totem groups within them. 'The Choctaws
were divided into two phratries, each of which included four clans'
(totem kins); 'marriage was prohibited between members of the same
phratry, but members of either phratry could marry into any clan of
the other.' Among the Senecas, one phratry included the Bear, Wolf,
Beaver, and Turtle totems: the other held the Deer, Snipe, Heron, and
Hawk totems; just as in Australia. Among the Thlinkets and Mohegans,
'each phratry bears a name which is also the name of one of the clans'
(totems) 'included in it;' Mr. Frazer adds, 'it seems probable that
the names of the Raven and Wolf were the two original clans of the
Thlinkets, which afterwards by subdivision became phratries.'[6]
This is precisely as if we were to argue that Matthurie and Kirarawa
were the 'two original clans' of the Urabunna, 'which afterwards by
subdivision' (into totem groups) 'became phratries,' or 'primary
exogamous divisions.'

The objections to this theory, as advocated by Australian inquirers,
apply to the American cases as interpreted here by Mr. Frazer. In
the first place, how are we to conceive of a large tribe, like the
Thlinkets, as originally containing only two totems, Raven and
Wolf?[7] If we do take this view, we seem almost driven to suppose
that, in exceedingly early times, the Thlinkets deliberately bisected
themselves, for some reason, called one moiety Ravens, the other moiety
Wolves, and then made the divisions exogamous. Or, perhaps, having two
totems and only two, Raven and Wolf, they deliberately decided that
members of neither group should marry within itself; but should always
take wives from the other group. Later, the two tribes, Raven and
Wolf, again deliberately subdivided themselves, or perhaps, as in Dr.
Durkheim's view, Wolf threw off colonies which became five totem kins,
and Raven threw off colonies which became five other totem kins.

Is it not more readily credible that, over a large extent of Thlinket
country, many small local groups came, by an unconscious process (see
'The Origin of Totemism'), to bear each a separate totem name? The two
most important local groups, Raven and Wolf, would inevitably each
contain, by the working of exogamy and female kin, members of all the
other totems which would array themselves, five in each chief group,
Raven and Wolf, as I have conjectured in speaking of the Australian

Again, I cannot believe that a tribe like the Thlinkets originally had
but two totems, not yet exogamous, then made them exogamous, and then
cut them up, or let them split off, into many exogamous totem groups.
No motive is obvious: the people, by the theory, being exogamous


We shall later see that Messrs. Spencer and Gillen appear to advance,
but also to qualify out of existence, a theory of a motive for an
exogamous bisection of earlier non-exogamous local totem groups.
They practically explain away their own explanation of--the great
bisection, but it rests, while it exists, on certain recently
discovered facts, which, in turn, are fatal, perhaps, to any theory
that a tribe had originally but two totems, which became 'phratries,'
on being subdivided into other totems. The new facts accepted and
theorised on by Mr. Frazer and Mr. Spencer, would make it seem
perhaps impossible that a tribe like the Thlinkets should originally
have possessed but two 'clans' or totems. The facts, as stated by Mr.
Spencer, in 1899, are these, or rather, this is his hypothesis founded
on his facts. 'In our Australian tribes the _primary_[9] function of
a totem group is that of ensuring, by magic means, a supply of the
object which gives its name to the totem group.'[10] Mr. Frazer says,
'in its origin Totemism was, on our theory, simply an organised and
co-operative system of magic.... Each totem group was charged with the
superintendence and control of the particular department of nature from
which it took its name....'[11]

But this is hardly the origin of Totemism, so long as we are not
told how, or why, each totem group took its name from a department
of nature. Had it the name, before it worked magic for its eponymous
object, or did it take the name because it worked the magic?

Again, there are dozens of such departments,[12] which implies the
existence of dozens of organised and co-operative totem groups: not of
an original poor pair of such groups alone. Can we believe that, on
Mr. Frazer's earlier theory, the Thlinkets formed but two such groups,
one 'charged with' the duty to mollify the Wolf, the other to take
care of the interests of the Raven? Manifestly this is unlikely. I
elsewhere oppose this theory of the magical Origin of Totemism, made at
first to fit the case of the Arunta and cognate tribes. If organised
co-operation in magic is the source of Totemism, we may be pretty
confident that no tribe began by appointing one half of all its members
to do magic to propagate ravens, and the other half to mollify wolves.
This would indicate, in the magical and co-operative tribe, a most
oddly limited and feebly capitalised flotation of the company--merely
'Wolf and Raven.' No tribe would select ravens as the article of food
which most required careful propagation and preservation, even if the
Wolf most demanded to be propitiated and mollified. The new Australian
facts (whatever their interpretation) are fatal to the older idea that
a tribe could have had only two original totems: an idea which we may
perhaps regard as now abandoned, at least by Mr. Frazer.

Thus Mr. Spencer himself remarks that, in Arunta tradition, there were
numbers of totem groups before the great dichotomous division was made.
That is my own opinion: though I do not hold it for Mr. Spencer's
reasons, or believe in any 'bisection.'


It will be noted that Mr. Spencer's original totem groups existed for
magical purposes only, and were not exogamous.

'The traditions of the Arunta tribe point to a very definite
introduction of an exogamic system long after the totemic groups were
fully developed, and, further, they point very clearly to the fact that
the introduction was due to the deliberate action of certain ancestors.
Our knowledge of the natives leads us to the opinion that it is quite
possible that this really took place, that the exogamic groups were
deliberately introduced so as to regulate marital relations.'

The Arunta 'exogamic groups' are 'classes,' and 'phratries,' the
totem does not now regulate marriage among the Arunta. I shall later
try to show, that, originally, totems did regulate marriage, among
the Arunta. But here we find Mr. Spencer averring that possibly 'the
exogamic groups were deliberately introduced so as to regulate marital
relations' among the Arunta. This opinion surprises us, if we hold that
exogamy was, in its original forms, the result, not of a deliberate
enactment, but of gradual and unconscious processes, to which, later,
conscious modifications have been added. Mr. Spencer, despite the
passage cited, is obviously of the same opinion, for he proceeds to
remark, 'By this we do not mean that the regulations had anything
whatever to do with the idea of incest, or of any harm accruing from
the union of individuals who were regarded as too nearly related.... It
can only be said that far back in the early history of mankind, there
was felt the need of some form of organisation, and that this gradually
resulted in the development of exogamous groups.'

This statement must remind us of what the ancient ballad sings about
Lord Bateman:

     He shipped himself all aboard of a ship,
     Some foreign country for to see.

The scholiast (Thackeray, I think) explains, 'some foreign country
he wished to see, and that was the extent of his desire: any foreign
country would serve his purpose, all foreign countries were alike to
him.' In the same way, long ago, the ancestors of the Australians 'felt
the need of some form of organisation,' and that was the extent of
their desire; any organisation would serve their purpose. Nevertheless,
Mr. Spencer also says that, quite possibly, 'the exogamic groups
were deliberately introduced so as to regulate marital relations.'
But exogamic groups can regulate marital arrangements in one way
only--that is, by introducing exogamy. Yet Mr. Spencer remarks that
'the development of exogamic groups' _gradually_ resulted from some
organisation of unknown nature. I am unable to reconcile Mr. Spencer's
statements with each other. The 'bisection' of his theory could not, I
fear, be 'gradual.'

Mr. Frazer, in 1899, begins with numerous totem groups, primarily
and originally arranged for mere purposes of co-operative magic, in
the social interests of a large friendly tribe, itself no primitive
institution, one thinks. Then he supposes that the exogamous bisection
occurred (and _why_ did it occur?), and then 'if the existing totem
groups were arranged, as they naturally would be, some in one of the
two new classes, and the rest in the other, the exogamy of the totem
groups would follow, _ipso facto_.'[13] Mr. Frazer does not here
pretend to guess why the bisection occurred. The rest is quite obvious:
but it is unavoidably inconsistent with Mr. Frazer's earlier theory,
that a tribe begins (or that the Thlinkets began) with two original
totem groups, made them exogamous, and then 'subdivided' them up (or
did they merely swarm off?) into many totem groups. It is against
that almost universal theory, in 1899 abandoned (as I conceive) by
Mr. Frazer, that I have so long been arguing. There was not first an
exogamous bisection of a tribe, or the addition of the exogamous rule
to two 'original clans,' or totem groups, and then the subdivision of
each of the two sections into a number of totems. This cannot have
occurred. Totems, I venture to think, did not come in that way, but
pre-existing totem kins, granting the bisection, might fall into one or
other phratry, if they had always been exogamous.


On my system, as has been already stated, the origin of exogamy may
have been sexual jealousy, in small primitive groups, perhaps aided
by 'sexual tabu,' with the strange superstitions on which it is
based, and these causes would be strengthened enormously by the totem
superstition, later. The totem name would now be the exogamous limit.
The 'phratries' might result, quite naturally, and even gradually, now
in one region, now in another, from the interlocking and alliance, with
_connubium_, of two large friendly local totem groups, an arrangement
of which the advantages are so obvious that it might spread by way of
imitation and accretion.

This view of the possible origin of what is usually called the
'bisection' of 'the undivided commune' had already been suggested by
the late Mr. Daniel McLennan.[14] Writing before our information was so
full as it now is, he says, as to the two 'phratries' Kumite and Kroki
(answering to Matthurie and Kirarawa), 'were it worth while to make
surmises, it would not be unreasonable to surmise that at Mount Gambier
two separate local tribes[15] containing different totem kindreds had,
through the operation of exogamy and female kinship, become welded
into one community.' Mr. Daniel McLennan, unluckily, inherited his
brother's feud against Mr. Fison, and he opposed all that gentleman's
doings. Later research has corroborated many of Mr. Fison's facts, and
extended the range of their influence. On this point, however--namely,
that the 'phratries' are not the result of a bisection, but of an
amalgamation--Mr. Daniel McLennan appears to have had a good case. He
illustrates his theory, and mine, by remarks on a tradition of the
tribes of Northern Victoria.[16]

The exogamous 'phratries' of these tribes are Eagle-Hawk and Crow.
The tradition represents these birds as hostile creative powers. They
made peace on the terms 'that the Murray blacks should be divided into
two classes' ('phratries'), 'the Makquarra, or Eagle-Hawk, and the
Kilparra, or Crow.... Out of the enmities' (of the original Crow and
Eagle-Hawk) 'arose the two classes, and thence a law governing marriage
among these classes.' This tradition, it will be observed, espouses the
theory of a bisection, deliberately made of 'the Murray blacks,' into
two intermarrying and exogamous classes. Mr. McLennan writes, 'But what
the tradition suggests is, not that the Crow and Eagle agreed to divide
one tribe into two, with a view to the better regulation of marriage,
but that Crow and Eagle or Eagle-Hawk were tribes (and they might have
been constituted in the ordinary Australian way) which long waged war
against each other, and that at length there came peace, and then their
complete interfusion by means of friendly marriages.' The tradition
asserts the reverse; it adopts, or rather it forestalls, the scientific
theory of a 'bisection' of the Murray blacks, not the amalgamation of
two tribes (or large local totem groups). But I agree with Mr. McLennan
in prefering, for the reasons given, the theory of an amalgamation.
It is rather curious and interesting to observe that almost every
scientific hypothesis about totems and 'classes,' which I am obliged
to reject, has, in fact, been forestalled by the theories which the
natives themselves express in their explanatory myths. Myths, I fear,
are never in the right. 'The aborigines themselves,' says Mr. Howitt,
'recognise the former existence of the undivided commune in their
legends, but,' he judiciously adds, 'I do not rely upon this as having
the force of evidence.'[17]

We shall presently see that other distinguished anthropologists
do, to some extent, rely on Arunta myths, as 'bearing the stamp of
authenticity.' The truth is that the native thinkers have hit on the
same hypothesis as their European critics, the hypothesis of something
like deliberate primeval legislation to a given end, the regulation
of marriage. Far from accepting any such native myths, I am rather
inclined to hold that, whatever theory be correct, the theory of the
savage myth-makers must be wrong. It ought to be said that Mr. Fison,
at least, knows what his own theory involves, and once even frankly
accepted the possibility that the Dieri myth (the foundation of exogamy
by divine decree) may be historically true. 'All I contend for is,' he
says, 'that if the former existence of the undivided commune be taken
for granted' (and Mr. Fison, unlike Mr. Howitt, regards the undivided
commune as a mere unproved hypothesis), 'its division into exogamous
clans must have had precisely the effect' (a consciously reformatory
effect) 'which Mr. Morgan's theory requires. If such a community ever
existed, I do not hesitate to say that Mr. Morgan's "reformatory
movement" appears to me the most likely method by which it would begin
its advance to a better system of marriage' than 'communal marriage.'

But what gave the impulse to the hypothetical moral reformation?
Contact with a more advanced tribe is reckoned improbable by Mr. Fison
(for how came the other tribe to be more advanced?), and so the moral
impulse 'must have been derived from a higher power,' from the Good
Spirit, or from ancestral spirits, as in the myths of the Dieri, the
Woeworung, also of the Menomini Redmen of North America, a branch of
the Algonquins; and the Euahlayi tribe.

According to the Menomini, there is, or was, a Being who 'made the
earth.'[18] His name being interpreted means 'The Great Unknown,' but
only extreme believers in the theory of religious borrowing will say
that he was Sir Walter Scott, Bart. He (The Great Unknown) created
'manidos or spirits,' in the shape of animals, or birds. The chief
birds (as often in Australia) were Eagles and Hawks. The Bear 'came out
of the ground,' and was turned into an Indian, by the Great Unknown,
_alias_ 'The Good Mystery.' He and the Beaver headed totem kins now
in 'The Big Thunder phratry.' Other animals came in; there are now
Bear, Eagle, Crane, and Moose 'phratries,' each containing a number of
totems. All the people of a totem name in the Menomini tribe are akin
to persons of the same totem in other tribes, say of the Sioux.[19]

These myths favourably illustrate the piety of the Dieri, Woeworung,
Euahlayi men, and Menomini. Like Mr. Fison (at one time, and 'under
all reserves') these tribes leaned to the hypothesis of divine or
supernormal intervention in matters totemic. The Dieri may be right,
but a less difficult hypothesis is that there was never 'an undivided
commune,' in the sense of Mr. Morgan and Mr. Fison, and that,
consequently, it never was 'divided into exogamous clans.' If so, no
miracle is needed: _Nec Deus intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus._ My
own scheme needs no divine aid, nor deliberate legislation, 'in the
beginning.' But that such legislation has intervened later, I think
probable, or certain.

Messrs. Spencer and Gillen write: 'Rigidly conservative as the native
is, it is yet possible for changes to be introduced.... There are
certain men who are respected for their ability, and, after watching
large numbers of the tribe, at a time when they were assembled together
for months to perform certain of their most sacred ceremonies, we have
come to the conclusion that, at a time such as this, when the older
and more powerful men from various groups are met together, and when
day by day, and night by night around their camp fires, they discuss
matters of tribal interest, it is quite possible for changes of custom
to be introduced.'[20] The Arunta traditions allege that such changes
introduced by men of weight, and accepted after discussion, have been
not unusual.[21] This is highly probable, now, but not in the beginning.

The Arunta historical traditions are of little value as to historical
facts,[22] but the consciousness of the Central Australian tribes
accepts the possibility that new customs may now be proposed,
debated, and adopted. If no such thing ever occurred, the belief in
its possibility could scarcely have arisen among the Arunta. But
the possibility has its limits, and one of these is the deliberate
primeval introduction of exogamy, for no conceivable reason, and its
imposition on a society already totemic but not yet exogamous. Perhaps
few critics will frankly say that exogamy was thus imposed; they will
try to qualify or evade so improbable and antiquated a theory. Yet they
cannot but slip back into it, while they believe in 'segmentations'
of 'an undivided commune,' and of later totemic 'subdivisions' of the

In any case these Arunta and cognate tribes of similar usages, so
recently discovered, so anomalous, so odd, are 'the only begetters'
of the latest hypotheses of Mr. Frazer and Mr. Spencer--namely,
that totems, originally, were co-operative industrial groups with
no influence on marriage rules. Do the Arunta, then, present a
surviving model of primitive Totemism, in other regions modified
and contaminated; or is their Totemism not, like their metaphysics
and psychology, a 'freak,' an unique divergence from the normal
development, as I have from the first maintained?[23] All these
difficulties and confusions, as to 'phratries' and totems, inevitably
arise from the doctrine that the original totem groups were not at
first exogamous, and only became exogamous when separate sets of them
were scheduled under the two more recent exogamous primary divisions,
or were segmented out of them. In that case it is not easy to see how
we can escape from the impossible theory that exogamy, and the primary
divisions, were the result, of direct legislative enactment. Even if we
could believe this, we see no conceivable motive, except Mr. Fison's
divine intervention, an idea which, it appears, he put forward quite
provisionally in an argument with Lord Avebury.[24]


The case of these Central Australian tribes, in regard to Totemism
and marriage prohibitions, is so peculiar that it demands particular
notice. Mr. Frazer some years ago propounded the hypothesis that the
Arunta tribe, especially, are the most 'primitive' of living peoples,
are still in 'the chrysalis stage' of humanity, whence it would follow
that their singular kind of Totemism, and of marriage rules, is nearest
to the beginning, and best represents the original type.[25] The
Arunta, dwelling in the arid regions of the centre, have certainly been
little contaminated by European influences. They are naked, houseless,
non-agricultural nomads, like all the Australian tribes, and it is
asserted by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen and others that they have not
yet discovered the rather obvious facts as to the reproduction of the
species. All this has certainly a primitive air. But I have ventured
to reply that the Arunta, as regards the family, are confessedly
more advanced towards individual marriage than their neighbours, the
Urabunna, with whom they freely intermarry.[26] Unlike what is told
of the Urabunna, the Arunta recognise 'individual marriage.' They
deliberately and ingeniously modify their system on the occasion of
intermarriage with the Urabunna. These reckon descent in the female,
the Arunta in the male line.[27] The office of Alatunja, or head man
of a local group, among the Arunta, is hereditary in the male line,
descending to a brother of the late Alatunja, if he leaves no adult

Moreover, the Arunta, and cognate tribes, occupy an area of 750 miles,
and their meetings and discussions last for months. A people truly
_primitive_ cannot be conceived as capable of such immense local
associations, and of such prolonged and pacific assemblies. Again,
Messrs. Spencer and Gillen, rightly or wrongly, believe that 'communal
marriage' is the earlier institution, and that it persists, 'slightly
modified' among the Urabunna, but not among the Arunta. Thus, beyond
all doubt, the Arunta are more developed, more advanced, than the
Urabunna, and it is hardly safe to say that, where their organisation
differs from that of the Urabunna, and other tribes in general, it
differs because it is more 'primitive.' It must be less primitive, a
special divergence from the type.


Again, as proof that they are in no chrysalis stage, the Arunta possess
a reasoned theory of things, so ingenious and complex, so peculiar, so
extraordinary, so carefully atheistic, that one could scarcely believe
it possible for naked savages, were it not so well attested. The theory
is that of the original evolution of types of life into plants and
animals, which, with the minimum of extra-natural aid, became human.
The human beings possessed souls, which on the death, or disappearance
into earth, of the original owners, were hereditary, being reborn into
Arunta children. These souls each of a given totem (the plant or animal
or other thing which first became human) haunt certain local centres.
One place is the centre of Grub totem souls, another of Cat totem
souls, and so forth. Each new child is of the totem of the haunted
locality where the mother supposes that she conceived it; a totem soul
of that locality has become incarnate in her, and from her is born.
Thus the wife may be of one totem, the child of another; the husband
may be of the wife's totem, of the child's, or of another. The totem
is thus no bar to marriage, and is not inherited, all this being the
result of the peculiar philosophic system of the Arunta. Their totemism
is thus a 'sport,' and not the original form of the institution.

We cannot reverse the case, the philosophy of hereditary totemic souls
cannot be the result of the present mode of inheriting the totem from
the group of souls that haunts each locality, it cannot be a myth
invented to explain that custom. That custom requires the peculiar
Arunta soul-belief as its basis, and cannot exist without the belief.
If the child received its totem name from the place where it is _born_,
we might say, 'Originally the child was called after the _place of
its birth_.' (Arunta children still receive territorial _personal_
names from the place of their birth.) 'Later, Totemism came in with
totem local names, each place having a totem title. The local totem
name of the place where a child was born was then given to each child.
Still later, arose a myth that totem souls haunted each place, and
that the child received its totem name because a local totem soul was
incarnated in it, at the place where it was born.' We cannot maintain
this theory--which makes the present Arunta belief a myth to explain
the present Arunta custom--because that custom it does not explain. The
child receives its totem name, not from the place where it is born,
but from the place where the totem soul entered into its mother. Nor
can we assume that totem names were originally given, not to human
groups, but to districts of territory. Thus the present Arunta mode of
obtaining the totem, in each case, is the direct result of the Arunta
philosophic belief. That belief is peculiar, is elsewhere unheard of,
is the property of a tribe distinctly more advanced in marriage rules,
and local solidarity, than some of its neighbours, and therefore cannot
be primary. It follows that the Arunta mode of obtaining the totem,
not by inheritance, is not 'primitive,' is not the original model from
which the rest of savage mankind has diverged. This I state, because,
as a rule, a belief exists to explain an institution, and, as a rule,
an institution is not the result of a belief.


Each Arunta totem kin may now eat, in moderation, of its own totem,
and each kin does magic (_Intichiuma_) for the benefit of its totem,
as part of the food supply of the tribe in general. The traditions
represent men and women of the same totem as, of old, usually
intermarrying (that is, as endogamous): while they are also said, as
a rule, to have fed almost exclusively on their totems, being thus

All these usages, real or traditional (except doing magic for the
benefit of the totem), are at the opposite pole from the customary
exogamous and exophagous Totemism of savage tribes all over the world,
and even in Australia. If, therefore, the Arunta and tribes practising
the same usages are primitive (it may be, and has been argued), their
Totemism is, in origin, the earliest known case of the division of
labour; each group selecting and working (by magic) for the benefit
of its totem, as part of the tribal food supply. I elsewhere argue
that each group must probably have had a recognised connection with
its totem, before it set out to do magic for the propagation of the
creature.[29] But I have also maintained that the Arunta are far from
being 'primitive,' but are rather a 'sport,' and that their usages
represent a local variation from the central stream of Totemism; not
Totemism in its earliest known form.


I had written on this topic in the _Fortnightly Review_ (June, 1899),
and in another chapter of this book ('The Origin of Totemism'),
before I saw the essay of Professor Durkheim, of Bordeaux, _Sur
le Totémisme_.[30] It is encouraging to find that Dr. Durkheim,
independently, has worked out the same theory--namely, that the Arunta
are not in the primitive stage of Totemism, but represent a very
peculiar divergence from the type, and that their historical legends
(more or less accepted by Mr. Frazer and Mr. Spencer) are mainly myths,
told to account for certain facts in their social arrangements. We are
not to reason from their single case, says Dr. Durkheim, as against
the great mass of our knowledge of Totemism and totemistic exogamy and
exophagy. 'In place of being a perfectly pure example of the totemistic
_régime_, is not Arunta Totemism a later and disfigured (_dénaturée_)
development?' For many reasons, says Dr. Durkheim, 'the Arunta are
among the most advanced of the Australian peoples,'[31] and he gives
his grounds for this opinion, some of which I had already adduced in
1899. Entering into detail, Dr. Durkheim readily shows that, though the
Arunta now permit marriage between persons of the same totem (which is
not hereditary on either side, but casual), they are, for all that,
exogamous, in a fashion resulting from precise Totemism in their past.

They may not marry within the two primary divisions (which Dr. Durkheim
styles 'phratries'). Each phratry contains two (sometimes four) other
'classes' (exogamous), and phratries arose in the combination of 'two
elementary exogamous totem groups'--as I have already suggested.
Now phratries, we have agreed with Mr. Howitt and Mr. Fison, were,
in all probability, themselves originally totemic. Mr. Frazer also
says, 'We should infer that the objects from which the Australian
phratries take their names were originally totems. But there seems to
be direct evidence that both the phratries and subphratries actually
retain, in some tribes, their totems.'[32] If the opinion be correct,
the phratries of the Arunta, which regulate their marriages, were
originally local totem groups. On my system, then, namely, that totem
kins were originally, or very early became, exogamous, were exogamous
before 'phratries' arose, and before the so-called 'bisection' was
made, then the Arunta organisation was originally that of exogamous
Totemism. At first, though not now, totems regulated Arunta marriages.

Dr. Durkheim, in the passage cited, says that the two exogamous
phratries are composed of 'two elementary totem groups, _également
exogames_.'[33] Dr. Durkheim, who here is of my opinion, writes, 'It
is not true that, among the Arunta, the totem has always been' (as it
is now) 'without influence on marriages, nor, above all, is it true
that Totemism, generally, implied endogamy.' Yet, according to Arunta
myth, the ancestors of the 'dream-time' (_Alcheringa_) were endogamous,
as a general rule, and, as a general rule, were endophagous, ate
their totem animals or plants. The ancestors of their traditions fed
on their own totems, 'as if by a functional necessity,' say Messrs.
Spencer and Gillen. But this simply cannot be true, for each totem
is not in season, (plums, for instance), or accessible, all the year
through, and, if it were, it would be exterminated by endophagy. The
traditions, again, do not represent the men of the totem groups as
really and religiously endogamous. They exercised marital privileges,
not only over the women of their totem group, but over any other woman
they could come across. Certain totem groups are represented in the
legends as wandering across the land, the men living with women of
their totem group, while 'there is nothing to show definitely that
marital relations were prohibited between individuals of different
totems.' The men accepted the caresses of such women of other totems
as they encountered; but their habitual mates were the women of their
own totem.[34] In the alleged state of perpetual _trek_, the wives were
naturally, in the opinion of the myth makers, of the group. At present
an Arunta marries in or out of his totem; as he pleases.


The relations of the totem groups to the 'primary divisions,' or
'phratries,' among the Arunta and cognate tribes, are, as we have
already stated, entirely peculiar. We have seen that, in North America,
and in Australia generally, no phratry ever contains the same totems
as its linked phratry, and we have seen that Mr. Frazer calls this
the natural arrangement.[35] If so, the present Arunta arrangement
is not natural; it is a divergence from the natural type. Among the
Arunta, 'no totem is confined to either moiety' ('phratry') 'of the
tribe.' There is only 'in each local centre a great predominance of one

Dr. Durkheim regards the present state of Arunta affairs (the totems
not being peculiar to either phratry) as _une dérogation_. Originally,
he thinks, as among the Urabunna, each phratry contained only totems
which were _not_ in the other phratry; and he detects survivals,
among the Arunta, of the earlier usage. At present the Arunta totems
show 'a slight tendency to skip' (_chevaucher_) 'from one into the
other phratry, doubtless because the Arunta totem system is no longer
complete'--and no wonder, as Arunta totems are now not hereditary, but
derived from the totem souls haunting each locality. Again, in Arunta
legend, the ancestors 'were divided into companies, the members of
which bore the same totem name, and belonged as a rule to the same
moiety' ('phratry') 'of the tribe,' as now among the Urabunna, 'who are
in a less developed state than the Arunta.' So say Messrs. Spencer and
Gillen, and thus Arunta legend points to a past in which Arunta usage
was, in this matter, as a rule the same as that of the less developed
Urabunna: which I believe it really was.

But we can hardly accept the legends when they fit, and reject them
when they do not fit, our theory! I lay no stress on the legends.

If, however, the Arunta 'phratries' originally, as Dr. Durkheim and I
believe, never contained the same totems, then each Arunta totem group
was, at that time, necessarily exogamous. No man or woman could then
marry within the totem, as, at present, the Arunta can and do. They
were barred by the phratry limit: persons of their totem were never in
the phratry into which alone they could marry. So no one then could
marry a member of his or her own totem kin. 'It is, therefore, untrue
that marriage has always been permitted between members of a totem,'
says Dr. Durkheim, though Arunta legend declares for the opposite view.


Here I am apt to agree with Dr. Durkheim. The evidence of the Arunta
legends as to the customs of the _Alcheringa_, or 'dreamtime,' is 'such
stuff as dreams are made of.' The legends are 'statements, invented
mainly by popular fancy,' says Dr. Durkheim, 'to explain existing
institutions, by attaching them to some mythical beings in the past.
They are myths, in the proper sense of the word.' They are not marked
by authenticity.

Against this idea we have the opinion of Mr. Frazer, and of Messrs.
Spencer and Gillen.[37] The Arunta traditions, they say, and Mr. Frazer
agrees with them, do not explain the present system, but deal with a
former state of organisation and with customs quite different from the
present. They do, but the Arunta invented the customs described in
their myths, on purpose to explain, mythically, how the present customs
arose out of deliberate modification of the alleged older customs.
Messrs. Spencer and Gillen themselves assert this: 'the traditions
point to a very definite introduction of an exogamic system, long after
the totemic groups were fully developed, and, further, they point very
clearly to the fact that the introduction was due to the deliberate
action of certain ancestors,' which is the theory of Mr. Lewis Morgan!

The rest is true, but I, like Dr. Durkheim, conceive that all is
(except where we have external evidence for deliberate modification of
the 'classes') merely part of the Arunta ætiological or explanatory
myth. That myth starts from the belief (Mr. Howitt's belief?) in
primary totemic, but not exogamous groups, such as are precisely the
present groups of the Arunta, though not of their neighbours the
Urabunna, or of totemists in general. This exceptional condition of
Arunta affairs needed explanation, and got it, in the myth that the
groups were originally totemic, but not exogamous, as Arunta totem
groups still are. Exogamy (not applying to totem groups, but to
'phratries') was brought in, the myth says, by deliberate action, by
our old friend, 'the Legislator,' The Arunta traditions, therefore, do
explain 'the origin of the present system,' of the Arunta, as far as
exogamy goes; and their explanation is as much a speculative hypothesis
as Mr. Morgan's equivalent theory. It is one more example of the
coincidence of savage myth and scientific hypothesis.


I understand Messrs. Spencer and Gillen to contest this opinion, in
one passage, and to assert it, under qualifications, in another. Their
exact words must be given. 'If they' (Arunta traditions) 'simply
explained the origin of the present system out of, as it were, no
system, then we might regard them as simply myths invented to account
for the former' (i.e. 'the present system'), 'but when we find that
they deal with a gradual development, and with a former state of
organisation and customs quite different from, and in important
respects at variance with, the organisation and customs of the present
day, we are probably right in regarding them as actually indicative of
a time when these were different from those now in force.'[38]

Now to what do the traditions amount, as regards earlier marriage laws
and customs at variance with those now in use among the Arunta? They
amount to this: (1) Men of one totem had marital relations normally
with women of the same totem. It is no longer the case that Arunta men
have relations, normally and exclusively, with women of the same totem;
a man may marry a woman of his own totem, or not, as he pleases. But
so, in the traditions of the primeval trek, a man might, and did, take
women of other totems as he pleased, by conquest probably; though these
women seem to have lived, hitherto, solely with men of their own totem.
The tradition starts from the hypothesis that all members of each
mythical wandering totem group were originally of the same totem. That
being so, the men naturally lived, when on trek, with women of their
totem, taking women of other totems as they came across them. No longer
on trek, the Arunta of to-day do the same thing, many women of their
own or any other totem. The only shade of difference arises from the
nature of the mythical theory, that many totem groups were originally
migratory. But the present Arunta system of 'go as you please' in
marriage (as far as totems are concerned) differs from the regular
custom of the neighbouring Urabunna, for example. That difference, the
Arunta probably feel, needs explanation. So their myth explains it, 'we
Arunta always acted thus from the beginning.' So far the 'tradition'
of Messrs Spencer and Gillen seems to me to be an ordinary explanatory

(2) At the supposed time (a time when many human types were still in
the husk!) men and women of what are now 'exogamic groups' ('phratries'
or 'classes') had marital relations contrary to present usage.

But did the phratries or classes then, according to tradition, exist
at all? The legend says that the men of the Little Hawk totem _had_
these 'phratries' and classes, Kumura and Purula and so on (the names
then carrying no known exogamous prohibition, as now, for the legend
does not say that these 'classes' were exogamous). The Little Hawk
men had arrived at the arts of making flint knives, and using them in
circumcision. This they taught to less advanced groups, who tooled with
fire sticks. But they only let their pupils have 'very rough' stone
knives (Palæolithic, probably), at first. 'It was these Little Hawks,'
say our authors, 'who first gave to the Arunta the four "class" names.
We may presume that along with them there was instituted some system of
marriage regulations, but what exactly this was there is no evidence
to show.' Either the Little Hawks introduced exogamy, or they did not,
a valuable result of traditional evidence.[39] 'As yet we have no
indication of any restrictions with regard to marriage as far as either
totems or classes are concerned,' say Messrs. Spencer and Gillen. Then
why does the legend aver that the class names existed? Why did they
exist? Now the existing restrictions of the 'classes' need explanation,
and get it, from the myth; but, as there are no Arunta _totem_
restrictions on marriage, at present the myth naturally says nothing
about them. At this mythic period, 'persons of the Purula and Kumura
classes, who may not now marry one another, are represented as living
together.'[40] (3) Next 'the organisation now in vogue was adopted.'
But, in its first shape, due to the wisdom of Emu men, it permitted
marriages, which are now (4) forbidden by the superior intelligence
of men dwelling further north, 'and it was decided to adopt the new
system,' that is, the present Arunta 'class' system.

Now the Arunta are still accepting innovations from the North, and
_this_ part of the myth need not be mythical.

But the whole traditions, full of stark mythical inventions (including
a myth like that of Isis and the mutilation of Osiris), amount merely
to this. Society was totemic, but the totems were not exogamous; rather
endogamous of the two. Society among the Arunta is still totemic,
but not, as far as totems go, exogamous. In this it differs from the
usual rule, and the myth explains why,--'it was always so.' But Arunta
society is exogamous as regards the 'phratries' and classes, and _that_
has to be explained by the myth. The myth therefore explains by saying
that Emu men introduced a deficient, and northern men an adequate,
system of exogamy--that which now prevails. Messrs. Spencer and
Gillen, however, appear to deny that the 'traditions' 'simply explain
the origin of the present system, out of, as it were, no system. It
is true that the traditions do give stages in the arrangement of the
present system; but they also do 'explain the origin of the present
system.' And Messrs. Spencer and Gillen not only admit this, but, as we
saw, even think the explanation 'quite possible.' The explanation, I
repeat, is that the system 'is due to the deliberate action of certain
ancestors,' Emu men and wiser Northern men.

Of course, as we tried to show, that explanation of primeval exogamy
is improbable, but it is the explanation given by the Arunta legend.
With a grain of fact, as to innovations from the North, the legend
is a myth, an ætiological myth, a myth explanatory of the origin of
the present organisation. History it is not. The Arunta 'traditions'
are not historical evidence in favour of the new hypothesis that the
Arunta are 'primitive,' are in 'the chrysalis stage' of humanity; (this
they deny): that Totemism, in origin, was a magical co-operative and
industrial association; that the original totems were not exogamous;
and that exogamy was superimposed by legislation, or grew out of an
organisation so imposed on a society of non-exogamous totem groups.
Whatever the value of that hypothesis, it has no historical support
from the Arunta traditions. History is a very different thing.

The Arunta still marry, at pleasure, in or out of the totem, merely
because their totems are now scattered about among their exogamous
divisions. This is not the 'natural arrangement' (as Mr. Frazer assures
us), is not the inevitable original arrangement, and is not the
case with their neighbours, the Urabunna, who are confessedly 'less
developed than the Arunta.' The Urabunna system, therefore, is more
archaic, _ex hypothesi_ than that of the Arunta, which must be less
archaic. It is, I repeat, peculiar, isolated, needs explanation, and
the Arunta traditions give the explanation. The ancestors took women in
or out of the totem, as at present the Arunta do; exogamy by _classes_
was later imposed, says the myth. Dr. Durkheim appears here to hold the
more logical position. There was, I conceive, with Dr. Durkheim, and
have stated, though Messrs Spencer and Gillen and others deny it, 'a
primary relationship between the totemic system and exogamy.'[41]

[Footnote 1: _Ethnological Bureau, Annual Report_, 1893-1894, pp. 200,

[Footnote 2: _Studies in Ancient History_, p. 221.]

[Footnote 3: Suppose we take a group ranging in a given locality, and
known to its neighbours as the Emu group. Let us also take a similar
and similarly situated Kangaroo group. Let us suppose that each such
group has raided for its wives among Opossum, Grub, Cat, and Dingo
groups. By female descent, both the Emu and Kangaroo groups will
contain persons of the Opossum, Grub, Cat, and Dingo groups. This
being so a man of the Emu local group, named Grub by totem, might
marry a woman of the Emu local group, by totem of descent an Opossum;
and similarly in the Kangaroo group. But, as Dr. Durkheim remarks in
another case, 'the old prohibition', deeply rooted in manners and
customs, survives (_L'Année Sociologique_, v. 107, note). Now 'the old
prohibition' was that a man of the Emu group was not to marry a woman
of the Emu group. That rule endures, though the Emu group now contains
men and women of several distinct totem kins. To escape from the
difficulty, by my theory, Emu local totem group makes connubium with
Kangaroo local totem group. Any Emu man may marry any Kangaroo woman
not of his own totem by descent. But this does not, automatically,
throw Opossum and Grub into one, Cat and Dingo into another, of the
two local totem groups, Emu and Kangaroo, now become phratries, with
loss of their local character. For if a man, by phratry Emu, and by
totem of descent Cat, marries a woman, by phratry Kangaroo, and by
totem of descent Grub, their children, by female descent, are Kangaroo
Grubs. Meanwhile, if a man, by phratry Kangaroo, and by totem Cat,
marries a woman, by phratry Emu, and by totem Grub, their children are
Emu Grubs. There are thus Grubs in both phratries, a thing that never
occurs (except among the Arunta). Therefore the division of the totem
kins, some into one phratry, others into the other, is not automatic.
There might be a tendency, by way of making assurance doubly sure, for
the totem kins to be assorted into the two phratries, but some kind of
deliberate arrangement does seem necessary. The same necessity attends
Dr. Durkheim's theory later criticised.]

[Footnote 4: See again Durkheim, in _L'Année Sociologique_, i.
47-57, on the superstition as to blood, and the totem as a sacred
representative of the inviolable blood of the kindred. That
superstition gives religious sanction to a pre-existing exogamous

[Footnote 5: _Totemism_, p. 60 (1889).]

[Footnote 6: _Totemism_, p. 62.]

[Footnote 7: The people of New Britain group of islands are divided
into two exogamous sets. The totems of these classes are two insects,
but I incline to suppose that there are, or may have been, totem kins
included within these totemic classes. Our informant, the Rev. B.
Danks, regrets that he did not pay more attention to these matters. _J.
A. I._ xviii. 281-294.]

[Footnote 8: On the other hand, among the Mohegans, I can admit
that Little Turtle, Mud Turtle, and Great Turtle may be deliberate
subdivisions of the Turtle totem, now a phratry, but even this need
not necessarily be the case; the different species of turtles being
quite capable of giving names to different totems. I would not deny
the possibility of the occasional segmentation of a totem group--far
from it--but I doubt whether great tribes originally (and, as it seems,
deliberately) first bisected themselves, and then cut up the two main

[Footnote 9: My italics.]

[Footnote 10: _J. A. I._, N.S. i. 278.]

[Footnote 11: _Ibid_. p. 282.]

[Footnote 12: Mr. Mathews counts thirty-four totems in the _Dilbi_, and
as many in the Rupathin 'phratries.' _Proc. Ray. Soc. N.S.W._ xxxi.

[Footnote 13: _J. A. I._, N.S. i. 284-285.]

[Footnote 14: _Studies in Ancient History_, second series, p. 605.]

[Footnote 15: Local totem groups, in my theory.]

[Footnote 16: Brough Smyth, _Aborigines of Victoria_, i. 423-424.]

[Footnote 17: _On the Organisation of Australian Tribes_, p. 186.]

[Footnote 18: I know that many students will decline to admit that
there is such a myth of a Maker.]

[Footnote 19: _Report of Bureau of Ethnology_, 1892-1893, pt. i. pp.

[Footnote 20: _Natives of Central Australia_, pp. 12-15.]

[Footnote 21: _Ibid_. pp. 15, 421-422, also p. 272.]

[Footnote 22: Here I dissent from Mr. Frazer and Messrs. Spencer and
Gillen; the point is discussed later.]

[Footnote 23: _Fortnightly Review_, June 1889.]

[Footnote 24: In 1895, _J. A. I._ xxiv., no. 4, p. 371, Mr. Fison
abandons hope of a certain discovery of the origin of exogamy.]

[Footnote 25: _Fortnightly Review_, April, May, 1899.]

[Footnote 26: Spencer and Gillen, pp. 68, 69, 121.]

[Footnote 27: _Ibid_. p. 70.]

[Footnote 28: _Ibid_. p. 10.]

[Footnote 29: See 'The Origin of Totemism,' _infra_.]

[Footnote 30: _L'Année Sociologique_, 1900-1901, pp. 82-121.]

[Footnote 31: _Ibid_. v. 89-90.]

[Footnote 32: _Totemism_, p. 83.]

[Footnote 33: _L'Année Sociologique_, v. 92.]

[Footnote 34: Spencer and Gillen, p. 419.]

[Footnote 35: _J. A. I._, N.S., i. 285.]

[Footnote 36: Spencer and Gillen, p. 120.]

[Footnote 37: _J. A. I._, N.S., i., nos. 3, 4, p. 276.]

[Footnote 38: _J. A. I._, N.S., i. 276-277.]

[Footnote 39: _Native Tribes of Australia_, pp. 396-402, 421.]

[Footnote 40: _Native Tribes of Australia_, p. 418.]

[Footnote 41: _Op. cit._ p 279.]



The essential question is, why, among the more archaic Urabunna, do
the large exogamous divisions never include the same totems, whereas,
among the more highly developed Arunta, they do? If we can show how the
Arunta, if once organised on the Urabunna and North American model,
came to slip out of it; while we cannot show how the Urabunna, and
most other tribes, if once on the Arunta model, came to desert it (as
they must have done), then it will seem probable that the Urabunna
organisation, the regular universal Australian organisation, is the

The sequence of events, as understood by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen,
was this, or, at least, may thus be conceived. We take two tribes,
say Urabunna and Arunta. They both have many totem groups, totemic,
because (on this theory) each group had, for its 'primary function,'
the working of magic for the object which was its totem. The totem
had primarily, on this theory, no relation to marriage rules. It is
'quite possible' that certain persons then deliberately introduced
exogamous divisions.... 'so as to regulate marital relations.' The
exact purpose, however, is unknown; 'it can only be said that far back
in the early history of mankind, there was felt the need of some form
of organisation, and that this gradually resulted in the development
of exogamic groups.' This position I have already criticised; it is
not intelligible to me. However--the exogamous division was made, and
then all the totems might be arranged separately in the two divisions,
by the Urabunna, 'and perhaps the majority of Australian tribes'
(and the American tribes) or, 'this was not done,' as by the Arunta.
Consequently, Messrs. Spencer and Gillen think, the rule which prevents
an Urabunna man from marrying a woman of his own totem, has nothing,
primarily, to do with the totem, but is a mere inevitable consequence
of the system which, among all tribes but the Arunta, excluded each
totem from one of the two exogamous divisions, and placed it (not among
the Arunta) in the other. My own system--I need not reiterate it--is
the reverse of all this.

The Arunta, I contend, probably had, originally, the usual
organisation, but have lost it for obvious reasons, so that now the
same totem may occur in both of the large exogamous divisions, and
persons of the same totem may now intermarry.

The traditions of the Arunta represent the exogamous 'phratries' as
later than the totemic (but not yet exogamous) division. Dr. Durkheim
thinks this improbable or impossible. It is true that the 'phratries'
or 'classes' are now much more important, among the Arunta, than the
totems, on which Dr. Durkheim insists. They need not, therefore, be


The theory of Dr. Durkheim is not, perhaps, expressed with his usual
lucidity; at least I have found some difficulty in understanding it.
The following summary, however, seems to be correct. 'The phratry,'
he says, 'began by being a clan' (in my terminology an exogamous
local totem group). 'There is no reason why this general idea should
not apply to the Arunta. Consequently, since there are actually two
exogamous phratries, we have reason to admit that this society was
originally formed by two primary clans, or, if any one prefers the
phrase, by two elementary totem groups, both exogamous (_également
exogames_), for under this form the two phratries must have begun to
exist. Now in that case there was at least a moment when marriage was
forbidden between members of the same totem,' though now among the
Arunta this rule no longer obtains.[1]

So far Dr. Durkheim and I hold identical views; we differ on a point
of detail. What are, and whence came, the totems within the phratries?
Dr. Durkheim conceives the case thus: Originally there was a 'clan'
(local totem group) which was exogamous, and married out into one
other equally exogamous clan. The members of each such exogamous totem
group ('clan') then multiplied and 'swarmed off,' in colonies, and
all such colonies took a new totem, while retaining 'the sentiment of
their primary solidarity' with the original totem group. These are
the 'secondary' totem kins. But why should they take new totem names
and new totems?[2] I know not, but the original group from which they
swarmed off now became their 'phratry.' This phratry, in many cases,
still has a totem name, 'which is the proof that it is, or has been a
clan,' that is an exogamous totem group.[3] Therefore exogamous totem
groups were 'primary,' the existing totem kins are 'secondary,' they
have split off from the original groups. As far as I am able to follow
Dr. Durkheim's reasoning, he and I differ on this one point. We both
regard the two 'phratries' as having been originally local exogamous
totem groups, which united in connubium. But in each 'phratria' there
exist several totem kinships. Dr. Durkheim regards these as 'secondary'
branches which split off from the two original local totem groups, and
which, in each case, took new totem names, while retaining membership
in their original totem groups, now 'phratries.' They are totemic
colonies of a totemic metropolis. I, on the other hand, as has been
explained, conceive that each of the two local totem groups which
became phratries (say Emu and Kangaroo) already, by the action of
exogamy in a region where there were many totem groups, and by virtue
of female descent, contained within it persons who were of various
totem kindreds. Dr. Durkheim, on the contrary, seems to think of the
existence of but two primal exogamous clans in a given region. Groups
emigrating from these took new totem names, while retaining the phratry
name and connection with their mother clans, now phratries.

Why the clans were totemic at all does not appear. I understand that
they were exogamous out of respect for the blood of their totems, the
totem tabu (p. 57, note I).

Against the hypothesis it may be urged (1) that we do not know that
emigrants from a local centre ever select new totem names--unless,
indeed, they reach a region where their old totem does not exist. This
cannot have occurred constantly. Again (2), Dr. Durkheim's theory
involves the same difficulty as my own. How did the colonies from the
Kangaroo group happen never to select the same totem as colonies from
the Emu group, so that the same totem never occurs in both phratries?
This implies deliberate arrangement. If however, totem names were given
from without, by neighbours (as I shall argue), the case could not
occur at all, and the same totem would appear in both phratries.

If we adopt the hypothesis that two friendly 'families,' or 'fire
circles,' of a cousinly character, set the first example of exogamous
intermarriage--exclusively with each other--and then got totem names,
they might become phratries, but whence arose the totem kins within the
phratries? Shall we say that other such 'families,' increasing in size,
and receiving totem names, came in, two by two, to Emu and Kangaroo,
each of the new linked adherents taking opposite sides, Opossum going
to the Kangaroo, Bandicoot to the Emu phratry? This would give the
totems within the phratries, by a constant accession of other pairs of
phratries, which subordinated themselves, one to Emu, one to Kangaroo.
Either this hypothesis, or Dr. Durkheim's, or my own, accounts for
the phratry _plus_ totem kins arrangement, without supposing the
deliberate bisection of a hitherto undivided commune. That hypothesis,
if any one, of the other three, Dr. Durkheim's, my own, or the theory
of accessions to the pair of exogamous intermarrying families, be
accepted, is therefore not forced upon us in defect of a better.


At all events, the Arunta 'clan' (totem kin) is now no longer
exogamous, and two Arunta phratries can now contain members of the
same totems, contrary to Kamilaroi, Dieri and Urabunna and American
custom. How did this anomaly arise? Dr. Durkheim supposes that the
change began when Arunta kinship came to desert the female and to be
reckoned in the male line. This appears to Dr. Durkheim to be indicated
by the complicated and ingenious arrangements made when an Urabunna
(who reckons by the female line) intermarries with an Arunta, who
reckons by the male line.[4] These arrangements, he thinks, are no
novelty devised for the occasion: the Arunta merely revert to their old
way of reckoning by the spindle side. When the Arunta changed their
system, and reckoned in the male, not, as of old, in the female line,
the children now belonged to the 'phratries,' not of their mothers,
as previously, but of their fathers. Each 'phratry' then bartered a
sub-class of its own for a sub-class of its partner. Each bartered
sub-class thus brought its totems into the other 'phratry,' and
there was no longer a totem group entirely peculiar to one or other
'phratry.' Consequently, a member of the Kangaroo totem could marry a
woman of the same, if she were in the opposite 'phratry' to his own.

Might not the same results follow from the mere fact, that, among the
Arunta, the totem is now inherited neither from father nor mother,
but is derived simply from the totem souls that haunt the particular
glen or hill where the child was conceived? By this means a totem soul
can get into a child of the 'phratry' to which that totem did not
originally belong, and thus the totems 'skip' from one 'phratry' to
another, contrary to general rule in Australia and North America. This
is the explanation of the Arunta anomaly which Messrs. Spencer and
Gillen accept. 'The spirit child' (of the Lizard totem) 'deliberately,
the natives say, chose to go into a Kumura' (class) 'woman, instead of
a Bulthara woman.... Though the class was changed, the totem could not
possibly be.... Owing to the system according to which totem names are
acquired, it is always possible for a man to be, say, a Purula' (class)
'or a Kumura' (class) 'and yet a Witchetty; or, on the other hand, a
Bulthara' (class) 'or a Panunga' (class) 'and yet an Emu' (totem). But,
if he is thus born to a totem which was not originally (on my theory)
a totem of his phratry, a man loses the chance of being an _Alatunja_,
or head man of a local group.[5] Thus the Arunta anomaly arises merely
and necessarily from the Arunta philosophy of souls. That philosophy is
an isolated freak, and it has upset and revolutionised Arunta Totemism,
which, therefore, is the reverse of the 'primitive' model.

[Footnote 1: _L'Année Sociologique_, v. 91, 92.]

[Footnote 2: This idea we shall find again later, in another part of
Dr. Durkheim's system.]

[Footnote 3: _L'Année Sociologique_, i. 6, 7.]

[Footnote 4: _L'Ann. Soc._ v. 104-107; Spencer and Gillen, pp. 68-69.]

[Footnote 5: Spencer and Gillen, pp. 125, 126. The reader is
recommended to study Dr. Durkheim's passage cited in the last note, the
topic being difficult.]



The prohibitions on marriage, with which we have hitherto been
concerned, are based on what savages regard--while we do not--as
relations of kindred. Men and women of the same 'phratry' or 'primary
division' may not intermarry (where such divisions exist), nor may
men and women of the same totem name. Civilised society, at least in
Europe, now recognises no such things as the 'phratry' or the totem
kin. When Mr. George Osborne, in _Vanity Fair_, was asked whether he
was akin to the ducal House of Leeds, he replied that he bore the same
arms--these having been conferred on his father by a coach-builder. In
savage society, Captain Osborne's answer would have been satisfactory.
He would really have reckoned as a kinsman of all other Emus, if his
totem and badge (coat of arms) was an Emu. In Scotland the Campbell
name used to be regarded as implying at least a chance that the bearer
was of the blood of the Black Knight of Loch Awe, and had a right
to the Campbell tartan, and badge, the gale, or bog-myrtle. But, of
course, as a rule, in modern society, a common surname is no proof of
kinship, and coats of arms are usually home by the middle classes, and
peers of recent creation, without much inquiry.

So far, then, the totemic rules which prohibit certain marriages,
have no resemblance to our own definite 'forbidden degrees,' based on
nearness of blood. The savage rules, as they stand, include our notions
of kindred, but these notions, as far as they are recognised, are not
conterminous with ours. But the 'phratry' prohibitions, and the totem
prohibitions, are not the only bars to marriage among such peoples as
the Australians.

The other bars are lucidly described by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen.[1]
'There are still further restrictions to marriage ... and it is here
that we are brought into contact with the terms of relationship.'
We find that a woman may belong to a totem kin (and phratry) into
which a man may lawfully marry, 'yet there is a further restriction
preventing marriage in this particular case.' Thus a male Dingo (among
the Urabunna) may marry a female Water Hen, as far as 'phratry' and
totem are concerned. But he may not marry a woman of the Water Hen
totem if she reckons (1) as his father's sister (i.e. of his father's
generation), (2) if she is his child, or his brother's child (of the
_next_ generation), (3) if she be one of his mother's younger brother's
daughters: but he _may_ marry her if she (4) be one of his mother's
elder brother's daughters. All women of that category (4) are Nupa, or
nubile, as far as this man goes. In category I, the women (including
'paternal aunts,' as we reckon) are of an older generation than the
man; in category 2 they are of a younger generation (including our
'children' and 'nieces'); in category 3 the women include our cousins
on the maternal side, by uncles younger than our mothers, and, in
category 4, they include our cousins on the maternal side, by uncles
older than our mothers. We Europeans, being males, may not marry into
categories 1 and 2, but if not Catholics, we may marry into categories
3 and 4; if Catholics, we may--if we can get a dispensation.

In the Australian system the oddest thing is that a male may marry into
what, in our phrase, includes his younger maternal uncle's daughter,
but not his elder maternal uncle's daughter. But we here use the
words 'uncle,' 'aunt,' and 'cousin,' only by way of illustration. The
Urabunna, and tribes of their level generally, have no such words.
All children (category I) 'of men who are at the same level in the
generation, and belong to the same class and totem, are regarded as
the common children of these men,' or, perhaps we should rather say,
are called by the same name, Biaka, as a man's own children are styled.
A man knows very well which children he reckons his own, though, as
will be seen, he has little ground for his confidence. In the same
way a child, though he calls all men of his father's class, totem,
and level in the generation, _Nia_ (fathers), knows well enough which
_Nia_ feeds him, pets him, thrashes him for his good, and, generally,
plays the paternal part. For example, a man informs you that this or
that native, by personal name Oriaka, is his _Okilia_, 'and you cannot
possibly tell without further inquiry whether he is the speaker's own
or tribal brother, that is the son of his own father, or of some man
belonging to the same particular group' (by 'phratry,' totem, and
seniority) 'as his father.'[2] But you can learn 'by further inquiry:'
the actual relationship, in our sense of the word, is recognised.


These facts necessarily lead to the question, are all men of one class,
totem, and seniority, actual husbands of all women of the opposite
class, different totem, and equivalent seniority? (Group Marriage).
Or, if this is no longer the case, was it once the case? and are these
sweeping uses of names which include our 'father,' 'mother,' 'brother,'
'child,' survivals of such a stage, called 'Group Marriage'? This
question is still undecided; good authorities take opposite views of
the question, which has bred, in the past, much angry controversy.


