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tribes when at war are cannibals. From the concurrent, but quite independent evidence of the boy taken by Mr. Low, and of Jemmy Button [a Fuegian, who had been taken by the Darwin party, and had learned some Eng. lish], it is certainly true, that when pressed in winter by hunger, they kill and devour their old women before they kill their dogs; the boy being asked by Mr. Low why they did this, answered, “Doggies catch otters, old women no.” [That is, the dogs were more useful than the old women, and hence were spared longer].
Ilorrid as such a death at the hands of their friends and relatives must be, the fears of the old women, when hunger begins to press, are more painful to think of; we are told that they then often run away into the mountains, but that they are pursued by the men, and brought back to the slaughter-house at their own firesides.
The different tribes have no government or chief; yet each is surrounded by other hostile tribes, speaking different dialects, and separated from each other by a deserted border of neutral territory: the cause of their warfare appears to be the means of subsistence. Their country is a broken mass of wild rocks, lofty hills, and useless forests; and these are viewed through mists and endless storms. The habitable land is reduced to the stones on the beach; in search of food they are compelled unceasingly to wander from spot to spot, and so steep is the coast that they can only move about in their wretched canoes.
The perfect equality among the individuals composing the Fuegian tribes must for a long time retard their civilization..
At present, even a piece of cloth given to one is torn into shreds and distributed; and no one individual becomes richer than another.
I believe, in this extreme part of South America, man exists in a lower state of improvement than in any other part of the world” (2).
Crossing the South Pacific Ocean into Australia, we find savage tribes but little more advanced in culture than
the Fuegians. We cite now from Professor Ratzel's work on the races of mankind.
"It is impossible to understand the Australians apart from their extensive nomadism, to which all the natural qualities of the land contribute. At the bottom of it lies the deficiency of water, and the unequal distribution of food, plants, and animals which partly results from this. The dry season causes a large number of places otherwise favorable to habitation to be simply impossible. But since, owing to the almost total absence of mountains to feed the springs, permanent drought is no less great than the time and amount of rainfall are incalculable, there are few permanent oases, and the arrivals of damp monsoons, few and far between as they are, are an insufficient check to nomadism. Vegetable food-stuffs are often to be sought for at great distances, while animals avoid the dry regions almost as much as men. Thus the lack of mountains and large rivers over the largest part of the country makes for migration, and if we further regard its isolated position, the conditions of Australia are as unfavorable as we can conceive for the development of a settled population. Thus the nomad tribes of the west go about, the men with their weapons in front, the women with the baggage and children in the rear.
The length of stay depends upon the quantity of food, water, and other conveniences; but even so they seldom remain in one place longer than a fortnight, owing to the pressure exerted by other groups.
One can hardly speak of agriculture among the Australians, only traces of it have been observed. The prohibition to dig up seed-bearing food-plants after the flowering is merely the necessary result of ever-imminent famine. It is a long step from this to their preservation and increase by cultivation.
The life of the Australian native afforded little room for industrial activity.
Infanticide was and is very widespread, and in any case the number of births is out of all proportion to that of the children who survive.
Nature being for the most part unpropitious, renders dispersion
compulsory; but, at the same time, knits the bonds of the family group closer. This favors a high degree of isolation, which imparts to the life of a community a republican or quasi-federative character. Every family group has its elective chief” (3).
These quotations could be multiplied indefinitely. Study of the most primitive races now living in the world carries us far back to what must have been the condition of early prehistoric men generally.
$ 12. — A favorite line of thought with those who lean toward one style of theological reasoning is, that a kind Providence fitted the earth for man, and that each individual has but to take his seat at “the Father's table." Thus, Mr. Henry George compares the earth to an ocean steamship which has been amply stocked with food for its long voyage.
But it needs to be emphasized at the outset that men have not grown up in a physically hospitable world. The comparison of the earth to a steamship on which all the passengers have easy access to all the food, clothing, and shelter they need is too far fetched; and this line of thought cannot help theology in the end. Primeval men had certain physical needs; and the earth, like a wellstocked ocean steamship, undoubtedly contained enough and more than enough, in some form, to satisfy all the needs of which its "passengers” were conscious. But these ancestors of ours possessed neither the knowledge, the vast material outfit, nor the wide social organization and cooperative training necessary to the development of the resources of nature. And thus, although the earth's resources were ample in themselves, yet, relatively to man, these same resources were limited. Practically speaking, so far as primitive man was concerned, most of these abundant natural goods might as well have been loca ed on the moon.
$13. — Summarizing the results of the studies illustrated by this chapter, the following propositions may be laid down as having the sanction of science:
Men were once ignorant of the material arts.
Nature, untouched by the hand of art, yields an uncertain subsistence alike to man and beast.
As a rule, early prehistoric men lived in small, scattered, family groups.
These primitive groups were nomadic.
The conditions of existence necessarily brought primitive groups into hostile collision with each other and with the lower animals.
The essence of these propositions can be expressed in a single sentence as follows: Men once lived an animal life, scattered over the earth in small wandering groups, depending for food upon a precarious natural supply, and fighting with the lower animals and with each other for the means of existence.
Against the dark background of the primeval world looms the great process of social evolution whose beginnings we shall study in the next chapter.
(1)-MORGAN, Ancient Society, (N. Y., 1878), p. 111.
(2)—DARWIN, Journal of Researches (London, 1894. Ward, Lock, and Bowden), pp. 213, 214, 215, 228. Cf. RATZEL, History of Mankind (London, 1897. Butler's trans.), II, p. 84ff.
(3)—IDEM (London, 1896), I, pp. 347, 348, 363, 365, 377.
$ 14. — Rising slowly above the animal condition, men learned how to fashion rough tools of wood and stone, then utensils of polished stone and more carefully prepared wood, and at length implements of metal. Meanwhile they became expert in hunting and fishing, acquired the use of fire, and domesticated some of the lower animals. Before the dawn of history, men also learned to save seeds for planting, and thus laid the foundations of agriculture.
$ 15. — In studying the primitive struggle for existence we saw that, simply on what we call “the law of chances,” natural advantages were unequally distributed over the world in prehistoric times, just as they have been during all history, and just as they are today. Moreover, we saw that this unequal distribution of natural goods was necessarily at the root of much prehistoric warfare. Bearing these considerations in mind, we must now observe the effects of early material progress in the midst of the primitive struggle for existence.
Throughout all recorded history mankind have not everywhere achieved progress in the material arts at the same rate. Some have shot ahead; and some have lagged far behind. In harmony with these facts, and simply on what we call “the law of chances,” we know that the beginnings — the prehistoric steps — of material progress could not have been equal the world over. Primitive groups in one region advanced more rapidly in the arts than those in another. One of the first effects of material