Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/662

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though, even apart from any further interpretation, we may say that it approaches as nearly to actual transfer as the nature of the case permits. We are not, however, obliged to regard this ceremony as one artificially devised; but we may affiliate it upon a ceremony of a simpler kind which at once elucidates it, and is elucidated by it. I refer to giving up a part of the body as implying a surrender of the whole. In Feejee, tributaries approaching their masters were told by a messenger that "they must all cut off their tobe (locks of hair that are left like tails). . . . They all docked their tails." Still, it may be replied that this act, too, is a symbolic act—an act artificially devised rather than naturally derived. If we carry our inquiry a step back, however, we shall find a clew to its natural derivation.

First, let us remember the honor which accrues from accumulated trophies; so that, among the Shoshones, for instance, "he who takes the most scalps gains the most glory." Let us join with this Bancroft's statement respecting the treatment of prisoners by the Chichimecs, that "often were they scalped while yet alive, and the bloody trophy placed upon the heads of their tormentors." And now let us ask what will happen if the scalped enemy survives and is taken possession of by his captor. The captor preserves the scalp as an addition to his other trophies; the vanquished enemy becomes his slave; and he is shown to be a slave by the loss of his scalp. Here, then, are the beginnings of a custom that may become established when social conditions make it advantageous to keep conquered foes as servants instead of eating them. The conservative savage will change his custom as little as possible. While the new practice of enslaving the captured grows up, there will continue the old practice of cutting from their bodies such parts as serve for trophies without impairing their usefulness; and it will thereafter result that the marks left will be marks of subjugation. Gradually as the receipt of such marks becomes by use identified with bondage, not only will those taken in war be marked, but also those born to them; until at length the bearing of the mark shows subordination in general.

That submission to mutilation may eventually grow into the sealing of an agreement to be bondsmen, is shown us by Hebrew history: "Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabesh-gilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee. And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes." They agreed to be subjects, and the mutilation (not in this case consented to, however) was to mark their subjection. And while mutilations thus serve, like the brands a farmer puts on his sheep, to show first private ownership, and afterward political ownership, they also serve as perpetual reminders of the ruler's power; so keeping alive the dread that brings obedience. This fact we see in the statement that when the second Basil deprived