The arrangement by 'classes,' 'the classificatory system,' was first
brought into scientific prominence by the late Mr. Lewis Morgan, an
American gentleman affiliated to the Iroquois tribe, in his very
original studies of the names for degrees of kinship.[3] A great deal
may be said, and has been said, especially by Mr. McLennan and Dr.
Westermarck, against Mr. Morgan's ideas and methods, but his large and
careful collection of facts is of high importance. On what he called
'the Malayan system,' one name denoting kin includes all my brothers,
sisters, and cousins. Another name includes my father, mother, my
uncles, aunts, and all the cousins of my father, mother, aunts,
and uncles. The generation of my grandparents and their relations
is included in a third name; a fourth covers my children and their
cousins, and the grandchildren of my brothers and sisters, with their
children, bear the same name, for me, as my own grandchildren. From
the names Mr. Morgan inferred the existence of certain facts in the
evolution of systems of kindred. Everybody of the same generation
lived together, once, on his theory, in 'communal marriage,' brothers,
sisters, and cousins. There was promiscuity between all men and women
in the same generation. Of course this involves the converse of Mr.
Atkinson's Primal Law, as Mr. Atkinson observes in his eighth chapter.
In place of the prohibition of brother and sister union being the
earliest of prohibitions (as in Mr. Atkinson's system), the rule that
they must unite, caused, in Mr. Morgan's opinion, the earliest form of
the human family.


Mr. Morgan's theory, it must be observed, landed him at once in the
fallacy of supposing that prohibitions of marriage of kinsfolk were
originally the result of 'a reformatory movement.'[4] We have seen
that, granting, for the sake of argument, Mr. Morgan's premise of
an original 'undivided commune,' Mr. Fison is also deposited in the
same difficulty, and was once even inclined to regard a theory of
intervention 'by a higher power' (the Dieri myth) as not necessarily
out of the question, if marriage was once communal. To reform such
marriage relations, he says, 'would be a step in advance so difficult
for men in that utter depth of savagery to take, that they would not
be able to take it, unless they had help from without. This might be
given by contact with a more advanced tribe; but if all the tribes
started from the same level, that impulse would be impossible in the
first instance, and must have been derived from a higher power.'[5] Mr.
Fison, as we saw, has since expressed the opinion that the origin of
exogamy is probably indiscoverable, but I cite again his early remark
to prove his sense of the insuperable difficulty of Mr. Morgan's theory.

How were men in his hypothetical condition to know that there was
anything to reform? It needed a divine revelation!

Mr. Morgan was himself aware of this difficulty, and tried to get out
of it, by using Darwinian phrases about 'natural selection'--'blessed
words,' but here unavailing. He was in the posture of Mr. Spencer,
between direct legislation to introduce exogamy, and gradual
evolution of exogamy, as the slow result of the felt need of '_some_
organisation,'--its nature and purpose unknown. Thus Mr. Morgan,
speaking of communal marriage, and its results, says that 'emancipation
from them was slowly accomplished through movements which resulted in
unconscious reformation.' These movements were, first, the 'class'
system, then the '_gens_' (totem system), 'worked out unconsciously
through natural selection.'[6] This means, if it means anything, that,
by a freak or sport, some people did not marry in and in, that they
unconsciously evolved the totem system, that they therefore throve,
while others who married in and in, and did not evolve the totem
system, perished, and so we have the results of 'natural selection.'
But why did some people avoid the habit of marriages of near kin which
was so general? The position is that of Dr. Westermarck, who adds an
'instinct,' developed by natural selection,[7] an idea which involves
arguing in a circle.

Again, that peoples marrying in the communal way would die out has to
be proved: science has no certainty in the matter.

In any case, Mr. Morgan presently deserts his opinion about slow
unconscious reformation, and his natural selection. 'The organisation
into classes seems to have been directed to the single object of
breaking up the intermarriage of brothers and sisters, which affords
a probable explanation of the origin of the system. But since it does
not look beyond this particular abomination it retained a conjugal
system nearly as objectionable....'[8] The reader sees that Mr.
Morgan cannot keep on the high Darwinian level. He relapses on a
supposed moral reform with a single object of things 'abominable'--to
us--and 'objectionable'--to us. But how did the pristine savages
find out that such things were 'abominable'? Presently the totem
prohibition ('the _gens_') 'originates probably in the ingenuity
of a small band of savages,' for the purpose of modifying marriage
law, and the daring novelty 'must soon have proved its utility in
the production of superior men.'[9] Here we have the legislation
due to human 'ingenuity,' and natural selection comes in to aid and
diffuse the system. Later 'the evils of the first form of marriage
came to be perceived' (what were they?) and this led 'if not to its
direct abolition, to a preference for wives beyond this degree. Among
the Australians it was abolished by the organisation into classes,
and more widely among the Turanian tribes by the organisation into
gentes.' The Australians have 'gentes' (totem groups) quite as much
as the 'Turanians' or 'Ganowanians,' and we have tried to show that
totems are prior to 'classes.'[10] But the Australians 'abolished'
a form of marriage by an 'organisation,' which implies deliberate
legislation. From this difficulty of legislation, so early and so
moral, no advocate of the 'bisection' of an undivided commune and of
its 'subdivision' into totem 'phratries' and kins, can escape, however
he may make a push at 'natural selection,' and gradual evolution.


These perplexities do not predispose us in favour of Mr. Morgan's
theory of the terms of 'Relationship,' which we have illustrated by the
case of the Urabunna. He himself takes the Hawaiian terms, which are to
the same effect. In brief, all the men and women of a generation are'
brothers and sisters,' all those of the prior generation are 'fathers
and mothers,' all those of the following generation are 'children.'
Now, if ever all the men and women of a generation married 'all through
other,' promiscuously, these terms of 'relationship' would be in place.
First, we are told, brothers and sisters in a family intermarried,
and the process 'gradually enfolded the collateral brothers and
sisters, as the range of the conjugal system widened.' And then 'the
evils came to be perceived,' what evils, how perceived, we do not
know, and Reformation set in. It definitely began with the Australian
'Bisection,' 'the organisation into classes' (really into 'phratries'),
and about the difficulties of that theory enough has been said.

The reader will naturally ask, What is the original meaning of the
words now used by Hawaiians, and Urabunna, and others, for the
relations in which our 'father,' 'son,' 'wife,' 'husband,' 'mother.'
'daughter,' 'brother,' 'sister,' are included? Do the words embracing
our terms 'brother' and 'sister' in Hawaii, or elsewhere, imply
procreation, and issue (as in Greek), 'from the same womb'? Among the
Arunta they cannot mean procreation, if they do not even know (as
Messrs. Spencer and Gillen tell us), that there is any such thing as
procreation. 'A spirit child enters a woman,' that is all. In the times
of this primeval ignorance, words for relationships could not imply
bearing and begetting; they must have meant something else. Say that
they meant relationships in point of seniority: 'my male elder,' 'my
female elder,' 'my male junior,' 'my female junior,' 'my male coeval
or friend,' 'my female coeval or friend,' 'the man I may marry,' 'the
woman I may marry,' 'the woman or man I may not marry.'

If low savage names for relationships meant that (no doubt they do not,
or not often) then they would undeniably prove nothing as to a system
of communal marriage. A baby points to any man or woman and says 'pa'
or 'ma,' without any theory of communal marriage. Thus philologists
must first interpret for us the original significance of these savage
names of relationships. Once given, they would last, whatever they
originally implied. Dr. Westermarck has urged this point.[11] In the
terms themselves there is, generally, nothing which indicates that
they imply an idea of consanguinity.' 'Pa, papa' (father), ma, mama
(mother), and scores of others, 'are formed from the earliest sounds
a child can produce,' and 'have no intrinsic meaning whatever.' Dr.
Westermarck gives a long list of such words, applied to 'fathers,
and all the tribe brothers of fathers,' and the same for mothers,
concluding 'that we must not, from these designations, infer anything
as to early marriage customs.' He does not deny that other terms of
relationship have roots of independent meaning, 'but the number of
those that imply an idea of consanguinity does not seem to be very
great.' In Lifu (Melanesia), the word for 'father' means 'root;' for
'mother,' 'foundation' or 'vessel;' for 'sister,' 'not to be touched;'
for 'elder and younger brother,' 'ruler' and 'ruled.'[12] The terms for
father and mother denote consanguinity; the others, customary law, and

If we only knew the meanings, say, of the Urabunna words for
relationships, we should learn much. But the truly amusing fact is that
Mr. Fison, for example, did not know the language of the natives, and
thought that probably not six white men in Australia had an adequate
knowledge, and an adequate access to the notions, of the tribesmen. Of
these one had been initiated, and, like a gentleman, declined to break
the oath of secresy.[13] This was in 1880. Things may have improved.
But unless our authorities know the languages, where are we? We do know
that seniority is indicated: Father's elder brothers are Gampatcha Kuka
(Warramunga tribe).

Mr. McLennan thought that all these terms were 'terms of address,'
used to avoid the employment of personal names, and Dr. Westermarck
holds that 'there can scarcely be any doubt that the terms for
relationship are, in their origin, terms of address.' Messrs. Spencer
and Gillen, after impartial consideration, cannot accept this view,
for Australia; where the terms are very numerous, and stand for
relations very complicated, connected with the intermarrying groups,
and with social duties. In addressing a person, his or her individual
name (our Christian name) is freely used.[14] They believe that the
terms can only be explained 'on the theory of the former existence of
group marriage, and further, that this has of necessity given rise
to the terms of relationship used by the Australian natives.' These
opinions are shared by Messrs. Fison and Howitt. The former says, 'It
must, I think, be allowed that the classificatory terms point to group
marriage,' and though Bastian denies this, Mr. Fison supports his
theory by the Dieri custom of allotting paramours (pinauru) to men and
women, out of the sets which may intermarry.[15]

To this problem we return; meanwhile it may seem impertinent in mere
ethnologists of the study to hint a doubt as to the conclusions of
observers on the spot. Mr. Crawley, however, has no hesitations. The
use of the terms of relationship, he thinks, does not testify to a past
of 'Group Marriage,' or to a remoter past of promiscuity, but is 'the
regular result of the primitive theory of relationship; the system
codifies a combination of relation and relationship, "address," and
age.' The terms in use 'do not in themselves necessarily point to a
previous promiscuity, or even to a present group marriage,' as Messrs.
Spencer and Gillen believe.

The point is one on which I almost hesitate to venture a decided
opinion. Much seems to depend on the original sense of the various
terms, and on that point, in the case of Urabunna, and many other
tribes, we have no light. But often the terms do not express
consanguinity at all. There seems to be no word for 'daughter' as
distinct from 'son,' 'nephew,' and 'niece.' The grandfather _maternal_
is _Thunthie_, and _Thunthunnie_ is Urabunna for totem, so that it
is tempting to guess that _Thunthie_ means 'a sire of the maternal
totem.'[16] Kadnini, again (I speaking), means grandfather paternal,
grandmother maternal, _and_ grandchildren.[17] These relationships
imply duties and services. 'One individual has to do certain things
for another ... and any breach of these customs is severely punished.'
An Arunta of the Panunga class calls all Kumura men 'fathers-in-law.'
He gashes his flesh if any one of his 'fathers-in-law' dies, and he
drops his dead game if he meets any one of them. They all have that
advantage over him.[18] Thus these terms of relationship--communal in
appearance--really involve certain duties, rather than relations of
blood and affinity. But emphatically the terms are more than mere terms
of address, as in Mr. McLennan's theory.

But these are usages of the system as it stands to-day. Is there behind
it an 'undivided commune,' as Mr. Morgan held; is there actual 'group
marriage'? I am not apt to believe that there is. Language shows, in
the terms of relationship, a group of 'Mothers' for each child; but, as
Mr. Darwin remarks, 'it seems almost incredible that the relationship
of the child to its mother should ever have been completely ignored,
especially as the women in most savage tribes nurse their infants for
a long time.' A man's mother is _one_, and _must_ be known, though he
calls many women by the same name as he gives to his mother. She is
lumped, in the terms of relationship, in one term with all the women
whom the father might legally have married, but did not. The son, in
addressing or speaking of his mother, overlooks the 'one love which
needs no winning,' and his term has reference only to the present
marriage law of his tribe. That law 'codifies' the terms, they result
from that law, and that law, again, is based, if I am right, on totem
prohibitions, on the desire to keep marriage between people of the
same generation, and on the rights and duties of the generations.
These prohibitions, of phratry, 'class,' totem, and age, leave only a
certain set of women marriageable to a certain set of men. The name of
this set of women is _Nupa_ to their coevals, _Luka_ to the succeeding
generation. There is no name for 'wife,' no name for 'mother;' there
are only names expressive of customary legal status, itself the result
of the existing rules. Whatever their original sense, they all now
connote seniority and customary legal status, with its reciprocal
duties, rights and avoidances. 'It is the system, and not group
marriage, which has given rise to these terms of relationship,' says
Mr. Crawley.[19]

But what gave rise to the system? Mr. Fison has told us. 1. 'The
division of a tribe (community) into two exogamous intermarrying
classes....' 2. 'The subdivision of these two classes into four,' or,
he suggests, the amalgamation of two tribes. 3. 'Their subdivision into
gentes distinguished by totems.'[20]

But all of this theory we have already declined to accept for reasons
given, and mainly because it involves (as I try to show) deliberate
primeval reformatory legislation--without any conceivable motive.
Again, we cannot accept Mr. Fison's system because it involves the
hypothesis that a tribe, or 'community,' large enough to feel the
necessity of bisecting itself for social and moral purposes, existed
at a period when the difficulties of commissariat, of food supply,
and of hostility, could seldom, if ever, permit its existence. A tribe
is, I repeat, a local aggregate of small groups become friendly: it is
not a primeval horde which keeps on subdividing itself, legislatively,
for reformatory purposes. What social cement kept such a primeval
horde, such an 'undivided commune,' together; and how did the animal
jealousy of men so near to the brutal stage fail to rend it into
pieces? How was it fed? How can we imagine a human herd--how supplied
with food, who knows?--wherein each male sees each other male approach
what female he pleases, perhaps his own preferred girl, without
internecine jealousy? I cannot imagine this indifference to love in
such a primitive Agapemone; I cannot understand its economics; any
more than I can guess why such a state of affairs ever seemed--to its
members--'abominable' and 'objectionable,' and a thing to be reformed;
yet they 'bisected' it, and 'subdivided' the segments, all in the
interests of morality--such is the theory.

As for the good-humoured laxity which enables all men and women to
live together matrimonially at random, Mr. Morgan found an example, as
he thought, in the _Punalua_ of the Hawaiians. The word _Punalua_, when
observed (1860) by Judge Andrews, meant 'dear friend,' or 'intimate
companion.' A man called his sister's husband (our 'brother-in-law) his
'dear friend,' and a woman styled the wife of her husband's brother
(her sister-in-law), _her_ 'dear friend,' or _Punalua_. This shows that
relations-in-law were not 'Foes-in-law,' or, at least, that this was
not the official view of the case. It really does not follow that all
the wives 'shared their remaining husbands in common.' Judge Andrews
thought that this happy family '_were inclined_ to possess each other
in common.' That was only the Judge's theory, also the theory of the
Rev. Artemus Bishop. Probably there was a great deal of genial license
and indifference among loose luxurious barbaric people, living in
'summer isles of Eden,' where food and necessaries were ready made by
benignant Nature.[21]

    Each shepherd clasped, with unconcealed delight,
    His yielding fair, within the Captain's sight;
    Each yielding fair, as chance or fancy led,
    Preferred new lovers to her sylvan bed.[22]

This is vastly well, and the poet adds, in a liberal spirit,

What Otaheite is, let England be!

It is very well, but it by no means represents, probably, the manners
of primitive man.

'We may conclude,' says Mr. Darwin, 'from what we know of the jealousy
of all male quadrupeds,... that promiscuous intercourse, in a state
of nature, is extremely improbable.... The most probable view is that
primeval man aboriginally lived in small communities, each with as many
wives as he could support and obtain, whom he would have jealously
guarded against all other men. Or he may have lived with several wives
by himself, like the Gorilla, for all the natives agree that but one
adult male is seen in a band; when the young male grows up a struggle
takes place for mastery, and the strongest, by killing and driving
out the others, establishes himself as the head of the community. The
younger males, being thus expelled and wandering about, would, when at
last successful in finding a partner, prevent too close interbreeding
within the limits of the same family,' just as the other male did.[23]

This second view of Mr. Darwin's is much like the theory of Mr.
Atkinson, and is very unlike Mr. Morgan's theory of a human horde,
living in communal marriage, or group marriage. Mr. Darwin's idea,
moreover, the primitive groups being small, does not encounter the
economic difficulties raised by the hypothesis of the 'undivided
commune.' The strongest male practically enforced exogamy, as far as
he was able, and maybe conceived to have entertained no scruples as to
connection with his daughters. Mr. Darwin admitted that 'the indirect
evidence' for communal marriage, and fraternal incest, was 'extremely
strong,' but then 'it rests chiefly on the terms of relationship which
are employed between members of the same tribe, implying a connection
with the tribe alone, and not with either parent.' If, however, we
have successfully explained these terms of relationship as not usually
meaning degrees of consanguinity, but of customary legal status, under
the prevalent customary law, the evidence which these terms yield for
promiscuity, or group marriage, is extremely weak, or is nil, above all
if our theory of how the legal status arose is accepted. And, if it is
not accepted, back we come to primeval 'reformatory movements.'

In Lifu, the word for 'sister' means 'not to be touched,' land this is
a mere expression of customary law. A man 'must not touch' any one of
the women of his generation whom the totem tabu and the rule of the
exogamous 'phratry' (in origin, we suggest, totemic) forbid him to
touch. All such women, in a particular grade, are his sisters. Many
women, besides his actual sisters, stand to him in the degree thus
prohibited. All bear the same name of status as a man's actual sisters
bear, but the name does not _mean_ 'sisters' at all, in our sense of
that word: namely, daughters of the man's real father and mother. It
means tabued women of a generation. If the 'classificatory' terms which
include our 'fathers,' 'sisters,' 'wives,' and the rest meant what our
'fathers,' 'sisters,' 'wives,' and so on mean, then the evidence from
the terms, for communal or group marriage, would really be 'extremely
strong.' But, as Messrs. Spencer and Gillen say, 'unless all ideas of
terms of relationship as counted among ourselves be abandoned, it is
useless to try and (_sic_) understand the native terms.'[24] Yet the
whole force of the argument for communal marriage derived from savage
terms of relationship rests precisely on our not 'abandoning' (as we
are warned to abandon) 'all ideas of terms of relationship as counted
among ourselves.'

The friends of group and communal marriage, it seems to me, keep
forgetting that our ideas of sister, brother, father, mother, and so
on, have nothing to do (as they tell us at certain points of their
argument) with the native terms which include, indeed, but do not
denote these relationships, as understood by us. An Urabunna calls a
crowd of men of his father's status by the same term as he calls his
father. This need not point to an age when, by reason of promiscuity,
no man knew his father. Were this so, a man of the generation prior
to his father might be the actual parent of the speaker, and all men
under eighty ought to be called 'father' by him--which they are not.
The facts may merely mean that the Urabunna styles his father by the
name denoting a status which his father shares with many other men; a
status in seniority, 'phratry,' and totem. We really cannot first argue
that our ideas have no relation to the terms employed by savages, and
then, when we want to prove a past of communal marriage, turn round and
reason as if our terms and the savage terms were practically identical.
We cannot say 'our word "son" must not be thought of when we try to
understand the native term of relationship which includes sons in our
sense,' and next aver that 'sons in our sense, are regarded as real
sons of the group, not of the individual--because of a past stage of
promiscuity making paternity indiscoverable.'

As Messrs. Spencer and Gillen say, we must 'lay aside all preconceived
ideas of relationship,' when we study the Urabunna or other
classificatory terms of relationships.[25] Let us do so, and the
evidence borne by these terms to a past of communal marriage vanishes
at once. That the terms often denote status in customary law is
demonstrated. 'There are certain customs which are enforced by long
usage and according to which men and women of particular degrees of
relationship may alone have marital relations, or may not speak to one
another, or according to which one individual has to do certain things
for another, such as providing the latter with food, or with hair, as
the case may be, and any breach of these customs is severely punished.
The elder men of each group very carefully keep alive these customs,
many of which are of considerable value to themselves....'[26]

Thus, you have speared a fish, or an opossum, but if you meet any man
of your father-in-law's set, you must drop your spoil and make off.
Consequently, I venture to take it, the terms of relationship in no way
answer to our ideas of kin, but merely denote legal status.


We cannot, as a rule, recover (or Australian students have not
recovered) the original sense and etymology of terms like Biaka, Nia,
Nupa, and so forth. We are thus left to choose between two competing
theories of their nature and diffusion. If we advocate the hypothesis
of consanguine marriage and group marriage, we must suppose that the
members of the 'undivided commune' of the theory, had once names
absolutely identical in sense with our 'father,' 'mother,' 'sister,'
'brother,' 'son,' 'daughter,' and so forth. But the speakers, in each
case, were obliged to apply these words with the utmost laxity, because
who knew _who_ A's father might be, and whether C's sister were really
his sister or not, while every girl was the wife of every male of her
generation, not barred by other laws, and so on? The promiscuity of
living, then, made this lax use of words for relationships inevitable.

This is the usual hypothesis, and the sweeping scope of savage words
for human relationships is accepted as proof that consanguine and
group marriage once existed and left their marks in language. On the
other hand, if communal marriage prevailed, the people who lived in
that condition could not possibly have had ideas equivalent to our
father, son, daughter, brother, wife, and so on. Our ideas of these
relationships could not enter the human mind, at the hypothetical
stage of culture when nobody knew 'who is who' and the hypothesis is
wrecked on that fact.

Therefore either the names now used under the 'class system' are of
unknown original sense; or, human marriage was, from the first, so
far, 'individual' that our ideas of father, mother, brother, sister,
son, daughter, could arise and could find expression in terms that
still survive, say, among the Urabunna or other Australians. But while
tribal customary laws as to classes, totems, generations, marriage
rules, and many other social duties were being evolved; some of the
ancient names for father, son, brother, sister, were perhaps taken up
and applied to each of the large sets of persons whose customary legal
status was _now_ (as groups coalesced into large tribes) on the level
of actual fathers, sons, brothers, sisters, and the rest. Obviously,
in a primitive group of a male senior, his female mates and children,
there could not exist (other groups being, on my theory, strange or
hostile) large sets of persons occupying a common legal status, as in
modern tribes. The existence of such sets of persons is the result of
the later and _tribal_ society, of society in which many groups are
reconciled and united in a local tribe. Only in such a tribe, which
cannot be primitive, is the classificatory system of naming sets
of people necessary. It is only in _tribal_ law that the grades of
customary status answering to all the many terms can exist, and tribes
with their laws cannot be primitive. Most names for the various grades,
therefore, are later than Mr. Darwin's hypothetical stage of small and
perhaps hostile groups; they were, in a few cases, perhaps originally
names for such relationships as our own father, mother, son, brother,
&c., but in the evolution of tribal customary law, such names have been
extended out of their _family_, or fire-circle, into their _tribal_
significance, out of recognised kinship, or close contiguity, into
terms including all who have the same status, rights, and duties.


If our suggestion as to the origin and significance of the
'classificatory terms of relationship' be plausible, then the theory
of a pristine past of 'communal' or of 'group marriage' will lose what
Mr. Darwin deemed the chief evidence in its favour, the evidence from
terms of relationship. But there remains the evidence from 'survivals,'
in institutions. For example, among the Urabunna, women of a certain
seniority, totem and 'phratry' are _Nupa_ to men of the relative status
among males. They are the men's potential wives. In actual practice
each individual man has one or perhaps two of these _Nupa_ women who
are specially attached to himself, and live in his camp. They are his
wives. But each man has also, or many men have, other women of the
_Nupa_ set, who by an allotment, which the elders arrange, are his
_Piraungaru_, He is, that is to say, their 'second master,' after their
husbands. This is a kind of _Cicisbeism_, recognised and regulated by
customary law, and sanctioned by a definite ceremony. Messrs. Spencer
and Gillen therefore say 'individual marriage does not exist, either
in name or in practice, among the Urabunna tribe.' Their idea appears
to be that once every man was the husband of every _Nupa_ woman who
was accessible, and that the _Piraungaru_ arrangement is a nascent
restriction upon, or survival of, this communal marriage. It is
admitted that a man may now try to prevent his wife from having sexual
relations with her Piraungaru man, just as an Italian of the eighteenth
century might have done in the case of his wife's _Cicisbeo_. 'But this
leads to a fight, and the husband is looked upon as churlish.' The
Italian husband would have undergone the same reproach, yet _he_ lived
in a society which in theory, and as Christian, insisted on individual

The question arises, is the _Piraungaru_ arrangement a modified
survival of communal marriage, or is it a mere chartered libertinism in
customary practice, and not a 'rudimentary survival'? It is certainly
found among the tribes most tenacious of archaic institutions. Mr.
Crawley thinks, however, and, under correction, I agree with him, that
the _Piraungaru_ system is no survival, and that it 'has never been
more fully developed than it is now.'[27]


As to this Piraungaru affair, as usual we need, and do not get, the
help of philology. What does the word 'Piraungaru' literally mean?
Among the Dieri the Piraungaru custom prevails, and the persons
affected by it are called Piraura--the resemblance to Piraungaru is
striking. Now Mr. Howitt tells us that the Headman of the Dieri is
called _Pinaru_, from _pina_, 'great,' but he also calls these Headmen
_Piraurus_, the same title as he gives to the men and women allotted to
each other on the system of native Cicisbeism.[28]

Clearly there is here either a misprint, or a curious fact. Either
the Headmen are Pinarus, not Piraurus, or Headmen and supplementary
wives and husbands have one and the same title! One great Headman was
Jalina _Pira_ murana. Is 'great' _pina_ or _pira_? If Australia does
not produce an adequate philologist in the native tongues, who will
specially study these matters, it will be a heavy blow to the research
into native institutions.

It is worth observing that the Dieri Piraura are 'permitted new marital
privileges at the ceremony of circumcision.' Now license amidst the
large assemblies brought together from all quarters on such occasions
(in some places even transgressing the sacred rules of totem, phratry,
and close relationship in our sense) is merely part of that periodical
general 'burst' which survived in the Persian Sacæa and Roman
Saturnalia. Many examples may be found in Mr. Frazer's 'Golden Bough.'
Every kind of law is, at these 'bursts,' deliberately violated.
Perhaps, then, the due selection of Piraura, by the Dieri seniors, is
really rather a restriction of Saturnalian license than a relaxation of
marriage laws, or a survival of communal marriage. That the license of
the Saturnalia was a return to primitive ways was a Roman theory. For
Australia it is the theory of the Arunta themselves.[29] The adjacent
Urabunna have the same Piraura usages, and what looks very like a form
of the same word, Piraura, Piraungaru. The relations thereby indicated
exist, when occasion serves, after the season of license.

A wife, at marriage, is subjected to a disgraceful ordeal (modern
ideas will break in), which I take, as Mr. Crawley does, to be a
mere initiation (due to a well-defined superstition) into the life
matrimonial.[30] Meanwhile, though a definite and disgusting set of
proceedings forms the Urabunna marriage ceremonial, I am not aware
that the same doings precede and sanction the establishment of the
Piraungaru or Piraura relation, which, if not, is no marriage at all.
Thus, so far as our information goes, and with all deference to the
great Australian authorities, I do not see that the evidence for a
past stage of communal or of group marriage is such as compels our
assent. On the other hand, as has been shown, the theory of communal
marriage forces all its advocates, unwillingly or unconsciously, into
the other theory of a primeval moral and social reformatory movement,
deliberately undertaken, perhaps under direct divine inspiration,
for what other motive could exist? The economical and biological
difficulties which also beset that hypothesis have been sufficiently
explained, and Mr. Darwin has dwelt on the psychological difficulty,
the sexual jealousy of the primitive male. These objections, at least,
do not hamper the hypothesis or conjecture, which we have ventured to
submit as an alternative system. As a proof of survival of communal
or group marriage, Mr. Fison quotes Mr. Lance: 'If a Kubbi meets a
strange Ippatha' (female), 'they address each other as spouse.' (They
belong to intermarrying phratries.) 'A Kubbi thus meeting an Ippatha,
though she were of another tribe, would treat her as his wife, and
his right to do so would be recognised by her tribe.' His right,
as far as phratry prohibitions go, would certainly be recognised,
but how her husband, if she had one, would view the transaction is
another question. The morality is that of the Scottish ballads, in
which such _bonnes fortunes_ are frequent, and the frail pair only
ask questions--afterwards. In the ballad of _The Bonny Hind_, in the
_Kalewala_, and elsewhere, the answers prove that the pair are brother
and sister. Suicide follows, but it does not follow that communal or
group marriage prevailed in Scotland, or in Finland.


It is probable that the rules now defining the privileges,
prohibitions, and duties of sets of people, rules interwoven now with
those of 'class' and totem, have been gradually evolved in the wear and
tear of ages. Tribes which hold such large and protracted assemblies,
or palavers, as the Arunta of to-day, discuss and debate common affairs
with all the diffuseness of our Parliament at Westminster. It is not
to be supposed that tribal peace existed over hundreds of square miles
of country, and that the group representatives, so to speak, flocked
in from far-off regions, to parliament, in the ages when the pristine
rules of exogamy were evolved. We might as wisely imagine that, in
the beginning of Totemism, groups travelled to a tribal folk-mote,
and arranged the details of a kind of magical co-operative society
to preserve and increase the foodstuffs of the tribe. In ages really
pristine the tribal peace and union cannot have arisen; deliberate
legislation for a vast scattered tribal community could not have
entered into men's dreams. No such community could have existed. But
the tribes of to-day, and notably the Arunta, being remote from truly
primitive conditions, do hold prolonged assemblies, and work at public
problems, so very remote from the primitive are they.

The Arunta, in their pseudo-historic legends, throw back upon the past
the reflection of their actual estate, and ascribe the rule which
practically limits marriage within the generation to a leader of the
Thurathwerta group, living near what is called, by Europeans, Glen
Helen, in the Macdonnell range. He was backed by the Emu people of
four widely separated localities.[31] One is not, however, to suppose
that, at some witan of the tribes, names indicative of generations,
and of their respective rights, were suddenly invented and dealt out
by 'the legislator,' any more than that totems were thus invented and
dealt out. As Mr. Atkinson remarks (Chapter VIII.): 'Gradually each
generation ... would, _qua_ generation, come to be a distinctly defined
class, with certain separate rights and obligations. In this simple
classification of the connected persons, we see the origin of the
classificatory system itself' (as far as generations are concerned),
'as an institution.... The classificatory system evolves itself merely
as the result of a desire to define certain rights, and the division by
generations was the most natural and feasible for the purpose.... Thus
we find a desire for distinction, as regards rights in sexual union, to
be the genetic cause of the classificatory system, both as concerns the
generation and its component members.'

The marriage rules prevalent, with many variations, among the people
least advanced in material culture, the Australians, are thus seen,
on the whole, to be based (1) on totem rules (in which, with Dr.
Durkheim, we include the 'primary classes' or 'phratries'), and (2)
on the distinction of generations. It is clear, from the case of the
Arunta and other tribes, that the rule of counting on the spindle side
may break down, male descent being substituted, in times excessively
rude; while again, as in the Pictish Royal House, it may elsewhere
last into a stage relatively civilised. All manners of conditions and
superstitions may affect and alter the course of social development in
various places.


In 1899, Mr. Tylor published a sketch of 'A Method of Investigating
the Development of Institutions, applied to Laws of Marriage and
Descent.'[32] He had catalogued the usages of 350 peoples, and examined
(1) the rule of avoidance between husbands and wives' relations, and
vice versa. (2) The naming of husband (or wife) after their children;
as Odysseus says, 'May I no longer be called the father of Telemachus.'
(3) The nature of inheritance in widows. (4) The Couvade in which the
husband pretends to lie in, while his wife is really doing so. (5) The
custom of capture. (6) Exogamy and the classificatory system. Mr. Tylor
was led to believe that, so far as the statistical evidence goes, the
husband first lived with the wife's family (A); next, after a residence
with the wife's family, went back to his own home (B); last, (C) took
the wife at once to his own home. (Husband to Wife. Removal. Wife to

Now statistics are rather vague evidence without full knowledge of the
social concomitants in each case. In what exact stage of culture, in
each instance, does the husband go to live with the wife's relations?
We have not this information. But if this be really the earliest stage,
how is it compatible with group marriage? If a man is husband to 'a
thousand miles of wives,' how can he go and live with the relations
of all his wives? Even within his actual region of wandering, how can
he do this? Nor, perhaps, can he bring all his wives to live with the
relations of each of them in turn?

Either there was no group marriage, or it did not exist when, on the
hypothesis, the husband, in the earliest stage, habitually resided with
his wife's relations. Again, take the maternal and paternal systems,
the reckoning in the female or male line, the female line, as we hold
with Mr. Tylor, being the earlier. If so, on Mr. Tylor's hypothesis,
it ought to arise in his first epoch, when husband goes to live with
wife's people. 'The lines' (of a diagram) 'show the institutions of
female descent, avuncular authority, &c. arising in the stage of
residence on the female side, and extending into the stages of removal
and residence on the male side.'

Now we have tried to explain the reckoning in the female line, by the
differentiation, in the supposed original local totem group, of the
captive women, each retaining, and handing on to her children, the name
of her own totem group, this bequest of the totem name continuing into
the tribal state of peaceful betrothals. But Mr. Tylor's theory of the
first stage (husband goes to live with wife), implies a peaceful state,
and groups not hostile. For the reasons given, early hostility and
sexual jealousy, I am unable to hold that, in the beginning, husbands
always joined their wives' groups. It seems, granting hostility and
jealousy, to be impossible. A Malay example of polygamy plus residence
with wives' relations, proves nothing for primitive man. Therefore we
need to know the exact stage of culture of the peoples among whom the
husbands go as subdued hangers-on, 'not recognised,' into the wife's
family. Are these people all precisely primitive? The 'husband to wife'
stage implies peaceful relations. These were produced, on my theory, by
the arrangement of the phratries. When these are once constituted, the
husband may go to live with the wife's family as much as he pleases.
But I fail to see how he could have done so 'in the beginning.'
Moreover I am disinclined to suppose that exogamy was instituted for
the purpose of strengthening a group by matrimonial alliances.

_Bella gerant alii, tu, felix Austria, nube!_

Exogamy has this effect, but it was not devised purposely to produce
this effect.

I may casually remark that Mr. Tylor mentions an Assineboin case
in which the husband enters 'his lodge,' where his father and
mother-in-law 'shirk' or avoid him. But, in the next page but one, the
lodge is described, not as the husband's, but as that of the father and
mother-in-law.[33] Whose lodge was it really? Was the husband staying
with his wife's family, or were the old people on a visit to their
married daughter?

Among several Australian tribes, a feigned form of capture precedes
marriage.[34] Is this a survival of actual capture in the stage of
hostility, the pre-tribal stage? Or is it the result of girlish modesty
in the bride?

Note: Mr. Morgan's 'Reformatory Movement': It is proper to note that,
in his preface to _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_ (p. 5), Mr. Morgan wrote,
'it is not supposable that savages design, consciously, reformatory
movements in the strict sense.' For his theory cannot escape the
conclusion that, in fact, they did.

[Footnote 1: _Op. cit._ p. 61.]

[Footnote 2: Spencer and Gillen, p. 57.]

[Footnote 3: _Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human
Family_ (1871); and _Ancient Society_ (1877); earlier in _The League of
the Iroquois_ (1854).]

[Footnote 4: So Mr. Fison candidly states, and Mr. Morgan saw his work,
and wrote an introductory essay. _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, p. 99.]

[Footnote 5: _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, pp. 160-161.]

[Footnote 6: _Ancient Society_, pp. 49-50.]

[Footnote 7: Cf. _The Mystic Rose_, pp. 444-445. Westermarck, p. 352.]

[Footnote 8: _Ancient Society_, p. 59.]

[Footnote 9: _Ibid_. p. 74.]

[Footnote 10: By 'classes' Mr. Morgan here seems to mean phratries.]

[Footnote 11: Westermarck, pp. 85, 96.]

[Footnote 12: Lord Avebury, _Origin of Civilisation_, pp. 442-449,

[Footnote 13: _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, p. 60.]

[Footnote 14: Spencer and Gillen, pp. 56, 57, 59.]

[Footnote 15: _J. A. I._, May 1895, p. 368.]

[Footnote 16: Spencer and Gillen, p. 60.]

[Footnote 17: _Ibid._ p. 66.]

[Footnote 18: _Ibid._ p. 75.]

[Footnote 19: _The Mystic Rose_, p. 476.]

[Footnote 20: _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, p. 27, cf. p. 70.]

[Footnote 21: _Ancient Society_, pp. 427-428.]

[Footnote 22: Captain Cook, of His Majesty's ship _The Endeavour_.]

[Footnote 23: _Descent of Man_, ii. 362, 363. Dr. Savage, _Boston Jour.
of Nat. Hist._ v. 423.]

[Footnote 24: Spencer and Gillen, p. 65.]

[Footnote 25: _Op. cit._ p. 67.]

[Footnote 26: Spencer and Gillen, pp. 67, 68.]

[Footnote 27: Spencer and Gillen, pp. 62-64. _Mystic Rose_, pp.

[Footnote 28: _On the Organisation of Australian Tribes_, pp. 107, 108.]

[Footnote 29: Spencer and Gillen, p. 97.]

[Footnote 30: _Ibid_. pp. 92-96. _The Mystic Rose_, pp. 479, 480.]

[Footnote 31: Spencer and Gillen, pp. 420-421.]

[Footnote 32: _J. A. I._ vol. xviii., no. 3, pp. 245-272.]

[Footnote 33: _Op. cit._ pp. 246-248.]

[Footnote 34: Howitt, _Organisation of Australian Tribes_.]



We have hitherto, for the sake of lucidity, spoken chiefly of _two_
'primary classes' ('phratries'), such as the Kirarawa and Matthurie of
the Urabunna. But among the Arunta, and many other tribes, there are
four or even eight such 'classes.' The reader may refer to the extract
from Mr. Mathews's description (p. 39).

_Each of these classes roughly corresponds to a different generation of
the tribe_. But, with female descent, each child belongs to the class
to which its mother does not belong. The classes, that is, alter with
each generation. What is the cause of this curious rule? One generation
is A, its children are B, its grandchildren are A again.

Here we meet the explanation of Herr Cunow, which may as well be given
in summary.


The theory of Herr Cunow[1] is in the first place opposed to the
systems of all who regard the 'phratries' as divisions made in
an original group, or horde, for purposes of exogamy. I have not
observed that any of our writers have noticed the book of Herr
Cunow. In his opinion, as was said earlier, authors err in confusing
'phratries' with 'classes:' 'a phratry is not a class, and a class is
not a phratry; these two sorts of bodies have been developed out of
different antecedents, and have different tendencies. The two "primary
divisions," say Kroki and Kumite, are phratries, but are not classes in
the same sense as the Ippai and Kumbo, Murri and Kubbi classes of the
Kamilaroi' (p. 24).

Herr Cunow regards the 'classes' as in origin earlier[2] than the
divisions of totem kin, or the 'phratry' divisions, and thinks that
the 'classes' were originally non-intermarrying divisions based on
seniority. They were devised or developed, not to prevent marriage
between near kin, but between persons of different generations,
or rather degrees of seniority. This is proved, he thinks, by the
etymology of some of the names of the classes (about which we need
much fuller information). Thus the word _Kubbi_ (Kamilaroi), already
cited as a class name, is derived, he says, from _Kubbura_, 'young,
new,' and originally designates a youth who has passed the initiatory
ceremonies. Ridley's vocabulary of the Kamilaroi tongue is the source
for this fact. Kumbo, another class name, is the _Kombia_ or _Kumbia_,
of the tribes on the Lower Murray river, and means 'great,' that is,
'old.' On the Lower Darling, the word is _gumboka_, _Kumbuka_; compare
_Kumba_, _Kumbera_, 'old woman,' _Kumbeja_, 'father.' 'Great' and
'old,' 'little' and 'young,' are equivalent in sense. _Bonda_, a class
name of the Kabi, means 'new' or 'young,' and the class-name Darawang,
or Tarawang, is the Kabi word _darami_, 'little,' or 'young.' Obu, a
class name, is the Queensland _jabu, jobu, jabbo bobu_, 'father.'

Thus the class names, Herr Cunow holds, originally indicate divisions
of youth and age in the 'horde,' by which term Herr Cunow understands a
local set of from forty to sixty people, a local aggregate of several
such 'hordes' being a 'tribe' (pp. 25-28). The fact of Australian
attention to degrees of seniority is demonstrated by the stages of
initiation, and by the various dues, of food gifts and so on, paid by
the juniors to the seniors of the tribe: by the food which persons
of different status in seniority may eat, and so forth. Indeed Dr.
Roth has regarded the 'classes' as originally evolved to regulate the
distribution of the food supply, and such regulations would, I think,
be elements among other regulations of matrimonial and other rights,
dependent on seniority. 'What a man may eat at one stage is at another
stage forbidden, and _vice versa_.'[3]

The 'horde,' then, in Herr Cunow's opinion, was primarily divided into
non-intermarrying persons of three stages of seniority. This is the
original organisation, that of totem kindreds being later, in Herr
Cunow's theory, which is not ours (pp. 36, 37). The word 'father' does
not, in the Australian dialects, at first, signify what we mean by the
word, but merely 'senior;' and 'mother' is a term of the same meaning.
'Father' and 'mother' with all of their seniority are 'the big ones;'
children are 'the little ones.' These terms become 'class' names.

An example is taken from Mr. Bridgman, superintendent of the tribes
at Port Mackay. These have two 'phratries,' _Yungaru_ and _Wutaru_
(totemic names), and four 'classes,' _Gurgela, Bembia, Wungo_, and
_Kubaru_.[4] The terms for family relations are not understood in our
sense. Mr. Bridgman had a name and status in the tribe. His name was
_Gunurra_; his phratry was _Yungaru_, his class was _Bembia_, and his
children, if he had any, were _Wutaru_ (by phratry), _Kubaru_ (by
class). If a girl came by, and Mr. Bridgman asked who she was, and if
she was Kubaruan, he was told 'she is your daughter.' This 'daughter'
is a young woman of the class to which Mr. Bridgman's daughters, if he
had any, would belong.

Herr Cunow's theory, then, starts from the 'horde,' divided into not
intermarrying degrees of seniority. That such hordes, not separate
family groups, were the initial stage of society, he is persuaded.[5]
He rejects Morgan's theory of communal marriage.[6] Next, he thinks,
arose objections to brother and sister and other near akin marriages
(_why_ we are not told), and a man would thus be driven to seek a wife
out of his own horde. Why was this? Herr Cunow merely refers to the
Dieri tradition already cited; evils followed on kindred marriages,
and were perceived and, by divine decree, were reformed.[7] That such
evils did arise and were perceived, and being perceived were reformed,
by very low savages, is to the highest degree improbable. However it
came about (we suggest by dint of reflection on the totem and phratry
restrictions), there is _now_ an objection to intermarriage between
persons 'of the same flesh.' How this arose does not seem to be a
question that Herr Cunow chooses to dogmatise upon.

The horde now developes itself into a group of kin, of which the
members regard each other as 'too nearly related by blood,' to
intermarry. 'As a mark of these groups of kin they later take different
beast or plant names, usually from such species as exist in their
districts. No reverence would originally be paid to the totem animal;'
the Narrinyeri eat it without scruple,[8] like any other; the totem
name is originally a name of a _genossenschaft_; a comradeship, the
Narrinyeri word for totem, 'Ngaitje,' is equivalent to 'friend.'

All this is rather vague. Why did groups of comrades or of recognised
kin take plant and animal names? Why did they forbid intermarriage?
What was the origin of the objection to marriage between blood kindred?
It does not arise out of 'moral ideas,' nor out of 'wife-capture,'[9]
and Herr Cunow speaks neither of 'sexual taboo,' nor of 'sexual
jealousy,' while the theory of 'personal totems' become hereditary, or
of magical co-operation in totem breeding, is not mentioned; indeed,
when Herr Cunow wrote (1894), the magical theory was unborn. The
hordes merely developed into groups of comrades or of kin, as such not
intermarrying among themselves, and marking themselves for no assigned
reason, with plant or animal names: reverence of the totem came later.

'Still later than the totem association the phratry seems to arise,'
and the phratries are described as allied local totem groups. This is
my own opinion, but by 'local totem group,' I here mean (as already
explained), the original local totem group, with the other totems which
had become its elements, through exogamy, and female descent. Herr
Cunow, if I follow him, means on the other hand a local totem group of
the kind which now results among the Arunta from reckoning descent in
the male line. 'The forbidding of marriage extended beyond the local
group, passing into the neighbouring hordes, till at length morality
enjoined the obtaining of wives from remoter districts. Hence was
developed a come-and-go of marriage between two out of several larger
local totems, and these larger local communities are the original types
of the Australian phratries. Suppose that the hordes of the Kurnai had
gradually developed themselves into local totem groups like those of
the Narrinyeri, and ... that it became the rule for the Brataulong to
take their wives from their south-western neighbours, the Kulin, and
_vice versa_, till the two groups waxed into a great community, and we
have the probable development' (of the 'phratries') 'before us.' The
groups 'Brataulong' and 'Kulin' would now be a great community of two
intermarrying phratries.

All this implies, I think, a more advanced society, and larger
communities, than we can easily conceive to have existed in the distant
past when phratries arose. Moreover Herr Cunow, as we shall see, takes
descent, even at this primitive period, to have been reckoned in the
male line. Again, we have observed that phratry names, when they can be
translated, are usually totemic, an opinion expressed by Mr. Fison and
Mr. Howitt. The same sort of totemic names marks Red Indian phratries.
Granting male kinship, the phratries of Herr Cunow's hypothesis might
well have totem names, but he tries to show that phratry names are
usually _local_; he gives seven cases out of which only two names of
phratries are totemic.[10] But he offers no authority for his assertion
that the other five names are non-totemic (_Eigennahme_) and Yungaru
and Wutaru, represented by him as non-totemic, are really totem names.

We know that as a result of reckoning in the male line local or
district names tend to supersede totem names, and large local totem
groups thus arise, a feature of the decay, not of the dawn, of
Totemism. My own hypothesis, on the other hand, shows why phratry names
are totemic. Herr Cunow concludes 'the phratry is originally nothing
but an exogamous local group composed of several hordes.' Like Mr.
Daniel McLennan, Herr Cunow quotes the legend of the wars of Eagle-Hawk
and Crow, which ended in the establishment of the intermarrying
phratries of Crow and Eagle-Hawk.[11] Herr Cunow's theory of phratries
appears to me to find, in the remotest past, the most recent
institutions of the Australians, and to confuse the primitive local
totem group with the local totem-group later developed out of reckoning
descent in the male line. He throws back into the distant past the
large modern associations, which could not exist in times really
primitive. He makes the hordes develope themselves into totem kins, in
place of being, originally (as in my system), small associations united
by contiguity, and receiving totem names from without.[12] He makes
reckoning in the female line later than reckoning in the male line--the
Narrinyeri reckoning in the male line (p. 84)--and perhaps this method,
he thinks, is a result of ignorance of fatherhood, consequent on the
Piraungaru custom (p. 135). Unluckily we find reckoning descent in the
female line among many races, the Red Indians for example, where the
Piraungaru custom is unknown. The priority of male to female descent is
not admitted as a rule, by Mr. Tylor or any other English authorities.

Where I can agree with Herr Cunow is on the point that the two
'primary divisions' are the result, probably, of amalgamation, not
of bisection for purposes of exogamy. Where we differ is as to the
character of the communities that, by alliance and connubium, became
'primary divisions' or 'phratries.' On his system the communities were
large, holding great districts. On mine, they were ancient local totem
groups, whose members, through exogamy and female descent, were really
of various totems. In a note (p. 139) Herr Cunow shows that he might
easily have arrived at my conclusion, but, while allowing that alien
brides brought the totem names of their own kins into each original
totem group, he says that the men of that group still 'belonged to
the totem identified with that horde.' This is the result of his
belief that reckoning descent in the female line is 'an innovation.'
His 'horde' is originally endogamous; then, we know not well why, is
exogamous (p. 137). Those who do not believe that men originally lived
in 'hordes,' and hold that, through jealousy and other causes, their
little primary sets were, or tended to be, exogamous from the first,
cannot agree with Herr Cunow. On the other hand, they may incline
to accept his theory that, as the Australian terms of relationship
indicate often status, not relationship in our sense, they do not help
to prove a past of consanguine and communal marriage.


To return to the classes, Dr. Durkheim opposes Herr Cunow's theory that
they indicated originally degrees of seniority. He takes no notice,
however, of Herr Cunow's argument from etymology, and the original
meanings of the class names, 'Young' and 'Old.' He argues that, on Herr
Cunow's system, each individual would, in lapse of time, move from
young to old, and so ought to change his class name, and move into
another class. Herr Cunow answers that, if this occurred, the object of
the class names, practically to prevent young and old intermarrying,
would have been defeated. But, as matters exist, a grandfather may
marry a girl who might be his grand-daughter. He is A, his children are
B, but their children are A again. He is Kubbi, he marries Ippatha, her
children are Buta, their children are Ippatha, and the venerable Kubbi
may marry a very juvenile Ippatha.

Possibly the institution grew up among people who did not look so far
forward, who 'took short views.' It is certain that, if the object
of the classes was to stop marriages between young and old, it is a
failure. 'The old men marry young wives at present,' says Mr. Mathews.
If so, Herr Cunow may be right. Dr. Durkheim offers a theory. But
his theory takes for granted, as we saw, that the two 'phratries,'
originally, were only two totem groups, containing within them no
members of other totem kins. 'They were not yet subdivided' into
other totem kins. But I have tried to show that there was no such
'subdivision' into 'secondary clans' or totem kins. Dr. Durkheim
regards these totem kins as colonies split off from the two original
totem groups which became phratries.[13] My reasons against accepting
this position have already been given. This being the case, it is
unnecessary to unfold Dr. Durkheim's theory of the origin of the
classes. Probably that of Herr Cunow comes nearest to the truth.

Mr. Mathews offers another solution of the problem. 'Phratry' Dilbi,
for example, has 'classes' Murri and Kubbi, while the linked phratry,
Kupathin, has classes Ippai and Kumbo. 'It is possible that the group
Dilbi was divided into (female) Matha and Kubbitha to distinguish the
mothers from the daughters, and that the terms Murri and Kubbi were
adopted to provide names for the uncles and nephews of their respective
generations.' Thus we return to distinction of generations. In any
case the 'classes' 'have the effect of preventing consanguineous
marriages, by furnishing an easy test of relationship when the tribe
has become so numerous or widespread that kinship could not otherwise
be well determined.[14] Later (p. 168) Mr. Matthews writes, 'The
mother of a man's wife, and also his daughters, belong to the same
section' ('class'), 'and therefore his marriage with that section is
prohibited.' That is, he cannot marry out of his generation above or
below, as indicated by 'class' names. 'Neither can he marry into the
section to which his mother belongs, although a woman might be found in
either case, who was in no way connected with him.' In short, as far
as the names rudely indicate the generation above, and the generation
below a man, he cannot marry into these classes. But, as old men do
marry young wives, the apparent intention of the rules is to some
extent frustrated. We can say no more, till we are told what the class
names mean in a literal sense. Does nobody inquire into this essential

As if to accentuate the problems raised by the change of 'class' names
in each generation, Mr. Matthews has discovered that when a man may
marry a woman of his own 'phratry,' but out of a set of totems not his
own, the totems of his children by her alter as the class names do.
'The children take the totem name,' not of their mother, but of their
maternal grandmother. 'One totem is the mother of another totem.'[15]
This is an unusual phenomenon, and looks like the effort of a desperate

The class system exists among the Arunta, with male descent. One moiety
of the southern part of the tribe consists of Panunga and Bulthara,
linked classes, calling themselves Nakrakia; the other moiety is of
Purula and Kumara, calling themselves Mulganuka. A Bulthara man of the
first moiety can only marry a Kumara woman, of the second moiety: a
Purula man marries a Panunga woman only. The children of a Bulthara
man's union with a Kumara woman take neither the Bulthara nor Kumara
name, but are called Panunga, while the children of a Purula man and
a Panunga woman are Kumara: of a Panunga man and a Purula woman,
Bulthara; of a Kumara man and a Bulthara woman, Purula.

That is to say, the Arunta reckoning in the male line, a man's children
do not take _his_ 'class' name but the name of the 'class' linked to
his, and forming, with his, one division of the tribe. Further each
of these four divisions consists of two moieties, and a Panunga man,
though he can marry a Purula woman, must choose her out of the proper
moiety of the Purula division. These moieties of each division, among
the Northern Arunta, have names; Uknaria, Appungerta, Umbitchana,
Ungalla, and the children of each marriage fall under these names.

This restricts a man to only an eighth of the women of his generation,
but, on the other hand, among the Arunta, the totem prohibition no
longer exists: the totems are not restricted to one or another class,
but skip among them, as we have shown in the section on the Arunta. The
eight class system, perhaps the four class system, may be regarded as
later and conscious modifications of the old phratry and totem rules,
which, on my hypothesis, had no conscious moral origin.

[Footnote 1: _Die Verwandtschafts-Organisationen der Australneger_.
Diek, Stuttgart, 1894.]

[Footnote 2: This can hardly be, as the most backward tribes have
phratries and totems, but no 'classes.']

[Footnote 3: Eyre, _Journals_, ii. 293-295. Cunow, p. 33, note 2.
Bulmer, in Brough Smyth, i. 235. Roth, _Ethnological Studies_, pp. 69,
70, Brisbane, 1897.]

[Footnote 4: Brough Smyth, i. 91.]

[Footnote 5: Pp. 122-124, and note 1, an argument against Westermarck.]

[Footnote 6: Pp. 127-128.]

[Footnote 7: Gason, _The Dicyrie Tribe_ (1894), p. 13. _Kam. and Kur._
p. 25. Cunow, pp. 109-110, 130-132.]

[Footnote 8: Cf. Cunow, p. 82. So, too, the Euahlayi.]

[Footnote 9: Cunow, p. 130.]

[Footnote 10: Pp. 133-134.]

[Footnote 11: Brough Smyth, i. 423. Cunow, p. 134. _Studies in Ancient
History_, second series, _ut supra_.]

[Footnote 12: See 'The Origin of Totemism.']

[Footnote 13: Cf. p. 83.]

[Footnote 14: _Proc. Roy. Soc. N.S.W._ xxxi. 161.]

[Footnote 15: _Op. cit._ pp. 172-175.]



The opinions of Lord Avebury (Sir John Lubbock) are to be collected
from the sixth edition (1902) of his _Origin of Civilisation_.
First published in 1870, this was a pioneer work of great value and
importance. Perhaps the vast amount of new information and of new
speculation which has accrued since 1870 might almost make us wish that
Lord Avebury had found time to re-write his early book. But he 'sees
no reason to change in any essential respects the opinions originally
expressed,' and merely adds a few references to such recent researches
as those of Messrs. Spencer and Gillen. Therefore we must not look
to Lord Avebury for much new light on the origin of the Australian
'classes' or 'primary divisions,' or 'phratries,' and on their
relations to the totem kindreds within them.


