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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/457

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POLITICAL DIFFERENTIATION.

tained superior positions, and those who have remained inferior. Unlikenesses of status once initiated lead to unlikenesses of life, which, by the constitutional changes they work, presently make the unlikenesses of status more difficult to alter.

First there comes difference of diet and its effects. In the habit, common among primitive tribes, of letting the women subsist on the leavings of the men, and in the accompanying habit of denying to the younger men certain choice viands which the older men eat, we see exemplified the inevitable proclivity of the strong to feed themselves at the expense of the weak; and, when there arise class-divisions, there habitually results better nutrition of the superior than of the inferior. Forster remarks that in the Society Islands the lower classes often suffer from a scarcity of food which never extends to the upper classes. In the Sandwich Islands the flesh of such animals as they have is eaten principally by the chiefs. Of cannibalism among the Feejeeans, Seeman says, "The common people throughout the group, as well as women of all classes, were by custom debarred from it." These instances sufficiently indicate the contrast that everywhere arises between the diets of the ruling few and of the subject many. And then by such differences of diet, and accompanying differences in clothing, shelter, and strain on the energies, are eventually produced physical differences. Of the Feejeeans we read that "the chiefs are tall, well made, and muscular; while the lower orders manifest the meagerness arising from laborious service and scanty nourishment." The chiefs among the Sandwich-Islanders "are tall and stout, and their personal appearance is so much superior to that of the common people that some have imagined them a distinct race." Ellis, verifying Cook, says of the Tahitians, that the chiefs are, "almost without exception, as much superior to the peasantry. . . in physical strength as they are in rank and circumstances"; and Erskine notes a parallel contrast among the Tongans. That the like holds among the African races may be inferred from Reade's remark that "the court lady is tall and elegant; her skin smooth and transparent; her beauty has stamina and longevity. The girl of the middle classes, so frequently pretty, is very often short and coarse, and soon becomes a matron; while, if you descend to the lower classes, you will find good looks rare, and the figure angular, stunted, sometimes almost deformed."[1]

Simultaneously there arise, between the ruling and subject classes, unlikenesses of bodily activity and skill. Occupied, as those of higher rank commonly are, in the chase when not occupied in war, they have a life-long discipline of a kind conducive to various physical superiorities; while, contrariwise, those occupied in agriculture, in carrying of burdens, and in other drudgeries, partially lose what agility and ad-

  1. While writing, I find in the recently issued "Transactions of the Anthropological Institute" proof that, even now in England, the professional classes are both taller and heavier than the artisan classes.