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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/744

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

superiority arising afresh. "If an Arab, accompanied by his own relations only, has been successful on many predatory excursions against the enemy, he is joined by other friends; and, if his success still continues, he obtains the reputation of being 'lucky'; and he thus establishes a kind of second, or inferior, in the tribe." So in Sumatra: "A commanding aspect, an insinuating manner, a ready fluency in discourse, and a penetration and sagacity in unraveling the little intricacies of their disputes, are qualities which seldom fail to procure to their possessor respect and influence, sometimes, perhaps, superior to that of an acknowledged chief." And supplantings of kindred kinds occur among the Tongans and the Dyaks.

At the outset, then, what we before distinguished as the principle of efficiency is the sole principle of organization. Such political headship as exists is acquired by one whose fitness asserts itself in the form of greater age, superior prowess, stronger will, wider knowledge, quicker insight, or larger wealth. But, evidently, supremacy which thus depends exclusively on personal attributes is but transitory. It is ever liable to be superseded by the supremacy of some more able man from time to time arising; and, if not superseded, is inevitably ended by death. We have, then, to inquire how permanent chieftainship becomes established. Before doing this, however, we must consider more fully the two kinds of superiority which especially conduce to chieftainship, and their modes of operation.

 

As bodily vigor is a cause of predominance within the tribe on occasions daily occurring, still more on occasions of war is it, when joined with courage, a cause of predominance. War, therefore, ever tends to make more pronounced any authority of this kind which is incipient. Whatever reluctance other members of the tribe have to recognize the leadership of any one member is likely to be overridden by their desire for safety when recognition of his leadership furthers that safety.

This rise of the strongest and most courageous warrior to power is at first spontaneous, and afterward by agreement more or less definite; sometimes joined with a process of testing. Where, as in Australia, each "is esteemed by the rest only according to his dexterity in throwing or evading a spear," it is inferable that such superior capacity for war as is displayed generates of itself such temporary chieftainship as exists. Where, as among the Comanches, any one who distinguishes himself by taking many "horses or scalps may aspire to the honors of chieftaincy, and is gradually inducted by a tacit popular consent," this natural genesis is clearly shown us. Very commonly, however, there is deliberate choice; as by the Flatheads, among whom, "except by the war-chiefs, no real authority is exercised." By some of the Dyaks, both strength and courage are tested. "The ability to climb lap a large pole, well greased, is a necessary qualification of a fighting chief