Our author (p. 217) regards Totemism as synonymous with Nature-Worship.
He speaks of 'Nature-Worship or Totemism, in which natural objects,
trees, lakes, stones, animals, &c. are worshipped.' I am not acquainted
(unless it be in early Peru) with any totem kin whose totem is a lake;
and totems, very often, are not 'worshipped' at all. Nature-Worship,
again, may exist where there is no Totemism, and Totemism where there
is no Nature-Worship, indeed where, as among the Arunta, there is,
strictly speaking, no worship, as far as we are informed.

Again (p. 351), 'Totemism' (as opposed to fetichism), 'is a
deification of classes.' But the term 'deification' implies the
possession, by the deifiers, of the conception of Deity; of gods, or
of a god. The Australians have totems, but, according to Lord Avebury,
have no notion of a god or gods. They 'possess merely certain vague
ideas as to the existence of evil spirits, and a general dread of
witchcraft' (p. 338). It is not clear, then, how they can 'deify'
classes of things, if they have no notion of deity. 'They do not
believe in the existence of a true Deity' (with a capital D), says Lord
Avebury, without defining what 'a _true_ Deity' is: and, contrary to
the evidence of Mr. Howitt and many others, he denies that 'morality is
in any way connected with their religion, if such it can be called' (p.

The authority cited is of 1859,[1] and is contradicted, for example,
by Mr. Howitt (1880-1890), who is not here quoted. It is clear that
Australian totems cannot result from the 'deification of classes,' if
the Australians have no conception of Deity, whether 'true' or not so

Lord Avebury remarks, 'True, myths do not occur among the lowest races'
(p. 355), whereas, with many others, myths of the origin of Totemism do
notably occur, as we have shown, among perhaps all totemistic races.
Perhaps we should read, deleting the comma, 'true myths do not occur
among the lowest races,' when the question as to what a 'true myth' is
again arises, as in the case of 'a true Deity.' Perhaps we must suppose
that by 'a true myth,' or a 'true Deity,' Lord Avebury implies a Deity
or a myth in accordance with his own conception of either.


'The worship of animals,' says our author (p. 275), 'is susceptible
of a very simple explanation, and perhaps, as I have ventured to
suggest,[2] may have originated from the practice of naming, first
individuals, and then their families, after particular animals. A
family, for instance, which was called after the bear, would come to
look on that animal first with interest, then with respect, and at
length with a sort of awe.' If by 'individuals,' male individuals
are intended, this theory is open to the objection that Lord Avebury
regards descent in the female as earlier than descent in the male line
(p. 164), while 'families' with enduring relations to their founders,
can hardly yet have been consciously envisaged, by his theory, at so
very rudimentary a stage. Moreover, we try to show that totem names
were, originally, group names, and were not derived from the personal
names of individuals, an opinion in which Mr. Haddon concurs. Lord
Avebury's theory is, apparently, that of Mr. Herbert Spencer, _minus_
the supposed worship of the ghost of the male ancestor and founder of
the family.


Lord Avebury assumes, as a working hypothesis, that 'the communal
marriage system ... represents the primitive and earliest social
condition of man....' (p. 102). The objections to this hypothesis we
have stated, though, of course, historic certainty cannot be attained.

Lord Avebury, assuming 'communal marriage' as the Primitive stage,
holds that it 'was gradually superseded by individual marriage founded
on capture, and that this led firstly to exogamy, and then to female
infanticide; thus reversing Mr. McLennan's order of sequence' (p.
108). 'Originally no man could appropriate a woman of his own _tribe_
exclusively to himself ... without infringing _tribal_ rights, but,
on the other hand, if a man captured a woman belonging to another
_tribe_, he thereby acquired an individual and peculiar right to
her, and she became his exclusively, no one else having any claim or
property in her' (p. 110). (I here italicise 'tribe' and 'tribal.' Lord
Avebury intends, I think, a woman of the same 'fire-circle' (p. 188),
not a woman of the _tribe_ understood as a large and inevitably not
primitive local aggregate of friendly groups of different totems, such
as the Arunta, Narrinyeri, Pawnees, and so forth.)

In brief, men would desire to appropriate to themselves some woman,
at first from beyond their own 'tribe.' This they could only do by
capture. Their individual right in her would be modified by the
disgusting license of the bridal night, which Lord Avebury regards as
'compensation' to the other males of the 'tribe' (pp. 138, 557-560).
That license I would rather explain as Mr. Crawley does: the topic does
not need to be insisted on at length in this place. Lord Avebury, at
all events, supposes that a form of capture finally came to be applied,
with results in individual marriage, to women of the same 'tribe' (p.
111). But if we have 'complete and conclusive evidence that in large
portions of Australia every man had the privilege of a husband over
every woman not belonging to his own gens; sharing, of course, these
privileges with every other man belonging to the same class or _gens_
as himself' (p. 112), I fail to see that a man gained anything by
enduring the trouble and risk of capturing a bride all to himself.
Before the capture she had been, it seems, the common spoil of the
males of her 'tribe;' when captured she was the common spoil of her
captor's 'class or _gens_'--though a 'class' and a _gens_ are not, I
think, identical, but much the reverse.

The rather promiscuous use of terms for different kinds of human
communities affected all the pioneer works on primitive society, and,
indeed, still perplexes our speculations. Thus Lord Avebury suggests
(p. 119) the case of four exogamous neighbouring 'tribes,' with kinship
traced through women. 'After a certain time the result would be that
each tribe would consist of four septs or 'clans' (totem kins?),
'representing the four original tribes, and hence we should find
communities in which each tribe is divided into clans, and a man must
always marry a woman of a different clan.'

We do not, perhaps, know any exogamous tribes in our sense of 'tribe;'
a Dieri is not obliged to marry out of the Dieri, or an Urabunna out
of the Urabunna. By 'tribe' here, it seems probable that Lord Avebury
intends not a large local aggregate, but 'a very small community,' for
he writes 'we have seen that, under the custom of communal marriage,
a child was regarded as related to the _tribe_, but not specially to
any particular father or mother. Such a 'state of things, indeed,
is only possible in very small communities.' Now a tribe is a very
large community. The members of such communities must have been poor
observers if they did not discover the relation between a child and the
woman who bore and, for several years, nursed it. But such 'tribes'
are not tribes in the sense in which I use the word; they are rather
'groups of the same hearth.' Now it is easy to see how small groups
of the same hearth became exogamous, namely through sexual jealousy,
and sexual tabu, which would oblige the young males to wander away, or
to get wives by capture, practices resulting, under the tabu, in the
sacred rule of exogamy. This, however, is not Lord Avebury's theory of
the origin of exogamy.

Lord Avebury's theory does not become more distinct when he says, 'In
Australia, where the same family names' (totem names?) 'are common
almost over the whole continent, no man may marry a woman whose family
name' (totem name?) 'is the same as his own' (here the Arunta are an
exception) 'and who belongs therefore to the same tribe' (p. 144).
But surely, if the 'family names' are 'common almost over the whole
continent,' a woman may well have the same 'family name' (say Emu) as
a man, and yet need not be of his tribe. An Arunta Emu man and a Dieri
Emu woman would have the same 'family name' (totem name), but would
not, therefore, 'belong to the same tribe.' It even appears that Lord
Avebury regards 'tribe' and 'clan' and 'family' as synonymous terms,
for, in proof of the statement that people of the same 'family name'
necessarily belong to the same 'tribe,' he quotes my late uncle, Mr.
Gideon Scott Lang, 'No man can marry a woman of the same clan, though
the parties be no way related according to our ideas.'[3] By 'clan' Mr.
Lang here meant totem kin, and if Lord Avebury thinks 'clan' equivalent
to 'tribe,' a 'tribe' must be a totem kin, which it is not; at least if
we understand 'tribe' as a local aggregate of various totem kindreds.

These perplexities are caused by a vague terminology, and occurred
naturally in a book of 1870, as they do in Mr. McLennan's own
pioneer works. But in 1903 we must try to aim at closer and more
exact distinctions and definitions, though we are still retarded and
perplexed by the lack of truly scientific nomenclature. As far as I can
perceive, Lord Avebury is apt to use 'family,' 'tribe,' 'clan,' and
'_gens_' as equivalents, while each of them, in various places, appears
to be understood as denoting a totem kindred. Thus (p. 181) 'under a
system of female descent combined with exogamy a man must marry out
of his tribe,' where 'tribe' seems to mean 'totem kin.' Compare p.
187: 'another general rule, in America as elsewhere, is that no one
may marry within his own clan or family,' where 'clan or family' like
'tribe' seems to mean 'totem kin.'

This use of terms makes it difficult for me to feel sure that I
apprehend Lord Avebury's theory correctly. However I take it to be
that, originally,'very small communities' ('tribes') lived in 'communal
marriage.' Nobody knew who was the son of what father or of what
mother, though, in a very small community one would expect the senior
vigorous male or males to prevent son-and-mother, or brother-and-sister
unions, by force, out of natural jealousy. This was not done, but some
males wanted wives to themselves in private property, and got them by
capture, paying 'compensation' in the license of the bridal night. But
a man might fall in love with a lass in his own 'tribe' ('very small
community') and want to keep _her_ to himself (p. 111). 'Hence would
naturally arise a desire on the part of many to extend the right of
capture, which originally had reference only to women of a different
tribe, and to apply it to all those belonging to their own.' Is 'tribe'
still used of 'a very small community,' or is it here employed in the
now more prevalent and much wider sense? If not, is the 'capture' now
a mere ceremonial formula? Apparently 'tribe,' now and here, does mean
(as elsewhere it does not) a large local aggregate, for we are next
told of 'the division of Australian tribes into classes or gentes'
(though a 'class' is one thing and a _gens_, if totem kin is meant, is
another thing), and of the '1,000 miles of wives,' who, by the theory,
are _not_ individual wives of individual men. Such wives, special
rights in such wives, were acquired 'originally by right of capture.'

But, when men possessed marital privileges, each 'over every woman not
belonging to his own _gens_; sharing, of course, these privileges with
every other man belonging to the same _gens_ or class as himself' (p.
112), where is the individual right acquired by capture? It seems that
each man, besides his '1,000 miles of wives' 'has his own individual
wife ... by right of capture.' Now the Urabunna have no such individual
wives, if, like Lord Avebury, we accept the statement of Messrs.
Spencer and Gillen (p. 63). But the Arunta have such individual wives.
Here it seems necessary for Lord Avebury, if he agrees with these
authors, to prove that the Arunta, unlike the Urabunna, do demonstrably
acquire their individual wives by capture. But no such demonstration
is produced. Till proof is offered I am unable to appreciate the force
of Lord Avebury's reasoning, while like Mr. Crawley, I doubt whether
individual marriage does not exist among the Urabunna, the Piraungaru
license not being, I conceive, a true survival of communal marriage,
but a peculiar institution.


Analysing Mr. Morgan's collection of names for relationships, Lord
Avebury (p. 182) says, 'in fact the idea of relationship, like that
of marriage, was founded, not upon duty, but upon power.' We try to
suggest that the classificatory names for relationships are, to a great
extent, expressive of status, seniority, and mutual duties and services
in the community--these duties and services themselves being gradually
established by power--the power of the seniors. Yet some terms analysed
by Lord Avebury have, linguistically, other sources. 'Wife,' in Cree,
is 'part of myself,' _dimidium animæ meæ_, these twain are one flesh.
Obviously this pretty term does not spring from 'communal marriage.'
In Chocta, 'husband' is 'he who leads me,'--again not communal, but
indicating the old-fashioned theory of wifely obedience. ('He who kicks
me' would suffice, in some civilised quarters.) 'Daughter-in-law,'
in Delaware, is 'my cook,' indicating service; and 'husband' is 'my
aid through life,' showing the advanced Homeric, or Christian, view
of marriage (pp. 180-181). 'Father' and 'Mother' in many African,
European and Asian, Non-Aryan, Oceanic, Australian, and, really in
Aryan languages, also often in America, are 'the easiest sounds which
a child can pronounce indicating father and mother' (pp. 442-449). If
babes could distinguish father and mother, these relationships, one
thinks, could not have been unknown to adults. They may be, and are,
extended in usage, so as to embrace what we call uncles and aunts and
seniors of the kin, but this, I try to argue, does not necessarily
imply that fatherhood and motherhood, owing to communal marriage, were
long unknown.

The result of Lord Avebury's analysis of Mr. Morgan's tables of terms
is to prove progress in the discrimination of degrees of kin, though
ancient sweeping terms occasionally survive among races fairly advanced
out of savagery. 'Relationship is, at first, regarded as a matter, not
of blood, but of tribal organisation' (p. 208). Here I agree that words
or terms for what we call relationship often do seem to denote status,
duty, service, and intermarriageableness in the community. But I do not
think that the ties of blood are thereby proved to have been unknown.
Maternity could not be doubtful, especially where the mother nursed
her child for several years.

Lord Avebury adds, 'the terms for what we call relationships are, among
the lower races of men, mere expressions for the results of marriage
customs, and do not comprise the idea of relationship as we understand
it' (p. 210).

For this reason, I think, we must avoid the fallacy of arguing as if
the terms _did_ denote 'relationship as we understand it,' when we
wish to prove a past of communal marriage. The terms indicate, in Lord
Avebury's words, 'the connection of individuals _inter se_, their
duties to one another, their rights, and the descent of their property.'

This is precisely my own opinion, and for this very reason I do not
hold that these terms arose in ignorance as to who was the mother,
or even the father, of a child. All the duties and rights, as Lord
Avebury says, 'are regulated more by the relation to the tribe than to
the family'--in our sense of 'family.' But this, in my view, proves
that the terms (in their present significance) are relatively late
and advanced, for the institution of the Tribe (as I understand the
word) implies the friendly combination of many totem kins, and of many
'fire-circles,' into the tribe, the large local aggregate. No such
combination can have been truly 'primitive.' But we have seen that
Lord Avebury seems to use 'tribe' in various places, as equivalent
to 'family,' 'clan,' _gens_, and, apparently, to 'totem kin.' Quite
possibly he means that the horde is prior to what I may call the
'fire-circle,' the 'very small community,' which, in places, he terms
'the tribe,' or so I understand him. If so, I cannot follow him here,
as I am not inclined to think that truly primitive man lived in hordes
of considerable numbers: the difficulties of supply, among other
reasons, make the idea improbable.

If I have failed to understand Lord Avebury, perhaps his somewhat
indeterminate terminology may plead my excuse.

[Footnote 1: 'Report of the Committee of the Legislative Council on
Aborigines.' Victoria, pp. 9, 69, 77.]

[Footnote 2: _Prehistoric Times_, p. 598.]

[Footnote 3: G. Scott Lang, _The Aborigines of Australia_, p. 10.]



Up to this point, we have treated of totems just as we find them in
savage practice. We have seen that totem names are the titles of
groups of kindred, real or imagined; they are derived from animals,
plants, and other natural objects; they appear among tribes who
reckon descent either on the sword or spindle side, and the totem
name of each group is usually (but not in the case of the Arunta)
one mark of the exogamous limit. None may marry a person of the same
totem name. But, in company with this prohibition, is found a body of
myths, superstitions, rites, magical practices, and artistic uses of
the totem.[1] We have shown (Chapter II.) that we cannot move a step
without a clear and consistent hypothesis of the origins of Totemism.
This we now try to produce.


Savages, both in their groups of kin, in their magical societies, or
clubs, and privately, as individuals, are apt to regard certain beasts,
plants, and so on, as the guardians of the group, of the society,
and of the private person. To these animal guardians, whether of the
individual, the society, or the group of kin, they show a certain
amount of reverence and respect. That reverence naturally takes much
the same forms--the inevitable forms--as of not killing or eating the
animal, occasionally praying to it, or of burying dead representatives
of the species, as may happen. But I am unaware that the savage ever
calls his _personal_ selected animal or plant, or the guardian animal
of his magical _society_ (except among the Arunta, where the totem
groups are evolving into magical clubs), by the same term as he applies
to the hereditary guardian of his group of kindred; his totem, as I
use the word. If I am right, this distinction has been overlooked, or
thought insignificant, by some modern inquirers. Major. Powell, the
Director of the Ethnological Bureau at Washington, appears to apply,
the word totem both to the chosen animal friend of the individual,
and to that of the magical society in America, which includes men of
various group totems.[2] He also applies it to the totem of the kin.

Mr. Frazer, too, writes of (1) The Clan Totem, (2) The Sex Totem
(in Australia), (3) 'The Individual Totem, belonging to a single
individual, and not passing to his descendants,' and even indicates
that one savage may have five totems.[3] This third rule as to the
non-hereditable character of 'the individual totem' has, since Mr.
Frazer wrote in 1887, been found to admit of more exceptions than we
then knew. In a few cases and places, the animal selected by, or for,
the private individual, is found to descend to his or her children.
In my opinion it is better, for the present at least, to speak of
such protective animals of _individuals_, by the names which their
savage _protégés_ give to them in each case: _nyarongs_ (Sarawak)
'bush-souls,' (Calabar) _naguals_, (Central America) _manitus_ (?) as
among the Algonquins, _Yunbeai_ in some Australian dialects, and so
forth.[4] I myself here use 'totem' only of the object which lends its
name, hereditarily, to a group of kin.


This restriction I make, not for the purpose of simplifying the problem
of totemism by disregarding 'the individual totem,' 'the sex totem,'
and so on, but because I understand that savages everywhere use one
word for their hereditary kin totem, and other words for the plant or
animal protectors of individuals, of magical societies, and so forth.
The true totem is a plant or animal or other thing, the hereditary
friend and ally--of the kin--but all plant or animal allies of
individuals or of magical societies are not totems. Though the attitude
of a private person to his _nagual_, or of a magical society to its
protective animal, may often closely resemble the attitude of the group
to its hereditary totem, still, the origin of this attitude of respect
may be different in each case.

This is obvious, for the individual or society deliberately adopts an
animal protector and friend, usually suggested in a dream, after a
fast, whereas we can scarcely conceive that the totem was deliberately
adopted by the first members of the first totem groups. Savages look
on animals as personalities like themselves, but more powerful, gifted
with more wakan, or _mana_, or cosmic _rapport_: each man, therefore,
and each organised magical society, looks out for, and, for some reason
of dream or divination, adopts, a special animal friend. But it is
hard to believe that the members of a primeval human group of unknown
antiquity, consciously and deliberately made a compact to adopt, and
for ever be faithful to--this or that plant, animal, element, or the
like--to be inherited in the female line. For, on this plan, the group,
say Wolves, instantly loses the totem it has adopted.

We cannot prove that it was not so, that a primitive group of
rudimentary human beings did not make a covenant with Bear, or Wolf,
as Israel did with Jehovah, and as an individual savage does with his
_nyarong_, or _nagual_, or manitu. This covenant, if made and kept by
each group, would be the Origin of Totemism. But, with female descent,
the covenant could not be kept. I am not certain that this theory,
involving joint and deliberate selection and retention of a totem, by
a primeval human group, has ever been maintained, unless it be by Mr.
Jevons. 'The primary object of a totem alliance between a human kin and
an animal kind is to obtain a supernatural ally against supernatural
foes.'[5] The term 'supernatural' seems here out of place--both the
animal kind and the human kin being natural; and one has a difficulty
in conceiving that very early groups of kin would make, and would
adhere to, such alliances. Indeed, how could they adhere to their
totems, when these descended through women of alien totem groups? But
there seems to be nothing otherwise impossible or self-contradictory in
this theory; nor can it be disproved, for lack of evidence. Only such
theories as are self-contradictory, or inconsistent with the known and
admitted facts of the case, are capable of absolute disproof.

It may, of course, be objected here that, though totems, in actual
savage society, descend sometimes in the female line, still, descent
in the male line may be the original rule; and that thus a group,
like an individual, could seek, make a covenant with, and cleave to
a grub, or frog, or lizard, as a supernatural ally. But, for reasons
already indicated, in an earlier part of this work, I conceive that,
originally, totems descended in the female line only. One reason for
this opinion is that, as soon as descent of the totem comes by the
male line, a distinct step in the upward movement towards civilisation
and a settled life is made. It is not very probable that the backward
step, from reckoning by male lineage to descent in the female line,
has often been taken. On the other hand, tribes which now inherit the
totem in the male line, exhibit in their institutions many survivals of
female descent. An instance is that of the Mandans, as recorded by Mr.
Dorsey.[6] Among the Melanesians, where female descent still exists,
there is at work the most obvious tendency towards descent through
males, as Dr. Codrington proves in an excellent work on that people.
Dr. Durkheim, too, has pointed out the traces of uterine descent among
the Arunta, who now reckon in the male line.[7] On the other hand,
where we find descent in the male line, I am not aware that we discover
signs of movement in the opposite direction. In this opinion that, as
a general rule, descent was reckoned in the female, not the male line,
originally, I have the support of Mr. E. B. Tylor.[8] For these reasons
the hypothesis of the selection of and covenant with a 'supernatural
ally,' plant or animal, by the deliberate joint action of an early
group, at a given moment, involving staunch adherence to the original
resolution, rather strains belief; and a suggestion perhaps more
plausible will be offered later.


As to the precise original meaning and form of the word usually written
'totem'--whether it should be 'totam,' or 'toodaim,' or 'dodaim,' or
'ododam,' or 'ote,' philologists may dispute.[9] They may question
whether the word means 'mark,' or 'family,' or 'tribe,' or clay for
painting the family mark.[10] When we here use the word 'totem' we
mean, at all events, the object which gives its name to a group of
savage kindred, who may not marry within this hereditary name. In place
of 'totem' we might use the equivalent murdu of the Dieri, or gaura of
the Kunundaburi.[11]


The 'cult,' if it deserves to be called a 'cult,' of the totem, among
savages, is not confined to abstention from marriage within the name.
Each kin usually abstains from killing, eating, or in any way using
its totem (except in occasional ceremonies, religious or magical),
is apt to claim i descent from or kindred with it, or alternations
of metamorphosis into or out of it, and sometimes uses its effigy on
memorial pillars, on posts carved with a kind of genealogical tree, or
tattoos or paints or scarifies it on the skin--in different cases and

To what extent the blood-feud is taken up by all members of the slain
man's totem, I am not fully aware: it varies in different regions. The
eating or slaying of the totem, by a person of the totem name, is in
places believed to be punished by disease or death, a point which the
late Mr. J. J. Atkinson observed among the natives of New Caledonia
(MS. _penes me_). Mr. Atkinson happened to be conversing with some
natives on questions of anthropology, when his servant brought in a
lizard which he had killed. On this one of the natives exhibited great
distress, saying, 'Why have you killed my father? we were talking of my
father, and he came to us' The son (his name was Jericha) then wrapped
the dead lizard up in leaves, and reverently laid the body in the bush.
This was not a case like that of the Zulu _Idhlozi_, the serpents
that haunt houses, and are believed to be the vehicles of the souls
of dead kinsfolk. The other natives present had for their 'father,'
one, a mouse, the other a pigeon, and so on. If any one ate his animal
'father,' sores broke out on him, and Mr. Atkinson was shown a woman
thus afflicted, for having eaten her 'father.' But I do not find, in
his papers, that a man with a mouse for father might not marry a woman
of the mouse set, nor have I elsewhere been able to ascertain what is
New-Caledonian practice on this point.[12] When Mr. Atkinson made
these observations (1874), he had only heard of totems in the novels of
Cooper and other romancers.


This example is here cited because, as far as I am aware, no other
anthropologist has observed this amount of Totemism in New Caledonia.
Students are divided into those who have a bias in favour of finding
totemism everywhere; and those who aver, with unconcealed delight,
that in this or the other place there are no totems. Such negative
statements must always be received with caution. An European may live
long among savages before he really knows them; and, without possessing
totemism in full measure, many races retain obvious fragments of the

Mr. Tylor has censured the use of the terms 'totems' and 'totem clans'
with respect to the Fijians and Samoans, where certain animals, not
to be eaten, are believed to be vehicles or shrines of certain gods.
It is a very probable conjecture (so probable, I think, as almost to
amount to a certainty), that the creatures which are now the shrines
of Fijian or Samoan gods of the family, or of higher gods, were once
totems in an earlier stage of Samoan and Fijian society and belief. As
I have said elsewhere, 'in totemistic countries the totem is respected
himself; in Samoa the animal is worshipful because a god abides within
him. This appears to be a theory by which the reflective Samoans have
explained to themselves what was once pure Totemism.'[13] But I must
share in Mr. Tylor's protest against using the name of 'totem' for a
plant or animal which is regarded as the shrine of a god. Such thorough
totemists as some of the North American Indians, or the Australians, do
not explain their totems as the shrines of gods, for they have no such
gods to serve as explanations. That myth appears to be the Samoan or
Fijian way of accounting for the existence of worshipful and friendly
plants and animals.

Thus, at all events, and unluckily, the phrase 'the totem-god' is
introduced into our speculations, and the cult of the 'totem-god' is
confused with the much more limited respect paid by savages to actual
totems. However attractive the theory of 'the totem-god' may be, we
cannot speak of 'totems' where a god incarnate in a plant or animal is
concerned. Such a deity may be a modified survival of Totemism, but a
totem he is not. Moreover, it is hardly safe to say that, in the Samoan
case, the god is 'developed from a totem;' we only know that the god
has got into suspiciously totemistic society. On the whole, we cannot
be too cautious in speaking of totems and Totemism: and we must be
specially careful not to exaggerate the more or less religious respect
with which totems are, in many cases, regarded. The Australians, as
far as they have the idea of a creative being, Baiame, Nooreli, and so
forth, do not regard their totems as shrines or incarnations of him.
That appears to be the speculation of peoples who, probably by way of
animism, and ancestor-worship, are already in the stage of polytheism.
Totems, in their earliest known stage, have very little to do with
religion, and probably, in origin, had nothing really religious about


Peoples who are still in the totemistic stage, as we have seen, know
nothing about the beginnings of the institution. All that they tell
the civilised inquirers is no more than the myth handed down by their
own tradition. Thus the Dieri or Dieyrie, in Australia, say that the
totems were appointed by the ancestors, for the purpose of regulating
marriages, after consultation with Mura Mura, or with 'the' Muramura.
The Woeworung, according to Mr. Howitt, have a similar legend.[14]
It is not necessary here to ask whether Mura Mura is 'the Supreme
Being' (Gason, Howitt), or 'ancestral spirits' (Fison).[15] The most
common savage myth is of the Darwinian variety, each totem kin is
descended from, or evolved out of, the plant or animal type which
supplies its totem. Again, as in fairy tales, a woman gave birth to
animals, whence the totem kins derive their descent. In North-West
America, totems are often accounted for by myths of ancestral heroes.
'The Tlingit' (Thlinket) 'hold that souls of ancestors are reborn in
children, that a man will be reborn as a man, a wolf as a wolf, a raven
as a raven.' Nevertheless, the totems are regarded as 'relatives and
protectors,' and it is explained that, in the past, a human ancestor
had an adventure with this or that animal, whence he assumed his totem
armorial bearings.[16] In precisely the same way a myth, a very late
myth, was invented, about the adventure of a Stewart with a lion, to
account for the Lyon of the Stewarts.[17] The Haidas and Thlinkets,
believing as they do that human souls are reborn human, cannot hold
that a bestial soul animates a man, say, of the Raven totem.

The Arunta, on the other hand, suppose that the souls of animals
which evolved into human beings, are reincarnated in each child born
to the tribe. 'Two clans of Western Australia, who are named after a
small opossum and a little fish, think that they are so called because
they used to live chiefly on these creatures.'[18] This myth has some
support in modern opinion: the kins, it is argued, received their
totem names from the animals and plants which mainly formed their
food supply; though now their totems are seldom eaten by them. These
legends, and others, are clearly ætiological myths, like the Samoan
hypothesis that gods are incarnate in the totems. The myths merely try
to explain the original connection between men and totems, and are
constructed on the lines of savage ideas about the relations of all
things in the universe, all alike being personal, and rational, and
capable of interbreeding, and of shape-shifting. Certain Kalamantans
of Sarawak will not eat a species of deer, because 'an ancestor became
a deer of this kind.'[19] All such fables, of course, are valueless as
history; and, in the savage state of the intellect, such myths were


Mr. McLennan himself at first had a theory, which, as far as I heard
him speak of it, was more or less akin to my own. But he abandoned
it, says his brother, Mr. Daniel McLennan, for reasons that to him
appeared conclusive. I ought to mention that Mr. A. H. Keane informed
me, several years ago, that he had independently evolved a theory akin
to mine, of which, as it then stood, I had published some hint. (For a
statement of Mr. Keane's theory see our Preface.) In 1884[20] I wrote,
'People united by contiguity, and by the blind sentiment of kinship
not yet brought into explicit consciousness, might mark themselves by
a badge, and might thence derive a name, and, later, might invent a
myth of their descent from the object which the badge represented.' But
why should such people mark themselves by a badge, and why, if they
did, should the mark be, not a decorative or symbolic pattern, but the
representation of a plant or animal? These questions I cannot answer,
and my present guess is not identical with that of 1884.

Meanwhile let us keep one point steadily before our minds. Totemism,
at a first glance, seems a perfectly crazy and irrational set of
beliefs, and we might think, with Dr. Johnson, that there is no use in
looking for reason among the freaks of irrational people. But man is
never irrational. His reason for doing this, or believing that, may
seem a bad reason to us, but a reason he always had for his creeds
and conduct, and he had a reason for his totem belief, a reason in
congruity with his limited knowledge of facts, and with his theory
of the universe. For all things he wanted an explanation. Now what
he wanted a reason for, in Totemism, was the nature and origin of
the connection between his own and the neighbouring groups, and the
plant or animal names which they bore. Messrs. Spencer and Gillen
write, 'what gave rise, in the first instance, to the association of
particular men with particular animals and plants, it is impossible
to say.' But it is not impossible to guess, with more or less of
probability. The connection once established, savages guessed at
its origin: their guesses, as always, were myths, and were of every
conceivable kind. The myth of descent from or kinship with the animal
or plant, the Darwinian myth, does not stand alone. Every sort of myth
was fashioned, was believed, and influenced conduct. Our business is to
form our own guess as to the original connection between men and their
totems: a guess which shall be consistent with human nature.


Many such guesses by civilised philosophers exist. We need not dwell
long on that of Mr. Max Müller, akin, as it is, to my own early
conjecture, 'a totem is a clan mark, then a clan name, then the name of
the ancestor of the clan, and lastly the name of something worshipped
by the clan.'[21] We need not dwell on this, because the kind of
'clan mark' on a pillar outside of the quarters of the clan, in a
village, is peculiar to North America, and to people dwelling in fixed
settlements. Among the nomadic Australians, we have totemism without
the settlements, without the totem pillar, without the 'clan mark,' on
the pillar, which, thus, cannot be the first step in Totemism. Again,
the 'clan name,' or group name, must be earlier than the 'clan mark,'
which merely expresses it, just as my name is prior to my visiting
card, or as the name of an inn, 'The Red Lion,' is prior to the sign
representing that animal. Obviously we have to ask first, _whence comes
the clan name, or group name?_


In a passage on animal-worship, Mr. Herbert Spencer (unless I
misconceive him) advances a theory of the origin of Totemism. True, he
does not here speak of totems, but he suggests an hypothesis to explain
why certain stocks claim descent from animals, and why these animals
are treated by them with more or less of religious regard. Actual men,
in savagery, are often called by 'animal nicknames,' and we cannot be
surprised if the savage ... gets the idea that an ancestor named 'the
tiger' was an actual tiger ... Inevitably, then, he grows up believing
that his father descended from a tiger--thinking of himself as one of
the tiger stock.[22]

It were superfluous to dwell on this theory. Totem names are group
names; and, as they occur where group names are derived from the
mother, they cannot have originated in the animal nicknames of
individual dead grandfathers. The names of the dead are usually tabued
and forgotten; but that is of no great moment. The point is that such
group names are derived through mothers, in the first instance, not
through male founders of families.[23]

No theory which starts from an individual male ancestor, and his name
bequeathed to his descendants, can be correct. That Mr. Spencer's does
start in this way may be inferred from the following text: 'commonly
the names of the clans which are forbidden to intermarry, such as Wolf,
Bear, Eagle, Whale, &c., are names given to men, implying, as I have
before contended (170-173), descent from distinguished male ancestors
bearing those names--descent which, notwithstanding the system of
female kinship, was remembered when there was pride in the connection.'

A brief-lived joy in the name of which the male ancestor's descendants
were proud, left them, in the second generation, under exogamy and
female kin. Thus my father was nicknamed 'Tiger.' Proud of the title,
I call myself Tiger. But I must marry a woman who is Not-Tiger, and my
offspring are Not-Tigers. My honour hath departed!


The hypotheses of Mr. J. G. Frazer are purely provisional. He starts
from the idea, so common in _Märchen_, of the person whose 'soul,'
'life,' or 'strength' is secretly hidden in an animal, plant, or other
object. The owner of the soul wraps the 'soul-box' up in a mystery,
it is the central secret of his existence, for he may be slain by
any one who can discover and destroy his 'soul-box.' Next Mr. Frazer
offers many cases of this actual belief and practice among savage and
barbarous peoples; and, as a freak or survival, the idea is found even
among the civilised. We meet the superstition in the Melanesian group
of islands (where Totemism is all but extinct), and perhaps among
the Zulus, with their serpent Idhlozi, whose life is associated with
their own. Mr. Atkinson's New-Caledonians, however, did not think
that death inflicted on their animal 'fathers' involved danger to
themselves, though it distressed them, as an outrage to sentiment.
Then we have the 'bush-souls' (one soul out of four in the possession
of each individual), among the natives of Calabar. These souls, Miss
Kingsley wrote, are never in plants, but always in _wild_ beasts, and
are recognisable only by second-sighted men. The 'bush-soul' of a man
is often that of his sons: the daughters often inherit the mother's
'bush-soul:' or children of both sexes may take the bush-soul of either
father or mother. The natives will not injure their bush-soul beasts.
Nothing is known as to prohibition of marriage between persons of the
same bush-soul. Here we have really something akin to the totem, the
bush-souls being hereditary, at least for one generation. But this is
among a house-dwelling, agricultural people, far above the state of
real savagery: not among a 'primitive' people.

The Zapotecs of Central America, again, choose, by a method of
divination, 'a _tona_ or second self,' an animal, for each child, at
its birth. It is, by the nature of the case, not hereditable. The
_nagual_, usually a beast, of each Indian of Guatemala is well known;
and is discovered, on the monition of a dream, by each individual.
Therefore it cannot be hereditable. The sexes, in Australia, have each
a friendly and protecting species of animal; say a Bat for all men,
a Nightjar for all women: indeed, in Australia, all the elements of
nature have their place in the cosmic tribe. To injure the animal of
either sex, is to injure one of the sex. There is no secret about the

Mr. Frazer then argues, 'the explanation which holds good of the one'
(say 'the sex totem,' or 'personal totem'), 'ought equally to hold good
of the other' (the group totem). 'Therefore, the reason why a tribe'
(I venture to prefer 'group,' or 'kin,' as there are many totems in
each 'tribe') 'revere a particular species of animals or plants ... and
call themselves after it, would seem to be a belief that the life of
each individual of the tribe is bound up with some one plant or animal
of the species, and that his or her death would be the consequence of
killing that particular animal or destroying that particular plant.'
Mr. Frazer thinks that 'this explanation squares well' with Sir George
Grey's description of a _Kobong_ or totem in Western Australia. There,
a native gives his totem 'a fair show' before killing it, always
affording it a chance of escape, and never killing it in its sleep.
He only does not shoot his kindred animal _sitting_, and his plant
he only spares 'in certain circumstances, and at a particular period
of the year.' Mr. Frazer writes that as the man does not know which
individual of the species of plant or animal 'is specially dear to him,
he is obliged to spare them all, for fear of injuring the dear one.'
But the man, it seems from Grey's account, does not 'spare' any of
them; he kills or plucks them, 'reluctantly,' and in a sportsmanlike
manner, 'never without affording them a chance of escape.' In a case of
Sir George Grey's, the killing of a crow hastened the death of a man of
the Crow totem, who had been ailing for some days. But the Australians
do not think that to kill a man's totem is to kill the man. Somebody's
totem is killed whenever any animal is slain. Mr. Frazer now finds that
the Battas, for example, 'do not in set terms affirm their external
soul to be in their totems,' and I am not aware that any totemists do
make this assertion. They freely offer all other sorts of mythical
explanations as to what their totems originally were, as to the origin
of their connection with their totems, but never say that their totems
are their 'soul-boxes.'

Mr. Frazer has an answer to this objection. 'How close must be the
concealment, how impenetrable the reserve in which he' (the savage)
'hides the inner keep and citadel of his being.' The Giant, in the
_Märchen_, tries to keep the secret of his 'soul-box,' much more
then does 'the timid and furtive savage.' 'No inducement that can be
offered is likely to tempt him to imperil his soul by revealing its
hiding-place to a stranger. It is, therefore, no matter for surprise
that the central mystery of the savaged life should so long have
remained a secret, and that we should be left to piece it together from
scattered hints and fragments, and from the recollections of it which
linger in fairy tales.'

On reflection, we cannot but see the flaw in this reasoning. No savage
has revealed _to European inquirers_ that his totem is his 'soul-box.'
_But every other savage knows his fatal secret_. Every savage, well
aware that his own totem is the hiding-place of his soul, knows that
the totems of his enemies are the hiding-places of _their_ souls.
He wants to kill his enemies, and he has an easy mode of doing so,
to shoot down every specimen of their totems. His enemies will then
die, when he is lucky enough to destroy their 'soul-boxes.' Now I am
not aware, in the destructive magic of savages, of a single case in
which a totem is slain, or tortured for the purpose of slaying or
torturing a man of that totem. All other sorts of sympathetic magic
are practised, but where is the evidence for that sort, which ought to
be of considerable diffusion?[24] The supposed 'secret' of savage life
is no secret to other savages. Each tells any inquirer what his 'clay'
or totem is. He blazons his totem proudly. The nearest approach to
invidious action, against a totem, with which I am acquainted, is the
killing by the Kurnai women, of the men's 'sex totem,' when the young
men are backward wooers. The purpose is to produce a fight between lads
and lasses, a rude form of flirtation, after which engagements, or
elopements, are apt to follow.[25]

Mr. Frazer tentatively suggests another, a rival or a subsidiary
solution of the problem, to which reference has already been made.
Among the Arunta and other tribes, 'the totemic system has a much wider
scope, its aim being to provide the community with a supply of food
and all other necessaries by means of certain magical ceremonies, the
performance of which is distributed among the various totem groups.'
That is to say, these totemic magical ceremonies _now_ exist for
the purpose of propagating, as part of the food supply, animals or
vegetables, which, by the former theory, were the secret receptacles of
the lives of the tribesmen. To kill and eat these sacred receptacles
would endanger the lives of the tribesmen, but to risk _that_ is quite
in accordance with the practical turn of the Arunta mind. Mr. Frazer
has, however, suggested a possible method of reconciling his earlier
hypothesis--that a totem was a soul-box--with his later theory,
that the primal object of totem groups was to breed their totems for

Mr. Frazer observes, 'It is not as yet clear how far the particular
theory of Totemism suggested by the Central Australian system is of
general application, and ... in the uncertainty which still hangs over
the origin and meaning of Totemism, it seems scarcely worth while to
patch up an old theory which the next new facts may perhaps entirely
demolish.' He then cites the Arunta belief that their ancestors of
'the dream time' (who were men evolved out of animals or plants, these
objects being their totems) kept their souls (like the Giant of the
fairy tale) in stone _churingas_ (a kind of amulets) which they hung on
poles when they went out hunting. We have thus a _va-et-vient_ between
each man, and the spirit of the plant or animal out of which he, or his
human ancestor, was evolved. That spirit (in origin the spirit of an
animal or plant) is now handed down with the stone _churinga_, and is
reincarnated in each child, who is thus, an incarnation of the original
totem. Such is the Arunta theory, and thus each living Arunta is the
totem's soul-box, while, to savage reasoners, the totem soul may,
perhaps, seem also to tenant simultaneously each plant or animal of its

This is a theory of Totemism;[27] but, so far, we only know the facts
on which it is based among one extraordinary tribe of anomalous
development. We have still to ask, what was the original connection of
the men with the plants and animals, which the Arunta explain by their
myth? Was that connection originally one of magic-working, by each
group, for its totem species, and, if so, why or how did the groups
first select their plants and animals? Mr. Haddon's theory, presently
to be criticised, may elucidate that point of departure.


As I am writing, a theory, or suggestion, by Mr. N. W. Thomas appears
in _Man_ (1902, No. 85). Mr. Thomas begins with the spirit which dwells
in an African fetich, and becomes the servant of its owner. The magical
apparatus 'may be a bag of skin containing parts of various animals.
Such an animal may be the familiar of the owner, his messenger, or
an evil spirit that possesses him;' similar beliefs are held about
the wer-wolf. Now the American-Indian has _his_ 'medicine bag.' 'The
contents are the skin, feathers, or other part of the totem animal.'

_Distinguo_: they are parts, not of the 'totem animal,' but of the
adopted animal of the individual, often called his _manitu_. If we say
'the totem animal,' we beg the question; we identify the totem with
the _manitu_ of the individual. It may be true, as Mr. Thomas says,
that 'the basis of _individual_ Totemism seems to be the same as that
of fetishism,' but I am not discussing 'individual Totemism,' but real
group Totemism. Mr. Thomas also is clear on this point, but, turning to
Australia, he says that 'the individual totem seems to be confined to
the medicine-man.' From information by Mrs. Langloh Parker, I doubt the
truth of this idea. A confessedly vague reminiscence of Mr. Rusden does
not help us. Speaking of an extinct tribe on the Hunter River, N.S.W.,
he says that he 'does not recollect all their class divisions, Yippai'
(Ippai), 'and Kombo' (Kumbo). 'Apropos of the generic names' (whatever
these may be) 'the Geawe-gal had a superstition that _every one_ had
within himself an affinity to the _spirit_ of some beast, bird, or
reptile. Not that he sprang from the creature in any way' (as is a
common totemic myth), 'but that the spirit which was in him was akin
to that of the creature.' This is vague. Mr. Rusden does not say that
his native informant said, that the 'spirit' was the man's totem in
each case.[28] But Mr. Thomas, on this evidence, writes: 'This belief
suggests that the interpretation suggested for individual Totemism
can also be applied to clan Totemism,' apparently because, among the
extinct tribe, not only sorcerers, but, in this case, every one was the
receptacle of an animal (not a plant) spirit. But obviously the animal
spirits of the Geawe-gal may be the spirits--not of their group totems,
if they had any--but of their individual _manitus_, which we do not
know to be confined to sorcerers. Every one is a sorcerer, better or
worse, in a society where every one works magic.

Next, the wer-wolf has a way of returning 'to look at' (to _eat_, I
think) the body of his victim. Now in North Queensland, as in Scotland,
the body of a dead man is surrounded with dust or ashes (flour in
Scotland), and the dust is inspected, to find the tracks of some bird
or animal.[29] From such marks, if any, 'the totem of the malefactor is
inferred.' The malefactor is the person who, by the usual superstition,
is thought magically to have caused the death of the tribesman. 'These
facts seem best interpreted if we suppose that in North Queensland
the sorcerer is believed to return in animal form, and that the form
is that of his totem, for in no other way does it seem possible to
identify the man's totem by observing the footsteps.'

Is the man's group totem meant? If so, the process could not
identify 'the malefactor,' there are hundreds of men of his totem.
Is his _manitu_ or 'individual totem' meant? Then the process might
be successful, but has no concern with the origin of hereditary
kin-Totemism. Indeed Mr. Thomas 'leaves the applicability of the theory
to group Totemism for subsequent consideration.' We shall show--indeed,
in Mr. Herbert Spencer's case we have shown--the difficulty of deriving
kin-Totemism from the manitu, or 'obsessing spirit' if Mr. Thomas
pleases, of the individual. This point, as is said, Mr. Thomas reserves
for later consideration.


We now come to a theory which exists in many shapes, but in all is
vitiated, I think, by the same error of reasoning. Mr. Tylor, however,
has lent at least a modified approval to the hypothesis as mooted by
the late Dutch anthropologist, Dr. Wilken, of Leyden. Mr. Tylor writes,
'if it does not completely solve the totem problem, at any rate it
seems to mark out its main lines.' Unluckily the hypothesis of Dr.
Wilken is perhaps the least probable of all. The materials are found,
not in a race so comparatively early as the Australians or Adamanese,
but among the settled peoples of Malay, Sumatra, and Melanesia. By
them, in their Tables of Precedence, 'the Crocodile is regarded as
equal in rank to the Dutch Resident.' Crocodiles are looked on as near
kinsmen of men, who, when they die, expect to become crocodiles. To
kill crocodiles is murder. 'So it is with tigers, whom the Sumatrans
worship and call ancestors.'

Mr. Tylor observes, 'Wilken sees in this transmigration of souls
the link which connects Totemism with ancestor-worship,' and thinks
that Dr. Codrington's remarks on Melanesian ways add weight to this
opinion. In Melanesia, as Dr. Codrington reports, an influential man,
before his death, will lay a ban, or tabu, on something, say a banana,
or a pig. He says that he 'will be in' a shark, a banana, a bird, a
butterfly, or what not. Dr. Codrington's informant, Mr. Sleigh of Lifu,
says 'that creature would be sacred to his family,' they would call
it 'papa,' and 'offer it a young cocoa-nut.' '_But they did not adopt
thus the name of a tribe_.' The children of papa, who chose to be a
butterfly (like Mr. Thomas Haynes Bailey) do not call themselves 'The
Butterflies,' nor does the butterfly name mark their exogamous limit.
Mr. Tylor concludes, 'an ancestor, having lineal descendants among men
and sharks, or men and owls, is thus the founder of a totem family,
which mere increase may convert into a totem clan, already provided
with its animal name.' This conclusion is tentative, and put forth with
Mr. Tylor's usual caution. But, as a matter of fact, no totem kin is
actually founded thus, for example, in Melanesia. The institutions
of that region, as we are to show, really illustrate the way out of,
not the way into, Totemism. Moreover the theory, as expressed by
Mr. Tylor in the words cited, must be deemed unfortunate because it
takes for granted that 'the Patriarchal theory' of the origin of the
so-called 'clan,' or totem group, is correct. A male ancestor founds
a family, which swells, 'by natural increase,' into a 'clan.' The
ancestor is worshipped under the name of Butterfly, his descendants,
the clan founded by him, are named Butterflies. But all this can only
happen where male ancestors are remembered, and are worshipped, where
descent is reckoned in the male line, and where, as among ourselves, a
remembered male ancestor founds a House, as Tam o' the Cowgate founded
the House of Haddington. In short Dr. Wilken has slipped back into
the Patriarchal theory. Now, among totemists like the Australians,
ancestors are not remembered, their names are tabued, they are not
worshipped, they do not found families, where descent is reckoned in
the female line.[30]


An interesting variant of this theory is offered, as regards the Omaha
tribe of North America, by Miss Alice Fletcher, whose knowledge of the
inner mind of that people is no less remarkable than her scientific
caution.[31] The conclusion of Miss Fletcher's valuable essay shows,
at a glance, that her hypothesis contains the same fundamental error
as that of Dr. Wilken: namely, the totem of the kin is derived from
the _manitu_, or personal friendly object of an individual, a male
ancestor. This cannot, we repeat, hold good for that early stage of
society which reckons descent in the female line, and in which male
ancestors do not found houses, clans, names, or totem kins.

The Omaha men, at puberty, after prayer and fasting, choose manitus
suggested in dreams or visions. Miss Fletcher writes, 'As totems could
be obtained but in one way--through the rite of the vision, the totem
of a _gens_ must have come into existence in that manner, and must
have represented the manifestation of an ancestor's vision, that of a
man whose ability and opportunity served to make him the founder of a
family, of a group of kindred who dwelt together, fought together, and
learned the value of united strength.'[32]

This explanation obviously cannot explain the Origin of Totemism among
tribes where descent is reckoned in the female line, and where no
man becomes 'the founder of a family.' The Omaha, a house-dwelling,
agricultural tribe, with descent in the male line, with priests,
and departmental gods, a tribe, too, among whom the manitu is not
hereditable, can give us no line as to the origin of Totemism. Miss
Fletcher's theory demands the hereditable character of the individual
manitu, and yet it is never inherited.


Mr. Hill Tout has evolved a theory out of the customs of the aborigines
of British Columbia, among whom 'the clan totems are a development of
the personal or individual totem or tutelar spirit.' The Salish tribes,
in fact, seek for 'sulia, or tutelar spirits,' and these 'gave rise to
the personal totem,' answering to _manitu, nyarong, nagual_, and so
forth. 'From the personal and family crest is but a step to the clan
crest.' Unluckily, with descent in the female line, the step cannot
be taken. Mr. Hill Tout takes a village-inhabiting tribe, a tribe of
village communities, as one in which Totemism is only nascent. 'The
village community apparently formed the original unit of organisation.'
But the Australians, who have not come within measurable distance of
the village community, have already the organisation of the totem kin.
Interesting as is Mr. Hill Tout's account of the Salish Indians, we
need not dwell longer on an hypothesis which makes village communities
prior to the evolution of Totemism. What he means by saying that 'the
_gens_ has developed into the clan,' I am unable to conjecture. The
school of Major Powell use '_gens_' of a totem kin with male, 'clan'
of a totem kin with female descent. Mr. Hill Tout cannot mean that
male descent is being converted into descent in the female line? As he
writes of 'a four-clan system, each clan being made up of groups of
_gentes_,' he may take a 'clan' to signify what is usually called a


Among other efforts to show how the hereditary totem of a group might
be derived from the special animal or plant friend of an individual
male, may be noticed that of Messrs. Hose and McDougall.[34] The
Ibans, or Sea Dyaks of Sarawak, are probably of Malay stock, and are
'a very imitative people,' of mixed, inconsistent, and extravagant
beliefs. They have a god of agriculture, and, of course, are therefore
remote from the primitive; being rice-farmers. They respect nyarongs,
or 'spirit helpers,' though Mr. Hose lived among them for fourteen
years without knowing what a nyarong is. 'It seems usually to be the
spirit of some ancestor, or dead relative, but not always so....' The
spirit first appears to an Iban in a dream, in human form, and the
Iban, on awaking, looks for the _nyarong_ in any casual beast, or
quartz crystal, or queer root or creeper. So far the _nyarong_ is a
fetish. Only about two per cent, of men have _nyarongs_. If the thing
be an animal, the Iban respects the other creatures of the species.
'In some cases the cult of a _nyarong_ will spread through a whole
family or household.' Australian individuals have also their secret
animal friends, like _nyarongs_ and _naguals_, but these are never
hereditary. What _is_ hereditary is the totem of the group, which may
not be altered, or so seldom that it would be hard to find a modern
example: though changes of totems may have occurred when, in the
pristine 'treks' of the race, they reached regions of new fauna and

'The children and grandchildren,' our authors go on, 'among the Ibans,
will usually respect the species of animals to which a man's _nyarong_
belongs, and perhaps sacrifice fowls or pigs to it occasionally.'
Of course 'primitive' man has no domesticated animals, and does not
sacrifice anything to anybody. 'If the great-grandchildren of a man
behave well to his _nyarong_, it will often befriend them just as much
as its original _protégé_.' It is not readily conceivable that, among
very early men, and where the names of the dead are tabued, the wisest
great-grandchild knows who his great-grandfather was. Still, though the
great-grandfather was forgotten, his _nyarong_--it may be said--would
be held in perpetual memory, and become the totem of a group. But this
is not easily to be conceded, because there would be the competition
of the _nyarongs_ of each generation to crush the ancient nyarong;
moreover the totem, in truly primitive times, is not inherited from
fathers, but from mothers.

Our authors say that, in some cases, 'all the members of a man's
family, and all his descendants, and, if he be a chief, all the members
of the community over which he rules,' may come to share in the
benefits of his nyarong, and in its rites. But all this of chiefs, and
great-grandchildren of a known great-grandfather, all this occurring
to-day among an imitative and agricultural people, with departmental
deities, and domesticated animals, cannot give us a line to the origin
of Totemism among houseless nomads, who tabu the memory of their dead,
and, as a rule, probably reckoned descent on the female side, so that
a man could not inherit his father's totem. We must try to see how
really early men became totemic. Mr. Frazer observes, 'It is quite
possible that, as some good authorities incline to believe, the clan
totem has been developed out of the individual totem by inheritance,'
and Miss Alice C. Fletcher we have cited as holding this process to
be probable in North America.[35] All such theories are based on the
beliefs and customs of modern savages advancing, like the American
Indians of to-day, towards what is technically styled 'barbarism.' It
was not in the state of barbarism, but in a savagery no longer extant,
that totemism was evolved. Totemism derived from inheritance of a
male ancestor's special 'spirit-helper' is checked by the essential
conditions of people who are settled, agricultural, and given to
reckoning descent in the male line. No more can be produced, in such
a state, than 'abortive beginnings of Totemism.'[36] Exogamy is never
reached on these lines, and Totemism is behind, not in front of, all
such peoples. Totemism arose in the period of the group, not of the
family-founding male ancestor.

Messrs. Hose and McDougall, it is to be noted, do not say that Totemism
is now being developed, in Sarawak, out of _nyarongs_. They only say
that it, perhaps, might be so developed 'in the absence of unfavourable
conditions.' If there existed 'prosperous families,' each with a
_nyarong_, other families would dream of _nyarongs_, and it would
become rather disreputable to have none. 'So a system of clan totems
would be established.' But male kinship, agriculture, metal-working,
chiefship, and large houses were certainly non-existent when Totemism
was first evolved. We must not look, in such advanced society, for
the origin of Totemism. In Sarawak is a houseless nomadic race, the
Punans. Among them Totemism has not yet been observed, but they are so
little known, that the present negative evidence cannot be regarded as
conclusive. Mr. Hose knew the Ibans for fourteen years without learning
what a _nyarong_ is, and it was by, mere accident that Mr. Atkinson
discovered the animal 'fathers' of the Kanakas.


Mr. Haddon has suggested a theory which was printed in the _Proceedings
of the British Association_ (1902). On this scheme, at a very early
period, groups, by reason of their local environment, would have
special varieties of food. Thus, at present, in New Caledonia, the Sea
branch of a tribe has cocoa-nuts, fish of all sorts, and so forth,
while the Bush branch has bananas, and other commodities, and the Sea
and Bush moieties of the tribe meet at markets for purposes of barter.
But, in a really primitive state, there will be no cultivation, as
there is in New Caledonia. Still, a coast savage might barter crabs
for a kangaroo, and, if landed property is acknowledged, owners of
plum-trees, or of a spot rich in edible grass-seeds, might trade these
away for lobsters and sea-perch.[37] Not having any idea of real
cultivation, or of pisciculture (though they may and do have 'close'
seasons, under tabu), the savages may set about working magic for
their specialities in food. Thus it is conceivable that the fishers
might come to be named 'crab-men,' 'lobster-men,' 'cuttlefish-men,' by
their neighbours, whom they would speak of as 'grass-men,' 'plum-men,'
'kangaroo-men,' and so on. When once these names were accepted (I
presume), and were old, and now of unknown or rather forgotten origin,
all manner of myths to account for the connection between the groups
and their plant and animal names would arise. When the myth declared
that the plants and animals were akin to their name-giving creatures,
superstitious practices would follow. We have seen two cases in which
Australian totem groups averred that they were named totemically
after a small species of opossum, and a fish which their ancestors
habitually ate. But that is an explanatory myth. Man cannot live on
opossums alone, still less on sardines.

