Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/176

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occur in settled cattle-keeping or agricultural tribes, whose ancestors passed through those stages between the wandering and the stationary, during which militant activities were general, we may reasonably suspect that these are surviving ceremonies that have lost their meanings: the more so as, in the case named, there exists neither that social subordination nor that domestic subordination which they express. On the other hand, in societies compounded and consolidated by militancy which have acquired the militant type of structure, we find political and social life conspicuously characterized by servile obeisances. If we ask in what slightly-developed societies occur the groveling prostrations and creepings and crawlings before superiors, the answer is clear. We find them in warlike, cannibal Feejee, where the power of rulers over subjects and their property is unlimited, and where, in some slave districts, the people regard themselves as brought up to be eaten; we find them in Uganda, where war is chronic, where the revenue is derived from plunder, both of neighboring tribes and of subjects, and where it is said of the king out shooting that, "as his highness could not get any game to shoot at, he shot down many people;" we find them in sanguinary Dahomey, where adjacent societies are attacked to get more heads for decorating the king's palace, and where everybody, up to the chief minister, is the king's slave. Among states more advanced they occur in Burmah and Siam, where the militant type, bequeathed from the past, has left a monarchical power equally without restraint; in Japan, where, with a despotism evolved and fixed during the wars of early times, there have ever gone these groveling obeisances of each rank to the rank above it; and in China, where, with a kindred form of government similarly derived, there still continue semi-prostrations and knockings of the head upon the ground before the supreme ruler. So is it again with kissing the feet as an obeisance. This was the usage in ancient Peru, where the entire nation was under a regimental organization and discipline. It prevails in Madagascar, where the militant structure and activity are decided. And among sundry Eastern peoples, living still, as they have ever done, under autocratic rule, this obeisance exists at present as it existed in the remote past. Nor is it Otherwise with complete or partial removals of the dress. The extreme forms of this we saw occurred in Feejee and in Uganda; while the less extreme form of baring the body down to the waist was exemplified from Abyssinia and Tahiti, where the kingly power, though great, is less recklessly exercised. So, likewise, with the baring of the feet. This was an obeisance to the king in ancient Peru and ancient Mexico, as it is now in Burmah and in Persia—all of them having the despotic governments evolved by militancy. And the like relation will be found to hold with the other extreme obeisances: the putting dust on the head, the assumption of mean clothing, the taking up of a burden to carry, the binding of the hands.

The same truth is shown us on comparing the usages of European