My own guess admits the possibility of this cause of giving plant and
animal names to groups, among other causes. But I doubt if this was a
common cause. In Australia, everything that can be eaten _is_ eaten by
all the natives of a given area, each kindred having only a tendency to
spare its own totem, while certain other tabus on foods exist. In this
condition of affairs, very few groups could have a notable _special_
variety of food, except in the case of certain fruits, grass-seeds,
and insects. For these articles the season is almost as brief as the
season of the mayfly or the grannom. 'When fruits is in, cats is out,'
as the pieman said to the young lady. During the rest of the year, all
the groups in a large area will be living on the same large variety of
reptiles, roots, animals such as rats and lizards, birds and so forth.
It does not seem probable that, except as between Sea and Bush parts
of a tribe, there could be much specialisation in matters of diet,
during the greater part of the year. Therefore, I do not think that
the derivation of totem names from special articles of food can ever
have been common. But local knowledge is necessary on this point. Are
the totem groups of Australia settled on lands peculiarly notable for
the plants and animals whose names they bear? If so, that circumstance
may account for the totem names of each group, and--granting that the
origin of the names is long ago forgotten, and that native speculation
has explained the names by myths--the rest is easy.

It will appear, when we come to my conjecture, that it varies from Mr.
Haddon's only on one point. We both begin with plant and animal names
given to the various groups, _from without_. We then suppose (or,
at least, I suppose) the origin of the names to be forgotten, and a
connection to be established between the groups and their name-giving
objects, a connection which is explained by myths, while belief in
these gives rise to corresponding behaviour: respect for the totem,
and for his human kinsfolk. The only difference is that my theory
suggests several sources of the names: while Mr. Haddon offers only one
source, special articles of food and barter. Kindreds, to be sure, are
now named, not from what they eat (scores of things), but from the one
thing which (as a kindred) they do not eat. But this, when once the
myths of kinship with the totem arose, might be a later development,
arising out of the myth. In essentials, my conjecture appears to be
in harmony with Mr. Haddon's--the two, of course, were independently

On one point I perceive no difficulty, and no difference. It has been
suggested that Mr. Haddon 'commences with the commencement,' whereas,
in the hypothetical early age which we both contemplate, people had
scarcely a sufficient command of language to invent nicknames. Why more
command of language is needed for the _application_ of nicknames than
of names, I do not perceive. In Mr. Haddon's theory, as in mine, names
already existed, names of plants and animals. In both of our hypotheses
those names were transferred to human groups; in my conjecture for
a variety of reasons, in his, solely from connection with special
articles of food, eaten and bartered, by each group. I am not convinced
that, so early, the relations between groups would admit of frequent
barter: nor, as has been said, am I certain that many groups could have
a very special article of food, in an age prior to cultivation. But,
granting all that to Mr. Haddon, no more command of language is needed
by my theory than by his. Each conjecture postulates the existence of
names of plants and animals, and the transference of the names to human
groups. If gesture language was prior to spoken language, in each case
gesture names could be employed, as, in North America, totem names are
to this day expressed in gesture language. In my own opinion, man was
as human as he is to-day, when totem names arose, and as articulate.
But, if he was not, gesture-language would suffice.

I shall illustrate my theory from folk-lore practice. We might do
the same for Mr. Haddon's. We talk of 'the Muffin man,' the man who
sells muffins. We style one person 'The English Opium-Eater,' another
'The Oyster-Eater,' another 'The Irish Whiskey Drinker.' Here are the
nicknames derived from the dealing in, or special consumption of,
articles of food.

Many others occur in my folk-lore and savage lists of nicknames.
They all imply at least as much command of language, as the names,
ultimately totem names, given, for various reasons, in my theory. Thus
Mr. Haddon and myself do not seem to me to differ on this point: his
theory goes no further back in culture than mine does: nay, he assumes
that barter was a regular institution, which implies a state of peace,
almost a state of co-operation.


Not one of the theories here summarised, except the Dieri and Woeworung
myth, explains why members of the various totem kins are exogamous,
may not marry other members of the name. Suppose you do get your totem
name from that of a distinguished male ancestor, why may you not marry
another descendant? If because the common name, say Emu, is taken to
indicate some sort of blood-relationship, why may you not marry a
blood relation, even if there be no traceable kinship between you and
her? A Douglas may marry a Douglas, a Smith may marry a Smith; but an
Emu is often capitally punished if he marries an Emu. Suppose you get
your totem name from the beast for which you do magic. Why may you not
marry a person who bears the name of the same beast, and whose male
kindred do magic for it? Because it is sacrosanct to you and her? But
you are actually breeding it for the food-market. The answer must be
that you may not marry a person who bears your own totem name, and is
in the same branch of the Co-operative Magical Stores, because her
beast and yours are in the same phratry, and phratry mates may not
intermarry. But why may they not marry? The reply will probably be,
because the legislator divided the previously undivided commune into
two intermarrying exogamous phratries. But that theory we have shown
to be untenable. Thus not one of the extant hypotheses of the origin
of Totemism explains why totem kins are exogamous, unless Mr. Haddon
supposes that the totem names, once given from without, came to be
explained by myths asserting the sacred character and tribal kindred of
the totem. Mr. Haddon has not said anything about a previous exogamous
tendency in each of the groups which, by his scheme, received totem
names from without. By my hypothesis, these groups had already a
strongly exogamous tendency, which later was hall-marked and sanctioned
by the totem, with its myths and tabus. This advantage of explaining
the exogamous attribute of the totem, my scheme possesses, and its
rivals lack.


Let us concentrate, now, our attention on the character of the genuine
totem, the totem of the group or kin. It is not adopted by the savages
on a dream-warning; each man or woman for himself or herself: nor is it
chosen for each child at birth, nor by a diviner, like the _nagual_,
bush-soul, _nyarong_ of Sarawak, or the _secret_ animal friend of each
individual Australian. A savage _inherits_ his group totem name. The
name of any plant or animal which he may adopt for himself, or have
assigned to him as a personal name, by his parents, or, so to speak,
god-parents, is _not_ his totem. My meaning is, I repeat, that my
conjecture is only concerned with hereditary kin-totems and hereditary
totem names of kindreds. No others enter into my conjecture as to
origin. What some call 'personal totems,' adopted by the individual,
or selected by others for him after his birth, such as the Calabar
'bush-soul,' the Sarawak nyarong, the Central American _nagual_,
the Banks Island _tamaniu_, and the analogous special animal of the
Australian tribesman (observed chiefly, as far as I know, by Mr.
Howitt[38] and Mrs. Langloh Parker), do not here concern me. They are
not _hereditary group names_.


I now approach my own conjecture as to the origins of the genuine,
hereditary, exogamous Totemism of groups of kin, real or imagined.
Totemism as we know it, especially in some tribes of North America
and in Australia, has certainly, as a necessary condition, that state
of mind in which man regards all the things in the world as very much
on a level in personality; the beasts being even more powerful than
himself. Were it not so, the totem myths about human descent from
beasts and plants: about friendly beasts, beasts who may marry men, and
about metamorphoses, could not have been invented and believed, even
to whatever extent myths _are_ believed. We may say that such beliefs
are real, where they regulate conduct. So far, there is probably no
difference of opinion, among anthropologists.


In all theories, the real problem is, how did the early groups get
their totem names? The names, once accepted and stereotyped, implied
a connection between each kindred, and the animal, plant, or other
thing in nature whose name the kindred bore. Round the mystery of this
connection the savage mind would play freely, and would invent the
explanatory myths of descent from, and kinship with, or other friendly
relations with, the name-giving objects. A measure of respect for
the objects would be established: they might not be killed or eaten,
except under necessity: magic might be worked by human Emus, Kangaroos,
Plum-trees, and Grubs for their propagation, as among the Arunta and
other tribes; or against them, to bar their ravaging of the crops, as
among the Sioux. As a man should not spear a real Emu, if the Emu was
his totem, so he does not, for reasons to be adduced, marry or have an
amour with a woman who is also of the Emu blood. That is part of the
tabu, resulting from the circumstances presently to be explained.

All these things, given the savage stage of thought, would inevitably
follow from the recognised but mysterious _connection_ between
men and the plants and animals from which they were named. All
such connections, to the savage, are blood-relationships, and such
relationship involves the duties which are recognised and performed.
_But how did the early groups come to be named after the plants and
animals_; the name suggesting the idea of connection, and the idea of
connection involving the duties of the totemist to his totem, and of
the totem to the totemist?


The names, I repeat, requiring and receiving mythical explanations,
and the explanations necessarily suggesting conduct to match, are the
causes of Totemism. This theory is not a form of the philological
doctrine, _nomina numina_. This is no case of disease of language, in
Mr. Max Müller's sense of the words. A man is called a Cat, all of his
kin are Cats. The language is not diseased, but the man has to invent
some reason for the name common to his kin. It is not even a case of
Folk Etymology, as when a myth is invented to explain the _meaning_ of
the name of a place, or person, or thing. Thus the Loch of Duddingston,
near Edinburgh, is explained by the myth that Queen Mary, as a child,
used to play at 'dudding' (or skipping) stones across the water:
'making ducks and drakes.' Or again, marmalade is derived from _Marie
malade_. Queen Mary, as a child, was seasick in crossing to France, and
asked for _confiture_ of oranges; hence _Marie malade_--'marmalade.'
In both cases, the name to be explained is perverted. There is no real
'stone' in Duddingston--'Duddings' town,' the _ton_ or _tun_ of the
Duddings; while 'marmalade' is a late form of 'marmalet,' a word older
than Queen Mary's day.

An example of a folk etymology bordering on Totemism is the supposed
descent of Clan Chattan, and of the House of Sutherland, from the Wild
Cat of their heraldic crests. Now Clan Chattan is named, not from the
cat, but from Gilla Catain, 'the servant of Saint Catan,' a common sort
of Celtic personal name, as in Gilchrist.[39] The Sutherland cat-crest
is, apparently, derived from Catness, or Caithness. That name, again,
is mythically derived from Cat, one of the Seven Sons of Cruithne who
gave their names to the seven Pictish provinces, as Fib to Fife, and
so on. These Seven Sons of Cruithne, like Ion and Dorus in Greece
(Ionians, Dorians), are mere mythical 'eponymoi' or name-giving-heroes,
invented to explain the names of certain districts. In Totemism this is
not so. Not fancied names, like _Duddingstone_, or _Marmalade_, are,
in Totemism, explained by popular etymologies. Emu, Kangaroo, Wolf,
Bear, Raven, are real, not perverted names, the question is, why are
these names borne by groups of human beings? Answers are: given in
all the numerous savage myths, whether of a divine ordinance (Dieri,
Woeworung) or of descent and kinship, of intermarriage with beasts, or
of adventures with beasts, or of a woman giving birth to beasts, or
of evolution out of bestial types, and all these myths suggest mutual
duties between men and their totems, as between men and their human
kinsfolk. It will be seen that here no disease of language is involved,
not even a _volks-etymologie_ (a _vera causa_ of myth).

If it could be shown by philologists that many totem names originally
meant something other than they now do, and that they were
misunderstood, and supposed to be names of plants and animals, then
'disease of language' would be present. Thus λύκος and ἅρκτος have
really been regarded, as meaning, each of them 'the bright
one,' and the Wolf Hero of Athens, and the Bear of the Arcadians, have
been explained away, as results of 'disease of language.' But nobody
will apply that obsolete theory to the vast menagerie of savage totem


But, discarding this old philological hypothesis, how did the
pristine groups get their totem names? We ought first to return to
our conjecture as to what these pristine groups were like. They must
have varied in various environments. Where the sea, or a large lake,
yields an abundant food-supply, men are likely to have assembled
in considerable numbers, as 'kitchen middens' show, at favourable
stations. In great woods and jungles the conditions of food-supply are
not the same as in wide steppes and prairies, especially in the uniform
and arid plateaus of Central Australia. Rivers, like seas and lakes,
are favourable to settlement; steppes make nomadism inevitable, before
the rise of agriculture. But, if the earliest groups were mutually
hostile, strongly resenting any encroachment on their region of
food-supply, the groups would necessarily be small, as in Mr. Darwin's
theory of small pristine groups, the male, with his females, daughters,
and male sons not adult.[40] A bay, or inlet, or a good set of pools
and streams, would be appropriated and watchfully guarded by a group,
just as every area of Central Australia has its recognised native
owners, who wander about it, feeding on grubs, lizards, snakes, rats,
frogs, grass-seeds, roots, emus, kangaroos, and opossums.

The pristine groups, we may be allowed to conjecture, were small. If
they were not, the hypotheses which I venture to present are of no
value, while that of Mr. Atkinson shares their doom. Mr. McLennan,
as far as one can conjecture from the fragments of his speculations,
regarded the earliest groups as at least so large, and so bereft
of women, that polyandry was the general rule. Mr. Darwin, on the
other hand, began with Polygyny and Monogamy, 'jealousy determining
the first stage.'[41] This meant that there was a jealous old sire,
who kept the women to himself, as in Mr. Atkinson's theory. As we
can scarcely expect to reach certainty on this essential point,
anthropology becomes (like history in the opinion of a character in
_Silas Marner_) 'a process of ingenious guessing.' But, embarking on
conjecture, I venture to suggest that the problem of the commissariat
must have kept the pristine groups very small.[42]

They 'lived on the country,' and the country was untilled. They
subsisted on the natural supplies, and the more backward their material
culture, the sooner would they eat the country bare, as far as its
resources were within their means of attainment. One can hardly
conceive that such human beings herded in large hordes, rather they
would wander in small 'family' groups. These would be mutually hostile,
or at least jealous: they could scarcely yet have established a _modus
vivendi_, and coalesced into the friendly aggregate of a local tribe,
such as Arunta, Dieri, Urabunna, and so on. Such tribes have now their
common councils and mysteries lasting for months among the Arunta. We
cannot predicate such friendly union of groups in a tribe, for the
small and jealous knots of really early men; watchfully resenting
intrusion on their favourite bays, pools, and hunting of browsing
grounds. As to marriage relations, it is not improbable that 'sexual
solidarity' (as Mr. Crawley calls it), the separation of the sexes--the
little boys accompanying the men, the little girls accompanying the
women--and perhaps that 'sexual tabu,' coupled with the jealousy of
male heads of groups, may already have led to prohibition of marriage
within the group, and to raids for women upon hostile groups. The
smaller the group, the more easily would sexual jealousy prohibit the
lads from dealings with the lasses of their own group. There might
thus, in different degrees, arise a tendency towards exogamy, and
specially against son and mother, or father's mates, and brother and
sister marriage. The thing would not yet be a sin, forbidden by a
superstition, but still, the tendency might (as we have already said)
run strong against marriage within each little group.


Up to this point we may conceive that the groups were _anonymous_.
Each group would probably speak of itself as 'the Men' (according to
a well-recognised custom among the _tribes_ of to-day; for instance,
the Gournditch-mara of Australia, _mara_ meaning 'men'; Kurnai and
Narinyeri, also mean 'the men'), while it would know neighbouring
groups as 'the others,' or 'the wild blacks.' But this arrangement
manifestly lacks distinctness. Even 'the others down there' is too
like the vague manner in which the Mulligan indicated his place
of residence. Each group will need a special name for each of its
unfriendly neighbours.

These names, as likely as not, or more likely than not, will be animal
or plant names, given for various reasons, perhaps, among others from
fancied resemblances. It may be objected that an individual may bear
a resemblance to this or that animal, but that a group cannot. But it
is a peculiarity of human nature, to think that strangers (of another
school eleven, say) are all very like each other, and if one of them
reminds us of an Emu or a Kangaroo, all of them will. Moreover the name
may be based on some real or fancied group trait of character, good or
bad, which also marks this or that type of animal, such as cunning,
cruelty, cowardice, strength, and so forth, and animal names may even
be laudatory. We have also to reckon with the kinds of animals, plants,
trees, useful flints, and other objects which may be more prevalent in
the area occupied by each group; and with specialities in the food of
each group's area, as in Mr. Haddon's theory. Thus there are plenty of
reasons for the giving of plant and animal names, which, I suggest,
were imposed on each group _from without_.

It is true that local names would serve the turn, if they were in use.
But the 'hill-men,' 'the river-men,' 'the bush-men,' 'the men of the
thorn country,' 'the rock-men,' are at once too scanty and too general.
Many groups might fall collectively under each such local name. Again,
it is as society moves away from Totemism, towards male kinship,
and settled abodes, that local names are given to human groups, as
in Melanesia, or even to individuals, as in the case of the Arunta,
and the Gournditcha Mara. Among the Arunta a child is 'of' the place
where he or she was born, like our _de_ and _von_.[43] The piquancy
of plant and animal names for groups probably hostile must also be
considered. We are dealing with a stage of society far behind that of
Mincopies, or Punans of Borneo, or Australians, and in imagining that
the groups were, as a rule, hostile, we may or may not be making a
false assumption. We are presuming that the jealousy of the elder males
drove the younger males out of the group, or at least compelled them to
bring in females from other groups, which would mean war. We are also
assuming jealousy of all encroachments on feeding grounds. These are
the premises, which cannot be demonstrated, but only put in for the
sake of argument. In any case no more hostility than our and the French
villages have for each other is enough to provide the giving of animal

As to hostility, Mr. Atkinson, in New Caledonia, had a set of labourers
brought in from a distant island. Among them was a young boy, who,
being employed as cook, had a good deal of popularity with his mates.
He went home for a holiday, with a few men from his own island. He was
put down at their little harbour, only a few miles from that of his
tribe, and was instantly killed and eaten.

In 'Notice sur la Nouvelle-Calédonie' (1900) this ferocious hostility
between near neighbouring groups is corroborated. It is certain death
for the crew of a canoe to be driven into a harbour, however near their
own, which is not their own. This is among the islanders not under
the French. Count von Pfeil remarks on the violent hostility between
Kanakas and others near adjacent.[44]

On this point of unfriendly _sobriquets_ I may quote MM. Gaidoz and

'In all ages men love to speak ill of their neighbour: to blazon him,
in the old phrase of a time when our speech was less prudish, and
more gay. Pleasantries are exchanged not only between man and man,
but between village and village. Sometimes in one expressive word,
the defect, or the quality (usually the defect), the dominant and
apparently hereditary trait of the people of a race or a province is
stated ... in a kind of verbal caricature.... _Les hommes se sont donc
blazonnés de tout le temps_?

_De tout le temps!_ MM. Gaidoz and Sébillot were not thinking of the
origin of totem names, but their theory applies 'to all ages,' even the
most primitive. Among French village _sobriquets_ I note, at a hasty

Largitzen    Cows          Houmeau    Frogs
Angoulême    Lizards       Artois     Dogs
Aire         Pigeons       Avalon     Birds

and villages named as eaters of:

Old Ewes

We shall see that many Sioux groups, many English villages are
blazoned, as in Mr. Haddon's theory, by the names of the things which
they eat: or are accused of eating.

Thus, among very early men, the names by which the groups knew their
neighbours would be names given from without. To call them 'nicknames,'
is to invite the objection that nicknames are essentially _derisive_,
and that groups so low could not yet use the language of derision. I
see no reason why early articulate-speaking men (or even men whose
language is gesture language) should be so modern as to lack all sense
of humour, all delight in derision. But the names need not have been
derisive. If these people had the present savage belief in the wakan,
or mystic power of animals, the names may even have been laudatory. I
ask for no more than names conferred from without, call them nicknames,
_sobriquets_, or what you like.

We are acquainted with no race that is just entered on Totemism,
unless we agree with Mr. Hill Tout that Totemism is nascent among the
Salish tribe, who live in village communities. Consequently we cannot
_prove_ that early hostile groups would name each other after plants
and animals. I am only able to demonstrate that, alike in English and
French folk-lore, and among American tribes who reckon by the male
line, who are agricultural and settled, the villages or groups are
named, _from without_, after plants and animals, and after what they
are supposed to be specially apt to use as articles of food, and also
by nick-names--often derisive. What I present is, not proof that the
primal groups named each other after plants and animals, but proof that
among our rustics, by congruity of fancy, such names are given, with
other names exactly analogous to those now used among settled savages
moving away from Totemism.


I select illustrative examples from the _blason populaire_ of
modern folk-lore. Here we find the use of plant and animal names
for neighbouring groups, villages, or parishes. Thus two informants
in a rural district of Cornwall, living at a village which I shall
call Loughton, found that, when they walked through the neighbouring
village, Hillborough, the little boys 'called cuckoo at the sight of
us.' They learned that the cuckoo was the badge, in folk-lore, of their
village. An ancient carved and gilded dove in the Loughton church 'was
firmly believed by many of the inhabitants to be a representation of
the Loughton Cuckoo,' and all Loughton folk were Cuckoos. 'It seems as
if the inhabitants do not care to talk about these things, for some
reason or other.' A travelled Loughtonian 'believes the animal names
and symbols to be very ancient, and that each village has its symbol.'
My informants think that 'some modern badges have been substituted
for more ancient ones,' such as tiger and monkey. There is apparently
no veneration of the local beast, bird, or insect, which seems often,
on the other hand, to have been imposed from without as a token of
derision. Australians make a great totem of the Witchetty Grub (as
Spencer and Gillen report), but the village of Oakditch is not proud of
its potato grub, the natives themselves being styled 'tater grubs.' I
append a list of villages (with false names[46]) and of their badges:

Hillborough      Mice              Brailing         Peesweeps
Loughton         Cuckoos           Wickley          Tigers
Miltown          Mules             Fenton           Rooks
              (it used to be rats) Linton           Men
Ashley           Monkeys           Oakditch         Potato grubs
Yarby            Geese             St. Aldate's     Fools
Watworth         Bulldogs

At Loughton, when the Hillborough boys pass through on a holiday
excursion, the Loughton boys hang out dead mice, the Hillborough badge,
in derision. The boys have even their 'personal totem,' and a lad who
wishes for a companion in nocturnal adventure will utter the cry of
his peculiar beast or bird, and a friend will answer with _his_. If
boys remained always boys (that is, savages), and if civilisation were
consequently wiped out, myths about these group names of villages would
be developed, and Totemism would flourish again. Later I give other
instances of village names answering to totem names, and in an Appendix
I give analogous cases collected by Miss Burne in Shropshire, and
others, we saw, are to be found in the _blason populaire_ of France.

It appears to me that totem group names may, originally, have been
imposed _from without_, just as the Eskimo are really Inuits; 'Eskimo,'
'Eaters of raw flesh,' being the derisive name conferred by their
Indian neighbours. Of course I do not mean that the group names would
always, or perhaps often, have been, in origin, derisive nicknames.
Many reasons, as has been said, might prompt the name-giving. But each
such group would, I suggest, evolve animal and vegetable nicknames for
each neighbouring group. Finally some names would 'stick,' would be
stereotyped, and each group would come to answer to its nickname, just
as 'Pussy Moncrieff,' or 'Bulldog Irving,' or 'Piggy Frazer,' or 'Cow
Maitland,' does at school.


Here the questions arise, how would each group come to know by what
name each of its neighbours called it, and how would hostile groups
Come to have the same nicknames for each other? Well, they would know
the nicknames through taunts exchanged in battle.

    'Run, you deer, run!'
    'Off with you, you hares!'
    'Skuttle, you skunks!'

They would readily recognise the appropriateness of the names, if
derived from the plants, trees, or animals most abundant in their area,
and most important to their food supply: for, at this hypothetical
stage, and before myths had crystallised round the names, they would
have no scruples about eating their name-giving plants, fruits,
fishes, birds, and animals. They would also hear their names from war
captives at the torture stake, or on the road to the oven, or the
butcher. But the chief way in which the new group names spread would
be through captured women; for, though there might as yet be only a
tendency towards exogamy, still girls of alien groups would be captured
as mates. 'We call you the Skunks,' or whatever it might be, such a
bride might remark, and so knowledge of the new group names would be
diffused. These names would adhere to groups, on my hypothesis, already
exogamous in tendency, and, when the totem myth arose, the exogamy
would be sanctioned by the totem tabu.[47]


It may seem almost flippant to suggest that this old mystery of
Totemism arises only from group names given from without, some of them,
perhaps, derisive. But I am able to demonstrate that, in North America,
the names of what some American authorities call _gentes_ (meaning old
totem groups, which now reckon descent through the male, not the female
line), actually _are_ nicknames--in certain cases derisive. Moreover,
I am able to prove that, when the names of these American gentes are
not merely totem names, they answer, with literal precision, to our
folk-lore village _sobriquets_, even when these are not names of plants
or animals. The late Rev. James Owen Dorsey left, at his death, a paper
on _The Siouan Sociology_.[48] Among the _gentes_ (old totem kindreds
with male descent) he noted, the _gentes_ of a tribe, 'The Mysterious
Lake Tribe.' There were, in 1880, seven _gentes_. Three names were
derived from localities. One name meant 'Breakers of (exogamous) Law.'
One was 'Not encumbered with much baggage.' One was Rogues ('Bad
Nation'). These three last names are derisive nicknames. The seventh
name was 'Eats no Geese,' obviously a totemic survival. Of the Wahpeton
tribe all the seven _gentes_ derived their names from localities. Of
the Sisseton tribe, the twelve names of _gentes_ were either nicknames
(one, 'a name of derision'), or derived from localities.

Of the Yankton _gentes_, five names out of seven were nicknames,
mostly derisive, the sixth was 'Bad Nation' ('Rogues'), the seventh
was a totem name, 'Wild Cat.' Of the Hunpatina (seven _gentes_), three
names were totemic (Drifting Goose, Dogs, Eat no Buffalo Cows); the
others were nicknames, such as 'Eat the Scrapings of Hides.' Of the
Sitcanxu, there were thirteen gentes. Six or seven of their titles
were nicknames, three were totemic, the others were dubious, such as
'Smellers of Fish.' The Itaziptec had seven gentes; of their names all
were nicknames, including 'Eat dried venison from the hind quarter.' Of
the Minikooju, there were nine _gentes_. Eight names were nicknames,
including 'Dung Eaters.' One seems totemic, 'Eat no Dogs.' Of five
Asineboin gentes the names were nicknames from the habits or localities
of the communities. One was 'Girl's Band,' that is, 'Girls.'

Now compare parish _sobriquets_ in Western England.[49] In this list
of parish or village nicknames, twenty-one are derived from plants and
animals, like most totemic names. We also find 'Dog Eaters,' 'Bread
Eaters,' 'Burd Eaters,' 'Whitpot Eaters,' and, answering to 'Girl's
Band' (_Gens des Filles_), 'Pretty Maidens:' answering to 'Bad Nation,'
'Rogues': answering to 'Eaters of Hide Scrapings' 'Bone Pickers': while
there are, as among the Siouans, names derived from various practices
attributed to the English villagers, as to the Red Indian _gentes_.

No closer parallel between our rural folk-lore _sobriquets_ of village
groups, given from without, and the names given from without of old
savage totem groups (now reckoning in the male line, and, therefore,
now settled together in given localities) could be invented. (For
other examples see Appendix A.) I conceive, therefore, that my
suggestion--the totem names of pristine groups were originally given
from without, and were accepted (as in the case of the nicknames of
Siouan _gentes_, now accepted by them)--may be reckoned no strain
on our sense of probability. It is demonstrated that the name-giving
processes of our villagers exist among American savage groups which
reckon descent in the male line, and that they also existed among the
savage groups which reckoned descent in the female line is, surely, a
not unreasonable surmise. I add a list in parallel columns.

    English Village Names        Siouan Group Names

    Rogues                          Bad Sorts
    Stags[50]                          Elk[50]
    Bull Dogs                       Common Dogs
    Horse Heads                     Warts on Horses' Legs
    Bone Pickers                    Hide Scrapers
    Pretty Girls                    Girl Folk
      Eaters of                       Eaters of
    Whitpot                         Dried Venison
    Cheese                          Fish
    Barley Bread                    Dung


To produce, from North America, examples of group names conferred from
without, as in the instances of our English villages, may, to some
students, seem inadequate evidence. For example an unconvinced critic
may say that the nicknames of Mr. Dorsey's 'Siouan _gentes_' were
originally given by white men; the Sioux, Dacota, Asineboin, and other
tribes having been long in contact with Europeans. Now it is quite
possible that some of the names had this origin, as Mr. Dorsey himself
observed. But no critic will go on to urge that the common totemic
names which still designate many _gentes_ were imposed by Europeans who
came from English villages of 'Mice,' 'Cuckoos,' 'Tater Grubs,' 'Dogs,'
and so forth. We might as wisely say that our peasantry borrowed these
village names from what they had read about totem names in Cooper's
novels. To name individuals, or groups, after animals, is certainly a
natural tendency of the mind, whether in savage or civilised society.

If we take the famous Mandan tribe, now reckoning descent in the male
line, but with undeniable survivals of descent in the female line, we
find that the _gentes_ are:

    Wolf    Bear               Prairie Chicken        _Good Knife_
    Eagle   _Flat Head_   _High Village_

Here, out of seven _gentes_, four names are totemic; one is a name
of locality, 'High Village,' not a possible name in pristine nomadic
society. While there are hundreds of such cases, we cannot reasonably
regard the American group nicknames as generally of European origin.
Still more does this theory fail us in the case of Melanesia, where
contact with Europeans is recent and relatively slight. Among such
tribes as the Mandans, and other Siouan peoples, we see Totemism with
exogamy and female kinship waning, while kinship, recognised by male
descent, _plus_ settled conditions, brings in local names for _gentes_,
and tends to cause the substitution of local names and nicknames for
the totem group name. Precisely the same phenomena meet us, as we are
to see, in Melanesia.

[Footnote 1: As to the _word_ 'totem,' but little is certainly known.
Its earliest occurrence in literature, to my knowledge, is in a work by
J. Long (1791), _Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter_. Long
sojourned among the Algonquin branch of the North American Indians. He
spells the word 'Totam,' and even speaks of 'Totamism.' Mr. Tylor has
pointed out that Long in one place confuses the totem, the hereditary
group name, and protective object, with what used to be called the
_manitu_ or 'medicine,' of each individual Indian, chosen by him, or
her, after a fast, at puberty. _Remarks on Totemism_, 1898, pp. 139-40.
Cf. _infra_, 135, note.]

[Footnote 2: _Man_, 1902, No. 75.]

[Footnote 3: _Totemism_, p. 2, 1887.]

[Footnote 4: So also Mr. Hartland writes, _Man_, 1902, No. 84. But
_manitu_ is perhaps too wide and vague a term: it usually connotes
anything mystical or supernormal.]

[Footnote 5: _Introduction to the History of Religion_, p. 214. Major
Powell has said something to the same effect, but that was in a journal
of 'popular science.']

[Footnote 6: _Bureau of Ethnology_, 1893-1894, p. 241.]

[Footnote 7: _L'Année Sociologique_, v. 93, 99, 100. As far as the
proof rests on Arunta _traditions_, I lay no stress upon it.]

[Footnote 8: _J. A. I._ vol. xviii., no. 3, p. 254.]

[Footnote 9: Frazer, _Totemism_, p. 1.]

[Footnote 10: Major Powell, _Man_, 1901, no. 75.]

[Footnote 11: Howitt, _J. A. I._ xx. 40-41, 1891.]

[Footnote 12: The Marquis d'Eguilles kindly sends me extracts from an
official 'Notice sur la Nouvelle-Calédonie,' drawn up for the Paris
Exhibition of 1900. The author says that the names of relationships are
expressed, by the Kanaka, 'in a touching manner.' One name includes our
'uncle' and 'father,' another our 'mother' and 'aunts;' another name
includes our 'brothers,' 'sisters,' and 'cousins.' This, of course, is
'the classificatory system.' About animal 'fathers' nothing is said.]

[Footnote 13: Tylor, _Remarks on Totemism_, pp. 141-143. _Myth, Ritual,
and Religion_, ii. 56-58. Turner's _Samoa_, p. 17 (1884).]

[Footnote 14: Howitt, _On the Organisation of Australian Tribes_, p.
136, note, 1889.]

[Footnote 15: The Mura Mura appear really to answer to the fabled
ancestors of the Arunta, but are addressed in prayers. Cf. Miss Howitt,
_Folk Lore_, January 1903.]

[Footnote 16: Tylor, _Remarks on Totemism_, p. 134.]

[Footnote 17: So also to explain the crest of the Hamiltons, the
Skenes, and many others.]

[Footnote 18: Frazer, _Totemism_, p. 7.]

[Footnote 19: Hose and McDougall, _J. A. I._ xxxi. 193, 1901.]

[Footnote 20: _Custom and Myth_, p. 262.]

[Footnote 21: _Contributions to the Science of Mythology_, i. 201.]

[Footnote 22: _The Principles of Sociology_, i. 362, 1876.]

[Footnote 23: The whole passage will be found in the work cited. Vol.
i. 359-368.]

[Footnote 24: I am haunted by the impression that I have met examples,
but where I know not.]

[Footnote 25: Howitt, _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_,
xviii. 58.]

[Footnote 26: _Golden Bough_, iii. 416, note 3.]

[Footnote 27: It is possible that I have failed to understand the
mode of reconciling the two hypotheses, and Mr. Frazer is not to be
understood as committed to either or both in the present state of our

[Footnote 28: _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, p. 280.]

[Footnote 29: _J. A. I._ xiii. 191, note 1.]

[Footnote 30: Tylor, _Remarks on Totemism_, pp. 146-147, 1898.]

[Footnote 31: _The Import of the Totem_, by Alice C. Fletcher, Salem
Press, Mass., 1897.]

[Footnote 32: _Op. cit._ p. 12.]

[Footnote 33: 'The Origin of the Totemism of the Inhabitants of British
Columbia,' _Transactions of Royal Society of Canada_, second series,
vol. vii., 1901-1902. Quaritch, London.]

[Footnote 34: _J. A. I._ xxxi. 196, _et seq._]

[Footnote 35: _Golden Bough_, iii. 419, note 5.]

[Footnote 36: _Hose and McDougall_, _op. cit._ p. 211.]

[Footnote 37: Mr. Haddon's theory involves the existence of barter
between groups that had special articles of food. Under 'Hypothetical
early groups' I show proof of the extreme hostility of adjacent groups
in some regions. The merchant, with his articles of barter, would there
himself be eaten. Mr. Atkinson's cook was eaten by his neighbours. Mr.
Haddon does not hold that the primitive human groups were thus mutually
hostile. Here we differ in opinion.]

[Footnote 38: _J. A. I._ xiii.; Folk Lore, 10, 491.]

[Footnote 39: Macbain, _Etymological Dictionary_, 1896, quoting
manuscript of 1456.]

[Footnote 40: _Descent of Man_, ii. 362.]

[Footnote 41: _Studies in Ancient History_, second series, p. 50.]

[Footnote 42: This is the opinion not only of Mr. Darwin but of Major
Powell and Mr. McGee.]

[Footnote 43: Spencer and Gillen, p. 57, note.]

[Footnote 44: _J. A. I._ May 1897, p. 181.]

[Footnote 45: _Blason Populaire de la France_, p. 5. Paris, Cerf, 1884.]

[Footnote 46: Pseudonyms were given to avoid arousing local attention,
when I put forth these facts in _The Athenæum_. For reasons, I retain
the pseudonyms; but for the real village names see p. 173, note 1.]

[Footnote 47: Some objections are noticed later.]

[Footnote 48: Report of _American Bureau of Ethnology_, 1893-1894, p.
213 et seq.]

[Footnote 49: _Thirteenth Report of the Committee of Devonshire
Folk-Lore_, Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science,
1895, xxvii. 61-74.]

[Footnote 50: Many other animal and vegetable names--totem names in
America, village names in England--have already been cited. See p.



We have, fortunately, an opportunity in Melanesia of studying, as
it seems, the Australian marriage system in a state of decay.[1]
The institutions of Melanesia bear every note of being Australian
institutions, decadent, dislocated, contaminated and partially
obliterated. Starting from New Guinea, we find a long archipelago
sloping down, away from the east side of Australia, towards the Fiji
Islands. The archipelago consists mainly, in the order given, of
New Ireland, New Britain, the Solomon Group, Banks Island, the New
Hebrides, Loyalty Island, and New Caledonia. The inhabitants are a
fusion of many oceanic elements, and are much more advanced in culture
than the natives of Australia: they have chiefs, whose office tends
to be hereditary (and in one place, Saa, _is_ hereditary), in the
male line, the father handing on to the son his magical acquirements
and properties, and leaving to him his wealth, as far as he may. This
is not very far, as, curious to say, descent in the female line is
generally prevalent. Wealth is both real and personal: landed property
consisting (1) of Town Lots, (2) of Gardens (ἓρκος),
(3) of the Waste ('the Bush'). The 'town lots' and gardens pass by
inheritance; the possessor being only 'possessor,' not proprietor,
and real property passing in the female line, where that line still
prevails. The reclaiming of land from the Waste tends, however, to
direct property into the male line, which, except in certain districts,
is not dominant. Money is divided, on a death, among brothers,
nephews--and sons, 'if they can get it'--the money being the native
shell currency. The tendency towards the substitution, as heirs, of a
man's sons for his sister's sons, is powerful.[2]

This is a curious and anomalous condition of the family. As regards
material advantages (χορηγία) Melanesian society is
greatly in advance of Australian. It is in possession of houses, fruit
trees, agricultural allotments, domesticated animals, and a native
currency. Thus there is much property to be inherited, and where that
is the case, and where the family has a house of its own, the desire of
men to leave their goods and dwellings to their sons usually results
in the reckoning of descent on the sword side. Yet, in this respect,
the Melanesians of many regions are behind the naked, houseless Arunta,
and other Australian tribes with male descent.. What influences caused
these tribes to depart from the reckoning in the female line, still
used among their equally destitute neighbours, the Urabunna, is a
most difficult question; indeed the number of distinct grades, in
relation to family laws among the Australians, is an enigma. Among
the Melanesians, at all events, material advance and accumulation of
property have often failed to bring inheritance out of the female into
the male line.

Insular conditions are apt to develop divergences from any given
type--local varieties--while the mixture of races, and the introduction
into one island, or part of it, of the customs of settlers from other
islands, produces peculiarities and anomalies in Melanesia. We expect,
therefore, to find Melanesian marriage rules rather dislocated and
contaminated, and to see that the archaic type is half obliterated.
In fact, this is the case, and Totemism, if it exists, survives in
fragments and vestiges.

'Where are the totems?' Dr. Codrington asks, and we can only reply that
they seem to be half obliterated. 'Nothing is more fundamental than the
division of the people into two or more classes, which are exogamous,
and in which descent is counted through the women.'[3] This answers to
the Australian 'primary divisions,' or 'phratries.' But, in Australia,
as we showed, these divisions appear to be of totemic origin. If this
was so, in Melanesia, the evidence for the fact is much less distinct.
In a large region of the Solomon Islands 'there is no division of the
people into kindreds, as elsewhere, and descent follows the father....
The particular or local causes which have brought this exceptional
state of things are unknown.'[4]

Speaking generally, however, the two primary exogamous classes exist,
and to a Melanesian man, all women of his own generation count either
as 'sisters' (barred) or as (potential) 'wives.' The appropriation of
actual wives to their actual husbands 'has by no means so strong a hold
on native society,' as the exogamous class divisions. By many students
this license will be considered a survival of 'group marriage.'
Prenuptial unchastity is wrong, but a breach of the exogamous rule used
to be punished by death. Wife-lending used to be common, as in Central
Australia, if the wife and guest were of opposite 'divisions.' Whether
the license of certain feasts (as among Australians and Fijians) smiles
on breaches of the exogamous law, does not seem quite certain.[5]

In Banks Island and the North New Hebrides, there are but the two
'primary class divisions.' These have not names as in Australia--if
once they had names, the names are lost. We find merely 'divisions'
(veve), two 'sides of the house.' Every man knows his own division; all
the women in it are tabu to him; all the women of the other division,
in the same generation, are potential wives (with certain restrictions
in practice).

In Merlav, one of the Banks Islands, there are 'families within the
kin' (answering to _gentes_--totem kins--in Australia). These families
have _local_ names, as a rule: one has its name from the Octopus, but
eats it freely.

It is not inconceivable that here we have broken down and obliterated
Totemism, among a settled agricultural people, probably dwelling, as a
rule, in close contiguity.

In Florida, and adjacent parts of the Solomon Islands, not merely
two, but _six_ 'kema' or exogamous divisions ('phratries?') exist. Two
of the six have names derived from localities, two have animal names,
Eagle and Crab: two _kema_ came in from abroad. All this points to
contamination, and rearrangement, under new circumstances. Each _kema_
in Florida has one or more _buto_, the clam, pig, pigeon, and so on,
not to be eaten by members of the kema. This looks like the 'totemic
subdivisions' (that is, the totem groups within the 'phratries') of
the Australians. Again, these butos within each _kema_, animals and
plants not to be eaten, are exactly like the survivals of Totemism in
the names of the Siouan totem kins with male descent, 'Do not eat small
Birds,' 'Do not eat Dogs,' 'Do not eat Buffalo,' and so forth. The
_buto_ of each kin within the Melanesian exogamous _kemas_, then, seems
to me to be the old totem of the kin, now relegated to a position more
obscure, in the changes of society, and, with one exception, not giving
its name and tabu to the kema. Only in one case is the animal which is
the buto, also the animal which gives its name to the _kema_. The Kakau
_kema_ may not eat Kakau--the crab. The Manukuma (eagle) kema may eat
the eagle: one fancies that they find it tough. In the same way the
Narrinyeri and other tribes in Australia permit their totem kins to eat
their totems. Members of each _kema_ are apt to speak of their _butos_
(which they may not eat) as their _ancestors_, as in Totemism, but this
is a mere mythical explanation of why they may not eat the _buto_. With
half a dozen other myths, it is used by totemists to explain why they
may not eat their totems.

Dr. Codrington, on the other hand, writes, 'the _buto_ of each _kema_
is probably comparatively recent in Florida, it has been introduced
at Bugotu within the memory of living men.'[6] Dr. Codrington, as
we have already seen, inclines to the theory which derives totems
originally from individuals. He cites Mr. Sleigh, of Lifu (mentioned
by us before), who writes, 'When a father was about to die, surrounded
by members of his family, he might say what animal he will be, say a
butterfly or some kind of bird. That creature would be sacred to his
family, who would not injure or kill it; on seeing or falling in with
such a creature the person would say, "That is _kaka_" (papa), and
would, if possible, offer him a young cocoa-nut. But they did not thus
adopt the name of a tribe.'[7]

We need not repeat the objections to all such theories of the
derivation of pristine totem group names from individuals, The _butos_,
ancestors, not to be eaten, have all the air of archaic totems, now
reduced to a lower plane, and, save in one case out of six, not giving
the name to a _kema_, in Florida. Thus the _butos_ of each _kema_
would be, originally, totemic, but immigrations, settled conditions,
the tendency to male descent, and the introduction of local or place
names for some groups, of nicknames for others, broke down the old
totemic nomenclature, leaving only the Kakau, or crabs, true to their
colours and to their totem and totem name, while the other _kemas_ got
local names or nicknames--the Hongokikki being named from the pastime
of Cat's Cradle--clearly a nickname. Apparently the pigeon is their
_buto_. How did these conditions arise?

Say that there were once four exogamous totem groups in
Ettrickdale--Grouse, Deer, Hares, Partridges. Say that there came in
two alien groups, Trout and Plover. Of these two, one might come to
be called Quoits, from their skill in that game.--Two of the original
four might get local names, from their places of residence, say
Singlee and Tushielaw. One might keep its old totem, Grouse, and its
old totem name, abstaining from grouse. One might get a new name, Roe
Deer, but all, under the names of Tushielaw, Singlee, Quoits, Roe
Deer, and Grouse (with another not given), would retain their old
totems as _butos_, ancestral in some way, and not to be eaten. But the
new, not the totemic, names would now mark off the exogamous _kemas_.
Something of this kind must have occurred in Florida, under new social
conditions, and the stress of immigrants. But Dr. Codrington gives a
case in which the banana was tabued, just before his death, by 'a man
of much influence who said that he would be in the banana.'[8]

This origin of Totemism (namely, in animism, a man of influence
tabuing, and bequeathing to his descendants for ever, the animal or
plant that is to be his soul vehicle) is approved of, as the original
cause of Totemism, by Dr. Wilken. But could it arise in a much lower
state of society, wherein 'men of much influence' are rare, and are
readily forgotten? Now in Melanesia, generally, a man's fame, however
great, perishes with those who remember him in his life.[9] Again,
this sort of tabuing the banana affected 'all the people' of the isle
Ulawa, and so could not be the base of an exogamous prohibition,
unless all brides were to be brought in from foreign islands. If the
prohibition was confined to known descendants of the banana man, then
we have the patriarchal family, founded by a known ancestor, and
exogamous. Now, in Ulawa, descent is reckoned in the male line, and
there are no exogamous divisions.[10] 'This is an exceptional state of
things,' says Dr. Codrington (p. 22), yet he thinks it (p. 32) 'in all
probability'--_plus_ the tabuing of an object by a dying patriarch--the
cause of the _buto_ prohibition in the _kemas_ of Florida. Thus a
solitary case from an isle without exogamous divisions ('the only
restriction on marriage is nearness in blood'), and with male descent,
is supposed by Dr. Codrington to cause the _buto_ prohibition in an
island with exogamous divisions, and with female descent.[11]

His theory is manifestly inconsistent with his facts--moreover, it
involves the existence of the patriarchal system at the time when
totems first arose.

On the whole, this reasoning does not convince, but, if Dr. Codrington
is right, Melanesian institutions are shattered, dislocated,
contaminated, and worn down to a remarkable degree. Yet, behind them,
where the two, or the six exogamous divisions prevail, with descent
counted in the female line, we can scarcely help recognising a basis
of Australian customary law, with obsolescence of the totem, slowly
tending towards inheritance through the father. 'A chief's sons are
none of them of his own kin; and, as will be shown, he passes on what
he can of his property and authority to them.'[12] In spite of the
'generation names,' 'father,' 'brothers and sisters,' 'children,' the
real distinctions of own father, cousin, and so forth, are understood,
and expressed, as they usually are, everywhere.[13]

Thus Melanesia shows us some of the ways out from Totemism, exogamy,
and descent in the female line. It also shows us, what Australia does
not, ghost worship: most prominently in Saa, where, with descent
in the male line, and hereditary chiefship, eleven generations of
ancestors are remembered, 'by the invocation of their successive names
in sacrifices.'[14] This is a solitary case of such genealogical
knowledge among Melanesians, as distinct from Polynesians. It is made
possible by the sacrifices to the ancestors. Now, in Australia, there
are no such sacrifices. Without them ancestors among low savages cannot
be remembered, and could not hand down, as an hereditary totem, the
animal or other object which is their 'soul-box,' or the vehicle of
the ancestral soul after death. There appears to myself to exist, in
Melanesia, a notable tendency to adore, nay, almost to deify, a dead
man, as a _tindalo_. Dr. Codrington cites, from Bishop Selwyn, a case
in which a renowned brave man was slain in action. A house, or shrine,
was built over his head, and he was canonised, or made a _tindalo_.

His claims to sanctity were automatically certified by canoe tilting,
in principle like our table tilting. The men in the canoe cease
paddling, 'in a quiet place,' and, when the canoe begins to tilt,
they call over a roll of names of tindalos (human ghosts). At the
name of the dead warrior,'the canoe shook again.' A successful raid
followed, a new shrine was built for the warrior, and fish and food
were sacrificed to him. By this means a great man's memory is, now
and then, contrary to general custom, kept green in this region of
Melanesia. Occasionally he seems to be on the way towards godship,
as a departmental deity, perhaps as god of war.[15] Pigs are common
victims, now, in sacrifice. We do not hear of any 'totem sacrifice,' if
ever such a thing anywhere existed. In the case of a _tindalo_ called
Manoga, deification seems close at hand. His 'dwelling is the light of
setting suns,' or of the dawn: or in high heaven, or in the Pleiades,
or Orion's belt. It is a remarkable circumstance that this discarnate
spirit is the _tindalo_ or saint of a _kema_, or exogamous division,
one of the six of Florida, and all of the six possess their tindalo,
a ghost patron in receipt of sacrifice, as well as their _buto_, or
animal not to be eaten.[16]

Still more remarkable it is that, in certain Melanesian isles of the
New Britain group, the two exogamous divisions are neither anonymous,
nor totemic, nor of local names, nor bear nicknames, but are named
after the two opposing powers of Dualism, the God and Devil of savage
theology. Of these Te Kabinana is 'the founder, creator, or inventor
of all good and useful things, usages, and institutions.' On the other
hand To Kovuvura is the Epimetheus of this savage Prometheus: Te
Kabinana created good land: To Kovuvura created bad land, mountains
and everything clumsy and ill formed. These powers captain the
two exogamous divisions, an office assumed by two totems in the
neighbouring Duke of York group.[17] Nothing can prove more clearly the
blending of different stages of thought in Melanesia.

On the whole, Totemism is breaking down, and something very like
Polytheism, of an animistic type, is beginning to emerge, in Melanesia.
There is a _tindalo_ of the sea, of war, and of gardens,--Poseidon,
Ares, and Priapus in the making. Sacrifice and prayer exist, neither
is found (perhaps with an exception as regards prayers for the souls
of the dead) in Australia. On the other hand, only the smallest of
small change for the Australian conception of such makers and judges
as Baiame is noted in Melanesia, mainly in the myths of and prayers
to Qat, and myths of a creative unworshipped female being. These are
_Vuis_, not ghosts; they are spirits never incarnate, unlike the
_tindalos_.[18] Qat appears to hover between the estate of a lowly
creative being, born of a rock, and that of a culture hero, and rather
resembles the Zulu Unkulunkulu. Thus Melanesia seems, in society and
beliefs, to show an advance from Totemism, nomadic life, and from an
unworshipped female creative being, towards Animism and Polytheism, and
descent reckoned in the male line: agricultural and settled existence,
with mixture of race, and foreign contamination of custom, being marked
agents in the developement.

As _tindalos_ (human ghosts, in one case the patron of a kema) thrive
to Gods' estate, while _butos_ remain ancestral plants or animals,
not to be eaten, it would be a natural step to imagine later that the
family God (_tindalo_) of ghost origin, incarnates himself in the
_buto_, the sacred animal of the kin. That would be an explanatory
myth. If accepted, it would produce the Samoan and Fijian belief, that
the animals and plants not to be eaten by the kindreds (old totems) are
incarnations of gods. Thus the Florida beliefs and customs are a stage
between those of Australia and those of Samoa and Fiji.


It appears, at least to the mind of the maker of an hypothesis, that
the names of Melanesian kemas, as well as the new names of American
'_gentes_' (totem kins with male descent), indicate the probability
that, from the first--as among our villagers--group names were given
(in the majority of cases) from without, as in many American and
some Melanesian cases they certainly are. We see that it is so:
no group would call itself 'Cat's Cradle Players,' or 'Eaters of
Hide-scrapings,' or 'Bone Pickers,' as in Florida; among the Sioux; and
in Western England. We cannot possibly expect to find any groups in
the process of becoming totemic and of having plant and animal names
given to them from without. But we certainly do observe that names, or
nicknames, relatively recent, are given to savage groups, on their way
out of Totemism--the totem name often still lingering on in America,
like the _butos_ in Melanesia--and that these names, or nicknames, are
given from without. Nearer to demonstration that the totem names were
given in the same way (as 'Whig' and 'Tory' were given), we cannot
expect to come.

It may be said that my conjecture is only a form of that suggested (if
I understand him) by Mr. Herbert Spencer. An individual had an animal
name or nickname. He died: his ghost was revered by his old name, say
Bear. He was forgotten, and his descendants, who kept up his worship,
came to think that they were descended from a real bear, and were akin
to bears. I need not once more reiterate the objections to this theory,
but, like my own suggestion, it involves forgetfulness of a fact,--here
the fact that 'Bear' was a human ancestor. Against the chances of this
forgetfulness was the circumstance that individuals were constantly
being named Bear, Wolf, Eagle, and so on, in daily experience, usually
with a qualifying epithet, '_Sitting_ Bull,' '_Howling_ Wolf,' and so
forth. These facts might have prevented Mr. Spencer's savages from
forgetting that the ancestral Bear was a Bear of human kind, like
themselves and their contemporaries.

In my hypothesis, forgetfulness, on the other hand, might readily
occur. When all the group names in each area had become organised and
stereotyped, there would necessarily be no new giving of group names to
remind the savages how these titles came into existence. On the other
hand the myth-making stage, as to kinship with the name-giving plants
and animals, would set in, and then would come reverent behaviour
towards these creatures, as if they were kinsmen and friends. Respect
for the totem, in each case, will clinch the tendency to group exogamy.
I have supposed, for the reasons given, that there was already a
tendency against marriage within the group. That tendency must have
been confirmed by the totem tabu against making any use of any member
of the totem kin, and a woman of the totem would be exempted from
marital use by her male fellow-totemists. The totem belief would add a
supernormal sanction to the exogamous tendency.


Now any such superstitious respect for an animal, whatever its origin,
will take the same inevitable forms; and thus, if individuals select
_nyarongs, naguals_, and so on, they must necessarily behave to these
things as they do to their hereditary totems. There is no other way
in which they can behave, if they regard the animals as mysteriously
friendly and protective, though the idea that they are friendly and
protective has different origins, in either case.

Thus the exigencies of my guess as to the origin of Totemism, compel
me to disagree with a _dictum_ of Mr. Frazer, 'if the relations are
similar, the explanation which holds good of the one ought equally
to hold good of the other.'[19] The conclusion is not necessary. You
may revere a rat (your totem), and a cat (your _nagual_) for quite
different reasons, and in quite different capacities, you being the
kinsman of your totem, the protégé of your _nagual_; but, if you revere
them, your reverence can only show itself in the same ways. There are
no other ways.[20]


Does my guess at the origin of totems seem out of harmony with human
nature? You, belonging to a local group, must call other groups by
one name or another. Plant and animal names come very handy. The
names fluctuate at first, but are at last accepted by the groups to
which they are applied. The origin of the names being forgotten, an
explanation of them is needed, and, as in every case where it is
needed, it is provided in myths. The myths, once believed in, are acted
upon; they become the parents of tabus, magic, rites of various kinds.
Social rules must be developed, some already exist; and each group
called by an animal, plant, or other such name, becomes, under that
name, a social unit, and accepts, as such, the customary legislation,
just as a parish does. You must not marry within the totem name: either
because of the totem tabu in general, or because the totem comes to
be conceived of as denoting kinship, and (for one reason or another)
you had already a tendency not to marry within the limit of the group.
The usual totem rules may be thwarted by other rules derived from a
peculiar system of animism, very philosophically elaborated, as among
the Arunta of Central Australia. The institution, in short, may develop
or may dwindle, may persist in practice, or fade into faint survival,
or blend with analogous superstitions, or wholly vanish, in varying
conditions. Totemism affects art; to some extent it may have affected
religious evolution. It is certainly a source of innumerable myths.

But, if my guess holds water, Totemism arose out of names given from
without, these names being of a serviceable sort, as they could be,
and are, not only readily expressed in words, but readily conveyed _in
gesture language_ from a considerable distance. The names could be
'signalled.'[21] 'There is an Emu man: look out!' This could easily
and silently be expressed in gesture language. Place-names, and many
nicknames, could not so be signalled.

This theory, of course, is not in accordance with any savage
explanations of the origin of their totem. It could not be! Their
explanations are such fables as only men in their intellectual
condition could invent: they are _myths_, they involve impossibilities.
My hypothesis (or myth) does not, I think, involve anything impossible
or far-fetched, or incapable of proof in a general way. It is human, it
is inevitable, that plant and animal names should be given, especially
among groups more or less hostile. We call the French 'frogs.' It is
also a fact that names given from without come to be accepted. It is a
fact that names, once accepted, are explained by myths; it is a fact
that myths come to be believed, and that belief influences behaviour.


Here I foresee an objection; it will be said that, on the other
hand, behaviour produces myths. Men find themselves performing some
apparently idiotic rite: they ask themselves, 'Why do we do this
thing?' and they invent a myth as an answer. Certainly they do, but
you believe in a God, or in Saints, and act (or you ought to act) in
a manner pleasing to these guardians of conduct. You don't believe in
a God, because you behave well, and it is not because you behave well
to a totem that you believe in a totem. You treat him as game, not as
vermin, because you believe in him, and your belief is based on the
myth which your ancestors invented to account for their having a totem.

My guess has the advantage of going behind the age of settled
dwellings, agriculture, kinship through males, and the causal action
of individuals. It reverts to the group stage of human life. Groups
give and accept the names; invent the myths, act on their belief in
the myths, and so introduce the sanction of what had perhaps been a
mere tendency towards exogamy. On the other hand, my guess has the
disadvantage of dealing with a hypothetical stage of society, behind
experience. But this cannot be avoided, for if we base our hypotheses
of the origin of Totemism on our experience of the ways of societies
which have passed, or are passing, out of Totemism, our theories must
necessarily be invalidated. It may be replied that I have myself given
illustrations of my theory from the folk-lore of civilised society. But
the only begetters of these illustrative cases are boys--and boys are
in the savage stage, 'at least as far as they are able.'

In a tone more serious, it may be reiterated that no theory of the
origin of Totemism is likely to be correct which derives the totem,
in the first instance, in any way, from the _individual_, the private
man. Long ago, Mr. Fison wrote, 'Sir John Lubbock considers that
the "worship of plants and animals is susceptible of a very simple
explanation, and has really originated from the practice of naming,
first _individuals_, and then their families, after particular
animals."'[22] Mr. Fison replied, 'This is surely a reversal of the
true order. The Australian divisions show that the totem is, in the
first place, the badge of a group, not of an individual. The individual
takes it, in common with his fellows, only because he is a member of
the group. And, even if it were first given to an individual, his
family, i.e. his children, could not inherit it from him,' when descent
is reckoned on the female side.[23]

It is a commonplace, perhaps an overworked commonplace, that the
group, not the individual, is the earlier social unit. Yet the
hypotheses of Lord Avebury, Mr. Herbert Spencer, Dr. Wilken, Mr. Boas,
Miss Alice Fletcher, and Messrs. Hose and McDougall, all derive from
_individuals_, in one way or other, the most archaic names of human
_groups_. The hypothesis of Mr. Max Müller leaves the origin of the
group name unexplained. The later hypothesis (especially provisional),
of Mr. Frazer, does start from the group name, but I am not certain
whether we are to understand that each group name is derived from the
plant Or animal or selected by the group as the object of its magical
rites, or whether, for some unknown reason, each group already bore
the name of the animal, or plant, or element, _before_ entering on the
great co-operative industrial system. Now it seems to me certain that
the names, in each case, were originally not names of individuals,
or in any way derived from individuals, but were names of groups. As
to how pristine groups might obtain such names I have offered what,
in the nature of the case, has to be only a conjecture. But named,
as soon as men had intelligence and speech, the groups, as groups,
had to be, and the actual names are such as, whether in savagery or
in full civilisation, are given to individuals, and are also, in
civilised rural society, given to local groups, to members of parishes
and villages. So far, the cause which I suggest is a _vera causa_ of
collective group names.


A well-known Folk-lorist to whom I submitted my theory, rather 'in the
rough,' replied to me thus: 'I have thought of Totemism as meaning a
social system, that is, as including belief, worship, kinship, society.
And therefore, the animal or plant names are an essential part of the
system. You, as I understand it, come along and say the name is the
result of one of the trifles of the human mind, therefore did not enter
into the totem system very deeply, and certainly did not belong to the
beliefs and the worship, except as the result of a later myth-making
age. Of course your book may explain all, and I shall look forward to
studying it, as I have always enjoyed your studies.

'But I confess I don't much believe in these accidents causing or
rather entering into so widely spread a system as Totemism. Cut away
the name and nothing is left to Totemism except myth, survivals, and a
social grouping without any apparent cement. Blood kinship as a basis
of society surely arose much later, unless Dr. Reevers's remarkable
evidence from the Haddon expedition to New Guinea helps the matter. He
found, you remember, blood kinship traceable by definite genealogies
beneath, so to speak, a system of Totemism, and but for the most minute
examination blood kinship would have escaped observation once more and
Totemism only would have been reported. Is this blood kinship the true
social basis and Totemism only a veneer?

'I have goodly notes on Totemism and non-Totemism, and I confess it
difficult to eliminate the name as an important part of the system. It
covers every part--is the shell into which all the rest fits. Now I
have too much respect for our savage friends to think they used myth
any further than we do. We go every Sunday saying "I believe," but we
don't build up much upon this. Our social fabric, nay our religion, is
not of this. And so of the savage. If I grant you the myth of descent
from an animal to have arisen out of a _pre-existing_ name system, I am
no nearer the understanding of totem-kinship as the basis of a social

These are natural objections, on a first view of my suggestions.
Totemism _is_ a social system, but there was an age before totemism,
an age of undeveloped totemism; into these we try to peer. But the
method of name-giving which I postulate is hardly 'a trifle of the
human mind.' It is, as I have proved, a widely diffused, probably
an universal tendency of the human mind. Not less universal, in the
savage intellectual condition, is the belief in the personality and
human characteristics of all things whatsoever; man is only one tribe
in the cosmic kinship, and is capable of specially close kinship with
animals. Nobody denies this, and the resulting myths to explain the
connection of the groups and their totems are not only natural, but
inevitable--the real origin of the connection, 'in the dark backward
and abysm of time,' being forgotten. We may go to church, and say 'I
believe,' and we may not act up to our creeds. 'And so of the savage.'
But it is not 'so of the savage.' His belief in a myth of kinship with
an Emu is carried into practice, and regulates his conduct, magical
and social. This is not contestable. In the same way a Christian who
believes in the efficacy of masses for the welfare of his dead friends,
pays for masses. At the lowest, he 'thinks the experiment well worth
trying.' To other myths, say as to the origin of the spots on a beast,
a savage may 'give but a doubtsome credit.' They are not of a nature
to affect his conduct in any way. But the totem myths do affect his
conduct, quite undeniably, and, even if there are sceptics, public
opinion and customary law compel them to regulate their behaviour on
the lines of the general belief. We are not to be told that nobody
believes in anything! The 'social grouping' consequent on the beliefs
is _not_ 'without any apparent cement.' The cement is the belief in the
actual kinship of all persons having the same totem name, and sacred
totem blood, even if they belong to remote and hostile tribes. All
wolves are brethren in the wolf; all bears are brethren in the bear;
and so men-bears are sisters to women-bears, and brothers may not marry
sisters. Here is 'apparent cement' of the very best quality, and in
abundance, given the acknowledged condition of the savage intellect.

Manifestly these ideas belong, as a whole, to 'a later myth-making age
'--that is to an age later than the dateless period of the hypothetical
anonymous groups. But, between that hypothetical period and the
evolution of the idea of group kinship with animals and plants, and
with all men of the same animal and plant stock names, there is time
enough and to spare for the full evolution of Totemism.

Again, to a Darwinian, the enormous influence of 'accidents' in
evolution ought not to be a matter hard of belief; without 'accidents'
(in the Darwinian sense of the word), there would be no differentiation
at all, and no evolution. The Darwinian 'accident' seems to mean a
variation of unknown cause. But the giving of plant and animal group
names is hardly an 'accident' of this kind. 'What else are you to call
it?' the player asked, when questioned as to the origin of the words 'a
yorker.' And by what names so handy and serviceable as plant and animal
names were pristine men to call the neighbouring groups?

I have shown why place names were less handy, and how, in nomadic
life, they were scarcely possible. Local names come in as Totemism
goes out. Long nicknames, 'Boil-food-with-the-paunch-skin,'
'Take down their leggings,' 'Travel-with-very-light-baggage,'
'Shot-at-some-white-object' (Siouan nicknames of _gentes_), are much
less handy, much less easy to be signalled by gesture language, and
are certainly much later than 'Emu,' 'Wolf,' 'Kangaroo,' 'Eagle,'
'Skunk,' and other totem names. If such totem names were, originally,
the favourite form of nomenclature for hostile groups (like our 'Sick
Vulture' for a famous scholar, or 'Talking Potato,' for Mr. J. W.
Croker), I see not much of an 'accident' in the circumstance.

The totem names, then, came in upon a very early society: and myth,
belief, custom, and rite, crystallised round them, and round the idea
of blood kindred, which must be very early indeed.

My critic asks, 'Is blood kinship the true social basis, and Totemism
only a veneer?' That question I have already answered. In my opinion
mankind, in evolving prohibitions of marriage, first had their eyes
on contiguity, that of 'hearth-mates.' Groups of hearth-mates were
next distinguished by totem names. But these names could give no
superstitious sanction to customary laws, till the idea of 'blood
kinship' with, or descent from, or evolution out of, or other form of
kinship with the totem was developed. At this period, the totem name
roughly indicated ties of blood kinship. But the Australians, as we
saw, have now reached a clearer idea of what blood kinship is, and,
by a bye-law, prohibit marriages of 'too near flesh,' in cases where,
though the persons are akin by blood, totem law does not interfere.
Totem law has had an educating influence in developing the objection to
marriages between people contiguous as hearth-mates, into the objection
to marriages between persons too near in blood kinship. Thus Totemism
is not 'only a veneer.'

On the foundation of all these blended ideas, Totemism arose, a stately
but fantastic structure, varying in shape under changing conditions,
like an iceberg in summer seas. It is, indeed, 'a far cry' from
anonymous human groups, and groups of plant or animal names, to Helen,
the daughter of the swan, that was Zeus! But the pedigree is hardly

On the other hand, suppress the totem names, give the original
groups such titles as the Sioux 'Take-down-their-leggings,'
or 'Boil-meat-in-the-paunch-skin' (some names you must give
them), and what is left? Suppose such names to have been
those of pristine groups, and suppose them to be tending to
exogamy. A 'Boil-meat-in-the-paunch-skin' man may not marry
a 'Boil-meat-in-the-paunch-skin' girl; but must marry a
'Take-down-their-leggings' girl, or a 'shoot-in-the-woods' girl,
or a 'Do-not-split-the-body-of-a-buffalo-with-a-knife-but-cut
-it-up-as-they-please' girl! That is rather cumbrous: marriage rules on
that basis are not readily conceivable.

And where is here the tabu sanction? Brother Wolf or Brother
Emu is a thinkable, powerful, sacred kinsman, who will
not have his tabu tampered with. But there is no sanctity
in Do-not-split-the-body-of-a-buffalo-with-a-knife-but

Luckily we have here a case in point. My theory is that animal names
being once given to the groups, the animal, in accordance with savage
ideas, became a kinsman and protector. The animal or vegetable or
other type, in each case, sanctioned various tabus, including exogamy.
Had the name been another kind of nickname, as 'Boil-meat-in-the
paunch-skin,' what was there to sanction the tabu? Or, if the group
name was a local name, where was the sanction? Exogamy does persist
where totem groups have become local, and are now known by the names of
their places of settlement. But not always. Of an Australian tribe, the
Gournditch Mara, we read that it consisted of four _local_ divisions,
water (mere?), swamp, mountain, and river. But there was no exogamous
rule affecting marriage. A man of the group dwelling in the swamp might
marry a woman of the same group. There was descent in the male line;
wife-lending was highly condemned. The office of headman was hereditary
in the male line, 'before any whites came into the country.' The
benighted tribe was not devoid of superstition.

'They believed that there was a future good and bright place, to which
those who were good went after death, and that there was a Man at that
place who took care of the world and of all the people.' The place was
called Mūmble-Mirring. The dark, bad place was Burreet Barrat. 'This
belief they had before there was any white person in the country.'

As these statements are odious to most anthropologists, they cannot be
true, and thus a slur is cast on all that we learn about the Gournditch
Mara. But though a missionary (the Rev. Mr. Stähle) cannot, of course,
be trusted _here_, he had no professional motive for fictions about the
marriage laws of the tribe. They had no ceremonies of initiation, no
seasons of license, apparently no totems, and the merely local names
of groups naturally carried no exogamous prohibition: conveyed no tabu
sanction.[24] Had there never been any totem names, exogamy might never
have arisen.

How my friendly critic is 'no nearer to the understanding of totem
kinship as the basis of a social group,' if, for the sake of the
argument, he grants 'the myth of descent from an animal to have arisen
from a pre-existing name system,' I am at a loss to comprehend. Here
are groups, Bear, Wolf, Trout, Racoon, firmly, though erroneously,
believing that they are akin to these animals. Naturally they 'behave
as such.' Each racoon has duties to other racoons, and to the actual
racoons. He does not shoot a racoon if he can get anything else; he
does not shoot a racoon sitting. He is brother to racoons of his own
sex, and to sisters in the racoon of the other sex. He does not marry
them. The belief in the racoon kinship is the basis of that social
group--the man has other social groups of other kinds. Savages believe
in their beliefs, to the extent of dying from fear after infringing
a tabu in which they believe. Thus I would reply to the objections
offered after a first glance at my conjecture.


A man has other social groups than his own totem group in certain
regions. Totem groups among the Arunta, we have seen, work magic 'to
secure the increase of the plant or animal which gives its name to the
totem.' The Arunta have no myth as to the origin of these performances,
styled Intichiuma.[25] This, as far as Australia is concerned, seems
to be a peculiarity of the Arunta system alone, or all but alone, and,
as we saw, it has even been suggested that these rites are the origin
of Totemism. But such rites appear to be most firmly established and
organised among societies which are passing out of Totemism. Such a
society is that of the Omaha tribe of North America, where descent is
reckoned in the male line.[26] Among the Omahas we find the Elk totem
group with male kinship; they may not touch a male Elk, or eat its
flesh: if they do, as in New Caledonia, they break out into sores. This
kindred, with the Bears, 'worship the thunder' in spring. Their special
business and duty is 'to stop the rain.' But, if they are a Weather
Society, in this respect, that fact does not appear in their totem
names, Elk and Bear.

Other Omaha _gentes_, or 'subgentes,' are also totemic, and are named
from that which they may not eat, as wild turkeys, wild geese, cranes,
and blackbirds. The people of the black-bird totem actually do a little
totem magic, _against_ their totem; they chew and spit out corn, to
prevent the blackbirds from feeding on the crops.[27] The reptile group
does not touch or eat reptiles, but, if worms injure the corn, they
pound a few worms up into flour, make a soup thereof, and eat it (is
this 'totem sacrifice'?), all for the good of the crops. The worm group
does this magic (involving the eating of its totem) not for the benefit
of worms (as among the Arunta) but to control the mischievous action of

Now turning to Magical or Magico-Religious Societies among these
Indians, we find a Wind Society, _but it contains members of many
totems_, buffalo, eagle, hawk, and so on, plus 'The South wind
people,' who, apparently, may be a totem group of that name, which,
as among the Arunta, might work wind-magic.[28] But our authority,
the late Mr. Dorsey, calls all the members of this Wind Magic Society
'Wind _gentes_,' and surely this breeds much confusion. By a _gens_
he usually means a totem kin with male descent (by 'clan,' he means
a totem kin with female descent). Thus all 'wind _gentes_' ought to
be wind totem groups: only wind totem groups ought to be in the Wind
Society, which is not the case: and all water gentes, or earth, or fire
gentes ought to be of water, earth, or fire totems. But this, again, is
not the case.

All sorts of totem kindreds enter into the earth, wind, fire, and
water Magical Societies, or Magico-Religious Societies. They belong
to them as members of any universities, or of certain selected
universities, may belong to an University Club: or, again, may be
Catholics, Anglicans, Brownists, or Presbyterians. These American
Magical Societies, though composed of members of totem kindreds, are
not, in themselves, totemic societies. Members of other totems serve
in the societies which work magic for earth, wind, fire, and so on.
Among the Arunta, on the other hand, the magic for each object is
worked solely by the men who have that object for totem. To a certain
extent, however, this rule is changing, and members of other totems
may, at least, be present at each totem's _Intichiuma_, or magical
rites.[29] 'In addition to the members of the totem' (water) 'other men
are invited to come, though they will not be allowed to take any part
in the actual _Intichiuma_ ceremony.' From presence, by invitation, to
participation in the rites (as in the American Shamanistic Societies),
is a step which may come to be taken, and thus the Arunta totem groups
would become mere 'Shamanistic Societies.'

A most curious and interesting account of the Omaha Magical Societies
is given by Miss Alice Fletcher, in her essay, already cited, on 'The
Import of the Totem.' To obtain the 'personal totem' (manitu) a youth
must first listen to his elders. They tell him 'to go forth to cry to
Wa-kon-da. You shall not ask for any particular thing, whatever is
good, that may Wa-kon-da give.'

_Fiat voluntas tua!_

'Four days and nights upon the hills the youth shall pray, crying, and,
when he stops, shall wipe his tears with the palms of his hands, lift
his wet hands to heaven, then lay them on the earth.'

To the ordinary mind, this describes such prayers as are the petitions
of the Saints. But, in accordance with the views of the official school
of American anthropology, it is averred that nothing of the kind is
intended by the Omaha. 'There is no evidence that they did regard the
power represented by that word (Wa-kon-da) as a supreme being, nor is
there any intimation that they had ever conceived of a single great
ruling spirit,' says Miss Fletcher (1897).

The prayer is evidence enough. Prayer is directed to a person, and
whether he is envisaged as 'a spirit,' or not, is a mere detail of
metaphysical terminology. If Miss Fletcher is right, Wa-kon-da is a
pantheistic conception, but as He, (or It) also listens to prayer,
He (or It) is personal. We see rather an anthropomorphic conception
of deity, passing towards pantheism, or to divinity no longer
anthropomorphic, than a notion of impersonal force immanent in the
universe, passing towards anthropomorphism--as in Miss Fletcher's
theory. The idea of such a force, or cosmic _rapport_ (the Maori
_mana_), is, indeed, familiar to us in the speculations of the lower
barbaric races. It does credit to their metaphysics, but, _prima
facie_, seems likely to be later in evolution than the idea of an
anthropomorphic Maker, like the Australian Baiame.

At all events, the Omaha appears to live, in prayer, on a high
religious level, and it is open to the friends of religious borrowing,
to say that he took his creed from Europeans. I am not certain that
Miss Fletcher is indisposed to agree with me on this point of Red
Indian unborrowed theism. In her _Indian Song and Story_,[30] she gives
Pawnee songs, 'hitherto sealed from the knowledge of the white race.'
Here is one:

    Lift thine eyes! 'Tis the gods who come near,
    Bringing thee joy, release from all pain.
    Sending sorrow and sighing
    Far from the child, Ti-ra-wa makes fain.

    Ah, you look, you know who comes,
    Claiming you his, and bidding you rise,
    Blithely smiling and happy,
    Child of Ti-ra-wa, Lord of the Skies!

Ti-ra-wa is Hau-ars, 'a contraction of the word meaning father.' The
song is used to still children who cry at a religious ceremony.

However it be, the Omaha prays to Wa-kon-da, not for 'any particular
thing,' but for whatever, in the gift of Wa-kon-da, is good, and mainly
for a manitu ('personal totem'). The Omaha also believe in telepathy.
'Thought and will can be projected to help a friend.' A magical society
exists, to concentrate and direct this expenditure of energy, and
the process is strengthened by such things as the neophyte beholds
in vision, after prayer to Wa-kon-da. He sent an answer to prayer, a
feather of a bird, a tuft of a beast's hair, a crystal, a black stone,
representing the species, or element of nature, which was to be the
neophyte's 'personal totem,' or _manitu_. If it were thunder, the man
could control the elements; if it were an eagle, he had an eagle eye
for the future; if it were a bear (or a badger), he was not so gifted.

Now, according to Miss Fletcher, the Bear Magical Society is composed
of men, who, after prayer, have seen the bear in dream or vision; those
who saw representatives 'of thunder or water beings' form the Society
which deals with the weather. 'The membership came from every kinship
group' (totem kin) 'in the tribe.' Thus the Magical Societies are
composed of men of any totem, and, the less purely totemic the tribe,
the stronger is the Magical Society.

The totem kins now, among the Omaha, have descent in the male line.
All this is 'late,' and 'late' is the totem priesthood held by
'hereditary chiefs of the _gens_.' Miss Fletcher regards the totem of
the '_gens_,' with the beliefs crystallised around it, as an ingenious
'expedient,' with a social 'purpose!' the totem of each kindred having
been inherited from the vision and _manitu_ of some ancestral chief.
We need not again point out that, even now, among the Omaha, advanced
as they are, _manitus_ are not hereditable, and that Miss Fletcher's
system cannot account for Totemism in tribes which reckon descent on
the spindle side. Miss Fletcher justly remarks that the real totem,
'the gentile totem,' 'gave no immediate hold upon the supernatural,
as did the individual totem' (_manitu_) 'to its possessor. It served
solely as a mark of kinship, and its connection with the supernatural
was manifest only in its punishment of the violation of tabu.'

In brief, the real totem, and the individual _manitu_, with its magical
societies, are two things totally apart, and apart we must keep them,
in our studies of early society. Not to do so is to make the topic


In other books, especially in _Myth, Ritual, and Religion_, and _Custom
and Myth_, I have examined apparent survivals of Totemism, in ancient
Greece, ancient Egypt, and other civilised countries. Of these the
most notable are the Greek myths of descent of families from animals,
explained as the temporary vehicles of Zeus or Apollo: and the worship
of special animals by each of the Nomes of Egypt. Other arguments I
have offered, especially in the case of Apollo and the Shrew Mouse. I
remain of the opinion that many of the Greek mythical and religious
phenomena noted, are most probably to be explained as survivals of a
totemic past. Of course Totemism is only one element in animal worship,
and the Corn Spirit, disguised as almost any animal you please, may be
one of the other elements. But, as far as I have studied the subject,
I agree with Mr. Tylor in his 'protest against the manner in which
totems have been placed almost at the foundation of religion. Totemism
... has been exaggerated out of proportion to its real theological
magnitude.... The rise and growth of ideas of deity, a branch of
knowledge requiring the largest range of information and the greatest
care in inference, cannot, I hold, be judged on the basis of a section
of theology of secondary importance--namely, animal worship--much less
of a special section of that--namely, the association of a species of
animals (and of a vast variety of other things) 'with a clan of men
which results in Totemism. A theoretical structure has been raised
quite too wide and high for such a foundation.'[31] The totem god
himself I regard as only the hypothesis by which certain barbaric races
account to themselves for the survivals of Totemism among them. The
so-called 'totem sacrament' is not 'god-eating,' but a piece of magic,
used in ceremonies designed to foster--or to vex and annoy--the totem.
As Mr. Tylor writes, 'till the totem sacrament is vouched for by some
more real proof, it had better fall out of speculative theology.'


That the ancestors of the Aryan-speaking peoples passed through the
'stone age' of culture, few will deny. That they also passed through
the totemic stage as regards marriage law is, however, a problem
perhaps not to be solved. For reasons unknown, the 'white' races
(not to speak of Egyptians, Babylonians, Chinese, and Japanese) have
a peculiar aptitude for civilisation, are peculiarly accessible to
ideas. It might therefore be argued that conceivably they were readily
accessible to the idea of blood kinship. The maternal affection, in a
race whose children (unlike the offspring of the lower animals) are
so long in attaining maturity, cannot but suggest the idea of blood
kinship. Among totemic peoples it seems that this idea was originally
defined by the totem name, a definition at once too wide and too
narrow. It is not physically unthinkable that our own ancestors may
have been more acutely intelligent, and, if so, why should not they
simply forbid unions between persons too near akin in blood? We have
found no such moral or instinctive reason among totemic peoples who
were, apparently, led to exogamy, first by non-moral causes, or causes
in which the moral element was not explicit, and then, by aid of
corollaries from rules thus based, came to forbid marriages of 'too
near flesh.' Without the training of totemic institutions, it is hard
to see how the Aryan-speaking peoples (however naturally gifted from
the first) arrived at the same conception of incest. It seems absurd
to suppose that black men and red men arrived at the idea of incest,
and at the laws which prohibit it, by the devious and unpromising path
of Totemism, while white men reached the same point in some other way.
Yet if it has appeared difficult to find traces of Totemism among the
Melanesians, much more difficult must it be to prove that races with
so long a civilised history as, for example, the Greeks, were once
under totemic institutions.

I have already indicated my inclination to believe that Totemism has
left its traces, in Greece, in the myths of descent from bulls, bears,
swans, dogs, ants, and so forth, and in certain peculiar aspects
of animal worship. It is usual for scholars to explain these facts
away, as things borrowed by early Greeks from some other race. But
'the receiver is as bad as the thief,' and if Greeks were capable
of accepting totemic ideas, they were capable of evolving totemic
institutions. We are not to invent an ideal 'Aryan,' and then to
explain all his traces of savagery as borrowings by him from some
unknown prior race. There is no reason at all for supposing that the
peoples who speak languages called, for convenience, 'Aryan,' were
better bred than any other peoples at the beginning.

It would greatly add to the force of the presumptions in favour of an
'Aryan' totemic past, if we could point to apparent survivals not only
in myth and early art, but in actual institutions. Now there are Greek
institutions, in Attica, the 'deme,' the _genos_, and the _phratria_,
which may be interpreted, rightly or wrongly, as survivals of Totemism.
We have seen that gens (equivalent to the Greek γένος) and
that phratria (Φρατρία) are used, by certain students, to designate
the totem kin, and the two 'primary exogamous divisions' (say _Dilbi_
and _Kupathin_) of Australia and North America. To use gens thus is
misleading, especially as 'totem kin' is adequate and unambiguous. But
we have here employed 'phratria' to designate the 'primary exogamous
division,' because no better word is handy, while we do not maintain
that the Attic phratria is a survival of the institution usual in

Messrs. Fison and Howitt, in an instructive paper, have offered, as
a provisional hypothesis, the theory that the Attic deme (a _local_
association) may have arisen from the kind of _local_ tribe (or
_horde_) in Australia, while the Attic phratries and γένη (associations
depending on _birth_ and _kinship_) were survivals
of the 'primary exogamous divisions' and totem kins.[32] The present
writer had made similar suggestions long ago.[33] Concerning the γένος
and Φρατρία we know but little: inevitably, for we have seen that,
even in Australia, still more in Melanesia, _local_ names and _local_
communities are beginning to encroach on and usurp the authority of
the totem kin, and other associations based on common blood, real or
reputed. Infinitely more must this have been the case in Greece. If
savage phratries and totem kins once existed in Attica, they must have
been nearly obliterated long before the historical period. At most
they would only survive in connection with ritual and religion. Again,
our definitions of γένος [genos] and Φρατρία are derived from late
grammarians and lexicographers. Thus our means of knowledge are limited
and darkling.

Messrs. Howitt and Fison start from the horde, or tribe, the horde
meaning the largest local Australian community, composed of subtribes,
if we are not merely to say 'tribe,' and leave 'horde' out of the
question. The members of the horde or tribe are, as we know, of many
various totems, but of only two 'primary exogamous divisions' or
phratries. Into these the members are born, mostly taking the mother's
phratry and totem. As a rule, both father and mother belong to the
tribe, but if a woman does come in out of an alien tribe, her children,
though deriving totem and phratry names through her, are of their
father's local tribe. An alien woman may be assigned, by the elder men,
to this or that totem: or to the totem corresponding to that which she
had in her own local tribe. The children of male aliens follow the
totem of their mother, a member of the tribe.

In Attica, too, was a _local_ community, the deme--thus Thucydides
was a Halimusian by deme. The historical demes were organised by
Cleisthenes, on a local basis. Some of them bore the names of the
γένη which occupied them, and often the names were derived from
plants. Either these plants were characteristic of the localities, or
conceivably the γένη had old totemic plant names, like the plum and
other vegetable totems of the Australians. All about the local demes,
the members of the phratriæ were scattered, like members of various
totem names among the Australian local tribes. An alien could belong
to a local deme, but not to a Φρατρία. His children, if by marriage
with a free woman, were reckoned in her father's Φρατρία male descent
prevailing, of course, in Attica. In Australia the tribes-woman's
children by an alien would usually go to her totem and 'primary
exogamous division.' The child of an alien woman, in Attica, even if
the father was high born, could not be admitted to a Φρατρία: which
certainly looks like a survival of the archaic reckoning by female
descent. To try to insert an alien child in a deme was a civil, in a
Φρατρία was a religious offence.[34] The ancient court of the Areopagus
had to do with these offences against customary religion. Messrs. Fison
and Howitt draw a parallel between the Areopagus and the Great Council
of the Dieri tribe, whose headman was inspired by 'the great spirit
Kuchi,' of whom one would like to know more.

An Attic boy was presented to his Φρατρία at once; full membership of
the local deme came with adolescence, and after military training and
service. As we know, a series of initiations, and instruction 'as to
the existence of a great spirit,' with a probation of a year, are to
be passed before the Australian lad is allowed to marry and attend the
assembly of his local tribe. Better examples of initiation, and of a
retreat in the hills in company with an adult, and instructor, are
to be found in Sparta than in Athens. But the Australian 'and Attic
analogies are pretty close. On the most important point there is no
analogy. There were plenty of Φρατρίαι, of 'phratries' each Australian
tribe has only two. Again, these two are exogamous: that is their main
_raison d'être_. We have not a glimpse of exogamy in the Φρατρία of

The γένος, we may agree, I think, with Messrs. Fison and Howitt, was,
originally, like the totem kin, an association of persons supposed
to be related by ties of blood. The grammarian Pollux says 'they who
belonged to the γένος were styled γεννῆται' (men of the γένος, and 'men
of the same milk'), 'not that they were related γένει, but they were
so called from their union (or assemblage--ἐκ δὲ τῆς συνόδον).' What
is meant by γένει μὲν οὐ προσήκοντες 'not genealogically related'? I
conceive Pollux to mean that the members of the γένος were not all of
traceable or recognised degrees of kinship. Thus a Cameron, if asked
whether he is related to another Cameron, may say, and not so long ago
would have said, 'he is not my relation, but my clansman.' Messrs.
Fison and Howitt take much the same view. By 'relations,' Pollux meant
'such as parents, sons, brothers, and those before them, and their
progeny,' that is, from grandfathers and granduncles to grandsons and
great-nephews. This might be the notion of relationship in the time of
Pollux, the second century of our era, but, as Messrs. Fison and Howitt
justly remark, Attic ideas of kinship before the συνοικισμὸς ascribed
to Theseus would be much more extensive, as in Scotland and Britanny.
The humblest Stewart, Douglas, Ruthven, or Hamilton would call himself
'the King's poor cousin.' But the Greeks of our second century were
more modern, more like the English.

Yet the very words γένος and _gens_ indicate the idea of blood
relationship, just as 'clan' does. The γένη had common sacra, and a
common place of burial. They were clans, but we have no proof that
they were ever exogamous or totemic. However, the myths and rituals of
Greece certainly yield facts of which a totemic past seems the most
plausible explanation. Mr. Jevons writes, 'we find fragments of the
system' (Totemism), 'one here and another there, which, if only they
had not been scattered, but had been found together, would have made a
living whole. Thus we have families whose names indicate that they were
originally totem clans, _e.g._ there were Cynadæ at Athens, as there
was a Dog clan among the Mohicans; but we have no evidence to show that
the dog was sacred to the Cynadæ.... On the other hand, storks were
revered by the Thessalians, but there is nothing to show that there was
a stork clan in Thessaly.'[35] Wolves were buried solemnly in Attica,
where there was a wolf hero, and lobsters were buried in Seriphos,
like the gazelle in Arabia. But we have no evidence of a wolf kin in
Attica, though we have in Italy (the Hirpi) nor of a lobster kin in
Seriphos. (For other traces, fairly numerous, I may refer to my _Custom
and Myth_, and _Myth, Ritual, and Religion_, while deprecating the idea
that all worship or reverence of animals is of totemistic origin.)

It will probably be admitted that, if Greeks (or ancient dwellers
on Greek soil) were at some remote period totemistic, and next, by
reckoning descent in the male line, became attached to localities,
then something like demes, phratries, and γένη might very naturally
be evolved. And many traces in ritual, myth, and custom do point to
Totemism in the remote past. Indeed, it is remarkable that we should
still be able to point to so many apparent relics of institutions
already almost obliterated among the Melanesians.

On the whole, I regard it as more probable than not, that, in the
education of mankind, Totemism has played a part everywhere; a
beneficent part. But this is only a private opinion: one believes in it
as one believes in telepathy, without asserting that the evidence is of
constraining value.

[Footnote 1: Mr. Haddon agrees on this point.]

[Footnote 2: Codrington, _The Melanesians_, chaps, iii. iv.]

[Footnote 3: _Op. cit._ p. 21.]

[Footnote 4: _Op. cit._ p. 22.]

[Footnote 5: _Ibid._ p. 26.]

[Footnote 6: _Op. cit._ p. 32.]

[Footnote 7: Tylor, _J. A. I._, August, November. 1898, p. 147.]

[Footnote 8: _Op. cit._ p. 33.]

[Footnote 9: _Ibid._ p. 40.]

[Footnote 10: _Ibid._ p. 22.]

[Footnote 11: Dr. Codrington's exact words are 'The _buto_ is in all
probability a form of the custom which prevails in Ulawa,' and the
banana story follows.]

[Footnote 12: _Op. cit._ pp. 33, 59-68.]

[Footnote 13: _Ibid._ pp. 36-37.]

[Footnote 14: _Ibid._ p. 50.]

[Footnote 15: _Op. cit._ pp. 124-130.]

[Footnote 16: Danks, _J. A. I._ xviii. 3, 281-282.]

[Footnote 17: _Ibid._ pp. 131-132.]

[Footnote 18: Codrington, _op. cit._ pp. 154-156.]

[Footnote 19: _Golden Bough_, iii. 416-417.]

[Footnote 20: Mrs. Langloh Parker writes, concerning the Euahlayi
Baiame-worshipping tribe of New South Wales: 'A person has often a
second or individual totem of his name, not hereditary, and given him
by the _wirreenuns_' (medicine men), 'called his _yunbeai_, any hurt
to which injures him, and which he may never eat--his hereditary totem
he may. He is supposed to be able, if he be a great _wirreenun_, to
take the form of his _yunbeai_, which will also give him assistance
in time of trouble or danger, is a sort of _alter ego_, as it were.'
In this tribe the _yunbeai_ (_nyarong, nagual_, _manitu_) is of more
importance to the individual than his hereditary totem, which, however,
by Baiame's law, regulates marriage, as elsewhere (Folk-Lore, x.
491, 492). The tribe studied by Mrs. Langloh Parker speaks a dialect
(Euahlayi) akin to the Kamilaroi, but the Kamilaroi of Mr. Ridley are
seated three or four hundred miles away.]

[Footnote 21: Roth, Ethnological Studies, 71-90. Dr. Roth gives
the signs for the animals, but does not say that they are used for
signalling totem names; indeed, he says nothing about totems.]

[Footnote 22: _Origin of Civilisation_, p. 183.]

[Footnote 23: _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, p. 165. In his edition of 1902,
Lord Avebury does not reply to these arguments.]

[Footnote 24: _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, pp. 274-278.]

[Footnote 25: Spencer and Gillen, ch. vi.]

[Footnote 26: Dorsey, 'Omaha Sociology,' _Bureau of Ethnology_,
1881-1882, p. 225.]

[Footnote 27: Dorsey, 'Omaha Sociology,' _Bureau of Ethnology_,
1881-1882, pp. 238-239.]

[Footnote 28: Dorsey, 'Siouan Cults,' _Bureau of Ethnology_, 1889-1890
(1894), p. 537.]

[Footnote 29: Spencer and Gillen, pp. 169, 191.]

[Footnote 30: Nutt, 1900, pp. 108-112.]

[Footnote 31: _J. A. I._, August, November, 1898, p. 144.]

[Footnote 32: _J.A.I._ xiv. 142, 181.]

[Footnote 33: _Politics of Aristotle_, Bolland and Lang, 1876; 'Family'
in Encyclopædia Britannica.]

[Footnote 34: Dem. _Centra Neæram_ 17.]

[Footnote 35: _Introduction to the History of Religion_, pp. 125-126.]




Mr. Darwin on the primitive relations of the sexes.--Primitive man
monogamous or polygamous.--His jealousy.--Expulsion of young males.--
The author's inferences as to the evolution of Primal Law.--A customary
Rule of Conduct evolved.--Traces surviving in savage life.--The customs
of Avoidance.--Custom of Exogamy arose in the animal stage.--Brother
and Sister Avoidance.--The author's own observation of this custom in
New Caledonia.--Strangeness of such a custom among houseless nomads in
Australia--Rapid decay under European influences.

'Man, as I have attempted to show, is certainly descended from some
Apelike Creature. We may, indeed, conclude, from what we know of the
jealousy of all Male Quadrupeds, armed as many of them are with special
weapons for battling with their rivals, that promiscuous intercourse
in a state of Nature is extremely improbable. Therefore, looking far
enough back in the Stream of Time, and judging from the Social habits
of Man as he now exists, the most probable view is that he aboriginally
lived in small communities, each with a single wife, or, if powerful,
with several, whom he jealously guarded against all other Men. Or he
may not have been a social animal[1] and yet have lived with several
wives like the Gorilla--for all the natives agree that but one adult
male is seen in a band; when the young male grows up, a contest takes
place for the mastery, and the strongest, by killing or driving out
the others, establishes himself as head of the Community.

'Younger males, being thus expelled and wandering about, would, when at
last successful in finding a partner, prevent too close interbreeding
within the limits of the same family.'[2]

Mr. Darwin, in the foregoing sentences, affirms the improbability of
Promiscuity in the Sexual Relations of Man during the Animal Stage,
and, incidentally, the Unity of the Human Race in its origin. Both
theories are contested. The following thesis, however, on the Genesis
of Primal Law in Human Marriage, treats of a _conjectural_ series
of events in the Ascent of Man, events which involve a state of the
inter-sexual relationships amidst our primitive ancestors identical
with that portrayed in the _Descent of Man_. My essay includes further,
as regards the continued evolution of society, the development of a
theory, based on my 'Primal Law,' which, if correct, would seem also to
confirm Mr. Darwin's ideas as to Unity of Origin.

I am content, for my part, to hope that my hypothesis, however novel
some of its conclusions, is in its general tenor in accord with the
views of so great a naturalist as Mr. Darwin. His exposition of the
probable relations, within the family group, of the male and female
prototypes of mankind, and more especially of the antagonistic
attitude, inter se, of the older and younger males, is indeed literally
prophetic of the Primal Law, whose existence I surmise. This law is
the inevitable corollary of Mr. Darwin's statement, if Man was ever to
emerge from the Brute. My theory, in fact, viewed as to its genesis,
is simply evolved from a consideration of the potential results of the
attitude of such creatures as our ancestors then were, when subjected
to the effects of those changes of environment, which alone, to my
deeming, could have fixed modifications towards the human type. Mr.
Darwin's premises, indeed, as to the Early Social economy of our Race
in the animal stage, inevitably entail, if progress was to be made,
the evolution of law in regulation of Marriage relationship, having
regard to the fierce sexual jealousy of the males, on the one hand, and
on the other to the patent truth that in the peaceful aggregation of
our ancestors alone lay the germ of Society.

This would above all be the case if, reasoning by analogy, we
provisionally accept, as the probable nearest approach to man's
direct ancestors, the actual Anthropoids. These, such as the Gorilla,
are undoubtedly amongst the most unsocial of animals as regards the
attitude of the adult males _inter se_. From the very difficulty of
the problem of the congregation of such creatures in friendly unison
within the group, we may infer that, in its solution, there will be
found the key to the whole question of the Ascent from Brute to Man.
In that ascent, Habit, the parent of Law, must have been conquered,
and modified into the direction of novel Custom, a shock to the older
economy of life. Again, the new rule of conduct, necessarily inchoate
(considering the presumed feeble intellectuality of the creatures
concerned, animals more or less brutish) must yet be of facile
interpretation to its subjects, though, as befits _Homo alalus_, it
must have been quite mute in operation. The new Rule of Conduct would
not be expressed in terms of speech, a function, _ex hypothesi_ not
yet evolved. The rule, as it was to my mind, I here propose to attempt
to unfold as the 'Primal Law;' hoping to show that therein lay the
beginning of law and order, and that, whilst itself arising in a
natural manner, in its incidental creation of a first standard of a
possible right and wrong, it laid, so to speak, one of the foundations
of that moral sense, which has seemed to place so wide a space between
man and other creatures.

The prior existence of this law, in the semi-brutish stage of our
physical and ethical evolution, might have been deductively evolved,
even if no traces of it had remained to our day. It will be, however,
my endeavour to point out that evidence of its existence (abundant
as it appears to me) is to be found in certain obscure customs which
are common to most actual savage races. The customs of so-called
'avoidance' between near relations will have the principal interest
for us, although primitive marriage and inheritance will be found of
corroborative value. Survivals and myths can be shown to point to the
undeniable occurrence of this 'Primal Law' in the earlier life-history
of the non-civilised peoples. The myths, however, may be merely early
guesses about the unknown past of the race.

Amongst marriage customs that which has given rise to most discussion
as regards its origin is 'Exogamy' or marriage outside the family
group, or outside the limit of the totem name. My general argument, as
will be seen, places me in antagonism with all theories yet advanced
on the subject. But Mr. Lang, in _Custom and Myth_, 1884 (p. 258),
hazards, as his own impression, a conception of this matter which I
will note--namely, that 'Exogamy, may be connected with some early
idea of which we have lost touch,' and he adds, 'If we only knew the
origin of the prohibition to marry within the _family_[3] all would be
plain sailing.' However utterly beyond human ken, in these our latter
days, any truthful image of so remote a past may seem to be, it is
yet precisely this hypothetic early idea which I hope to be able to
expose. (If I am correct, we shall find that it was connected with
the sexual relations of primitive man, _whilst in the animal stage_,
and especially with the mutual marital rights of the males within
a group.) Such idea in travail, hastened and sharpened by needs of
environment, created issues which necessarily gave birth to a 'Primal
Law' prohibitory of marriage between certain members of a family or
local group, and thus, in natural sequence, led to _forced_ connubial
union _beyond_ its circle the family, or local group--that is, led to
Exogamy. But if such was in reality the original order of succession
in the growth of custom, it becomes evident that Exogamy as a _habit_
(not as an expressed law) must have been of primordial evolution.
Thus (in contra-distinction to generally received opinion and to
Mr. McLennan's theory in particular) Exogamy must have been a cause
rather than an effect in relation to its ordinary concomitants, i.e.
Female Infanticide as a custom, Polyandry as a fixed institution, and
Totemism as connected with exogamous groups, within which marriage was
forbidden. As thus my new hypothesis finds itself in opposition to
those of recognised authorities, it is evident that it will require to
account for all the facts if it is to hold its ground.

However convinced the author may be by the array of seemingly
confirmatory details in favour of his hypothesis, it is possible that
from their paucity they may yet to others seem to constitute but a
feeble line of defensive proof. But if the theory shall prove in itself
to have merit, this defect (arising, as I believe, from lack of general
anthropological knowledge on my part, for I dwell 'far from books')
will quickly be remedied, for a hundred other details in favour of my
view will be at once perceived by more experienced students. Should my
hypothesis really furnish the clue to the problem of the prohibition
to marry within the family name, or totem name, all the rest will
doubtless become 'plain sailing' in competent hands.

In any case before my conjecture is definitely laid aside as
erroneous, it may, let us hope, be considered desirable to await
fuller evidence as to the extent of the operation, in actual savage
life, of that particular custom of 'Avoidance' which I consider, in
its inception, and as the earliest law, to have been a 'vera causa'
of widest operation in primitive social evolution. 'Avoidance' is,
however, to-day, a mere faint image of a remote past, and its genetic
significance has utterly faded from among even those people who yet,
with strange conservatism, still blindly yield an everyday obedience to
it, in form at least. Belonging to a class of savage habits presenting
features so extraordinary, 'Avoidance between brother and sister'
has ever been a puzzle to inquirers. This Avoidance is only the most
obscure of all the numerous cases of the strange habit, but it is also
that which, up to the present, seems least to have attracted the
notice of anthropologists. In this class of custom, the Avoidance of
which most frequent mention has been made in literature, is avoidance
between mother-in-law and son-in-law, whereas that between brother and
sister is to my knowledge but rarely mentioned.[4] And yet, as far
as my own experience goes (and it extends over more than a quarter
of a century among primitive peoples in the South Seas), Avoidance
of brother and sister is not only as common as, but infinitely more
strict and severe in action than, the Avoidance of 'Mothers-in-law.'
It is indeed probable that the very severity of observance has led to
its being so little noticed. For by the action of this law, a brother
and a sister, after childhood, are kept so far apart from one another,
that only those who have actually lived long amidst natives can be
expected to have had a chance of being aware of the restraints to
intercourse between them. Even then it would be from some such casual
occurrence as the accidental rencontre of the two, placing them thus
in sudden and unavoidable proximity to each other, which would lead to
an observation, by an European, of their extraordinary attitude and
behaviour under such circumstances.

My own attention was primarily only drawn to this matter by noting
the grave scandal and excitement caused in a native community by the
momentary isolation, in a canoe, of a brother and sister. The affair
became so very serious for the brother that he disappeared from the
tribe for over a year. Indeed, the rigorous severity of this particular
law in daily action is almost incredible. In New Caledonia, for
instance, all intercourse between a brother and sister by speech or
sign is absolutely prohibited from a very early age. Whilst the girl
will remain in the paternal home, the boy, at the age of seven or eight
(when not, as is usual, adopted by the maternal uncle), only comes
there for his meals, partaken again solely with the other males.[5]
He dwells until married in the large general bachelors' hut, set
apart for youths in all villages. Even after marriage, if brother and
sister have to communicate with each other on family matters, such
communication must be made through the intermediary of a third person,
nor can the sister enter the brother's hut even after his marriage,
despite the presence of her sister-in-law therein. If the two should
unexpectedly meet in some narrow path, the girl will throw herself
face downwards into the nearest bush, whilst the boy will pass without
turning his head, and as if unaware of her presence.

They cannot mention each other's names, and if the sister's name is
mentioned publicly before the brother, he will show much embarrassment,
and if it is repeated he will retire precipitately. She can eat
nothing he has carried or cooked. Whilst, then, such propinquity as is
implied in the mutual habitation of the same hut by these two would be
scandalously impossible, it is not uncommon to find a mother-in-law
and son-in-law, whilst in Avoidance, living under the same roof. It
is obvious that in the latter case each detail of 'Avoidance' in act
or speech would be easily remarked by Europeans, whereas no chance of
such observation between the adult brother and sister could possibly
arise, they being kept, as we see, so utterly apart. It is to be noted,
however, that the seemingly instinctive natural affection between two
so nearly related is not quenched by these strange restraints. They
remain interested in each other's welfare, and in cases of sickness,
for instance, keep themselves informed of each other's condition
through third persons. So great, however, is the depth in action (on
these lines) of the feeling of avoidance in this matter, that I am
convinced that the infanticide of twins, which only takes place in New
Caledonia when the children are of different sexes, arises from the
idea of a too close propinquity in the womb. Further evidence as to
the very widespread existence of this custom in the South Seas I will
leave to a later stage, only noting here that I have been astonished to
find, in answer to inquiries, that it is well recognised amongst the
aborigines, of Australia.

[Mr. Atkinson has left a blank space for an expected communication
from the late Mr. Curr. On 'Avoidance' in Australia, between brother
and sister, Messrs Spencer and Gillen write: 'A curious custom exists
with regard to the mutual behaviour of elder and younger sisters and
their brothers. A man may speak freely to his elder sisters in blood,
but those who are tribal _Ungaraitcha_ must only be spoken to at a
considerable distance. To younger sisters, blood and tribal, he may
not speak, or, at least, only at such a distance that the features
are indistinguishable.... We cannot discover any explanation of this
restriction in regard to the younger sister; it can hardly be supposed
that it has anything to do with the dread of anything like incest,
else why is there not as strong a restriction in the case of the elder

Now the occurrence of this particular habit amidst a race of nomad
hunters, forced by the exigencies of the chase to wander about in
isolated groups, composed for the most part of single families, and
where the separation of the sexes cannot possibly be arranged, as
with the hut and village dwelling Caledonians, is a most remarkable
fact. When we take into consideration the disturbing effects of such
an avoidance in the internal economy of such a family circle, the
significance of the circumstance is great as regards our general
argument. It becomes, indeed, evident that the fundamental cause of the
custom involving this daily and hourly dislocation of domestic life,
must lie very deep in savage society. If, however, our theory as to the
idea which dominated the inception of this strange habit shall turn
out to be correct, then it will be seen that no surprise need be felt,
if the genesis of this rule should prove to be in the animal stage,
that traces of the superstructure should exist to our day. Now that
attention will perhaps be more closely drawn to this, till recently the
least observed of the cases of Avoidance, I feel sure that proof of its
existence will be found in abundance in the present or past of all
primitive peoples.[7] In view of its unexpectedly wide dissemination
in Australia, hope may be felt that research will find it as a working
factor in many peoples where its presence has been least expected, and
not only in Australasia. It is possible that a stricter examination of
the inner life of lower races in Africa and Asia will allow a perfectly
legitimate inference that they are still under the influence of its
effect, although the custom itself may be no longer in actual force. It
is also possible, as I have said, that Survivals and Myths may point
conclusively to its having had its day amongst the highest nations,
with whom all traditions of it have been lost before the dawn of
history. [Rather the reverse is the case; see the marriage of Zeus and
Hera, brother and sister, and of the Incas, &c.--A. L.]

In many cases philological evidence based on the derivation of the
root syllable of the word 'sister, a word which in the tongues of
peoples still obedient to this law is from a root implying 'Avoidance,'
may afford affirmative proof, as circumstantial as unexpected, that
this custom was once as universal as my theory would require.'[8] If
difficulty is felt in the acceptation of an hypothesis of such wide
significance, simply based on an obscure lower custom so little noted
in anthropological literature as to permit doubts of its existence,
I can only repeat that a cognisance of the traits of this particular
habit of avoidance and its effect as a factor in savage life demands
such conditions of residence and chances of observation, as can fall to
the lot of few. I may add that it is one of the very first customs to
disappear after contact with whites, especially missionaries, being,
as it is, in such extreme divergence with the economy of the European
family, in regard to the mutual attitude of brother and sister.

It is more than a quarter of a century since the author had his
attention first drawn to the practice. The evolution of the idea
of its possible identity with the Primal Law has led to a continued
and close observation; he is thus able to certify as to its rapid
disappearance. Brother and sister avoidance was at that time, thirty
years ago, quite universal in New Caledonia; now in many places it is
unknown, even as a tradition, among the younger aborigines. In view
of the probability of a similar oblivion among other peoples, the
immediate collection of evidence is urgent, and further delay seems
dangerous and even culpable.

Thus, however much to the present advantage of the theory as regards
the custom it would have been to cull larger proofs from that vast
field of literature only to be procured in older lands, it has seemed
desirable to make this thesis public without further delay. As we have
said, if the theory is correct, wider students will bring forward
cogent facts in further proof from existing knowledge, whilst continued
research should afford evidence so complete of the widespread existence
of the custom in the present and past of the human race, as to render
my speculation as to its origin less seemingly illegitimate.[9]

[Footnote 1: Mr. Atkinson's theory is based on the idea that our
supposed anthropoid ancestor was eminently unsocial.--A. L.]

[Footnote 2: Darwin, _Descent of Man_, ii. 361-363 (1871).]

[Footnote 3: I ought to have said 'within the community, whether local
or of recognised kindred, indicated by the totem name.'--A. L.]

[Footnote 4: This was written before the appearance of Mr. Crawley's
_Mystic Rose_ (1902).]

[Footnote 5: Cf. V. de Rochas, _La Nouvelle-Calédonie_, p. 239;
Crawley, _Mystic Rose_, p. 217.]

[Footnote 6: _Native Tribes of Central Australia_, pp. 88, 89.--A. L..]

[Footnote 7: Mr. Atkinson's forecast was correct. Brother and sister
avoidance is very widely diffused.--A. L.]

[Footnote 8: The author does not give examples of words for 'sister'
implying avoidance. But we elsewhere show that in Lifu (Melanesia) the
word for 'sister' means 'not to be touched.'--A. L.]

[Footnote 9: Other speculations have now been advanced, especially by
Mr. Crawley.--A. L.]



Brother and Sister Avoidance, a partial usage among the higher
mammals.--Males' attitude to females in a group dominated by a single
male head.--Band of exiled young males.--Their relations to the sire.
--Examples in cattle and horses--In game-fowl.--Strict localisation
of animals.--Exiled young males hover on the fringe of the parent

Another difficulty in connection with the evolution of the so-called
Primal Law of Avoidance between brother and sister from that early
idea which we will presently disclose, seems to lie in the fact that
if, as we uphold, such law was the first factor in the ascent of
man, it must have taken its rise whilst he was still some ape-like
creature. It remains, however, to be shown from its peculiar form
that in its primitive application, the law would not have required
for its intelligence greater mental power than is possessed by
actual anthropoids. The law may indeed be said to be practically an
inchoate fact, an actual if partial usage, for the regulation of the
intersexual relations among most of the higher mammals. It could, at
any rate, have come into full intelligent application as a well-defined
social institution, in the actual sense of the term, whilst the
anthropomorphic progenitor of man was still so little removed from the
ape that

    His speech was yet as halting as his gait,
    Only less brutish than his moral state.

Briefly, the law of Avoidance concerns (more particularly) the relation
'inter se,' from a sexual point of view, of the male and female
offspring of any given parents. In other words it determines the
mutual attitude to the females within a (single) family group dominated
by a male head.

Before, however, entering into the argument in this connection, it
will be desirable to make a paraphrase on Mr. Darwin's dictum as to
the social condition of man in the animal stage in general, and more
particularly in regard to his intermarital relations, and to compare
this with that of actual mammals. It is to be noted that he does not
pronounce definitely as to whether, in the era of pure animalism, the
original type of man's ancestor was social or non-social in habit. But
we may judge from the extract already made from the _Descent of Man_
that Darwin evidently inclines to the opinion that, even primitively,
he was a social animal, as seemingly more in accord with the present
eminently social conditions.

The very significant counter-fact, however, remains, that none of the
actual anthropoids, as far as regards the adult males, are in any way
social or even gregarious; the conclusion thus seems evident that,
like these his nearest compeers of to-day, man was on the contrary
a non-social animal, and that, as with the gorilla, only one grown
male would have been seen in a band. We must then imagine our more or
less human ancestor, roaming the forest in search of daily food, as a
solitary polygamous male, with wife or wives and female children; the
unsocial head of a _solitary_ isolated group.

With equal strength and probably already greater cunning than any
_actual_ animal of to-day, he had perhaps acquired dominance over most
of the other beasts of the field. The patriarch had only one enemy whom
he should dread, an enemy with each coming year more and more to be
feared--deadly rivals of his very own flesh and blood, and the fruit
of his loins--namely, that neighbouring group of young males exiled
by sexual jealousy from his own and similar family groups--a youthful
band of brothers living together in forced celibacy, or at most in
polyandrous relation with some single female captive.[1] A horde as yet
weak in their impubescence, they are, but they would, when strength
was gained with time, inevitably wrench by combined attacks, renewed
again and again, both wife and life from the paternal tyrant. But they
themselves, after brief communistic enjoyment, would be segregated
anew by the fierce fire of sexual jealousy, each survivor of the
slaughter relapsing into lonely sovereignty, the head of the typical
group with its characteristic feature of a single adult male member in
antagonism with every other adult male. Now it can be shown that this
vicious circle of the stream of social life is common to most mammals.
The facts of the circumstance can be most easily observed amidst the
half-wild, half-domesticated animals met with in colonial farming
experience, in New Caledonia, for instance, where European horses and
cattle have been allowed to return almost to a state of nature.

In this respect the economy of life in a herd of even such gregarious
creatures as the bovine race, is a very curious and instructive study.
There is no fact more striking than the subordination in which the
younger bulls are kept; as long as they are at all tolerated in the
herd by its patriarch, their intercourse with the females is most
limited, and only takes place by stealth and at the risk of life and

Nothing, as breeders are aware, is so fatal to the well-being of a
herd, or leads so quickly to degeneration, as the perpetuation of
the race by immature males. That procreation should be the act of
the robust adult alone, is evidently an axiom with nature herself
in successful production; it is doubtless of the highest importance
to keep up the normal standard of strength and size. As a fact, the
presence of the immature male among a herd of cattle is only permitted
whilst he is still quite impubescent. Then banishment by the master of
the herd is inevitable at a later stage. These exiles, although thus
apart from the main herd, remain in touch with it, so to speak, and
we find in consequence, in continual proximity of the troop of the
patriarch and his females, a small band of males, which, as is evident
from their colour and general physical resemblance, are its direct
product. The relations between this mob and the old male are always
strained, the latter has constantly to be on the watch to _shield his
marital rights_.

For long the mere menace of his presence suffices for such protection,
but with age--the young bulls becoming more bold--struggles take place
which sooner or later, from mere force of numbers, end in the rout or
death of the parent. We may here cite the mention made by Mr. Darwin[2]
of Lord Tankerville's account of the battles of the wild bulls in
Chillingham Park: 'In 1861 several contended for mastery, and it was
observed that two of the younger bulls attacked in concert the old
leader of the herd, overthrew and disabled him, so that he was believed
by the keepers to be lying mortally wounded in a neighbouring wood.
But a few days afterwards one of the young bulls approached the wood
alone, and then the monarch of the chase, who had been lashing himself
up for vengeance, came out and in a short time killed his antagonist.
He then quietly joined the herd, and long held undisputed sway.' I may
add from my own observation among half-wild herds in the colonies, that
often when the old patriarch is not absolutely killed in such cases, he
is forced to quit the herd. He then becomes a solitary exile, always
exceptionally savage and dangerous to approach or molest. It seems to
me probable that we have here an explanation of the occurrence of the
existence of the well-known 'rogue' elephant, which is always a male
and notoriously dangerous.

One important fact must here, however, be noted; that before such death
or exile takes place, and the sons reach an age which enables them
successfully to dispute the supremacy of the father, the daughters have
reached puberty and borne produce to the sire--this matter, as will be
seen later, has an important bearing on our general argument--on our
theory of Primal Law. Amongst horses, again, which have become wild,
exactly the same facts are to be observed. Each herd has one head, and
this, as natural selection would imply, is the most powerful stallion;
he is the master and owner of the females, and this mastery he retains
until overpowered by other males, which, as before, are almost
invariably his own progeny. In fact, any strange male would probably
have first to run the gauntlet of this outlying herd of exiled sons
before he could reach the father. It is, however, again to be noted
that he is rarely thus overpowered by even the combined efforts of his
sons, before his daughters have reached such an age as to have produced
offspring to their father.

This system of sequence of generations in breeding is, indeed, so
universal in a state of nature amongst all animals, as to seem to point
to the fact that in-breeding between father and daughter cannot be so
prejudicial as some believe. Its efficacy in type-fixing is at least
very great, if, as experiments of my own in pig-breeding on these
lines would lead me to think, the question of prepotency is merely a
matter of such close in-breeding repeated for generations. We may note
here that if, as is probable, the produce, on the contrary, of a full
brother and sister are degenerate, nature seems to attempt to prevent
its occurrence. On the succession of the sons to the father's rights,
speedy conflicts from sexual jealousy arise amidst the former and lead
to a rapid segregation of the herd, in which the chances of own brother
and sister continuing to mate are slight. Until this segregration,
however, does take place, nothing is more curious to watch than the
attitude and relations of these young males among themselves, the
oldest and strongest claiming prior marital rights, but no more.

The same phenomena in social economy may be observed with even greater
intensity in lower ranks of life than the quadrupeds. For instance,
in a large flock of game fowl which I had an opportunity to observe
closely for several years, during which they had nearly relapsed into a
state of nature, there was an exact reproduction of all these details.
There existed the same division into small family groups, each headed
by an adult male, the same subordination imposed on the junior males of
their banishment at puberty, as also their inevitable combined attack,
when sufficiently powerful, on their paternal enemy. His death resulted
in the same communistic assumption of his rights, with a subsequent
disruption, from jealousy, into the typical smaller and separate groups.

We thus find an identical condition of the sexual relations between
the females of a group and its older and younger male members to be
common in the animal world--the domination, in fact, of an idea that
might, in the person of the senior male, confers marital rights over
the female members of the family, and an inchoate rule of action
resulting therefrom; which bars from the enjoyment of such right each
junior male. To hold that man, whilst in the animal stage, should
form an exception to the general rule seems unreasonable. If, as we
are inclined to believe, he was originally a quite non-social animal,
the fact becomes more possible still that, as with modern types of
anthropoid apes, each adult as head of a group was at feud with every
other. As regards the social evolution, it would indeed seem most
natural that, as Mr. Darwin conceived, the first step in progress
should have been taken by animals already united gregariously, and thus
already imbued with some social feelings. Strange to say, the path in
advance which the ancestor of man, in the light of our hypothesis, was
destined to follow, disclosed itself as an indirect consequence of the
very intensity of his non-social characteristic. In fact, as I fancy
mil become evident in the development of our argument, the only line
of progress open to man was one inaccessible to animals of gregarious
habits, judging by the economy of life in a troop of mandrills or

Having ventured to differ from the great naturalist on this point, I
would with deference take exception to his further statement--'That the
younger males, being thus expelled and wandering about, would, when at
last successful in finding a partner, prevent too close inter-breeding
within the limits of the same family.' This, if I understand it
rightly, would convey the idea that this youthful band quitted the
scene of their birth, and deserted entirely their original habitat
in the forest. I cannot help considering it an error to imagine that
such wanderings could thus be without bounds. Nothing seems to me more
remarkable and irrevocable in savage Nature than the rigid localisation
of all living things in her realm. No fish in the sea, no bird in the
air, but has its local habitation, which only becomes free to the
stranger on the death of the occupant.[3] No corner on earth but seems
to hold its lawful tenant, and the bounds thereof are defined within
rigid limits. Within, there is safety, with a sense of ownership;
without, is the great unknown, possessed by others, fiercely ready
to defend their rights, and threaten every danger and death to the
stranger intruder--unless quite otherwise formidable than adolescent

It is thus probable, in fact, that in common with the lower animals,
the band of exiled young males of our anthropoid ancestor haunted the
neighbourhood of the parent herd, remaining thus on familiar ground,
and in hearing of friendly voices. For we must remember that their
feud was only with the paternal parent. In the magic alembic of time
the constantly increasing shadow of their presence would take sudden
dreadful form, but in parricidal crime alone. The _sequel in disastrous
incest, which Mr. Darwin would here conjecture at, Nature alone has
ever been impotent to deal with_. The problem of an effectual bar to
undesirable union between brother and sister was solved by man alone,
and in the Primal Law. An effort of his embryonic intellect, thus early
defiant of Nature, the law placed ethically, for once and for ever, a
distinction between him and every other creature.

[Footnote 1: Why 'single?--A. L.]

[Footnote 2: _Descent of Man_, p. 501.]

[Footnote 3: This fact is well known to anglers for trout.--A. L.]



Effect of the absence of a special pairing season on nascent
man.--Consequent state of ceaseless war between sire and young
males.--Man already more than an ape.--Results of his prolonged infancy
and of maternal love.--A young male permitted to live in the parent
group.--Conditions in which this novelty arose.

In common, then, with their nearest congeners of to-day, we have
found each male head of a group of our anthropoid ancestors in direct
antagonism with every other male, and a consequent disruption of the
family at each encounter with a superior force. This disruption, in its
effects on a species of non-gregarious habits, would result not only in
the dispersal of its members, but in the destruction of what material
progress in the accumulation of property might have accrued. As this
would have included all germs of mechanical discovery, again doubtless
due solely to the superior constructive faculties of the male, it is
evident that advance in a race thus socially constituted was quite

Now this antagonism of male with male, with all its retrograde
consequences, a struggle fierce enough in all animals, had a more
intense effect on nascent man than on any other creature that had ever
existed. An added force was caused by the disappearance in the nascent
human species of that season of physical and mental repose, granted
by Nature to the rest of creation, when not actually in the moment
or season of rut. This ever-recurring but limited period, ordinarily
appearing for a certain fixed epoch in each year, by the exigencies
of supply and demand in the necessarily abundant food required for
nursing mothers, had lost its date-fixing power with this new
creation--Man. With the very first steps in progress would come his
adaptation to a more or less omnivorous and consequently more regular
diet. The consequent modification would be profound in the matter of
sexual habit and appetite. Man needed no longer to put limits to the
season of love and desire.[1] This was a crime against Nature, new in
the history of the world, a crime which Nature would probably have
avenged by race-deterioration or extermination, if the germs of mental
power had not been already strong enough to lift him, Man, to be, of
all creatures, almost completely beyond the influence of environment,
thence of Nature herself.

The intensity of the evil led to its cure. In a state of society where
literally every male creature's hand was against the other, and life
one continual uproar from their contending strife; where not only was
there no instant's truce in the war-fare, but each blow dealt was
emphasised (fatally) by the intellectual finesse which now directed it,
it became a question of forced advance in progress or straight retreat
in annihilation as a species. However difficult it may be to imagine
by what path such a creature was ever to emerge from the materialistic
labyrinth in which we thus find him involved, it is sure that he
neither could nor did remain there. A forward step was somehow taken,
some road out of the maze was somehow found.

It remains for us to trace, by what dim light of custom and tradition
we may, the faint trail of those momentous footprints, which, however
lame and halting, took the strait and difficult way to a higher life.
We may expect to find, as is but natural, that the path was one before
untrodden. As man followed it, at first unconsciously, from the
shoulders of this new pilgrim, predestined to worthier burdens, would
fall some of the heavy load of the mere animal nature.

There was now, in fact, to be a break in the economy of animal nature,
as regards that vicious circle, where we found an ever-recurring
violent succession to the solitary paternal tyrant, by sons whose
parricidal hands were so soon again clenched in fratricidal strife.
In the dawn of peace between this father and son we shall find the
signpost to the new highway.

Before going further, we may here state our assumption that, when our
ancestor had arrived at this crisis in his life, a crisis involving
the vast psychological step in advance implied in the development of
society, and the intelligence necessary for the evolution of the law
in its regulation, he was already somewhat more than ape. The animal
stage as forming part of the ladder of ascent from brute to man would
be marked by degrees of progression, each a step further removed from
the original type. These very earliest steps we indeed propose to
examine later in detail, for the present we will suppose they have
been taken, and that the influence of environment, under certain
hypothetic conditions, to be also detailed hereafter, has fostered
physical modifications towards the human type such as we found in the
matter of rut. But in nature the relation is very close between the
physical and the mental qualities. The advance in one would possibly
lead to a corresponding development of the other. Each is the necessary
complement of each. For instance, as Mr. Darwin has pointed out, while
the lower extremities become more and more used for progression alone,
so the upper, thus left free, would be specialised as prehensile
organs, so becoming both valet and tutor to the nascent brain. To push
our metaphor to an extreme, we may say that when Homo Alalus trod
the new path, it was already as a biped in an upright attitude, thus
leaving at least his hand free to point it out to others, for as yet
his tongue, at least by the hypothesis, was inarticulate.

Our line of research as regards the new departure was at once narrowed
when we indicated that it ended in the peaceful conjunction of father
and son. Our path will lie in the examination of the question as to
what possible series of natural circumstances, in the domestic life of
the race, could lead to such conjunction, and what law in such an age
could suffice for regulation of such association if formed. We shall
have to examine more closely (as far as our imagination will aid us)
the exact conditions of the family life of the semi-human group which
we have supposed typical in that era, i.e. the small isolated band of
anthropoids, composed of a single polygamous adult male with dependent
wives and offspring. His possible relations with these, especially his
attitude towards his male children, will interest us. Therein should
certainly be found the desired series of circumstances entailing a
critical situation, whose happy resolution shall furnish the clue to
the problem of that possible aggregation on which all future progress
depends. However strange it may appear, it will be found, as we have
already said, that the abnormal conditions imposed by the unnatural
modifications of the sexual functions have served as a means to the end
of advance in progress. And as, by their action in the past, anthropoid
man had become the most sexually jealous and intractable of all
creatures, so it may be expected that the series of causes which shall
have for effect the restraint of such excess of passion, will possess
further vast potentiality of action. Such latency in potentiality is
evidently indispensable when we consider that there is here concerned
the evolution of law in opposition to nature, and its triumph for all
time over the mere brute.

But first as regards the fact of the association of adult males on
friendly terms within the group, which fact has seemed to us to
constitute the whole problem of progress, it would on a hasty view
appear as if it had been already found in the band of exiled sons
which we have seen haunting the parent horde. Here we meet with that
aggregation of individuals whose combination in peaceful union should
apparently be the result of some law in regulation. This idea would
even seem to gain support from the fact that all the members being
brothers, and living most probably in a state of polyandry, we here
appear to find fulfilled exactly those genetic conditions of primitive
marriage imperative according to Mr. McLennan's theory of the origin
of society. It will not, however, be difficult to prove that, at
least at this stage in evolution, such a group would lack the most
essential elements of stability. Their unity, in fact, as has been
already pointed out, could only endure as long as the youthfulness of
the members necessitated union for protection, and their immaturity
prevented the full play of the sexual passion. The horde would
inevitably dissolve under the influence of jealousy at the adult stage,
especially if, as is probable, the number of their female captives had
increased with the gain in years and power. The necessary Primal Law
which alone could determine peace within a family circle by recognising
a _distinction between female and female_ (the indispensable antecedent
to a definition of marital rights) could never have arisen in such a
body. It follows that if such law was ever evoked, it must have been
from within the only other assembly in existence, viz. that headed by
the solitary polygamous patriarch, 'the Cyclopean family.'

We have said that this family would be composed of the male head and
his wives, the latter consisting of captured females, and further, let
us note, of his own adult female offspring, accompanied by a troop
of infants of both sexes. The absence of male offspring beyond those
of tender years would be another most notable phenomenon. These sons
would, as we have seen, have been banished at puberty from the herd, in
common with the habit of most animals.

Now we have surmised that at this stage our subject has been modified,
both physically and mentally, to a certain extent in approach to the
human type, and there is precisely one special modification which would
have been of paramount importance in view of the problem of advance in
progress. For if we may thus infer a certain increase in the longevity
of the nascent race at even so early a stage in evolution, then that
evidently entails _a more prolonged infancy_. It follows that, however
precocious, the young males before exile must have passed at least nine
to ten helpless years under their mother's care. But, again, the rise
of superior intellectual faculties in general presupposes a decided
increase in the powers of memory, and this agent, in connection with
that of the longer companionship, would here set in movement, sooner or
later, a psychological factor of strangely magnified force as compared
with what it is in the mere brute--namely, human maternal love.

Separation, however caused, between this mother and her child would
be far more severely felt than by any other animal. At the renewed
banishment of each of her male progeny by the jealous patriarch, the
mother's feelings and instinct would be increasingly lacerated and
outraged. Her agonised efforts to retain at least her last and youngest
would be even stronger than with her first-born. It is exceedingly
important to observe that her chances of success in this case would be
much greater. When this last and dearest son approached adolescence,
it is not difficult to perceive that the patriarch must have reached
an age when the fire of desire may have become somewhat dull; whilst,
again, his harem, from the presence of numerous adult daughters, would
be increased to an extent that might have overtaxed his once more
active powers. Given some such rather exceptional situation, where a
happy opportunity in superlative mother love wrestled with a for once
satiated paternal appetite in desire, we may here discern a possible
key of the sociological problem which occupies us, and which consisted
in a conjunction within one group of two adult males.

We must conceive that, in the march of the centuries, on some fateful
day, the bloody tragedy in the last act of the familiar drama was
avoided, and the edict of exile or death left unpronounced. Pure
maternal love triumphed over the demons of lust and jealousy. A mother
succeeded in keeping by her side a male child, and thus, by a strange
coincidence, that father and son, who, amongst all mammals, had been
the most deadly of enemies, were now the first to join hands. So
portentous an alliance might well bring the world to their feet. The
family group would now present, for the first time, the till then
unknown spectacle of the inclusion within a domestic circle, and amidst
its component females, of an adolescent male youth. It must, however,
be admitted that such an event, at such an epoch, demanded imperatively
very exceptional qualities, both physiological and psychological, in
the primitive agents. The new happy ending to that old-world drama
which had run for so long through blood and tears, was an innovation
requiring very unusually gifted actors. How many failures had doubtless
taken place in its rehearsal during the centuries, with less able or
happy interpreters! It is probable that, in the new experiment, success
was rendered possible by the rise of new powers in nascent man. Some
feeble germ of altruism may already have arisen to make its force felt
as an important factor.

It is also certain that, with such prolonged infancy, there had been
opportunity for the development of paternal philo-progenitiveness. It
is evident that such long-continued presence of sons could but result
in a certain mutual sympathy, however inevitable the eventual exile.

The love and care of a parent for his offspring is, after all,
ethically speaking, the normal condition. Habitual desertion at too
early an age would be fatal. Their dissociation, the abnormal and
only one, took place under the influence of the strongest passion in
nature, again largely exaggerated in primitive man. But in such an era
purely physical characteristics would undoubtedly have also a vast
influence in the development of the incident we have tried to depict.
The fiercely solitary patriarch who first consented to the intrusive
presence within his family circle of another adult male was, as I think
we can prove, a being of abnormal physical power as compared with his
fellows. For we have assumed satiety in desire to have been a powerful
factor in the _innovatory_ struggle we have witnessed. But such satiety
implies extensive polygamy, and yet again a large harem composed
exclusively of unwilling outside captives is incredible, escape for
them in the primeval forest being too facile. Thus the harem would
certainly be formed of the female offspring of the tyrant himself.
These alone would need no watch or guard, for them the unknown outside
world was hostile ground. But again very many adult daughters imply a
father stricken in years. That one of such advanced age, in an epoch
when force was all in all, could, defiant of rivals, still retain
possession of his female kind, presupposes vast enduring physical
power, or at least the protective tradition of past exceptional
strength, still enduring in terror. If, again, at so early a date in
the history of man we may be permitted to surmise any development of
the faculty of psychogenesis, then we may again perceive how extreme
physical qualities might have facilitated the solution of the problem
of the admission of the intrusive male. For it is credible that long
undisputed supremacy of power as the result of personal vigour might,
in its incredulous contempt of a possible rivalry, show a tolerance of
a situation utterly impossible to a weaker nature.

[Footnote 1: See Westermarck, _History of Human Marriage_, ch. ii.,
1891. The subject is obscure.]



Trace between semi-human sire and son.--Consequent distinction taken
between female and female, as such--Consequent rise of habit of Brother
and Sister Avoidance.--Result, son seeks female mate from without Note
by the editor.

In what, then, we are willing to concede, must have been exceptional
circumstances, may thus have been taken that first step in progress
which was to lead to such vast advance. In a development of the
_social_ qualities depended the whole future of mankind, and here we
seem to see their germ and birth.

When, however, we affirm that the triumph of maternal love in the
continued companionship of a male child, constituted the solution of
the social problem before us, we do not intend to convey the idea that
it lay solely in the fact of a simple inclusion of male offspring
within a group. Such a condition, however significant in the actual
case, has nothing in itself but what is common to the family economy
of many animals. It is the normal one, for instance, among many
pithecoids, as baboons, &c., where we find the younger males still form
an integral part of the horde, although denied all marital rights. But,
however inexorable among such species the temporary separation from
the females during the actual season of rut, there is at other times
a propinquity in amity as members of the same herd, which lessened
doubtless the fierceness of the strife during the periodic play of
passion, a truce in fact admitting of peace and alliance in offence and
defence during most of the year.

With our ancestors there could be no such healing pause, the unnatural
sexual modification of the race had rendered it impossible. The
non-periodicity of the sexual function in rut would have made the
whole year, with two adult males in presence, an interval of trial
insupportable to the mere brute. With this race the banishment of the
youth would be for all time, and the loss would be not only that of
an ally, each exile would become an active enemy. Now we have hinted
that the importance, in a potential sense, of a movement towards union,
in such creatures, arose precisely from the fact that, on account of
the intensity of the relations between male and male, and especially
between father and son, their amicable conjunction was only possible
under such exceptional conditions as would probably conduce to its
stability whenever it did take place.

Indeed such inchoate rule or habit, a corollary of the early idea, as
reigns in regulation of marital rights among lower creatures, would
not be fully adequate for this higher creation. With lower creatures,
might alone confers rights, which feebler force ever seeks each chance
to invade, all stratagems being legitimate as a means to that end.
With inchoate man such imperfect rule of action had become utterly
impossible. The greater endowment in memory and reason entailed a too
fatally added hate on non-compliance. For inchoate men the requisite
law required such further exactness in definition as should leave no
doubt of a meaning, not only to be understood, but to be accepted and
obeyed unconditionally.

For between this father and son there was yet no real peace, only a
truce, and that enduring but so long as the latter respected those
marital rights of the former which we found extending over all that
was feminine in the horde. The intelligent acceptance by the intruding
junior of the sole right of the senior to union with the females of a
group, was its _sine qua non_, which the dawn of intellectuality in
the race as inevitably imposed as it happily permitted. Such a step
in advance as a possible obedience, _ex animo_, to such a law would
be immense. Therefrom would issue the vital point of a conception of
moral reserves in marital rights as regards the other sex; the germ
of a profound and fundamental difference between brute and man. For
the first time in the history of the world we encounter the factor
which is to be the leading power in future social metamorphosis,
i.e. _an explicit distinction between female and female, as such_.
The superlative fact, indeed, in relation to our general argument,
appears--namely, that certain females are now to become sacred to
certain males, and that both (_nota bene_) are members of the same
family circle.

But what shall be, in such an age, the notes of a law conveying this
noble sentiment of sanctity, which, disarming jealousy, could permit
peace where before strife reigned? How give the outer expression of
the inner feeling, now aroused, of a change in the past intersexual
attitude of certain group members? Whence borrow the eloquence which
shall ordain rules in restriction of intercourse whilst yet, for
Homo Alalus, they must needs be mute in expression.[1] In the primal
law alone, as I hope in its portrayal to show, can each condition be
comprised and found as such. It will be marked and recognised by a
physical trait whose presence is as significant and imperative as it is
characteristic of the epoch. For a sentiment of restraint in feeling,
whilst articulate speech was yet lacking, could only be expressed by
restrictive checks in act and deed, requiring mere visual perception
for interpretation--acts we may here note, which, as insulating the
individual, would also inevitably tend to consecration.

Now we mentioned in our first chapter that, in connection with the
primal law, certain cases of so-called avoidance, and especially
that between near relatives, would have interest for us and probably
afford aid in proof. We drew attention to the strange features
marking these customs, which had rendered their origin a source of
wondering conjecture to all inquirers. It may be that precisely the
actual anomalism of these characteristics may render them eloquent
in our case. In view of our past argument, in very deed, nothing
now becomes insignificant in these quaint rules of non-propinquity
between certain near relations; nothing inexpressive in the ordinance
of non-recognition between individuals well known to each other;
nothing not suggestive in the dread of mere contact between those whom
nature would place closest together, no lack of import in the strange
taciturnity so incongruous with our garrulous later days of unloosed
tongues. There is a possible vestige of a past era of dumb show in
their eloquent muteness; of connection in their actual utter unreason
with a long dead past of all unfamiliar habits and manners. Further, is
verily aught lacking, in these latter-day customs of avoidance, of the
necessarily archaic features of a possible primeval law? If these in
truth were still existent, would they not, with such traits in common,
be simply classed with those? Undoubtedly so, as it seems to me.

Now in the course of our argument it has appeared that the inclusion
of the son as the second adult male in a group would evolve, as the
most primitive rule of action, restriction of intercourse between
its component females and the intruder. But in such a group, the
former would necessarily be to the latter in the relation of mother
and sisters. Such restriction, again, taking the only possible form,
would be avoidance of these relations, and thus there is a concurrence
in resemblance with that particular habit of avoidance on which we
enlarged in our first pages, viz. that between brother and sister (and
now less strictly), between mother and son. Do we not thus seem to lay
a finger on an actual law, still an every-day working factor in savage
life, which is not only identical with, but is in very deed the primal
law itself, in form at least? The acceptation of such intolerably
irksome restraints as avoidance, in the daily economy of savage life,
has seemed forcibly to imply a fundamental cause of profound depth.
This cause now seems laid open to us. The unaccountable and seemingly
unreasonable restrictions on intercourse which mark it thus betray
their appropriate origin in a time of comparative unreason.

This then, the primal law--avoidance between a brother and sister--with
appalling conservatism has descended through the ages (in conservance
of form, if not of ultimate purpose). It ordained in the dawn of time
a barrier between mother and son, and brother and sister, and that
ordinance is still binding on all mankind [but in Egypt and Peru,
for example, the opposite of this rule, for special reasons, has
prevailed]. Between these for ever, a bit was placed in the mouth of
desire, and chains on the feet of lust. Their mutual relationship is
one that has been held sacred from a sexual point of view, in most
later ages. It only remains for us to repeat that it follows that
this law, as applied in the group composed of a single family, is, as
we pointed out, the parent of exogamy; continuance within the group
necessarily and logically entailed marriage without; but, again as we
said, it was itself the offspring of the early idea. For this idea,
in its assumption that sovereignty in marital right was compatible
with solitude alone, was shaken to its depths when a second presence
threatened rivalry, and demanded remedy in the action of law, which it
has seemed to us could only take the form we have tried to portray[2]
in the primal law.


To the Editor this theory seems worthy of the ingenuity of his old
friend and kinsman. Granting that early man was a speechless jealous
brute, dwelling in groups consisting of a patriarchal beast, and all
the females whom he could catch, and all the females whom he could
beget; granting that he drove all his adolescent sons out; and finally
(under the circumstances described) kept one or a few sons at home, his
rule would tabu all females of the group to these sons. Otherwise there
would be a fight.

The sons would have to bring in mates from without--the result is
Exogamy. But Mr. Atkinson does not observe the numerous tabus existing
among savages, on ordinary (not sexual) intercourse between men and
women; as if each individual, of each sex, was or might be dangerous to
each individual of the other sex; _that_ is no idea of our speechless
brute ancestors, of Mr. Atkinson's hypothesis. These tabus do not
amount to absolute avoidance, but they do amount to very marked
restrictions; for example, on eating together, or sleeping under the
same roof, even where husbands and wives are concerned. For the facts,
to save repetition, it is enough to refer to Mr. Crawley's book, _The
Mystic Rose_. Now if these less rigid tabus between the sexes (which
Mr. Atkinson noted in his observations on the life of New Caledonian
natives) arose in the general savage superstitious dread of everything
not a man's or woman's own self, they might become more rigid as
propinquity increased. The most dangerous female would be the female
who had most chance of being dangerous, by virtue of propinquity,
namely the sister. She would therefore be the most strictly barred. The
closest of all relations, that of lover and lover, and man and wife,
would be most severely guarded, as most dangerous, by tabus. All this
would happen (granting the verifiable condition of savage superstitious
dread) even if Mr. Atkinson's theory of our speechless beast ancestors'
way of life were wrong.

We should probably find the effects (Avoidance and Exogamy) even if
the primeval causes postulated by him never actually existed. Moreover
any avoidance between mother and son that may exist (as in the case of
the mothers of chiefs, in New Caledonia, and their sons) is perhaps no
more than part of the general rule of restricted familiarity between
the sexes, whether that rule arises from a superstition, or from
the circumstance that men and women sometimes 'disturb each other
damnably,' as Lord Byron remarked to his wife. It might be argued that
the exogamous prohibition is only one aspect of the general totem tabu;
and that, in the case of brothers and sisters, incest against the
totem tabu needed to be guarded against (as most likely to occur) by
precautions of avoidance peculiarly stringent. These precautions, then,
would not necessarily come down from the time of our hypothetical
speechless beast ancestors. They _might_ come down from that time,
but the descent, it may be objected, is not necessary. The rules
might have arisen among men as human as we are--Totemists. On the
other hand, it might be argued for Mr. Atkinson that his hypothetical
groups must be infinitely older than Totemism. When totem names were
imposed on the earlier groups, the totem name and mark would only be
a method of distinguishing group from group, probably becoming the
germ of later superstitions by which everything connected with the
totem was tabued, in each case, to the groups bearing its name. Either
alternative hypothesis is easily conceivable: on the whole, I prefer
the theory that exogamy arose, or an exogamous tendency arose, as
in Mr. Atkinson's hypothesis, and was later sanctioned by the totem

As to brother and sister avoidance, if there is an 'instinct,' as
Westermarck thinks, against marriage between near relations, if 'close
living together inspires an aversion to intermarriage' (pp. 352, 545),
then the avoidance of brother and sister would make them especially
apt to fall in love together. But they don't. Brother and sister,
under the tabu, are the greatest possible strangers to each other.
They have _not_ 'lived in long-continued intimate relationship from a
period of life at which the action of desire is out of the question'
(Westermarck, p. 353). They have done precisely the reverse. So why
they do not fall in love with each other is what we have still to
explain. All the rigid systems of brother and sister avoidance exist,
it would seem, to prevent what never would have occurred, had the young
people been allowed to grow up together. For in _that_ case they could
have had (we are to fancy) no erotic desires towards each other; that
is Dr. Westermarck's idea. But could they not? He tells us that, among
the Annamese, 'no girl who is twelve years old and has a brother is a
virgin' (p. 292). And the Hottentots do not 'marry out of their own
kraals' (p. 347).

Then where are we, exactly? If there is 'a real powerful instinct'
against love between persons who 'have lived in a long-continued
intimate relationship' from childhood--why does the instinct fail to
affect Annamese and Hottentots, for instance? And if to be absolute
strangers to each other is apt to make two young people fall in love,
why do New-Caledonian brothers and sisters never do it? (Compare Mr.
Crawley, _The Mystic Rose_, pp. 444-446.)

[Footnote 1: How do we know that _homo_ was still _alalus_?--A. L.]

[Footnote 2: Later, as we further analyse the chords in the great hymn
of human existence, we shall find that this first of all rules of
intelligent moral action, however little it may have had of ethical
intention in its inception, will ever remain (in its effects) the
fundamental note in the harmony of psychical life. All succeeding
law is its inevitable corollary, and vibrating in cadence with this
fundamental note.]



Results in strengthening the groups which admit several
adult males.--Disappearance of hostile band of exiled young
males.--Relations of sire and female mates of young males now within
the group.--Father-in-law and daughter-in-law avoidance.--Rights as
between two generations.--Elder brother and younger brother's wife
avoidances.--Note on Hostile Capture.

If we can admit the argument as to the sequence of incidents which
thus led to the primary amicable conjunction of two males within the
same group, it is not necessary to enter very minutely into the exact
manner in which it would grow into a habit and spread throughout the
land. We may surmise that, in spite of the advantages presented, its
progress would, from the isolation of the groups, and their mutual
hostility, be very slow. This would specially be the case if, as with
physical variations, this point of departure in social development was
a purely individual one, and so had to spread from a single centre by
natural selection acting through a beneficial variation. It is, in
fact, difficult to conceive, in view of the series of the abnormal
factors we have supposed necessary for the genesis of such evolution,
that any coincident departure of the same nature would be likely to
occur in any other centre. It is even certain that the full possible
benefit of the innovation would not be able to make itself felt even
in the group of its creators. It is easy to understand that, in spite
of the shield-like love of the mother, there would be friction between
father and son in such unfamiliar circumstances, not only novel to
the individual, but unhabitual to the race. In fact, it may be taken
for granted that on the part of the father there was at first only a
sulky tolerance of the new arrangement, a tacit but very unwilling
acquiescence in the presence of the son.

On the part of the son would exist a watchful reserve, with an
ever-haunting sense of insecurity, born of a novel and precarious
situation. Even on such terms, however, and with what little might be
of conciliation between the two, it is evident that a momentous forward
step has been taken: the powers of the group in offence and defence,
as against outsiders, would be enormously increased;[1] the fire of
youth and the wisdom of old age for the first time joined forces, and
paternal experience comes to the aid of filial courage and ardour.
On the death of the patriarch the family found a natural protector,
and what potential germs of advance, material or spiritual, had been
evolved, would remain intact.

The real significance of the circumstance of such conjunction will,
however, be found to lie in the character of its consequences as
entailing further progress. Thus we have suggested that the original
innovation consisted in the toleration of the presence of a single male
offspring. But the way was evidently thus paved for the acceptance, at
least in later generations, of others of the young males, although at
first only of those who, not too much rivalling the fathers in power,
would offer least grounds for jealousy. Now if we may accept it as an
axiom in the matter of social progress in this race, that everything
depended on aggregation of numbers in peaceful union, then such renewed
inclusion presents itself in an important light. When it grew into a
habit, the vast increase in power with every succeeding generation to a
group, which is implied in the fact of each male child counting as an
unit of strength, becomes evident. The new superiority to the original
Cyclopean form of family, with its solitary male head, is enormous. The
extinction of the latter type would only be a matter of time, it would
finally result from the easy capture, by better organised rivals, of
their females. With the gradual disappearance of those who clung to the
old order, the leaven of progress would spread in permanence through
the whole mass. It would eventually become the rule that all the male
offspring should remain within a group, to form henceforth an integral
part of it.

This result would be very important from another point of view. Such
retention of sons would lead to the elimination of one of the greatest
past elements of disorder--that band of exiled young males, which we
found as a constantly menacing adjunct of the Cyclopean family, would
cease to exist. But, again, a very slight reflection will enable
us to perceive that such a modification as the presence of these
celibate young males in the family circle must soon have entailed
consequences in social evolution of a new and strange complexion,
thoroughly embarrassing, in such an era, to those interested. Primitive
social economy was now, in fact, to enter on phases presenting such
possibilities of complication and disruption as must forcibly have led
to the continued evolution of law in regulation. Such complications
will become at once apparent on an examination of the probable sequence
of events in the family life of the race. Such law in regulation will
be shown to have been evolved, and, as before, to be still existent
as a rule of action in these latter days, and with all those weird
characteristics of mutism and general anomalism which prove its archaic

Granted a group consisting of a patriarch whose marital rights extend
over all its females, and of young males whose attitude,[2] from a
sexual point of view, is marked by the strict reserve ordained by the
primal law, it by no means follows that such celibacy of the young
males would extend beyond the feminine element of their own troop. On
the contrary, the whole of the outside world remains free for them to
choose from. In fact, it is evident that it is there, in the world
outside of the group, that their future mates must be found. On the
component females of the parent horde a ban has been for ever laid,
but all else of womankind are free of the interdict; they are beyond
the law, and 'Sin is not imputed where there is no law.' Here, then, in
the outer world, would their wives be sought. The complication we have
mentioned would arise when, after successful captures of females by the
young males, captures which it is hardly necessary to state would have
been 'hostile,' the introduction of their captives within the parental
group took place. The presence of females not to be his own within a
circle where all that was feminine had ever been his in undisputed
right, would certainly stir to its depths the soul of the Cyclopean
type of parent. Such a situation must in its inception have caused a
friction full of menace to the new order of things.

The only solution would be, as we have said, in the further evolution
of law in remedy. We shall, as before, expect to find the law ordaining
restrictions on intercourse between certain individuals, and marked
with the archaic characteristic of mere visual action being sufficient
for its interpretation. Such, then, as it was, we still find it, in the
habit still common with many races of avoidance between father-in-law
and daughter-in-law. In mute avoidance between these two could peace
alone endure in the new crisis. The new rule implied the development
of the same respect by the father for the marital rights of the son,
as we have seen the primal law to have had for effect as regards the
paternal prerogatives. Natural selection would come into play in the
consolidation of this new stage in legislative evolution. For the
group which first adopted such a _modus vivendi_ would gain so great
an advantage with each generation, in point of numbers alone, as would
quickly give it supremacy. On the other hand, the forcible infringement
by the father on the rights of possession by the sons in their
captives, would simply result in the withdrawal of the sons and their
women. Hence disruption of the group, and a fatal retrogression to the
archaic type with all the weakness implied in a sole male component.

Here then we find renewed, in act of custom, another bar to
intercourse between certain individuals of different sexes. And not
only as a peace-conferring covenant would the fresh step in progress
be important. It marks another stride in advance from brute to man, in
the further recognition of points of difference between one female and
another from a sexual point of view, the genetic evolution of which
sentiment, in the primal law, foreshadowed such latent potentiality
as already distinctive of mankind alone. Social advance to this stage
has entailed the genesis of law in definition of respective marital
rights as _between the two generations_, viz. fathers and sons, but
further evolution in regulation of the individual right, as within
the generation itself, is evidently indicated. For all members of
the latter, as is the case to-day with many lower people, would be
considered, _de facto_, a _class_, in which all are regarded as
brothers, own or tribal, whose interest in all things regarding their
classificatory rights would be in common.[3]

Such would be more especially the case in respect to female captives,
whose capture would be the act of all. Here sexual jealousy, if
uncontrolled, would inevitably lead to repetitions of that violent
segregation of the members which occurred under the same circumstances
amidst their primitive prototypes--i.e. that band of isolated young
males, contemporaries of and exiles from some Cyclopean family. We
may, however, surmise that, now or soon, the general development of
intelligence and advance in social feeling would permit the action of
the necessary rule in remedy. That rule would doubtless take the form
we still find existing to-day for regulation in parallel circumstances,
a rule which simply accords priority of right in accordance with
seniority in birth. Such right would in itself accrue naturally as
with other animals, from the fact that superior strength is found with
greater age. This prior possession is not incompatible with an amicable
recognition of the privilege of later participation by others. If such
recognition took place in favour of the rights of the juniors, whilst
they again peacefully accepted the larger pretensions of the seniors
within their class, then natural selection would again act in their
favour by the elimination of groups unable to abide such conditions.
The arrogation of sole possession could but lead to the disintegration
of the troop.[4]

Another solution of the problem of rights as between brothers may here
be noted: it is that which is common to such widely separated spots as
New Caledonia and Orissa, viz. the law of avoidance between an elder
brother and a younger brother's wife. It is one of the most strict and
severe. It is, however, incompatible with group marriage, which we are
now dealing with.[5] It marks the genetic stage of monandry.

So far, then, we have thus traced the evolutionary process of group
formation--and we seem to find confirmed that affirmation as to the
primordial order of succession in the genetic growth of custom which
I ventured to submit in my first pages, viz. primo: the existence of
an early idea of concupiscent lust, distinctive of the male head of
a group, which led to his pretensions in marital right over all its
component females in necessary incestuous union; secundo, the evolution
of the primal law (with what little of originally ethical intention
is now immaterial), in protection of such right when threatened by
intruders; tertio, its acceptance by the latter, and, as an inevitable
sequel, their indispensable capture of outside females as sole possible

But then this question of the absolute necessity of the rape of
strange females as mates by the young males of a group, opens up
to view another remarkable coincidence of effect in custom, still
enduring to our day. As such it may furnish a clue to a feature in
savage habits, to which we have already alluded as the cause of more
discussion, concerning its origin, than any other. For habitual
hostile capture of females outside a group by its male members, with
a coincidental bar to sexual union with its component females, seems
simply a definition of that habit among many actual peoples which has
been called Exogamy by Mr. J. F. McLennan. Hence comes the evident
corollary to the argument that the primal law and exogamy stand to
each other in the mutual relation of cause and effect. We stated that
if this was in reality the case, and if here we have the origin of
marriage outside the group, then the novelty of the view, and the fact
that it finds itself in opposition to other theories on the matter,
weighty from the eminence of their propounders, would still require
the production of a clear series of proofs in its favour if it was to
be accepted. Such proofs, however, we predicted, would with research
be found abundantly. We hope that already in our thesis, as far as it
has gone, we may be considered to have advanced some such testimony
in the seemingly necessary identity of custom, in form at least, in a
hypothetic ancient and an actual modern era. There is surely here more
than mere fortuitous coincidence in social evolution.

It seems, indeed, a legitimate inference that the divers habits of
avoidance which we have cited, intelligible only by their congruency
with such phases of genetic growth of custom as we have surmised,
whilst presenting features utterly anomalous as latter-day creations,
are in reality of the archaic origin we would assign to them.
Their extraordinary vitality, which becomes almost bewildering to
contemplate, may be explained by the fact that, as the first steps in
progress, they would be necessarily woven into the whole social fabric.

It remains to be seen if, in further unravelling its tangled web, other
threads of actual custom may not be found as apparently eloquent of
a far distant, unfamiliar past, in their present abnormal features;
other usages in every-day lower (savage) life, which in the light of
a primal law shall furnish an unexpected solution of many perplexing
problems in social evolution. If it can be shown that their inception
would have been in happy accordance with the resolution of necessary
incidents in evolutionary progress, may we not legitimately infer both
that such customs thus had their origin, and again that these incidents
really occurred? Our further research into the development of social
institutions will point out indisputably, that primitive society was
now on the eve of a succession of events in social order, presenting
quite a series of menacing complications--their resolution will
seemingly entail inevitably the continuous evolution of law in remedy,
which law would have presented features identical with the actual laws
of avoidance and others.

[Footnote 1: It is clear that, for this reason, natural selection would
favour the new kind of group. The arrangement would be imitated.--A. L.]

[Footnote 2: With portentous endurance of custom towards these.]

[Footnote 3: Herr Cunow, as we showed, regards the 'classes' (not
the 'phratries') of Australian tribes as based on a rough and ready
calculation of non-intermarrying generations.--A. L.]

[Footnote 4: See also Westermarck, pp. 458, 459, on the Khyoungtha, a
Chittagong hill tribe. After marriage a younger brother is allowed to
touch the hand, to speak and laugh with his elder brother's wife, but
it is thought improper for the elder brother even to look at the wife
of his younger brother. This is a custom more or less among all hill
tribes, it is found carried to even a preposterous extent among the

[Footnote 5: As a fact the 'classes' (probably distinctions,
originally, of generations) do not, I think, indicate 'group
marriage.'--A. L.]

[Footnote 6: Westermarck, _ut supra_, pp. 387-389, 546, agrees. For the
opposite view, cf. Crawley, p. 367. Westermarck does not seem very sure
of his own mind.--A. L.]


Marriage by Hostile Capture

Mr. Atkinson accepts, for the excessively early stage of semi-human
society with which his hypothesis deals, the necessity of procuring
mates for the young bucks by capture from a hostile group. Now Dr.
Westermarck writes, 'Mr. McLennan thinks that marriage by capture arose
from the rule of exogamy;' and Mr. Atkinson holds that it arose from
the necessity of the case. The old patriarch allowed no female born
within his group to be united to his sons. Dr. Westermarck says, 'It
seems to me extremely probable that the practice of capturing women
for wives is due chiefly to the aversion to close intermarrying ...
together with the difficulty a savage man has in procuring a wife in a
friendly manner, without giving compensation for the loss he inflicts
on her father' (Westermarck, 368-369). He admits a period when 'the
idea of barter had hardly occurred to man's mind,' But Mr. Atkinson
is thinking of a state of affairs in which the idea of barter had not
occurred at all. Even at Dr. Westermarck's stage of the dawn of barter,
'marriage by capture must have been very common.' But Mr. Crawley
argues that because, in his opinion, 'types of formal and connubial
capture' are not survivals from actual capture, therefore 'the theory
that mankind ... ever, in normal circumstances, were accustomed to
obtain their wives by capture from other tribes, may be regarded as
exploded' (_Mystic Rose_, p. 367). This dictum does not affect Mr.
Atkinson's theory. Semi-human beings, in the conditions imagined by
him, might be obliged to get their wives by capture, whether existing
types of so-called formal capture are survivals of actual hostile
capture or not. If Mr. Atkinson accepts the formal abductions as
survivals of real captures and so as proofs of his argument, and if
such formal abductions are not survivals of real capture--still, as Dr.
Westermarck says, even after the supposed stage of semi-human life,
'marriages by capture must have been very common'--in Mr. Atkinson's
hypothetical still earlier stage, they must have been universal.



Resemblance of semi-brutal group, at this stage, to actual savage
tribe.--Resemblance merely superficial.--In this hypothetical
semi-brutal group paternal incest survives.--Causes of its decline
and extinction.--The Sire's widows in the group.--Arrival of outside
suitors for them.--Brothers of wives of the group.--New comers
barred from marital rights over their daughters.--Jealousy of their
wives intervenes.--Value of sisters to be bartered for sisters
of another group discovered.--Consequent resistance to incest of
group sire.--Natural selection favours groups where resistance is
successful.--Cousinage recognised in practice.--Intermarrying sets
of cousins become phratries.--Exceptional cases of permitted incest
in chiefs and kings.--No known trace of avoidance between father and
daughter.--Progress had rendered such law superfluous.

A superficial view of the group we have examined might, from its
general resemblance in custom to others among actual lower types of
man, lead to a hasty conception of perfect identity, from a social
point of view, in nearly all other respects. We see that exogamy,
hostile capture, group marriage,[1] and obedience to certain
accepted rules of avoidance, are common to both, to the hypothetical
semi-bestial and to the actual savage groups.

The impression, however, would be very erroneous.

In the former, the hypothetical archaic stage, still lurked as a
festering canker, an archaic element in marital prerogative, which
marks it as of an epoch in the life-history of our race when the brute
still triumphed over the man, an epoch far removed from our own. It
possessed a feature in connubial relations as between certain group
members which placed a profound gulf between it and any existing form
of these days--a trait which, whilst it endured, would tend to render
all further social progress difficult, if not impossible. It barred the
road to that next great gradation in sociological evolution which is
implied in the friendly conjunction of groups in a tribe. The latter
stage was a vast upward step, but still it was only one round in the
ladder of ascent to man, and indeed derived its chief importance from
this fact as such. The tribe was the real goal; there, only, could be
found the vital quality of social stability to be conferred by peaceful
_connubium_ between united groups as opposed to hostile capture between
isolated families. Each group must come to be in itself complete,
and yet each must form the necessary complementary parts of the
actual _Tribe_ common to all lower races, with its typical divisional
inter-marriageable group classes ['phratries']. The fatal bar to a
higher platform was a heritage from the anthropoid ancestor, and, as
such, eminently characteristic of an animal stage.

This odious inheritance was the habit of incest between father and
daughter, which we have found to be common to all the mammalia as a
dominant domestic feature. As a factor in evolution we have seen that
it actually had as direct outcome the primal law itself, and thus,
with a strange irony, it may be said to have so laid the foundation of
an ultimate moral sense. In such or other action in the past it had,
however, served its useful purpose. Its operation in the future could
be but detrimental; so opposed to all advance does it become, that,
as we shall find, it is to be finally swept aside so completely as to
permit to some students doubts of its existence, though 'In Saturn's
time such mixture was not held a crime.' Leaving no traces of action in
actual usage save in such exceptions as prove the rule, it will not be
difficult to show that, in giving birth to the primal law, it doomed
its own existence, and this apart from any ethical connection. The
continued progress of society led almost mechanically to developments
eminently inimical to its continuance as a custom, whilst again it
would be found even injurious to the order of things as constituted in
the earliest group-_plus_-tribe stage. If we bear in mind the axiom
that, other things being equal, the largest assemblage of individuals
in amity would have the greatest chance of survival, as possessing more
numerous units of strength, then father-and-daughter marriage would be
pernicious by preventing an assembly from profiting to a full extent
by the productive powers of all its members. For such incest implies
sole marital rights by a senior generation of males over a junior
generation of females. As the latter would always, from mere disparity
of age, outlive the former, it follows that, on the death of a father
the daughters would remain unproductive, the only other males in the
family group being their own brothers, and as such barred to them by
the primal law.

This situation, in itself an element of weakness, became doubly so,
if, as is probable, these young widowed females seceded to other and
hostile groups with whom union to them was free. Such groups would
in consequence be by so much strengthened, at the expense of their
original circle. If, on the other hand, these widows remained in their
own circle, their presence as useless mouths would be embarrassing, and
a possible source of danger as a temptation to outside suitors. Again,
celibacy being quite an anomaly in such an era, complications might
arise from possible infractions of the primal law itself within a group.

But it is in special relation to the further movement in advance
implied in the friendly aggregation of groups into a tribe that the
effects of paternal incest would be most fatally felt. For while it
reigned as a custom and a father usurped sole marital right over the
whole feminine element, the immigration into the group of outside
suitors for their hands would be impossible, their possession by the
latter would be only possible after capture, which, being hostile,
would tend to keep asunder the different groups. And yet in the next
and higher stage of social evolution, as presented in the amalgamation
of groups into a tribe, the acceptation of these outside mates in
peaceful connubium is precisely the most characteristic feature. In
later days they will be found as the male members of a certain 'class'
in one 'phratry,' and, _de facto_, eligible in group marriage with all
and certain females of the corresponding category as regards birth in
another phratry, within an all-embracing tribe. As indeed with actual
Australians, where, by right of birth alone each 'class' contains the
natural born husbands of the wives of another 'class.' Such connubium
is evidently impossible while incest flourished as a custom, it could
only arise after its decay.[2]

It thus becomes necessary to study by what possible conjunction of
affairs so desirable a result was arrived at. We will find that,
however fortuitous the event of the primary inclusion of an outside
possible suitor within a group, however timid and hesitating his entry,
his presence there would be the signal of the beginning of the end.
Now it is evidently hopeless to look for any voluntary acceptance of
his claims by the living father, to whom the temptation to so easy
a procuring of an inmate of his harem as his own daughter would be
irresistible. There would be also on his side all habit and tradition,
and with no direct group interest in opposition, the brothers being
unconcerned. The initiative in change must then arise irrespective
of him, and without the obstacle of his presence. This could only be
possible thus after his death.

Now it is important to observe that precisely the embarrassment we
have seen arise after this event must be a means to the end of the
conjunction we seek. We have noted the danger of the situation under
such circumstances; ineligible in union by the primal law with the
remaining male element, which is composed of their own brothers,
temptations to its infraction would be as frequent as fatal, on the
part of the early widowed sisters. On the other hand, the anomaly of
a celibate existence in the animal stage would tend to the secession
of widows, so to speak, to hostile hordes, or to constant attempts at
hostile capture by the outside suitor. But with the friendly entry of
the latter and his acceptance as a group member, all these disturbing
influences would at once cease; further, the value of an extra unit of
strength in his presence would soon make itself felt.

Let us then imagine a band of brothers willing to aid in the sustenance
of their widowed sisters, strong enough to defy their capture by
others, and determined to frustrate any attempt at escape on their
part. The inevitable result would be the attraction within their own
circle of suitors for their hands. Now it is worthy of note that the
feasibility of the process of such attraction and inclusion becomes
more obvious when we reflect that if, as is probable, they belonged to
a neighbouring group, they would thus by no means find themselves quite
strangers in their new home. For it is precisely from near neighbours
that their wives would have been captured by the males of the assembly
they have now joined. These wives, in fact, would be probably own
sisters to the immigrants. As such, then, we can understand an
easier tolerance of their presence by the resident males, their new
brothers-in-law; as brothers and sisters the primal law created such
a bar in division between their own wives and the new comers, as put
aside any possible chance of friction in jealousy.

Now the significance of the entry of outside males would be vast, from
many points of view. In a general sense we here find that further
aggregation of numbers in unison which we considered important, as
prophetic of the present social condition of to-day. Again, there
arises a renewed distinction of that difference as between one female
and another, so peculiar to mankind. For here we see that for the first
time a sister no longer ranks in exactly the same line, from a marital
point of view, as a mother. A daughter, in fact, may now evidently
have as mate other than the husband-father. As the primitive mind
habituated itself to this idea, the first serious blow was dealt at the
old parental prerogative. Again, in other ways, in other minds than
own brother and sister, will this change in the old order of things be
thus brought home--to no one more clearly than to the outside suitor
himself, when, later, he becomes a father; the trains of circumstances
leading to it are very curious, but would arise in a perfectly natural
manner. The result in this connection would make itself felt by him
in the next generation, with the advent to the adult stage of his own
female offspring.

Is it credible, indeed, that the original male members of a group who
had solely accepted his entry as mate for those ineligible females,
their sisters, would consent to his further participation in marital
right with other female group members? Evidently not: for thus the
sexual prerogatives of the strangers would be much greater than their
own--for the resident males are barred by the primal law from the
wives of the new comers, who yet, as resident females, form probably
much the most numerous section of the feminine element in the horde.
If the new comers further inherited the ordinary right of intercourse
with their own daughters, who would be correspondingly numerous, then
the extent of their rights would entirely outbalance that of their
brothers-in-law. As original residents the latter would, however, be
the law-makers, and we can have no doubt as to what form in such a case
law would take.[3] Thus is struck a blow again, however indirect, to
incest as a custom, a blow whose power would be the more effective,
insomuch as here it is the living father himself, in the outside
suitor, who would be in cause. But even admitting that it is possible
to conceive a complacency in regard to such participation in sexual
rights on the part of the brother, there would still be another much
more formidable obstacle to incestuous license as regards his daughter
confronting the male intruder in the person of the precedent sister,
now his wife.

A psychological factor of enormous power was now for the first time
in the history of the world to make itself felt. It would be the play
of the natural feeling of sexual jealousy on the part of his resident
female mate. The jealousy of a woman, in fact, is at length able to
make its strength appear, to some purpose. As a wife who had not been
captured, who, in fact, as an actual member of the group itself, was,
so to speak, the capturer, her position in regard to her dependent
husband would be profoundly modified in comparison with that of the
ordinary captive female. Whereas such a captive, seized by the usual
process of hostile capture, had been a mere chattel utterly without
power; _she_, as a free agent in her own home, with her will backed by
that of her brothers, could impose law on her subject spouse, and such
law dictated by jealousy would undoubtedly ordain a bar to intercourse
between him and her more youthful, and hence more attractive, daughter.

By these then, and other incidents, each of vast value, we may
perceive how the primitive mind became gradually prepared for a change
so imperatively necessary for all future progress, and how a habit
even so deeply ingrafted as incest may primarily have been forced to
slacken its hold. It is even possible to imagine how from such a point
of departure, the custom might at once have entirely ceased among
all, or at least a portion of, mankind. If we could conceive at this
stage a secession from their original group of its resident component
females, accompanied by their outside mates, with a continuance of the
acceptance of the subordinate strange suitors in future generations of
the new colony, then we could admit the probability of rapid evolution
in approach to a well-known actual group formation. The persistent
importation of the always dependent outsider would accentuate the
movement already begun against incest--with two such associations in
unison, cousinship would be recognised, and peaceful _connubium_ in
'cross-cousin' marriage between groups would become a habit, and female
descent the rule.[4] But at such a stage in social evolution, it is
impossible to accept the dominance of the unsupported female or 'feme
sole.' _Gynæcocracy_, if it has indeed ever existed, is evidently as
yet incredible. Not thus was dealt the final fatal blow at this last
great trait of archaism. We must rather seek it in the familiar economy
of the type of group we have left, which is characterised, as with
other animals, by the predominance of the male.

In our study of the various incidents in primitive social economy which
would have had effect in a sense inimical to the custom of incest, we
have only considered the matter from the point of view of the entry
of the outside suitor after the death of the paternal tyrant. The
incestuous rights of the living group-fathers are thereby in no way
directly affected. In the absence of any direct personal interest
in the matter on the part of the group-sons, the only other male
components and law-makers might indeed continue to remain unopposed
indefinitely. Thus a resolution of the problem of decay of incest would
seem as far off as ever. Happily this is not in reality the case--the
real significance of the entry of the outsider, even on such terms
as we have examined, lay in the co-ordination of movement of these
resultant primary checks, and the inevitable synchronous evolution of
the most characteristic feature of the next and higher type of group,
as in itself a mere component of a tribe. The outsider's admission, in
fact, really contained the germ of progress in group formation which
was to entail the total required decay [of incest].

Up to the present, although the entire male element in a group was
divided into two classes, by generations whose interests had little
in common, between them no antagonism had arisen which could not be
appeased by the evolution of such a law in remedy as we have noted.
The case would now be altered; an irreconcilable breach was about to
divide them. It will be seen that the advent of the outsider had been
a real portent. Where, for instance, and under the circumstances we
have portrayed, he had become a more accustomed figure as an immigrant,
he would form a valuable connecting link between groups. Each would
certainly possess some females seized from the other by more or less
forcible capture, but each now possessed a certain proportion of these
males, brothers of those females, whose intrusion had been peaceably
accepted. With less strained relations and greater intercourse, capture
would become a little more rare, and a friendly interchange of women
more common. There would be then discovered by the brother a hitherto
undreamt-of virtue in the young female, his sister; in fact, her value
as a negotiable article would appear.

As brothers and sisters, and thus barred in union by the primal law,
their relative interest in each other had been of the feeblest in the
past. The ultimate destiny of the sister might be a matter of the most
perfect indifference to the brother. With the new order of things she
had suddenly become more precious. As an object of barter for the
sister of another man, she would show herself to be invaluable. In view
of the difficulty and danger attending hostile capture, the temptation
to such easy procuration of mates as sister-barter offered would be
irresistible. Coming at first into practice when only the death of
the father had left his widowed daughter free, its advantages to the
sons would impose a gradual encroachment on the rights of possession
by the living parent. In prejudice to incest were now opposed the two
most powerful passions in human nature, sexual desire, and a love of
material gain, and the successful barter of a sister for another man's
sister satisfied both. For attempts at capture might be unsuccessful,
and purchase might be more or less unsatisfactory. And these passions
would be aroused in bosoms able to make their power felt. The sons, as
also resident males, would be among the law-makers. However powerful
the father in past authority and tradition, in the end the force
of numbers would tell. However numerous the group of fathers, they
would always be outnumbered by the group of brother sons, and victory
would thus ultimately incline to these.[5] However long and doubtful
the struggle, as the latter possessed the longer lease of life, the
_quantum_ of the exchange value of a sister would always finally be
made to show itself, and the determination to profit thereby would be
more strongly impressed on each generation.

Natural selection would again certainly come into play in favour
of such groups, thus curtailing the monstrous prerogatives of the
old-world fathers, by dint of numbers alone. The superiority which
would ensue with each generation, would speedily ensure the triumph of
that assembly which could definitely accept the presence of the outside
suitor. He would come as a multiple unit of strength, a willing ally
who would otherwise have been an active enemy--the generator of the
productive power to females who would either have remained as sterile
residents, or seceded to hostile hordes as breeders of new foes.

Thus, then, we may at length perceive how a custom even so deeply
ingrained in nascent man as paternal incest, may finally have become
extinct as a custom. In the action of such circumstances we can
accept the idea of its ultimate decay and death. By the numerical
preponderance of the individuals within a group interested in its
disappearance, was alone such a result feasible. This necessary
condition we here find fulfilled.

In opposition to the father we now see arrayed not only the
wife-mother jealous of her mate, not only the daughter inclined
instinctively to youth and the unknown, but, most important of all, the
son, now egged on by most powerful personal feelings and interests. And
for these latter ones, as we have seen, time itself would fight; to
youth each hour and day is a gain in strength, to old age each moment
means a loss of power. With the decay of the custom we see that the
way lies clear to progress in group formation. Sooner or later the
presence of the offspring of the outside suitors in the formerly purely
consanguine circle will be recognised, their recognition as cousins to
the younger resident members will be made, and the old type of horde by
a process of cleavage divides itself into two intermarriageable clans,
(phratries?), and the savage tribe is created.[6]

Thus did the custom of paternal incest disappear, and so completely as
not to leave a trace of its passage in recognised usage among actual
peoples. But as an unauthorised habit it long existed, nay, it still
lurks, and as such it is probably much more common among the lowest
classes of even most civilised peoples than is generally imagined.
The continual domiciliary propinquity of such close relatives makes
the crime easy[7] and detection difficult. Amidst the savage races,
although rare, it is by no means unknown. It is not a crime by the
laws of totem kinship with female descent, the daughter in such a case
being always of the same totem as her mother, and thus theoretically
eligible. The only bar is the classificatory system which, based on
sequence in birth, forbids all connection between those of different
generations. Thus this form of incest, when it does occur, in no
way creates the utter horror which we find universal at any union
between brother and sister. An old native chief whom I questioned on
the matter certainly spat with disgust at the idea, but again, to my
own knowledge, a case occurred where a girl bore a child to her own
father, and when the fact was mentioned among the people, it only
caused coarse laughter. It is true that in this case the culprit was
a great chief--it is possible that there would have been more adverse
comment if he had been a commoner. It is certain that the betrayal
of the vested interests of the future husband (for in New Caledonia
all children are betrothed at a very early age) would have been more
resented in the latter case. But license in sexual intercourse within
forbidden relationships seems everywhere the privilege of irresponsible
rank, if we may judge by the Kalmuck proverb, 'Great folk and the
beasts marry where they please.'

However, its occurrence in such cases may be traced to sources which
show that here the exception proves the rule. Indeed, the fact of its
occurring almost solely among the higher classes [as among the Incas],
points clearly to a probable connection with an idea of pride of race,
or a question of inheritance. Now we may note that with descent in the
female line the right of direct succession to the paternal name, or
place of power, or property, is not in the gift of a father. The only
legal conveyers of the blood right within him are females in whose
veins is to be found that same blood, i.e. his mother and sisters.
However regal a personage his child by a foreign woman, it is cut off
from that heritage, nor in connection with this offspring can pride of
race find a place. Thus, then, we may understand how union, although
illegal, with a sister was so frequent in, and even enjoined on, the
royal race amidst certain peoples. The purity of the royal blood thus
alone remained intact, and from a king was born a king. For it is a
remarkable fact which must be more than a coincidence that amongst
these very peoples, such as the ancient Egyptians, Persians, and
Peruvians, whose rulers were addicted to the habit, female descent
was the custom [?]. At least I am not personally acquainted with any
exception to the rule. In consonance with this descent through females
only and where any approach has been made to gynæcocracy, we shall
expect to find that there would be only one legal wife. Such was indeed
the case also in Ancient Egypt, there is no instance of two consorts
given in any of the inscriptions. This fact, taken in connection with
that which conduced to incestuous union under this form of descent,
invites us to make a digression in a curious reflection, not however
entirely foreign to our general theme. For the same effect as regards
inheritance on the offspring which would be produced by union with a
sister, would also occur in marriage with a daughter whose parents
had been themselves brother and sister. Thus we may guess the lineage
of the unknown mother of the great royal wife Nefer-ari, daughter
and consort of the Pharaoh of the oppressive Rameses the Great. This
daughter had, in fact, been probably chosen among others for wife
precisely because her mother had herself been both his sister and his

We may now renew our affirmation that paternal incest as a custom, is
no longer generally recognised anywhere. The primitive unquestioned
marital right in incest is quite unknown. It has disappeared, and so
completely have even traces of its past general occurrence faded, that
doubts of the reality of the fact may be pardonably entertained. The
question is of importance in connection with our thesis, for as may
be seen the whole theory of the primal law is based on the idea of
its primitive universal prevalence. We hope, however, to have shown
the inherent possibility of the fact as being a habit common to all
the mammalia--and it has seemed against reason to suppose that man's
ancestor, whilst in the animal stage, would be an exception to so
general a rule. Our further argument has adduced circumstances in
favour of a final decay so complete that oblivion could not but follow.

Perhaps not the least remarkable fact to the anthropologist in
connection with its life and death, is that only as between a father
and a daughter, of all blood relationships, do we find no trace among
actual peoples of any law in Avoidance. The fact is significant, as we
may thus surmise that the process of decay was very long delayed, in
fact to a time when such inchoate form of law as Avoidance had become
an archaism, or until general progress had rendered any law unnecessary.

[Footnote 1: As to group marriage the editor cannot follow Mr.

[Footnote 2: I have here slightly altered Mr. Atkinson's terminology.
As the passage stands in his manuscript he confuses totem kins with
the Australian intermarrying 'classes.' In his manuscript the passage
runs thus: 'In later days they' (the outside mates) 'will be found as
the male members of a certain class generation in one group' (by which
he means a 'class,' say Ippai, in a 'phratry,' say Dilbi) 'and, _de
facto,_ eligible in group marriage with all and certain females of the
_same_ category as regards birth in another group.' Here he obviously
should have written 'eligible in marriage with all females of the
_corresponding_ category in the other "phratry" of an all-embracing
tribe.' 'As indeed with actual Australians where, by right of birth
alone, each totem group contains the natural born husbands and wives of
another totem group.' This is not the case: men of one totem kin are
not compelled to take wives from one other totem kin; but men of one
'class' must take wives of one other 'class,' and men of one 'phratry'
must take wives out of the other 'phratry.'. To avoid confusion I have,
in the text, inserted the correct terminology.--A. L.]

[Footnote 3: All the younger generation of females would be reserved
for themselves, and thus not only their own daughters, but the
daughters of their brothers-in-law, who, as of the same generation,
were all classed together as sisters.]

[Footnote 4: These groups would be phratries, or the germs of
phratries.--A. L.]

[Footnote 5: The breach between father and sons could only be healed
by the submission of the fathers. Then prerogative in incest would
gradually decay, for strange to say no vestige of law in avoidance can
be traced.]

[Footnote 6: It will be observed that Mr. Atkinson, when he writes
of 'the cleavage of the old type of horde into two intermarriageable
clans, creating the tribe,' differs from the opinions already expressed
by his editor. By 'clans' Mr. Atkinson here means 'phratries,' and we
have shown that phratries, even now, often bear totemic names, and
probably were, in origin, local totem groups; each containing members
(by female descent) of several other totem groups. Mr. Atkinson, as
far as his MS. goes, appears to have given no attention to the origin
and evolution of totem names, totem groups, and totem kins. Thus he
writes, 'the presence of the offspring of the outside suitor in the
formerly purely consanguine circle will be recognised.' But if the
heterogeneity in the circle was only recognised as marked by female
descent, and by the totem name of the female mate from without, _male_
parentage of 'the children of the outside suitor' would not come into
the purview of customary laws, would not cause the 'cleavage into two
intermarriageable clans,' or 'phratries.' There was no such 'cleavage,'
as we have argued, and the permission of cross-cousin marriage is due
(I suspect), not to such early legal recognition of male descent, but
simply to the natural working of the totemic exogamy, _plus_ female

Mr. Atkinson's theory of 'cleavage,' it will be remarked, does not
involve the idea that the members of an 'undivided commune,' being
pricked in conscience, bisected it for reformatory purposes. He merely
suggests that his clients found, in their group, persons marriageable
according to their existing rules of the game, and married them. But
these persons are, according to him, recognised as the offspring of
'outside suitors' _male_, and are also recognised as cousins, on the
female side, though even now no name for cousins exists in Australian
society. This involves counting both on the male and female sides,
which, in practice, may have occurred. But the theory of Mr. Atkinson
avoids all the problems of the different totemic names given both to
the born members of his original group, and to other members thereof,
consisting of the offspring of the outside suitors. If totemic group
names already existed, these suitors must have been of many totem group
names. Whence, then, came the two different and distinct totemic group
names of the two sets of cross-cousins--now phratries on Mr. Atkinson's

Give his original group a name, say Emu. With Totemism it will contain
captive wives of various groups, say Bat, Cat, Rat. It will also
contain outside suitors, probably of the same names. These men are
allowed to marry women of the group, and, by Mr. Atkinson's theory, the
offspring of these unions, or 'cross-cousins,' are allowed to marry the
children of their aunts within the group. There are thus, within the
group, two intermarrying 'sides of the house,' _veve_, as in Melanesia.
But why or how do these sides of the house, practically phratries,
now receive totemic names, say Yungaru and Wutaru, or Wolf and Raven?
Perhaps Mr. Atkinson would have replied, 'by a mere extension of the
habit of adopting totemic names,' which, of course, involves the
pre-existence of that habit.--A. L.]

[Footnote 7: But not tempting, according to Dr. Westermarck!--A. L.]

[Footnote 8: It will be interesting to see if research will bring to
light the fact that even with so irresponsible and imperious a dynasty
as the Ramesids some form of lustration was not considered necessary
in the event of such unions. This is the case with the people of
Madagascar under similar circumstances.]



Survivals in custom testify to a long period of transition from group
to tribe.--Stealthy meetings of husband and wife.--Examples.--Evidence
to a past of jealousy of incestuous group sire.--Evidence from
Teknonymy.--Husband named as father of his child.--Formal capture
as a symbol of legal marriage.--Avoidance between father-in-law and
son-in-law.--Arose in stage of transition.--Causes of mother-in-law and
son-in-law avoidance.--Influence of jealousy.--Examples.--Mr. Tylor's
statistics.--Resentment of capture not primal cause of this avoidance.
--Note on avoidance.

With a custom so deeply ingrained as incest would be in the nature of
man's ancestor, still doubtless vastly animal, we may indeed surmise
that the process of its decay was long and tedious. The temptation, as
we have said, to such easy procuration of a mate in comparison with the
danger and comparatively scanty results of capture, was very great,
whilst the continual propinquity of father and daughter would tend
to constant recrudescence, especially in default of any trace of law
against it. There must, then, evidently have been a transition era of
vast durance, between the type of the isolated consanguine group whose
only resource in matrimony was exogamic hostile capture, as the outcome
of the incestuous lust of its solitary male head, and the all-embracing
tribe composed of an aggregation of several groups, and possessing thus
_ipso facto_ all the necessary elements of an endogamic connubium quite
incompatible with such incest. In such a tribe, a group of women in
many cases formed the pivotal centre, and capture was often found only
as a form in survival. Is it possible to retrace the main features of
an epoch of such evident importance in social evolution? In view of
the fact that, in the past course of our argument, such law as would
seemingly have been necessarily evolved in regulation of each step in
primitive progress has been found identical in form with some actual
savage custom, may not a deeper investigation of savage custom disclose
further co-ordination, and prove equally fertile in interpretation of
the past? Whilst, again, many obscure observances in actual lower life,
in consonance with such archaic genesis, may take a rational form,
though the origin seems apparently lost for ever.

Such research will, I think, clearly show that many social features
in modern savage habit afford internal evidence that, as a fact,
they could only have arisen in such a transition era. They also bear
marks of a very lengthened evolutionary process, and thus confirm the
natural idea of a halt of portentous length at the threshold of the
present haven of comparative social rest. We shall doubtless find that
the door left ajar by the entrance of the outside suitor was not to
yield further with ease to the pressure of new needs, half-hearted as
men would be, from the conservative force of old ideas, of incest and
entire masculine dominance.

There is, for instance, one curious trait in actual savage custom which
evidently dates from a very early stage of this epoch. It is that of
the strange forms of 'stealthy' intercourse, being the indispensable
preliminary symbols of the legality of an after marriage between the
resident female of a group and an outside male. These forms are well
known to anthropologists as occurring among many lower peoples. Here we
find that the visits of the male suitor are supposed to be distinctly
clandestine, taking place only by night, although in reality the fact
is perfectly in the cognisance of the whole group. Now such fugitive
and secret meetings are exactly what would have taken place when a
group had arrived at a stage in which, although filial incest was
decaying as a custom, there were still recognised certain marital
rights over his daughter by the living father; when, in fact, tolerance
of the presence of the outsider was yet in a tentative stage--and he
was still regarded with suspicion, if not disfavour.[1]

In consonance with the view we have advanced of the circumstances
attending the entry of an immigrant suitor, it has seemed to ensue that
his position would have been quite dependent, and himself considered
as a foreign element. That such was actually the case seems again
proved by another trait in modern custom, whose genesis, however, was
of very much later date, and when speech had made some progress. In
our own day clandestine intercourse, as above described, may continue
to pregnancy. On the birth of the child alone does the father become
recognised as part of the group. But even so his nomenclatory power as
regards his offspring is absolutely nil. Far from giving a name to the
child, his own is taken from his offspring. Till now, in fact, he has
been nameless; in future he will be known as the father of so-and-so,
of Telemachus, in the case of Odysseus. To this point we will, however,
have to return when we arrive at the question of the evolution of
personal descent from that of descent recognised by locality, which we
consider to have been the most primitive form. [Mr. Atkinson probably
means descent from a local group, say Crow, not descent denoted by a
place name, as 'de Rutherford.']

There is another trait in actual custom which also could only have
acquired its most remarkable features in this era of change, and that
is hostile capture itself, in its legacy of those 'forms' of capture
which we find connected with more peaceful connubium all over the
world. Such 'forms' have rightly been considered as mere survivals, and
thus in agreement with our own theory capture is generally accepted
as the earliest form of outside marriage.[2] But in some minds the
brutality necessarily attending real capture, and its occurrence
solely among very low races with whom any idea of sexual restraint is
expected to be quite unfamiliar, has simply connected the process with
the general lawlessness which, amongst such peoples, is supposed to
characterise the relations between the sexes. Its occurrence in form of
survival among higher races has been considered a meaningless ceremony,
and its evident symbolism in legality dismissed as incredible. Students
are, however, aware how much in error is the idea of utter lawlessness
in connection with the marriage relationships of any savage race. On
the contrary, as is well known, the list of prohibited kindred is not
only much wider than our own, but no stage in the marital arrangements
is without irksome and minute legislative restraints, strictly limiting
and defining the rights of each individual, male and female.

To other minds the fact that a 'hostile capture,' presenting as its
most characteristic feature an utter violence, should ever have been
constituted into a symbol of legality in marriage, has given rise to
much perplexity. Mr. McLennan in fact remarks--'It is impossible to
believe that the mere lawlessness of savages should be consecrated
into a legal symbol'--an assertion which we may accept, however little
we are prepared to accept his general views on early society. It is
evident that the whole difficulty has arisen from the apparent complete
incompatibility of a seeming method in violence with a virtual act
in law. The hypothesis we have presented of the 'primal law,' and
its exogamous sequel, would seem however to throw a new light on the
matter. All unions within the group being by the action of primal
law, as we have shown, considered incestuous and illicit, marriage
could only take place with an outside mate. The presence of a captured
female within the camp would thus, as we see, actually constitute in
itself a proof, and the only one possible at the epoch, of the legal
consummation of marriage as ordained by the primal law. It is thus
easy to see how a form of capture should be retained as a symbol of
legality in later connubium. Its continued vitality results from the
intense conservatism of lower peoples, and from the fact of the halo
of prowess that surrounds it.

Its evolution as a _symbol_ only arose, however, when, during the
transition era, by the conjunction of groups into a tribe, friendly
unions were possible. It would not have occurred with the earliest
forms of horde, for these were isolated and hostile, and real capture
itself was the sole form of marriage; nor would it have occurred with
that later type, in which, with matriarchal descent, the relative
positions of males and females were reversed, as far at least as suit
in union is concerned.[3] It took its rise with that other great
type of group characterised by patriarchal descent, which in all the
after history of the world (for, as we shall see, their evolution was
coincident and had for cause the same factor) was to dispute supremacy
with that which accepted uterine descent. Here, as in the original
type, the male continued to preserve his predominance and continued its
traditions of capture.[4]

There remain other actual traits whose connection with this era is
equally evident. For instance, avoidance between father-in-law and
son-in-law could not have had its genesis in the very earliest type of
assembly. Whilst parental incest ruled as the custom, each group must
have been isolated from and hostile to every other. These two could
never have been in habitual presence one of the other. But, again,
the habit could not have arisen in the later form, as represented by
a tribal horde with uterine descent, as primitively composed of only
two intermarrying groups, each of which formed a clan distinguished by
a different totem emblem.[5] The relative clan-relationship of each
member of the horde would, by the aid of this distinctive totem, be
distinctly defined, and, with female descent, the father-in-law and
son-in-law would find themselves members of the same clan [phratry].
As thus being both males and of the same 'phratry,' there could not
possibly be avoidance or enmity, real or simulated, between them.[6]
By all the sacred ties of blood [phratry] they were conjoined in
offence and in defence. Further, where descent is uterine we find that
the disposal of a daughter is in the hands of the mother or maternal
uncle alone--the father has no voice whatever in the question, nor
any part in her value as an object of barter or sale. Thus he is
perfectly disinterested in the matter of his children. So far from
being in disunion with his son-in-law, his sympathies, in case of a
tribal quarrel, would be certainly with him. But the younger man, in
internal quarrels, might be found fighting to the death with his own
real father, not (as I have seen it stated in mention of just such an
incident)[7] because he has become part of his wife's clan,[8] which
could never be, but because, with descent through the female, his
father would be a member of the different group and of other blood to
himself, and to his father-in-law also.

The genesis of this particular avoidance (father-in-law and son-in-law)
took place during that stage of the transition era, when, incest still
lingering, the immigrant suitor was so far acknowledged that his entry
into a group was not always delayed till the death of his proposed
father-in-law. As they were thus possible rivals there was a chance of
friction, only to be averted by the law in question. Avoidance would
arise at the same time between mother-in-law and son-in-law, but this
time as a measure of protection for the marital rights of the husband
of the former.[9] It could not have arisen in the early Cyclopean era.
The son-in-law as such, could evidently not have had existence when the
mother's daughter was the father's wife, nor, later, when, with the
general recognition of the classifactory system, there arose a strict
interdiction of sexual union between members of different generations.
There would in such circumstances be no further risk of danger from
the jealousy of a father as regards his wife, and the husband of his
daughter. It had its origin in the fact that when the outside suitor
had originally been granted entry, it would only have been after the
death of the patriarch sire, and as a mate for his widowed females.
But as these would include both mother and daughter, there would
thereby be created a precedent, so to speak, which required regulation,
when later, with the decay of incest, the living father remained in
presence. In fact, avoidance between mothers-in-law and sons-in-law
defined fathers-in-law's rights.

We may here again note another step in advance to purely human
attributes in the fresh distinction between female and female, which
has now again arisen as between a mother and her daughter as regards
the immigrant suitor. But whereas with these, as indeed with most of
the cases of avoidance we have studied, sexual jealousy has been the
primary cause, we may now trace the action of quite another factor,
which would certainly tend to a conservation of the habit, and in a
manner intensify it. This would be association of idea with hostile

As regards the father-in-law, however, the custom, as far as capture
is concerned, would not occur with female descent, for the reasons we
have already given of clan kinship in such a case. It might, however,
be found as a factor to a certain extent with male kinship, for here
it is the father-in-law who is of the same clan as his daughter, and
thus interested in her negotiable value. Thus it is possible to
imagine enmity between him and her possible captor, who is also of a
different clan from himself. As regards avoidance of mother-in-law it
has again, perhaps, been accentuated by forcible capture. The effect,
however, in relation to descent would be exactly the reverse of that
with the father. With early male descent in the primitive tribe as
composed of only two clan groups [phratries], it is she who would be
of the same stock as her daughter's husband, and the habit would not
arise, the captor is, in fact, a member of the tribe from which she
herself has been stolen; although later, when more than two clans
were conjoined,[10] it might happen that her son-in-law belonged to
another, and here there might arise feelings of animosity. With uterine
descent the case is certainly altered. As a mother, and as member
of a clan different from that of the male suitor, the figure of the
son-in-law might be dreaded as a possible captor of her daughter and
other young female members. But here again a difficulty arises, for
when the capture becomes an accomplished fact, the mother-in-law and
son-in-law would probably not meet again, at least in primitive times:
he belonging to the group having patriarchal descent, with capture
as the rule; she, to the matriarchal, where the female is normally
immobile, between which two forms of group no friendly intercourse
could occur. The fact of avoidance in any form presumes contiguity or
the habitual presence of the individuals concerned, and this in such a
case could not arise. So as in Tylor's figures we find that in W to H,
as the latter is completely cut off from his family, there is not one
single case of avoidance between the wife and the husband's relatives.
It is evident that the same rarity of contiguity must have arisen also
with the father in male descent; there is here certainly cause of
disagreement in the rape, but if the parties see each other no more
there would be no necessity of evolution of avoidance to mark the fact.
Indeed, I cannot help thinking that the importance of association with
hostile capture has been much exaggerated as a factor in the evolution
of Avoidance. The question of 'residence' and 'descent' has not been
held sufficiently in account by those who insist on the capture as the
sole cause of avoidance. Despite the eminence of the authors favouring
this view, I would venture to submit that the balance of proof would
much favour sexual jealousy, which we have heretofore found the sole
motive power in all changes.

Those who would uphold anger roused by capture as the cause of
avoidance with the wife's relatives, for instance, must be prepared
to show that it would be strongest with the one who was most deeply
interested in the wife, one whose voice in her destiny was of greater
power than her own mother's, and that was her maternal uncle, the head
of her clan. Now I have failed as yet to find a single trace of such
a case as avoidance between the latter and his sister's daughter's

Again, jealousy, or a desire for regulations in matters of sexual
union, will explain certain details in the accounts we have received
of individual cases which seem otherwise obscure or irrelevant. These
have been overlooked, as they are minute, but from my point of view
are full of significance when closely examined. Mr. Lubbock says,[11]
quoting Franklin as to American Indians: 'It is _extremely improper_
for a mother-in-law to speak or even look at him, i.e. her son-in-law.'
Quoting Baegert: 'The son-in-law was not allowed _for some time_ to
look into the face of his mother-in-law.' Further, 'among the Mongols
a woman must not speak to her _father-in-law_, nor _sit down_ in his
presence. Among the Ostiaks, _Une fille mariée évite autant qu'il
lui est possible la présence du père de son mari tant qu'elle n'a
pas d'enfant, et le mari pendant ce temps n'ose pas paraître devant
la mère de sa femme_' (Pallas). In China the father-in-law after
the wedding-day never sees the face of his daughter-in-law again,
he never visits her, and if they chance to meet he hides himself.
Among the Kaffirs a married woman is required to _hlonipa_[12] her
father-in-law, and all her husband's male relations in the ascending
line, i.e. to be cut off from all intercourse with them.

Again, in Australia, it is compulsory on the mothers-in-law to avoid
the sight of their sons-in-law, by-making the former take a very
circuitous route on all occasions, to avoid being seen, and they
hide the face or figure with the rug which the female carries with
her. So strict is the rule, that if married men are jealous of any
one, they sometimes promise to give him a daughter in marriage. This
places the married man's wife, according to custom, in the position
of mother-in-law, and renders any communication between her and her
future son-in-law a capital crime.[13] Also among the Sioux or Dacotas,
Mr. Philander Prescott remarks on the fear of uttering certain names.
The father and mother-in-law must not call their son-in-law by name,
and _vice versa_, and there are other relationships to which the
prohibition applies. He has known an infringement of this rule punished
by cutting the offender's clothes off his back and throwing them away.
Harmon says 'that among the Indians east of the Rocky Mountains it is
indecent for the father or mother-in-law to look at or speak to the
son or daughter-in-law.' Among the Yakuts, Adolf Erman noticed a more
peculiar custom. As in other northern regions the custom of wearing
but little clothing in the hot stifling interior of the huts is common
there, and the women often go about their domestic work stripped to
the waist, nor do they object to this disarray in the presence of
strangers; but there are two persons before whom a Yakut woman must
not appear in this guise, her father-in-law and her husband's elder
brother. Again, quoting J. G. Wood, he says the native term for these
customs of avoidance is, 'being ashamed of the mother-in-law.' The
Basuto custom forbids a wife to look in the face of her father-in-law
till the birth of her first child--and among the Banyai a man must sit
with his knees bent in presence of his mother-in-law, and must not put
out his feet towards her.

Now an important circumstance to be remarked in nearly all cases of
Avoidance is, that it principally exists between people of different
sexes,--thus an _a priori_ inference may be drawn that the primary
cause lay in some relation to the sexual question. It is significant
that a woman's avoidance of her husband's relations is with those in
the ascending line, i.e. with his seniors. Against his juniors he
can defend himself, against his seniors he needs the protection of
law. In the cases we have cited, it is significant that, besides the
father-in-law, _hlonipaed_ among the Kaffirs, the woman must _hlonipa_
all her husband's male relations in the ascending line. Among the
Yakuts she must not appear unclothed before her husband's elder brother.

Among the Veddahs of Ceylon a father will not see his daughter, nor a
mother her son, after they have _come to years of maturity_.[14]

If we examine the words italicised in the quotations above, they
seem to convey more nearly an idea of impropriety in any approach
to intimacy than that of 'cutting' from enmity, as Dr. Tylor has
suggested. Indeed, we observe here just the same horror that a too
familiar attitude between forbidden kindred, as uncle and niece, would
excite amongst ourselves, arising from the same idea of repugnance.

We see that various observers use the terms 'improper' (Franklin),
'the fear of' (P. Prescott), 'indecent' (Harmon), 'cut off from all
intercourse with them,' and no doubt they have[15] each expressed the
impression made on themselves in observation. We note again that the
only case where the native term in designation of the custom is given
that it means 'being ashamed.' The limit in time for the avoidance is
again significant. 'For some time,' Baegart says; 'tant qu'elle n'a
pas d'enfant' (Pallas). 'Till the birth of the first child.' These
limitations in time would not exist if enmity because of capture was
the cause, whereas we can quite understand them if, the circumstances
now proving the consummation of marriage, jealousy might then be
supposed to cease. The reserve as to a too familiar attitude that this
idea of indecency would imply, is shown where a Mongol daughter-in-law
'cannot sit down in the presence of the father-in-law,' and where
the Banyai man 'must not put out his feet towards his mother-in-law,
but sit with his knees bent in her presence.' In China it is the
father-in-law who hides himself, and this surely would hardly be the
act of a captor, nor can we imagine a man having his clothes cut off
his back simply because he had not 'cut' some one sufficiently.

However, in connection with our argument we have Adolf Erman's account
of the custom among the Yakuts, and where we find the husbands elder
brother joined with the father-in-law in an avoidance, there a distinct
feeling of impropriety in connection with these relations in law of the
wife is indicated. The diffidence cited is exactly what would occur if
union was undesirable and yet not impossible, between the persons in
avoidance, and hence temptation was to be avoided. It is very important
to note that no idea of enmity from capture can be associated with
the husbands elder brother. Again, the custom of avoidance with an
elder brother, where its connection with jealousy is evident, is very
widespread, and very strict in observance; as we have already noted, it
occurs in Orissa and among the Kyonthas in India, whilst I have also
observed it in practice in New Caledonia, where it is most undoubtedly
a means to an end, to protect the younger brother's marital rights. As
to the significance of the fact mentioned in the case of the natives of
Australia, where, as regards their wives, they are jealous of a man--
and give him a daughter to place him in avoidance with her mother,
comment is unnecessary.

These facts seem to me to be conclusive; but the question of the exact
origin of avoidance is so important to my general argument, that I
am glad to be able to find what I fancy is added proof from another
source. If this furnishes the requisite evidence that sexual jealousy
was the real factor, and not hostile capture, our hypothesis of the
primal law acquires valuable inferential evidence in its favour. Such
added proof we hope to be able to show in Dr. Tylor's figures.[16]

              ----                    Theory as         practice        --

    In Residence, H to W: 65
        Avoidance H to W relations    (a) 9 cases       (b) 14 cases    (A)
        Avoidance W to H relations        3  "               0  "       (B)

    In Residence, W to H:
        Avoidance W to H relations        5  "               8  "       (C)
        Avoidance H to W relations       18  "               9  "       (D)

These figures, which are extracted from Dr. Tylor's work, would seem to
be eloquent against hostile capture being the sole cause of Avoidance.
They are derived from a comparison of Avoidance as occurring, (a)
quite independent of residence, and (b) as actually resulting where
coincidence of Avoidance and residence is found.

Now as regards the question of jealousy as cause of Avoidance,
residence and propinquity will evidently have a powerful effect.

(A) As we have seen, any Avoidance under these circumstances would be
remarkable without a prior stage in quite other conditions than those
found generally with H to W residence. We note that whereas we might
expect under even the above conditions to find only 9, there are 14.
Here sexual jealousy has been an important cause.

The Avoidance of the Mother-in-law (for, of course, there was none here
with father-in-law, who was a nonentity in such a family circle, and
of the same clan as the son-in-law) arose as a matter of protection
for the marital rights of the daughter as against her mother, both
inhabiting the same large house common to matriarchal descent.

(B) Here, again, we expect to find 3, and see there are actually none,
from which it would seem to result that W capture had nothing whatever
to do with the origin of A, H to W, for, admitting the almost entire
separation of the W from H family, which would make the case rarer, a
tradition of capture would exist which would have effect when they were
later grouped together. Whereas the non-Avoidance is explained by lack
of jealousy, from absence of male relations of H.

(C) Here it is again quite impossible to accept any idea of W capture
as the motive cause. Avoidance arose between W and father-in-law to
protect rights of son-in-law and mother-in-law. It was evolved, as we
have seen, as a measure of protection for that generation of males who
were the actual captors, each generation by the classificatory system
having individual rights. That the necessity for such legislation was
urgent we see in the proportion of the figures 5 to 8.

Here, again, the fallacy of capture as primal cause of Avoidance
is clearly evident. If this was the case, we might expect it to be
almost universal, whereas in reality, instead of the 18 cases which
the average should give us, we find only 9. It really had its origin
in the reason we have already given, of sexual jealousy as a primary
cause, and was later augmented as serving to impress on many the
classificatory distinction between M and D, who otherwise, as far as
totems went, were eligible to the same person. Where both father-in-law
and mother-in-law are in avoidance, we may surmise a change in descent
from the F to the M in the tribe, the converse change of M to F of
course never occurring. The question of change of descent will explain
problems in the nomenclature of Morgan's tables as regards nephews and
sons, which have been overlooked.[17]


Mr. Crawley reckons three interpretations of the origin of the
avoidance of mother-in-law and son-in-law. 1. Fison (_Kamilaroi and
Kurnai_, p. 103), 'It is that the rule is due to a fear of intercourse
which is unlawful, though theoretically allowed on some classificatory
systems.' Mr. Crawley remarks, 'this explanation is the one most
likely to occur to explorers who have personal knowledge of savages,'
which was Mr. Atkinson's case. Mr. Crawley objects the antecedent
improbability of any man, 'not to mention a savage, ever falling in
love with a woman old enough to be his mother or mother-in-law, and
the improbability of so many peoples being afraid of this.' Now 'in
love' is one thing, and an access of lust is another. Moreover, the
mother-in-law, in prospective, not infrequently is her daughter's
rival, even in modern life. She has to be guarded against, even if
the son-in-law is less dangerous. And he is very apt to be 'a general
lover.' 'Theoretically the mother-in-law is marriageable in many
systems,' says Mr. Crawley, 'and so there would be no incest ...' But
Mr. Atkinson is not contemplating the danger of incest as the cause
of mother-in-law avoidance; his theory postulates jealousy--that of
the mother-in-law's husband, and, for what it is worth, that of the
mother-in-law's daughter. Mr. Crawley's objection, I think, does not
invalidate Mr. Atkinson's theory; especially as he does not reflect
that the possible mother-in-law may have a caprice for her son-in-law,
while the would-be son-in-law, less frequently, may follow the course
of Colonel Henry Esmond.

2. Sir John Lubbock's (Lord Avebury's) theory, of enmity caused by
capture, Mr. Atkinson has dealt with; it is rejected by Mr. Crawley.

3. Mr. Tylor's theory (_Journal Anthrop. Institute_, xviii. 247), is
that of 'cutting' 'an outsider,' not one of the family, not recognised
till his first child is born. For various reasons, Mr. Crawley rejects
this explanation, rightly, I venture to think. Mr. Crawley holds that
the mother-in-law avoidance 'seems to be causally connected with
a man's avoidance of his own wife,' which he regards as only one
aspect of the tabu between the two sexes, superstitiously regarded as
dangerous to each other. But, like Mr. Atkinson, I much doubt whether
the 'avoidance,' as far as it goes, of husband and wife is, in the
main, the result of this superstition, though it plays its part on
special occasions, as before the women sow the crops, and before the
men go forth to war. Mr. Crawley's suggestion that, as husband and wife
are perpetually breaking the alleged sexual tabu, the mother-in-law
becomes 'a substitute to receive the onus of tabu,' 'a good instance of
savage make-believe' does not carry conviction. Mr. Atkinson's theory
seems 'as good as a better' (_Mystic Rose_, pp. 400-414).--A. L.

[Footnote 1: Well-known instances of this marital shyness are the
Spartan and Red Indian usage of only entering the wife's bower,
or wigwam, under cover of darkness. There are also Fijian and New
Caledonian cases (Crawley, pp. 39-40). Mr. Crawley would regard these
as cases of 'sexual tabu,' but various other cases may be readily
conjectured.--A. L.]

[Footnote 2: See Note at the end of chap. V.]

[Footnote 3: With the consequent accession of power to the resident
female thus accruing, capture would have become more rare. In any case
it would certainly become connected in the minds of the more advanced
and powerful tribes with the rape of women, other than their own, and
probably inferior in type, mentally and physically; the comparison
of this degraded captive in their midst with their own free females
would not be at all likely to have led in connection with her to any
spontaneous idea of symbolic consecration in marriage, or aught else.]

[Footnote 4: When two groups, despite the isolating tendency of the
habit of capture, did at length form a union sufficiently close to
permit of marriage by consent between the respective group members,
then, with capture as regards outsiders still rife amongst them, we can
understand how the symbol would come to be attached to the peaceful

[Footnote 5: 'Phratries' are here meant, where the word 'clan' is used,
or local totem groups.--A. L. Cf. Note, p. 260.]

[Footnote 6: The exact relation of each to the females being defined by
the classificatory system by generations.]

[Footnote 7: As mentioned by Tylor.]

[Footnote 8: Here I really do not know what 'clan' is meant to
denote--'phratry,' I think.--A. L.]

[Footnote 9: See Mr. Crawley's 'Sexual tabu' theory of this avoidance,
_Mystic Rose_, pp. 399-414.--A. L.]

[Footnote 10: Apparently 'clans' here = totem kins, Mr. Atkinson seems
to think that totem kins kept on being added to the two original
'phratries.'--A. L.]

[Footnote 11: Lubbock, _Origin of Civilisation_, p. 13 _et seq_.]

[Footnote 12: _Hlonipa_, to avoid mention of his name, &c.]

[Footnote 13: _Origin of Civilisation_, p. 14. Lubbock quoting 'Report
of Select Committee on Aborigines,' Vict. 1859, p. 73. Tylor, _Early
History of Mankind_, p. 288.]

[Footnote 14: Among the Veddahs the fact that the avoidance begins
after puberty, and in each case in relation to the opposite sex, is
evidence that here the sexual feelings are concerned.]

[Footnote 15: Tylor, _Early History of Mankind_, p. 291.]

[Footnote 16: E. B. Tylor. On a method of investigating the development
of institutions: applied to laws of marriage and descent. _J. A. I_.
1889, xviii. No. 3, 245-269.]

[Footnote 17: The matter here is highly technical, and must be
compared, if it is to be understood, with Mr. Tylor's essay, cited in
the previous note. W stands for Wife, H for Husband, D is Daughter, F
is Female, M is Mother, and is also Male! A is Avoidance.--A. L.]



The classificatory system.--The author's theory is the opposite
of Mr. Morgan's, of original brother and sister marriage.--That
theory is based on Malayan terms of relationship.--Nephew,
niece, and cousin, all named 'sons and daughters.'--This fact of
nomenclature used as an argument for promiscuity.--The author's
theory.--The names for relationship given as regards the group,
not the individual.--The names and rules evolved in the respective
interests of three generations.--They apply to food as well as to
marriage.--Each generation is a strictly defined class.--Terms
for relationship indicate, _not kinship_, but relative seniority
and rights in relation to the group.--The distinction of age in
generations breaks down in practice.--Methods of bilking the letter
of the law.--Communal marriage.--Outside suitors and cousinage.
--The fact of cousinage unperceived and unnamed.--Cousins are still
called brothers and sisters; thus, when a man styles his sister's
son his son, the fact does not prove, as in Mr. Morgan's theory,
that his sister is his wife.--Terms of address between brothers
and sisters.--And between members of the same and of different
phratries.--These corroborate the author's theory.--Distinction as
to sexual rights yields the classificatory system.--Progress outran
recognition and verbal expression.--Errors of Mr. Morgan and Mr.
McLennan.--Conclusion.--Note.--' 'Group marriage.'

In the gradual evolution of the group into the tribe during the long
period of transition, the modifications in the internal organisation,
which took place as the necessary result in the march in progress,
should have left traces which we may also be able to follow in living
custom. The immigration of the outside suitor, in its synchronism
with the decay of paternal incest, must have entailed continual
complications demanding regulation, and the resolution of each problem
would lead to an almost mechanical step in advance. When by force of
circumstances of environment or others such a step became retrograde,
then we may expect an aberrant form whose very anomalism should lead
to a facile recognition, and prove equally fertile in interpretation.
Indeed, a curious vestige of the effect in action of the habit of
incest, when brought into inevitable contact with progressive social
evolution, is to be discerned in the nomenclature of that earliest
phase of the classificatory system which Mr. L. H. Morgan has called
the Malayan. From the general prevalence among lower races of a
division into classes by generations of the members of group, and
the deduction we see drawn in _Ancient Society_ from the Hawaiian
terms of relationship therein detailed, as to a previous state of
general promiscuity, it will be desirable thoroughly to examine the
whole question of the so-called classificatory system. It is doubly
imperative in view of our own hypothesis, which, as regards the primary
origin of society, may be said to be exactly the reverse of that of Mr.
Morgan, in as far as the sexual inter-relations of brother and sister
are concerned.

We have tried to portray the imperative evolution of a primal law as
the sole possible condition of the first steps in social progress,
a law which had so specially in view the bar to sexual intercourse
between a brother and sister that it might, if a name for it were
needed, be called the _anadelphogamous_ law. [Mr. Atkinson wrote
'asororogamic,' which is really too impossible a word for even science
to employ.] Mr. Morgan, on the contrary, says,[1] 'The primitive or
consanguine family was founded upon the inter-marriage of brothers and
sisters own and collateral in a group.' He adds,[2] 'The Malayan system
defines the relationship that would exist in a consanguine family,
and it demands the existence of such a family to account for its own
existence.' And again,[3] 'It is impossible to explain the system as
a natural growth, upon any other hypothesis than the one named, since
this form of marriage alone can furnish a key to its interpretation.'
He bases his argument on the fact that[4] 'under the Malayan system all
consanguines, near and remote, fall within some one of the following
relationships, viz. parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, brother
and sister--no other blood relationships are recognised,' and says,
speaking of promiscuity, that[5] 'a man calls his brother's son, his
son, because his brother's wife is _his_ wife as well as his brother's,
and his sister's son is also _his_ son because his sister is his wife.'

Now that a brother's son should be called a son is quite simple,
as being a natural effect of the group marriage of brothers, the
prevalence of which as a habit, and its effects, MM. Lorimer and
Fison so well show among the Australians.[6] But that a sister's son
should also be termed, by her brother, a 'son' is certainly a very
different thing indeed, despite Mr. McLennan's and other arguments
to the contrary. In this verbal detail lies the whole crux of the
matter as regards Mr. Morgan. That it should have given rise to such
diversity of opinion and suggested his theory of brother and sister
marriage need hardly be matter of surprise. For it is at once, evident
that a group holding such nomenclature ignored cousinship, even if it
existed. To all later seeming my sister's son must be nephew to _ego_
quite necessarily. That at any stage he should be unrecognised as such
seems the more astonishing, as even in the very early times when totems
first arose, and arose probably and precisely to distinguish cousins
as such,[7] each cousin is of a different totem to the other, and
thus not only eligible in marriage with another cousin, but in many
lower races the born spouse each of the other. The whole question thus
resolves itself into the exact value of the term we find used in the
Hawaiian designation of the sister's son by her brother. Now it is
important to note that two causes might have for effect the form of
nomenclature in which a brother and sister each call the child a son,
and thus ignore a possible cousinship. One cause is that some factor
in self-interest or otherwise allowed such relationship to remain
unrecognised, although existent, and another is that, as cousinship
did not exist at all, there could be no recognition, or, as Mr. Morgan
puts it, 'his sister's son is also his son because his sister is his
wife.' To determine which is correct certainly seems difficult, and the
whole thing has evidently been considered a most stubborn fact for the
opponents of promiscuity.

That Mr. Morgan should have seized it in support of his theory, and
that the theory should be so largely accepted, is not astonishing.
Happily the great value of his ensuing argument as regards tribal
development is in no way impaired if it can be shown, as we hope to do,
that there is no necessity for an hypothesis of promiscuity to explain
the terms in the Malayan table, which apparent need seems primarily to
have led Mr. Morgan to evolve the idea of his primitive group. In fact,
it becomes evident that, if we can furnish a clue as to how a sister's
son came also to be a brother's son, without having recourse to the
theory of an incestuous union of brothers and sisters, we at least
discount the need of Mr. Morgan's 'consanguine family,' in which such
incest is supposed to be a most characteristic and essential feature.
We hope to prove that the terms which misled him are more apparent than
real as proofs of any real affinity in blood, and that the original
conception in causal connection was something quite apart.

Sir John Lubbock (Lord Avebury) has observed that the lower the
_milieu_ of a social status the less we see of the individual and the
more of the group. In the case before us the individual as such does
not exist at all, and there is only question of the group in its
relation to its component classes. To confound one with the other led
to Mr. Morgan's error.

There was much, in fact, in Mr. McLennan's shrewd remark in criticism
of Mr. Morgan's theory that he did not seek the origin of the system
of nomenclature in the origin of the classification of the connected
persons, and that he courted failure in attempting to solve the problem
by explaining the relationships comprised in the system in detail.'[8]
But it seems to me that Mr. McLennan fell into the same error when he
contented himself with the misleading analogies which a comparison
with the Nair family system presented. These, however striking, are,
as we shall find, simply the result of the fact that class or communal
marriage was the common trait of the polyandrous and the Cyclopean
family, nor can I see that Mr. McLennan followed his own excellent
advice as regards the possible identity in origin of nomenclature and
classification; if he had so done, his acute mind could not have failed
in a resolution of the whole problem, whereas his final resume of the
argument is in terms which I profess to be quite unable to grasp.

Before entering into the matter ourselves, we must keep in mind our
affirmation as to the axiom which must, in my opinion, guide us in
all research into the hidden causes of early social evolution. All
innovations, as we have said, in the regulation of society, all novel
legislative procedure so to speak, will be found to have relation to
the sexual feelings in jealousy. This already is the genesis of the
primal law, and, in each case of avoidance, we have found jealousy the
leading factor. It is the same in the case before us. Bearing this
in mind, let us then follow Mr. McLennan's advice as to seeking the
origin of the classification of connected persons. Now what would be
the family economy of the primitive group, and who are its component
individuals, whose interests, in sexual matters, are likely to clash,
and whose mutual relationship in this respect demanded distinction in
furtherance of regulation of their respective rights?

The original primitive type of family, which we have called 'the
Cyclopean,' has disappeared, giving place to a higher form, which, by
the inclusion of male offspring, has permitted the existence of several
generations in presence. The component individuals, speaking of one sex
only, would be old males, males, and young males representing three
generations. It is the interests of these generations, which, in sexual
matters and in choice of food, &c. would be likely to clash, for we
may be sure that the seniors, as with actual savages, would desire the
lion's share. Distinction then being necessary, it would naturally,
as with individuals, be based on relativity of age, seniority within
certain limits confering priority. Thus gradually each generation, as
indeed with actual lower races, would, _qua_ generation, come to be a
distinctly defined class with certain separate rights and obligations.
In this simple necessity of a classification of the connected
persons, we see the origin of the classificatory system itself, as an
institution. Divers interests, as between seniors and juniors, demanded
strict demarcation, and the limits of a generation furnished the
required lines to mark them.

The very natural distinction by relativity of age was simply, as with
individuals, utilised as the requisite machinery in regulation of
mutual rights of the individual himself. His rights are a matter of
concern simply within his generation, in which the relation is purely
paternal and communal, with the sole reservation of rights conferred by

Even when later denominative expression was given to the idea of
a generation, terms almost identical of male, old male, and young
male are used, as there is no desire to convey any idea of personal
kinship, and there is merely in view reference to relativity of age
of a class in relation to the group. Later, as Mr. McLennan says (p.
277): 'Whatever class names primitively signified, Kiki would come to
mean child, Kina parent, Moopuna grandchild, Kapuna grandparent, but
originally no such idea of kinship was in view.' The classificatory
system evolved itself simply as the result of a desire to define
certain rights, and the division by generations was the most natural
and feasible for the purpose. But the very simplicity and paucity
of the original terms show that it was applied to any simple group
form. In fact, we are here dealing with that primitive form which
bound people together, by the mere tie of residence and locality, and
was purely exogamous in habit. Now when we consider that this fixed
relativity of age by generation was originally evolved in view of the
relations within such a family, we can imagine that complications
might arise from such arbitrary definitions, when, later, this family
expanded into the numerically large tribe composed of two intermarrying
totem clan groups [phratries].

Primitively, doubtless, as between the classes, the genetic idea as
regards sexual matters was (as still with savages in questions of
food) to favour the seniors and defend their rights in defining each
one's status. But actually, with the decay of incest, it would become
what it is as among lower races, where nothing is more remarkable
than the strict interdict upon any union between members of different

It is evident that hence complications might arise perplexing to the
savage mind. For instance, we may expect to find cases where the niece
is an adult, whilst the aunt is still an infant, and yet marriage
between the former and the son of the latter is obligatory, as they
are cousins of the same generation. Here, probably, we have a clue to
one of the most bizarre facts in anthropology, where the universal
rule as to sexual connection between generations seems to be wantonly
disobeyed, although in reality the reverse may be seen to be the case
on examination. It is recorded of the Keddies of Southern India that
a very singular custom exists among them, a young woman of sixteen or
twenty years of age may be married to a boy of five or six years. She,
however, lives with some other adult male (perhaps a maternal uncle or
cousin), but is also allowed to form a connection with the father's
relatives, occasionally it may be the boy's father himself, i.e. the
woman's father-in-law! Should there be children from these liaisons,
they are fathered on the boy husband. When the boy grows, the wife is
either old or past child-bearing, when he in turn takes some other
boy's wife in a manner precisely similar to that in his own case and
procreates children for the boy husband.

By the classificatory system, as each in fact is a member of the
same generation, they are born husbands and wives. The enforced
virginity of the wife, implied under such conditions, entailed a
celibacy incompatible with all lower ideas. It is easy to imagine
the compromise between his conscience and his desires which a savage
would make in such a case when favoured (or forced) by circumstances
of environment, for it is unknown elsewhere. The infant nephew goes
through the ceremony of marriage, which, by a fiction, being thus
legally consummated, the wife is left free to follow her desires.
These, however, are by no means allowed to run riot. They are regulated
in a fashion of which, although the peculiarity is noted by the authors
of the extract, the full significance can only be appreciated in
connection with our hypothesis. She formed indeed connections outside
of her husband, but solely with those of the legally eligible totem.
As I believe the Keddies have male descent, these would be sons of the
father's sister, or sons of the mother's brother, or again with the
latter himself, who was her father-in-law, whereas union with the sons
of the father's brothers, or of the mother's sisters, as being of the
same totem, would not take place--and this we find to be the actual
fact, as evidence proves.

But still other complications will be found to arise as the effect of
the original concept of the classificatory system when brought face
to face with new and advanced social order, which will have closer
relation to our present argument. The distinctive feature in the
economy of the primitive group in its relation to all other groups
was mutual hostility. The instinctive distrust of strangers would be
accentuated by the habitual hostile capture of females, for such
groups, except in the case of the incest between father and daughter,
were yet purely exogamous. But such mutual hostility implies isolation
of each community. Thus all law evolved, as we have said, would be
purely with a view to regulation of the internal economy of a single
consanguine group alone. Now in such a group, the division into
generations of old male, male, and young male implied (although not as
yet understood as between generations) the relationship of parents and
children. Each generation is either child or parent to the other. As
marriage is communal,[10] all the fathers in one generation are fathers
to all the children in the next indiscriminately, and conversely these
children recognise as fathers all the males of the senior generation.
It follows that the relationship of all the members of a generation
is purely fraternal, all are brothers and sisters to each other, and
in this consanguine family they were really either actually so, or at
least half brothers and half sisters.

Between these the primal law of celibacy between brother and sister
as such embraced the whole generation. Now as long as the family was
thus simply constituted, no friction would arise. The brothers, in
common, captured and married in common some outside female,[11] and
their children constituted solely the next generation. The sisters were
either stolen or emigrated to other groups; but we have seen that a
moment would come when this process ceased to be universal. The sister
came to remain in her own group, and she was joined by some outside
suitor; with the advent of their children, who are cousins to the
others, would arise dire perplexities, in view of the old law.

We may now begin to see more distinctly, in the fact of the presence
of the cousins, the resolution of the problem as to how a sister's
son came to be also a brother's, and we will find that Mr. Morgan was
not the first to be baffled by the problem. It was too intricate for
primitive man at any rate. When first presented to him, we may surmise
that he, in fact, refused to recognise it as a problem at all. Since
the beginning of things in the group, as constituted by all tradition,
the children of one generation were children of another simply, and
nothing more. That as a result of the presence of the outside male,
some intricate process of scission had occurred, and things were not
as they seemed, was an idea far too abstract to be readily seized. All
in a generation had been ever, to early man, brother and sister, and
brother and sister they should continue.

We have seen in a past chapter that it was actually to the interest of
senior male group-members, while incest reigned, that this condition
of things should endure. It put at their sole disposal the daughters
of their brothers-in-law, and in the primal law placed a ban on
sexual intercourse between all the younger male and female members,
as constituting them brothers and sisters. As a factor in this case,
however, the effect of incest was more or less temporary. The real
agent in the tardy or non-recognition of the cousinship thus created,
was the conservative force of old habit and tradition. We must remember
that, in so early a group, personal descent as such was in no way
recognised. Mere local contiguity alone constituted the sense of
relationship, exogamy for instance took the form of local exogamy,
for as all within a locality were (locally) relations, so all outside
were, as strangers, free in marriage. While then so strong a sense of
the value of contiguity continued, and was in practice, the evolution
of an idea of non-relationship of two individuals with a common
habitat would be too complex. Again, a recognition in fact implies a
vast modification of the whole organisation of the group, which thus
contains in cousins the elements of marriage within itself. But this is
the latest and highest type of group and constitutes the tribe. We can
understand that such a step was not taken at once by early man. Even
when recognised we know that definition lags behind the event.

Thus in such a case as cited, and at the stage we are studying, if we
find two cousins in presence, who are yet unrecognised as cousins,
then, if nomenclature has taken place, we should find exactly the terms
employed in the Malayan table which misled Mr. Morgan. A sister's son
would be termed the brother's son, simply because the individual was
as yet ignored, although existent, as a cousin, as members of the same
generation they were brother and sister. Classes by generations alone
were recognised.

Now as regards the validity of our assumption that relativity in age
served as a means to determine privilege as to wedlock, proof can be
furnished by certain nomenclatory features, as between members of a
class or generation, to be found in the Malayan table in _Ancient
Society_ and elsewhere. This will afford, incidentally, strong negative
proof of our theory as to non-union between brother and sister. It will
also incidentally furnish the strongest negative evidence that, so far
from brother and sister living in incest, as Morgan holds, brother and
sister were regarded as quite apart in the sense of any sexual relation
between them. It will be seen that there is a profound distinction made
in address between inter-marriageable people and those between whom
celibacy is enjoined.

Both Mr. Morgan and Mr. McLennan have drawn attention to the
peculiarities in the terms of address as between 'brothers' and as
between 'sisters.' It is curious that the full significance of the
phenomena therein presented escaped two such keen intellects. We find
here that terms of address as between persons of the same sex and of
the same generation, and _ergo_ brothers or sisters, present the very
remarkable features that

(1) 'The age of the person spoken to compared with that of the speaker
plays a very important part in the matter of denomination.'

(2) 'Such names refer not to the absolute age of the person addressed.'

(3) 'The relationships of brother and sister are conceived in the
twofold form of elder and younger, and not in the abstract, and there
are special terms for each among the Seneca Iroquois.'

(4) 'There is no name for brother and sister (Malayan system). On the
other hand, there are a variety of names for use in salutations between
"brother" and "sister" according to the age and sex of the person
speaking in relation to the age and sex of the person addressed.'

(5) Among the Eskimo the form of the terms of relationship appears to
depend, in some cases, more on the sex of the speaker than on that of
the person to whom the term refers.

(6) In Eastern Central Africa, if a man has a brother and a sister, he
is called one thing by the brother, but quite a different thing by the

We will now illustrate the idea more completely by an extract of terms
from the table of Hawaiian relationships in _Ancient Society_. An older
or a younger brother is to a sister simply addressed or mentioned
by the general term Kaiku nana, but to her, in address or mention
of an older or a younger sister, they are respectively Kaik a'ana
and Kaika-i-na. Again, an older or a younger sister is to a brother
collectively Kaikuwaheena, but to him an elder or a younger brother is
respectively Kaiknana and Kaikaina.

Now in view of our argument as regards the origin of these diversities
in some sexual feelings, it is a most significant feature in these
details of the terms of address that the expression of the relativity
of age between the speakers is confined solely to the intercourse
between members of the same sex. That a brother is the senior or the
junior of Ego is carefully noted, but a sister is simply and vaguely
a sister. Why? simply because whereas, by virtue of the primal law,
no possible question whatever of mutual interest in sexual matters
could possibly arise between a brother and a sister, on the other
hand friction might hourly occur between brothers or between sisters.
In fact, if our theory is correct, then, as questions of sexual
privilege or precedence could cause jealousy between members of the
same sex, distinctions would be necessary by definition of seniority
when address took place between these, and in these cases alone, and
this indeed we find to be the fact. As conclusive evidence we would
cite the further important fact that these very same distinctions of
senior and junior are used, _inter se_, between all those of the same
totem [phratry] as now existing, but are never employed for their
tribal cousins of the other totem [phratry]. And the reason is the
same. The latter naturally do not marry (in groups formed of only two
classes) [phratries] into the same totem [phratry] as the former,
and thus there is no cause for jealousy or necessity of definition,
whereas individuals of the same totem [phratry] are _ipso facto_ group
[potential] husbands of the same group [potential] wives, or are at
least eligible in marriage with the same totem groups [phratries], and
hence necessity for the exact definition by age of each one's rights.

Thus, as with other laws or institutions we have traced, we find
a desire for distinction as regards rights in sexual union to be
the genetic cause of the classificatory system both as regards the
generation and its component members.

In all periods of transition which a process in change in progress
implies, we expect to find cases where the conservative force of
tradition from the past has delayed recognition of the too novel
present, and we discover that circumstances have moved too rapidly for
the intelligence of the times. If we keep this fact in view, we have
thus seemed to find a natural explanation of the knotty point which
was the cause of dispute between Mr. Morgan and Mr. McLennan,[12] and
we may thus venture to say that each was both wrong and right in his
views of the classificatory system in general. Each has mistaken a part
for a whole, and they were ignorant that they were upholding two sides
of the same question. Mr. Morgan was in error in assuming the system's
too intimate connection with a determination of affinities in blood,
in relation to which primarily, as we hope to have shown, it had
really neither purpose nor aim, as also in his too hasty assumption of
a consanguine family founded on brother and sister incest, based on a
mere conjectural solution of a verbal detail, an assumption which he
himself acknowledges had no other foundation.

Mr. McLennan was in error in maintaining that the classificatory
system concerned terms of address alone. To quote his own words:
'What duties or rights are affected by the "relationships" comprised
in the classificatory system? Absolutely none; they are barren of
consequences, except indeed as comprising a code of courtesies and
ceremonial addresses in social intercourse.' On the other hand, as
we have tried to show, the system had precisely both intention and
effect in regulation, as regards sexual feeling, which is the strongest
passion in nature. And yet each disputant again was right in a degree,
for, in later times, the classificatory distinctions really served
as terms of address as regards the clan [tribe?], whilst again the
primitive terms, which simply describe generations of persons in their
relation to the group, were afterwards, by philological transmutation,
to come to have a more definite meaning expressing the sense of the
personal parent.


_Group Marriage_

The idea that 'group marriage' exists among the dusky natives of
Australia, and that 'the group is the social unit as regards marriage'
(as explained in the earlier part of this book), was introduced by
Messrs. Howitt and Fison in their _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_ (1880).
Messrs. Spencer and Gillen, in their _Natives of Central Australia_
(1899), support the views of Messrs. Fison and Howitt. 'Under certain
modifications group marriage still exists as an actual custom,
regulated by fixed and well recognised rules, amongst various
Australian tribes' (p. 56). 'Individual marriage does not exist either
in name or practice in the Urabunna tribe' (p. 63). Mr. Crawley
argues, on the other hand, that individual marriage does exist among
the Urabunna, 'though slightly modified' (_Mystic Rose_, p. 482). For
each 'slight modification,' the husband's consent must be obtained. The
system is regarded by Mr. Crawley, not as a survival of promiscuity,
more or less modified, but as an 'abnormal development.' He believes in
individual marriage, as, from the earliest known times, 'the regular
type of union of man and woman.' 'One is struck by the high morality of
primitive man' (pp. 483-484).

What Mr. Atkinson meant by saying that 'marriage is communal,' I do
not understand, as, on his theory, sexual jealousy must have prevented
each man of a generation, in a group, from being equally the husband
of each woman, not his sister. The young braves are supposed to bring
in women captives from without, and to marry them 'communally,' Then
what becomes of jealousy? They ought rather to have fought for their
captive, on the principles of a golf tournament, the survivor and
winner taking the bride. Mr. Atkinson never saw his work except in his
manuscript, and might have made modifications on such points as this,
where he seems to me to lose grasp of his idea, as in his theory of
recognition of the children of 'the outside suitor,' he seems to bring
male descent into action at a period when, as he asserts elsewhere, it
was not yet recognised by customary law. On the Keddies (p. 287) I have
no information, the author giving no reference. A. L.

[Footnote 1: _Ancient Society_, p. 384, Lewis H. Morgan.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._ p. 402.]

[Footnote 3: _Ibid._ p. 409.]

[Footnote 4: _Ibid._ p. 385.]

[Footnote 5: _Ancient Society_, p. 391, Lewis H. Morgan.]

[Footnote 6: _Kamilaroi and Kurnai_, Lorimer and Fison. Cf. note at end
of chapter. I have already stated my objections to the theory of 'group
marriage.'--A. L.]

[Footnote 7: 'Totems arose to distinguish cousins as such.' This
implies that the totem name was assigned to each group for a definite
social purpose, the regulation of degrees of kin. But, on any feasible
theory of the 'totem' it 'came otherwise,' and was only used as a
mark of kinship _after_ it had come, just as a place name might have
been used, had it been equally convenient. On the system of descent
of the totem on the female side, A (man), an Emu, marries B (woman),
a Kangaroo. Their sons and daughters are Kangaroos. C, one of the
sisters, marries D, a Witchetty Grub, her children are Kangaroos. E,
C's brother, marries F, a Frog, _his_ children are Frogs, and may, as
far as the totem rule goes, marry their cousins, C's children, who are
Kangaroos.--A. L.]

[Footnote 8: _Studies in Ancient History_, McLennan, p. 269 _et seq._]

[Footnote 9: The most distinctive feature to-day in the inter-relations
of generations is a most strict ordinance to celibacy between members
of different generations.]

[Footnote 10: How can marriage be communal, granting Mr. Atkinson's
views about sexual jealousy?--A. L.]

[Footnote 11: Where is sexual jealousy?--A. L.]

[Footnote 12: Cf. Mr. Tylor, _J. A. I._ xviii. 3, 265, who expresses
the same opinion.]




In the following village sobriquets from the south-western counties of
England the people are styled 'eaters of' this or that.[1]



     Ashreigney   --   Dog-eaters
     Morchard     --   'Burd'-eaters
     Roseash      --   Whitpot-eaters
     Sandford     --   Cheese-eaters
     Moreton      --   Tatie-eaters
     Paignton     --   Pudding-eaters
     Churston     --   Liver-eaters

Compare with these the following sobriquets of Siouan old totem kins,
counting descent in the male line.



        Eat the scrapings of hides
        Eat dried venison
        Eat dung
        Eat raw food

Among the Sioux we have also noted the sobriquets

    _Non-Eaters of_
      Blackbirds, etc.

These sobriquets of non-eaters are probably totemic: the Deer kin does
not eat deer, nor does the Crane kin eat cranes, and so on. Totem kins
are named from what they do not eat; many totem kins with male descent
are nicknamed from what they do eat, or are alleged by their neighbours
to eat.


In the following letter, which I owe to the kindness of Mr. Duncan
Robertson, we read that, in Orkney and Shetland, local sobriquets are
derived from what the people are alleged to eat. The tradition is, Mr.
Robertson informs me, that each group is named after the edible plant
or animal which it brought when engaged in building the Cathedral of

                               Crantit House, St. Ola, Orkney,
                                        Jan. 29, 1903.

        Dear Mr. Lang,--My tyrannical doctor won't let me out
        yet, so that I have not been able to collect all the
        information I should like to get for you about the
        Orkney nicknames--or 'bye-names,' as they are called

        Here follows the list as taken from Tudor's _The Orkneys
        and Shetland_, with alterations:


    Kirkwall          Starlings
    St. Andrews       Skerry-scrapers
    Deemess           Skate-rumples
    Holm              Hobblers
    Orphir            Yearnings
    Firth             Oysters
    Stromness         Bloody-puddings
    Sandwick          Assie-pattles
    Harray            Crabs (of old, sheep)
    Birsay            Hoes = dog-fish
    Evie              Cauld kail
    Rendall           Sheep-thieves


    Hoy            Hawks, Auks or Tammynories
    Walls          Lyars (Manx Sheer-water)
    Burray         Oily Bogies = the skin
                   buoys used for herring

South Ronaldshay

    a.  Grimness            Gruties
    b.  Hope                Scouties (Skuas)
    c.  Widewall            Witches
    d.  Herston             Hogs
    e.  Sandwick            Birkies
    f.  South Parish        Teeacks (Lapwings)


    Gairsay                  Buckies
    Wyre                     Whelks
    Egilsay                  Burstin Lumps
    Rousay                   Mares
    Shapansey                Sheep
    Stronsay                 Limpets
    Sanday                   Gruelly Belkies
    North Ronaldshay         Selkies = Seals (also called
                             'Tangie Whessos') and 'Hides'
    Eday                     Scarfs = Shag or small Cormorant
    Westray                  Auks = the common Guillemot
    Papa Westray             Doundies = spent Cod

        These are all the names I know or can hear of in Orkney.
        I wrote to Mr. Moodie Heddle of Cletts on the subject,
        as I knew him to take a great and intelligent interest
        in all such topics; and I have a most interesting
        letter from him, of which I shall give you the gist.
        He says he has no doubt that the origin of the names
        is that which you suggest, though some of the names do
        not at first sight appear to bear this out. _Kirkwall
        'Starlings'_ are easily accounted for, assuming that
        there have always been as many starlings about Kirkwall
        as there are now. They may well have been eaten by the
        townsfolk. I have tried them, and their breasts are not
        at all bad.

        _Skerry-scrapers_.--The allusion here is to men who
        live off shell fish, 'dilse,' etc. off the skerries.
        There are--or were--excellent oysters on the St. Andrews
        skerries. Mr. Heddle tells me he has heard a woman
        insulting a man by saying she supposed he would soon
        leave no limpets in a certain bay, meaning that he was
        too lazy to work for his living.

        _Skate-rumple_ is, of course, the skate's tail. Deemess
        is the nearest land to a famous piece of water for
        skate, known as 'the skate-hole.'

        _Holm 'Hobblers'_ I do not understand, but shall make
        some further inquiries. I have an idea it is a reference
        to some bird; Mr. Heddle thinks it has something to do
        with seals, but neither of us knows.

        _Yearnings_ are, of course, the dried stomachs of calves
        used for making cheese.

        _Oysters_.--The bay of Firth was famous for its oysters
        till the beds were overfished and destroyed some thirty
        years ago.

        _Stromness 'Bloody-puddings'_--Mr. Heddle suggests that
        the people bled their cattle twice or thrice a year and
        made 'puddings' of the blood. This, of course, was done
        in the Highlands at one time.

        _Assie-pattles_.--Either those who lay in the ashes
        or, Mr. Heddle suggests, who ate cakes baked in the
        ashes. Before iron girdles came much into use cakes
        were baked on flat stones; and there is a hill, known
        as 'Baking-stone Hill,' where the people used to come
        for stones that would not split in the fire. The peats
        used in Sandwick have a very red ash, which colours all
        persons and things near it.

        _Harray 'Crabs.'_--Harray is the only parish in Orkney
        which does not touch the sea, and the name is given in
        irony. The old 'tee-name' is said to have been 'sheep.'
        The story is told that some fishermen passing through
        Harray dropped a live crab. The men of Harray could not
        make it out at all, and sent for the oldest inhabitant,
        who was brought in a wheel-barrow. After gazing at the
        monster for a few moments he exclaimed: 'Boys, hid's a
        fiery draygon; tak' me hame!'

        I suspect there is some other tee-name than
        'sheep-thieves' for the Rendall people, but will try to
        find out and let you know.

        _Hoy 'Hawks'_--Mr. Heddle, who was formerly proprietor
        of Hoy, says he thinks 'auks' must have been the
        original word, as he believes 'tammy-nories' was the old
        name. 'Auk' is Orcadian for the common guillemot, and a
        'tammy-norie' is a puffin. Both of these birds abound in

        Mr. Heddle also tells me that the old name of 'Lyars'
        for the people of Walls was to a great extent replaced
        by 'Cockles.' The 'lyars' were very common in Walls at
        one time, and were esteemed a great delicacy, but, Mr.
        Heddle tells me, were to a great extent killed out by
        the brown rat. He himself remembers men being bitten by
        rats when putting their hands into holes to look for
        young 'lyars.' Some three generations back enormous
        numbers of cockles were taken and eaten by the people of
        Walls, and they seem to have been called 'Cockles'--or,
        I presume, 'eaters of cockles'--in consequence.

        _Oily Bogies_.--I hardly see how this can have been
        'eaters of.' There might have been some old story to the
        effect that the Burray men stole and ate these buoys,
        but I never heard it.

        South Ronaldshay has names for every district, which no
        other island but the Mainland has.

        _Gruties_ is, Mr. Heddle says, equivalent to
        'Skerry-scrapers'--people who get their living from the
        'grut' or refuse left in bights by the tide. ('Grut,'
        see Norse _gröde_ = porridge or gruel.)

        _Scouties_ may be derived from the skua, though Mr.
        Heddle gives an unpresentable derivation. The word
        _Birkies_ he did not know the meaning of, but asked two
        or three people, who all said the Sandwick people were
        so called 'because Sandwick was such a place for tangles
        coming ashore, and the people had such a habit of eating
        what they called "birken" tangles, i.e. the stout or
        lower ends of the large thick tangles.'

        _Burstin Lumps_ are a sort of preparation of oatmeal,
        once a very favourite dish in the Isles.

        _Rousay 'Mares'_--There is an old tale of a Rousay man
        who, being a coward, killed his mare and hid inside her
        from his enemies. Mr. Heddle sends me an old rhyme on
        the subject:

    As the Rousay man said to his mare:
    'I wish I were in thee, for fear o' the war;
    I wish I were in thee without any doubt,
    Were it Martinmas Day before I cam' out.'

        The North Ronaldshay people did eat seals. Why _Hides_
        I do not know. Mr. Heddle here suggests it may have had
        to do with witchcraft, in which skins and especially
        seals' flippers were much used. Within the last ten
        years a man pulled down and rebuilt his byre because of
        some 'ongoings with a selkie flipper.'

        The names are very old and must be of Scandinavian

                                    Yours sincerely,

                                      DUNCAN J. ROBERTSON.

In addition to these names of 'eaters,' simple names of animals, we
have shown in the text, are as commonly given to English villages as
totemic names are given to the totem groups of savages.


In Robertson Smith's _Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia_ (p. 219)
he says: 'I have argued that many place-names formed from the names of
animals are also to be regarded as having been originally taken from
the totem clans that inhabited them.' Now where totemism is a living
institution I know no instance in which a locality is named from 'the
totem clan that inhabits it.' The thing cannot be where female descent
prevails, as many totems are then everywhere mixed in each local group.
Where male descent prevails we do, indeed, get localities inhabited by
groups mainly of the same totem name. But their tendency is to let the
totem name merge in the territorial title, the name of the locality, as
Messrs. Spencer and Gillen prove for the Arunta and Mr. Dorsey for the

Having found no instance where a totemic group gives its totem name
to the locality which it inhabits, I was struck by a remark of Dean
Stanley in his _Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church_ (p. 319,
1870). He there mentions the villages of Judah which were the scenes
of some of Samson's adventures (Joshua xv. 32, 33; Judges i. 35). The
villages of Lebaoth, Shaalbim, Zorah, respectively mean Lions, Jackals,
and Hornets. Nobody eats any of these three animals, and they may be
names of totem groups transferred to localities--though of this usage
I know no example among savage totemists--or they may merely be old
Hebrew village sobriquets, as in England and France.

On consulting the _Encyclopædia Biblica_, under 'Names' (vol. iii.
3308, 3316) we find that 'there can be no doubt that many place-names'
in Palestine 'are identical with names of animals.' Those 'applied to
towns' (we may read villages probably) are much more common in the
south than in the north. We have Stags, Lions, Leopards, Gazelles,
Wild Asses, Foxes, Hyænas, Cows, Lizards, Hornets, Scorpions, Serpents,
and so on. These may have been derived from old totem kins, though
I think that theory improbable, or from the frequency of hornets or
scorpions in this or that place, or the villagers' sobriquet may
have become the village name. The last hypothesis has hitherto been
overlooked. The frequency of animal and plant names in the Roman
_gentes_, Fabii (Beans), Asinii (Asses), Caninii (Dogs), is an instance
that readily occurs. These may be survivals of totemism or of less
archaic sobriquets, while the totem names themselves, as we have
argued, may have had their origin in sobriquets.

[Footnote 1: _Western Antiquary_, vol. ix., pt. ii., p. 37, August,



The hypothesis that the Australian terms of relationship, as they
now exist, really denote status in customary law, may perhaps derive
corroboration from the classificatory system as it appears among the
Ba Ronga, near Delagoa Bay. Here the natives are rich, industrial,
commercial, and polygamous to the full extent of their available
capital. Polygamy, male kinship, and wife purchase, with elaborate
laws of dowry and divorce, have modified and complicated the terms of
relationship. They are described by an excellent authority, M. Henri
Junod, a missionary.[1]

M. Junod has obviously never heard of the 'classificatory system'
among other races, and his explanation of certain 'avoidances,' such
as between the husband and his wife's brother, father, and mother, is
probably incorrect (turning, as it does, on the laws of wife-price
and divorce), though it appears now to be accepted by the Ba Ronga
themselves. But what more concerns us is the nature of terms of
relationship. These terms denote status in customary law, determined
by sex and seniority. Among the Basuto, 'a man is otherwise related
to his sister than to his brother; his children are related to their
paternal otherwise than to their maternal uncles and aunts,' and to
their cousins in the same style. Relative seniority, entailing relative
social duties, is also expressed in the terms of relationship. The
maternal aunt, senior to the mother, is 'grandmother.' The children of
my father's brother and of my mother's sister, are my 'brothers' or
'sisters;' the children of my maternal uncle and paternal aunt are not
my 'brothers' and 'sisters.' The children of a man's inferior wives
call the chief wife 'grandmother,' and the other wives, not their
mother, 'maternal aunts.'[2] The son of my wife's sister is my 'son,'
because I may succeed to her husband on his death, and his father
calls me 'brother.' The maternal uncle is the mere butt of his nephew,
the uncle's wives are the nephew's potential wives: he is one of the
heirs to them. This kind of uncle (maternal) is not one of the tribal
'fathers' of the nephew, but the paternal uncle is, and is treated with
the utmost respect. In brief, each name for a 'relationship' is a name
carrying certain social duties or privileges, dependent on sex and

We have no such customary laws, and need no such names--the names are
the result and expression of the Basuto customary laws. Had we such
ideas of duty and privilege, then they would be expressed in our terms
of relationship, which would be numerous. My maternal uncle would have
a name denoting the man with whose wife I may flirt. The wife of my
brother-in-law is the woman whom I must treat with the most distant
respect. If I am a woman, my father's sister's husband (my 'uncle by
marriage') is a man whose wife I may become, and so forth endlessly.
Consequently there is a wealth of terms of relationship, just because
of the peculiarities of Ba Ronga customary law.

[Footnote 1: _Les Baronga_, Attinger, Neufchâtel, 1898, pp. 82-87.]

[Footnote 2: _Op. cit._ pp. 487-489.]


    Aboriginal man, Mr. Darwin's view of, 209;
      Mr. Atkinson on, 220
    Affinity, degrees of, prohibiting marriage, 188;
      most stringently applied by least civilised races, 2;
      differences of opinion among students of the question, 2;
      existing laws not an indication of primitive rules, 2;
      Australian anomaly, 88
    Age distinction and the classificatory system, Mr. Atkinson on, 290
    Altruism, possible germ of, in nascent man, 232
    American ethnological terms, 10
    Andrews, Judge, on Hawaiian marriage relationships, 98
    Animal guardians among savages, 131
    Annamese family relationships, Dr. Westermarck on, 240
    Anomaly, totem, among the Arunta, 85
    Anthropoid adult males unsocial, 220
    Aristotle and early human society, 7
    Arunta tribe of Central Australia, 2, 11;
      descent reckoned in the male line, 15, 69;
      supposed ignorance of procreation, 20;
      a 'marriage ceremony,' 24;
      reincarnation superstition, 31, 139;
      totem marriage-prohibition now extinct, 41;
      totem common to both phratries, 46, 56;
      totem groups preceded phratries, 61;
      Mr. Spencer on the introduction of exogamy, 61;
      totem influence, 61;
      traditions as to change of custom, 67;
      Mr. Frazer's opinion of the tribe, 68;
      intermarry with the Urabunna, 69;
      theory of evolution, 70; totemism, 70;
      belief in reincarnation, 71; totem eating, 71;
      Dr. Durkheim's views, 72;
      opinion of Spencer and Gillen, 73;
      marital relationship, 74;
      relations of totems and phratries, 74;
      myths, 75; Dr. Durkheim on, 75;
      Messrs. Spencer and Gillen's opinions, 76, 77;
      institution of marriage regulations, 78;
      phratries and totems, 81;
      Dr. Durkheim's views on the phratry, 82;
      totemic divisions, 83;
      origin of the anomalous marriage system, 85;
      philosophy of souls, 86;
      relationships prohibiting marriage, 88;
      curiosities of affinity, 88;
      terms of relationship, 93;
      relationship customs, 96; legislation, 108;
      legend regarding marriage limits, 108;
      class system with male descent, 120;
      totems and magic, 196, 198
    Atkinson, Mr., his speculations on human origin, 3;
      on primitive man's polygamy, 4;
      his theories and the Biblical account, 7;
      disbelief in early promiscuity, 9;
      views on the effect of sexual jealousy, 9, 18, 30;
      his opinion on exogamy and totemism, 17;
      his exogamous marriage hypothesis, 18;
      his 'primal law,' 19;
      on the origin of the 'classificatory system,' 108;
      on New Caledonian totems, 136;
      and the custom of avoidance, 212, 264;
      on the origin of exogamy, 212, 238;
      aboriginal man polygamous, 220;
      man's distinction in the primal law, 225;
      prolonged infancy in nascent man, 230;
      origin of maternal love, 231;
      possible germ of altruism, 232;
      earliest evolution of law, 236;
      wives procured by capture, 244; editor's note thereon, 248;
      development from the group to the tribe, 250;
      effect of female sexual jealousy, 256;
      extinction of the patriarchal family, 261;
      survivals of transition period, 264;
      clan (phratry) relationship, 269;
      editor's note on avoidances, 278;
      the classificatory system, 280, 285;
      on the original purpose of totems, 282;
      on local contiguity constituting relationship, 289;
      on age distinction and the classificatory system, 290;
      on group marriage and the classificatory system, 292
    Attic plant names, 205
    Australia, marriage divisions in, 38;
      consanguineous marriages forbidden, 40;
      tribal variations of custom, 41
    Australian group marriage, Messrs. Spencer and Gillen on, 293
    Australian, native, society not primitive, 3;
      complexity of social rules, 3, 4;
      low state of culture, 4; divinities, 5;
      languages and customs, 6; commerce, 6
    Australian tribal division, Mr. Fison on, 42;
      the author's view, 43
    Australian sex protectors, 144
    Avebury, Lord, on racial customs, 12; on totemism, 122;
      on totem origin, 123; on communal marriage, 124;
      vague terminology, 126, 130; on relationships, 128
    'Avoidance,' custom of, Mr. Atkinson on, 212; origin of, 276
    Avoidance between father-in-law and son-in-law, 268; its origin, 269
    Avoidance of mother-in-law, 270, 277; Mr. Crawley on its origin, 278

    Bachofen's views on maternal kin-names, 9
    Baiame, Australian divinity, 5, 29, 138, 184
    Banks Island, two class divisions in, 178
    Ba Ronga terms of relationship, 301
    Barter between Australian tribes, 6
    Basuto customary law, 301
    'Bisection' a misleading term, 36
    Bishop, Rev. A., on Hawaiian marriage relationships, 98
    Blood kinship implied by totem name, 193
    Breeding between sire and daughter, effect of, 223
    British Columbia clan totems, Mr. Hill Tout on, 152
    Brother-and-sister 'avoidance,' 213; in Australia, 216
    Brother-and-sister 'avoidance,' Dr. Westermarck on, 240
    Brother-and-sister marriage, primitive, Mr. Morgan on, 281
    Bull-roarer, palæolithic, 5; miniature, discovered in France, 5;
      Mr. Frazer's bibliography of, 5 _n_

    Calabar 'bush-souls,' 143
    Camerons of Glen Nevis properly MacSorlies, 8.
    Chattan, Clan, crest of the, 163
    Clan, definition of, 11
    Clan (phratry) relationship, Mr. Atkinson on, 269
    Clandestine intercourse preliminary to marriage, 265
    Class system, the, 35; and Mr. Morgan, 89
    Class system with male descent among the Arunta, 120
    Class and generation correspond, 112
    Class names, Herr Cunow on, 113, 118; Dr. Durkheim on, 118;
      Mr. Mathews on, 119
    Classes, Mr. Morgan's view of their origin, 92
    Classificatory system, Mr. Atkinson on the, 108, 285;
      division by generations the most natural one, 286;
      age distinction, 290; and group marriage, 292
    Classificatory terms, 100
    Codrington, Dr., and totem descent, 135;
      on Melanesian ancestor-worship, 150;
      on social systems in Melanesia, 177;
      his totem theory controverted, 181
    Commerce, Australian inter-tribal, 6
    Communal marriage, Mr. Morgan's theory, 90; Lord Avebury on, 124
    Consanguineous marriages forbidden among Australian tribes, 40
    Contiguity, local, constituting relationship, Mr. Atkinson on, 289
    Crawley, Mr., on promiscuous sexual relationship, 9;
      on the origin of prohibited marriages, 18;
      on jealousy in the family, 19;
      on the matriarchal theory, 20;
      his theory of exogamy, 23;
      his view of marriage among savages, 24;
      on the prevention of incest, 26;
      on terms of relationship, 95;
      on marriage by capture, 249;
      on mother-in-law avoidance, 278
    Cult of the totem, 136
    Cunow's, Herr, opinion on 'class' and 'phratry,' 37, 112;
      on class names, 113;
      regards the 'horde' as the original stage of society, 114;
      his theory of exogamy, 115;
      on local totem groups, 116;
      his class-name theory opposed by Dr. Durkheim, 118

    Daramulun, Australian divinity, 5
    Darwin, Mr., his theory of primitive polygamy, 4;
      his views on sexual jealousy, 9;
      opposed to theory of promiscuity, 99;
      on primitive man, 209
    Dieri, the, 41; myths, 65, 66, 91, 139, 159, 163;
      piraura custom, 95, 105
    Diet, effect of, on sexual appetite, 227
    Distribution of totems in the 'phratries,' 55
    Divine intervention, savage and civilised ideas, 91
    Domesticated animals in palæolithic age, 4, 5
    Dorsey, Mr., his definition of clan, 11;
      on totem descent, 135;
      and North American Indian group names, 172
    Dual relationship, tribal and individual, 88
    Durkheim, Dr., on marriage relationship, 19 n;
      on blood and totem superstition, 57 n;
      on Arunta totemism, 72;
      on Arunta 'phratries' and marriage, 73;
      on the relation of totem and phratry, 74, 82;
      on Arunta legends, 75;
      on totemic divisions, 83;
      on Arunta anomalous marriage system, 85;
      opposes Herr Cunow's theory of class names, 118;
      on totem descent, 135

    Early belief in mutual danger of mankind, 24
    Eguilles, Marquis d', and Kanaka relationship names, 137
    Egypt, royal intermarriage, 1, 262
    Egyptian totemic myths, 201
    Endogamy, meaning of, 12
    English village sobriquets, 173, 295
    Erman, Adolf, on Yakut avoidance, 275
    Euahlayi, the, 29; Mrs. Langloh Parker on the, 186 n; myth, 66
    Evolution of primal law of avoidance, Mr. Atkinson on the, 210
    Exchange, commercial, among Australian tribes, 6
    Exogamy, meaning of the term, 10;
      anterior to totems, opinions on, 17;
      Mr. McLennan's theory, 21;
      Mr. Crawley's theory, 23;
      Dr. Westermarck's theory, 33;
      Mr. Morgan's theory, 33;
      the author's theory, 34;
      the result of evolution, 53;
      Mr. Frazer's earlier ideas on, 57;
      objections to, 59; his later theory, 62;
      advantages of the system now proposed, 63;
      ignored by theorists on group totemism, 160;
      Mr. Atkinson on origin of, 212, 238;
      earlier view quoted, 212
    Exogamy among the Arunta, 61
    Exogamy and totemism, Mr. Taylor's view, 17
    Exogamy, local, origin of, 31

    Family, the, its antiquity, 1; secured by dread of aberrations, 1;
      laws and customs vary, 1; uncivilised races and prohibited marriages, 2;
      present-day institutions no guide to prehistoric customs, 2;
      conjectures as to primitive state, 4; patriarchal family the original
      social unit, 7; descent counted through the maternal line, 8, 21;
      suggestions as to early promiscuity, 9;
      promiscuity prevented by sexual jealousy, 9;
      totemism, 14; family group or 'fire circle,' 14, 17;
      exogamous tendencies, 17; Mr. Crawley on the effect of jealousy, 19;
      matriarchal theory, 20; Mr. McLennan's theory of family exogamy, 21;
      Mr. Crawley's theory, 23
    Father--and--daughter avoidance, Veddah, 274
    Father-in-law and daughter-in-law, customs concerning, 272, 275
    Father-in-law avoidance, Mr. Atkinson on, 263, 277
    Female infanticide in first stages of society, 21
    Fijian 'totem gods,' 137
    Fison, Mr., on Kamilaroi marriage laws, 28;
      and the class system in Australia, 37;
      on Australian tribal division, 42;
      controverted by the author, 43;
      on the origin of totems, 45;
      on the change of totems, 48;
      on the origin of exogamy, 65, 97;
      his suggestion of Divine intervention, 91;
      on terms of relationship, 95;
      quotes Mr. Lance on communal marriage, 106
    Fison and Howitt, Messrs., on totemism, 16;
      their theories insufficient, 51;
      hypothesis as to Greek totemism, 203
    Fletcher, Miss Alice, on totem origin, 151;
      on Omaha magical societies, 198
    Folk-lore illustrative of totem group names, 169
    France, miniature palæolithic bull-roarers found in, 5
    Frazer, Mr., bibliography of the bull-roarer, 5;
      regards the Arunta as primitive, 20, 68;
      his early ideas of the exogamous phratry, 57;
      objections to them, 59;
      his later theory of exogamy, 62;
      his view that totems did not influence marriage, 68;
      on the arrangement of totems in phratries, 74;
      on Arunta legends, 76;
      names several varieties of totem, 132;
      his theories as to totem origin, 143;
      on the group totem, 144;
      on the personal totem, 145
    Freeman, Mr., and the patriarchal family, 7

    Gaidoz and Sébillot MM., on unfriendly sobriquets, 168
    Ganowanian gentes, 92
    Ghost-worship, Melanesian, 182
    Gillen, Mr., _see_ Spencer
    Gournditch Mara tribe, 195
    Greek totemic myths, 201
    Greek totemism, Messrs. Fison and Howitt's hypothesis, 203
    Grey, Sir George, on totems in Western Australia, 144
    Group marriage, 89; supposed survivals of, 104
    Group marriage and the classificatory system, Mr. Atkinson on, 292;
      editor's comments, 293
    Group marriage, Australian, Messrs. Spencer and Gillen on, 293
    Group names, theory as to, 166;
      originated outside the group, 168, 171
    Group totem, the hereditary, 160
    Group totems, Mr. N. W. Thomas on, 148
    Guatemala Indian nagual, 144

    Haddon, Mr., on totem origin, 156
    Hawaiian marriage relationships, 98
    Hawaiian terms of relationship, 93
    Hebrew village names, ancient, 300
    Hesiod and early human society, 7
    Horde, the foundation of Herr Cunow's theory, 114;
      its division, 115
    Hose and McDougall, Messrs., on Sarawak beliefs, 153
    Hottentot marriages, Dr. Westermarck on, 240
    Howitt, Mr., his ethnological nomenclature, 10 n;
      and the class system in Australia, 37;
      his opinion on Australian marriage customs, 41;
      his views on the primary class divisions, 46;
      considers totemism too old for theorising, 49;
      regards the undivided commune as a probable hypothesis, 65;
      _see also_ Fison
    Human origin, Mr. Atkinson's speculations on, 3;
      Biblical account differs from Mr. Atkinson's,
      not from Mr. Morgan's hypothesis, 7
    Human society, limit of historical research into origins of, 2;
      progress of, 3; obscurity of the subject, 3
    Hunter River totems, Mr. Rusden on, 148

    Incas of Peru, royal intermarriage, 1
    Incest to marry within totem name, 16
    Incest, prevention of, Mr. Crawley's theory, 26
    Individual totems, Mr. N. W. Thomas on, 148
    Infancy prolonged in nascent man, Mr. Atkinson on, 230
    Infanticide, female, and exogamy, 21

    Jealousy the cause of exogamy, 19
    Jealousy, sexual, the motive power in social changes, 272
    Jevons, Mr., on totems, 134; on the Attic social system, 206
    Junod, M. Henri, and the Baronga terms of relationship, 301

    Kamilaroi, the, 35 n
    Kamilaroi group laws, Mr. Mathews on, 46
    Kamilaroi interphratry marriages, 56
    Kamilaroi marriage laws, Mr. Mathews on, 27;
      Mr. Fison on, 28
    Keddies (Southern India), marriage custom among, 286
    Kennedys of Galloway, 7
    Kin name, maternal, 8
    Kingsley, Miss, on the Calabar 'bush-souls,' 143
    Kinship among the earliest human groups, 19
    Kurnai women and the sex totem, 146
    Kyontha social customs, Dr. Westermarck on, 246 n
    Kyonthas, avoidance among the, 275

    Lance, Mr., on communal marriage survival, 106
    Lang, Mr. G. S., quoted by Lord Avebury, 126
    Lifu terms of relationship, 94, 100
    Local exogamy, its origin, 13
    Long's, J., mention of 'totam,' 131 n

    Macdonnells of Moidart and Glengarry, 7
    McGee, W. J., his ethnological terminology, 11 n;
      his views on the evolution of society, 52
    McLennan, Mr. Daniel, on the origin of exogamy, 63;
      on the phratries of Northern Victoria tribes, 64
    McLennan, Mr. Donald, on exogamy and totemism, 14, 16, 17
    McLennan, Mr. J. F., 3;
      his views on maternal kin-names, 9;
      his definition of exogamy, 10, 12;
      his view of the most archaic marriage law, 13;
      his opinion of kinship, 19, 20;
      his theory of exogamy, 21;
      the theory untenable, 22;
      his views of 'primitive groups,' 31;
      and exogamous phratries, 37;
      considers totemism anterior to exogamy, 44;
      on totem kins, 55;
      on terms of relationship, 95;
      on marriage by capture, 267;
      his criticism of Mr. Morgan's classification theory, 284;
      remarks thereon by Mr. Atkinson, 284
    MacSorlies part of Clan Cameron, 8
    McUlrigs (Kennedys) of Galloway, 7
    Magical societies, 197
    Maine, Sir Henry, his 'Ancient Law,' 7;
      on the evolution of tribes and states, 7
    Malayan relationship system, Mr. Morgan on, 90, 281
    Mandeville, Sir John, referred to, 24
    Man's distinction from other creatures, Mr. Atkinson on, 225
    Marital relations among the Arunta 74
    Marriage among savages, Mr. Crawley's view of, 24
    Marriage by capture, Mr. Atkinson on, 244, 266;
      editor's remarks on Mr. Atkinson's views, 248;
      Mr. McLennan on, 267
    Marriage ceremony, Arunta, 24
    Marriage, communal, Mr. Morgan's theory, 90;
      Lord Avebury on, 124
    Marriage custom of the Keddies of Southern India, 286
    Marriage divisions in Australia, 38
    Marriage, group, 89; supposed survivals of, 104
    Marriage laws, totemic and civilised, 87
    Marriage regulations among the Arunta, 78
    Marriage within the totem name prohibited, 16
    Maternal kinship, 8
    Maternal love, origin of, Mr. Atkinson on, 231
    Mathews, Mr. John, on aboriginal jealousy, 9 n
    Mathews, Mr., on Australian inter-tribal barter, 6;
      on prohibited marriages, 27;
      on group marriages, 35 n;
      on marriage divisions in Australia, 38;
      on class names, 119; on totem names, 120
    Matriarchal theory, 20
    Melanesian ghost-worship, 182;
      sacrifices, 183
    Melanesian social system, 176
    Menomini myth, 66
    Mincopies (Andamanese), 9
    Modern theories of totem origin: Mr. A. H. Keane's theory, 140;
      Mr. Max Müller's theory, 141;
      Mr. Herbert Spencer's theory, 142;
      Mr. Frazer's theories, 143;
      Mr. N. W. Thomas's theory, 148;
      Dr. Wilken's theory, 150; Miss
      Alice Fletcher's theory, 151;
      Mr. Hill Tout's theory, 152;
      Messrs. Hose and McDougall's theory, 153;
      Mr. Haddon's theory, 156:
      an objection to these theories, 159;
      the author's conjecture, 161
    Modification of sexual habit, Mr. Atkinson on, 227
    Morgan, Mr., on human origin, 7;
      his criticism of Mr. McLennan's terms, 13 n;
      his theory of exogamy, 33;
      and exogamous phratries, 37;
      his theory quoted by Mr. Fison, 65;
      and the class system, 89;
      his theory of communal marriage, 90;
      the theory inexplicable, 91;
      his views on the origin of classes and totems, 92;
      on terms of relationship, 93;
      on communal marriage in Hawaii, 98;
      his theory opposed by Darwin, 98;
      on primitive brother-and-sister marriage, 281
    Mother kin, 20
    Mother-and-son avoidance, Veddah, 274
    Mother-in-law, 'avoidance' of, 277;
      Mr. Atkinson on, 213;
      Mr. Crawley on its origin, 278
    Mother-in-law, customs concerning, 272, 273, 275
    Müller, Mr. Max, and totem origin, 141
    Mungun-ngaur, Australian divinity, 5
    Munro, Dr., on primitive man, 4
    Myth, savage, and scientific hypothesis, coincidence of, 76
    Myths, Arunta, 75;
      Greek and Egyptian totemic, 201

    Nairs of Malabar, 22
    Narrinyeri totem eaters, 179
    Nascent man a solitary polygamous male, 220;
      younger males expelled from family, 220;
      absence of a paring season, 226;
      effect of diet on sexual function, 227;
      prolonged infancy, 230;
      maternal love, 231;
      retention of adult son in family, 232;
      distinction between females in the family circle, 236;
      rule of 'avoidance,' 237;
      primal law the parent of exogamy, 238;
      the editor's view, 238;
      sexual relations between sire and daughter, 251;
      widows of the polygamous husband, 252;
      introduction of outside males, 254;
      effect of female sexual jealousy, 256;
      recognition of cousinship, 257;
      interchange of sisters, 258;
      division of the group, 260
    Nature-worship, Lord Avebury's synonym of totemism, 122
    New Caledonia, separation of brother and sister, 214;
      infanticide of twins, 215; avoidance in, 275
    New Caledonia totems, 136
    New Caledonian totem belief, 143
    New Caledonian tribes, hostility between, 167
    New Hebrides, North, class divisions in, 178
    Nooreli, Australian divinity, 5, 138
    North American Indian group names, 172
    Northern Victoria, tribal tradition of, 64
    Nyarongs, Sarawak, 153

    Omaha magical societies, 197; Miss Alice Fletcher on, 198
    Omaha manitus, Miss Fletcher on, 152
    Omaha totem groups, 196
    Origin of avoidance, Mr. Atkinson on, 276
    Origin of classes and totems, Mr. Morgan's view, 92
    Origin of totemism, theories regarding the, 49, 50;
      Lord Avebury on, 123
    Orissa, avoidance in 275
    Orkney, group sobriquets in, 296

    Palæolithic man, Dr. Munro on, 4, 5;
      possessed religous belief, 5
    Palæolithic remains found in France, 5
    Parker, Mrs. Langloh, on the Euahlayi, 186 n.
    Patriarchal family first social unit, 7;
      Sir Henry Maine's opinion, 7;
      Mr. Freeman's concurrence, 7;
      absent from 'non-Aryan' races, 8
    Persian royal marriages, 262
    Peruvian Incas' marriages, 1, 262
    Pfeil, Count von, on inter-tribal hostility, 168
    Phratria, the Attic, 205
    Phratries, 35; intended to produce exogamy, 53
    Phratries and totem groups, relative antiquity, 35
    Phratries and totems of the Arunta, 81
    Phratries and totems, relations of, 74
    Phratry, Herr Cunow on the development of, 116
    Phratry names usually totemic, 116
    Phratry, origin of the, Mr. McGee's view, 52;
      Mr. Howitt's theory, 53;
      Mr. Frazer's ideas, 57
    Piets, royal, counted descent through female line, 21
    Pinaru, Dieri headman's title, 105
    Piraungaru arrangement, 105; among the Urabunna, 106
    Pirmaheal, Australian divinity, 5
    Plant names, Attic, 205
    Pollux on the Attic genos, 206
    Polyandry in Malabar, 22
    Polyandry supposed origin of maternal kin-name, 9
    Polygamy probable institution of primitive man, 4
    Polygyny and monogamy, Mr. Darwin's group basis, 64
    Powell's, Major, ethnological terminology, 10 n;
      use of the word 'totem,' 132
    'Primary divisions' totemic and exogamous, 43;
      Mr. Howitt's hypothesis, 46;
      probably the result of amalgamation, 181
    Primitive brother-and-sister marriage, Mr. Morgan on, 281
    Primitive man, opinions on, 4
    Pristine groups necessarily small, 164;
      governed by sexual jealousy, 165
    Prohibited marriages, Arunta, by affinity, 88
    Pundjel, Australian divinity, 5

    Qat, Melanesian object of prayer, 184

    Relationship by generations, 90;
      Mr. Morgan's theory, 93
    Relationship constituted by local contiguity, Mr. Atkinson on, 289
    Relationship terms, origin of, 102;
      difference of meaning between savage and civilised, 102;
      family and tribal significance, 103;
      express status, 129
    Relationships, Lord Avebury on, 128
    Relationships, Arunta, which preclude marriage, 88;
      curious distinctions, 88
    'Religion,' Mr. Crawley's definition of, 23
    Reverence for totems, nyarongs, and naguals, 186
    Ridley, Rev. W., and Australian exogamous phratries, 37
    Robertson, Mr. Duncan, on group sobriquets in Orkney, 296
    Roman traditions as to tribal origin, 8
    Roth, Dr., and Australian native customs, 6 n;
      on the evolution of classes, 114
    Rusden, Mr., on the Hunter River totems, 148

    Sacred animals in savage society, 131
    Sacrifices, Melanesian, 183
    Samoan 'totem gods,' 137
    Sarawak, nyarongs in, 153
    'Second master,' Urabunna wife's, 104;
      not a survival of communal marriage, 105
    Selwyn, Bishop, quoted as to Melanesian ghost-worship, 182
    Sex protector, Australian, 144
    Sex totem, killing a, 146
    Sexes mutually dangerous, savage beliefs, 19, 24
    Sexual family relations common to all animals, 224
    Sexual functions, modification of, Mr. Atkinson on, 227
    Sexual jealousy, Mr. Atkinson on, 220, 272, 276
    Sexual jealousy the pause of exogamous marriage, 18
    Siouan gentes, Mr. Dorsey on, 172
    Siouan gentes, names of, 295; probably totemic, 175
    Siouan tribes, 11
    Smith, Mr. Robertson, and totemism, 17;
      on prohibited marriages, 27
    Sobriquets, English village, 295;
      Siouan, 295; Orkney and Shetland, 296;
      Ancient Jewish, 300
    Social changes the result of sexual jealousy, Mr. Atkinson on, 272
    Social rules, growth of, in the tribe, 107
    Social system of Melanesia, 176
    Solomon Islands, no division into kindreds, 178;
      exogamous groups, 179
    Son-in-law, customs concerning, 272, 273, 275
    Spencer, Mr., on the origin of totemism, 60, 142;
      on exogamous groups in the Arunta tribe, 61;
      his reason for their introduction, 62;
      inconclusive statements, 62;
      his latest hypothesis regarding totemism, 68
    Spencer and Gillen on aboriginal jealousy, 9;
      on totem groups, 15 n, 16;
      on Urabunna descent, 20;
      and the Arunta marriage ceremony, 24;
      on the class system in Australia, 37;
      on changes of tribal custom, 67;
      and 'communal marriage,' 69;
      on Arunta totem eating, 73;
      on Arunta marital relations, 74;
      on totems and phratries, 74;
      on Arunta legends, 76, 77;
      on marriage regulations, 78;
      on tribal and individual relationships, 89;
      on terms of relationship, 95;
      on 'classificatory' terms, 100;
      on Urabunna customs, 101;
      on totem origin, 141;
      on brother-and-sister 'avoidance,' 216;
      on Australian group marriage, 293
    State, origin of the, Sir H. Maine on, 7
    Status implied by relationship terms, 101
    'Stealthy' intercourse preliminary to marriage, 265
    Supremacy of women, supposed period of, 9
    Sutherland crest, 163

    Tankerville, Lord, on the Chillingham Park bulls, 222
    Terminology, the author's, 37 n; Mr. Fison's, 38 n
    Terminology, confusing, 10, 44, 126, 130
    Terms of relationship, Mr. Morgan on, 93;
      origin of, 102;
      family and tribal significance, 103
    Thlinket ideas of totems, 139
    Thomas, Mr. N. W., on totemism, 148
    Totem, restricted meaning of the word, 133;
      original word doubtful, 135;
      cult, the, 136;
      origin probably not religious, 137
    Totem alliance, Mr. Jevons on, 134
    Totem eating, Arunta, 71
    Totem group names, folk-lore illustrative of, 169,
    Totem groups, local, 15;
      heterogeneous, 30;
      Mr. Morgan on the origin of, 92
    Totem groups and magic, Arunta, 196, 198
    Totem groups and phratries, relative antiquity, 35
    Totem influence among the Arunta, 61
    Totem kindreds, 10, 12
    Totem name a bar to marriage, 16;
      liable to change, 48;
      origin forgotten, 184;
      implies blood kinship, 193
    Totem prohibition of tribal marriage, 35
    Totemic divisions of the Arunta, 83
    Totemic influence on the Keddies' marriage customs, 287
    Totemic myths, ancient Greek and Egyptian, 201
    Totemic rules differ from civilised marriage laws, 87
    Totemic system and exogamy, 80
    Totemism, Lord Avebury on, 122
    Totemism among the Arunta, 68
    Totemism and exogamy, 16
    Totemism dying in Melanesia, 184
    Totemism, group, exogamous, the author's conjecture, 161
    Totemism, origin of, 14, 131;
      theories regarding, 49, 50;
      Mr. Spencer on, 60
    Totems and phratries, relations of, 74
    Totems, classification of, by Mr. Frazer, 132
    Totems, distribution of, in the 'phratries,' 55
    Totems, Mr. Fison on the origin of, 45
    Totems, original purpose of, Mr. Atkinson on, 282
    Tout, Mr. Hill, on totem origin, 152
    Tribal and individual relationship, 88
    Tribal custom, Messrs. Spencer and Gillen on, 67
    Tribal divisions totemic in origin, 54
    Tribal heterogeneousness, 8
    Tribe, origin of the, Sir H. Maine on, 7;
      definition of the word, 11;
      an aggregation, not a division, 98;
      not a primitive institution, 103;
      growth of social rules in the, 107
    Turanian gentes, 92
    Tylor, Mr., on exogamy and totemism, 17;
      considers descent through female line the more archaic, 21;
      his researches into laws of marriage and descent, 109;
      on the word 'totem,' 131 n;
      on Fijian and Samoan totemism, 137;
      supports Dr. Wilken's theory of totem origin, 150

    Urabunna tribe of Central Australia, 1, 10; tribal divisions, 11;
      marriage restrictions, 12; descent through the female line, 20, 69;
      exogamous and totemic division, 54; intermarry with the Arunta, 69;
      communal marriage among, 69; less developed than the Arunta, 75;
      terms of relationship, 93; status implied by relationship terms, 101;
      Spencer and Gillen on customs, 101; marriage laws, 104;
      'second masters' of married women, 104; Piraungaru custom, 105

    Veddahs, avoidance of father and daughter, 274; of mother and son, 274
    Victoria, Northern, tribal tradition of, 64
    Village names, ancient Hebrew, 300
    Village sobriquets, English, 173, 295

    Westermarck, Dr., on promiscuous sexual relationship, 9;
      on the matriarchal theory, 20;
      on ape etiquette, 25;
      his theory of exogamy, 33;
      on terms of relationship, 95;
      on brother-and-sister avoidance, 240;
      on Annamese and Hottentot relationships, 240;
      on marriage by Rapture, 248
    Western Australia totem, Sir George Grey on, 144
    Wilken's, Dr., theory of totemic origin, 150;
      depends on the patriarchal theory, 151
    Witchetty Grub, Australian totem, 170
    Woeworung, the, 41; myths, 66, 139, 159, 163
    Women, supremacy of, supposed period of, 9
    Women, dominion of, 20

    Yakuts, avoidance among the, 275

    Zapotecs and their tona, 144
    Zulu superstition, 136, 143

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