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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/700

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

"The fact referred to in § 292, that even intelligent animals display a sense of proprietorship, negatives the belief propounded by some, that individual property-was not recognized by primitive men. When we see the claim of exclusive possession understood by a dog, so that he fights in defense of his master's clothes if left in charge of them, it becomes impossible to suppose that even in their lowest state men were devoid of those ideas and emotions which initiate private ownership. All that may be fairly assumed is that these ideas and sentiments were at first less developed than they have since become."

And again (section 541), Mr. Spencer says:

"The desire to appropriate, and to keep that which has been appropriated, lies deep, not in human nature only, but in animal nature: being, indeed, a condition to survival."

Nevertheless, individual ownership does not prevail among the social insects, and yet their industry and frugality have been, even from Bible times, held up as a lesson for man. "Go to the ant, thou sluggard," and learn among other things that animals, unlike men, may be aroused to intense and untiring activity and close frugality by purely social instincts, their own sustenance being swallowed up in social sustenance.

In the following passage from the same section, Mr. Spencer reaches, only to drop it, the point insisted on by Mr. Leslie:

"The consciousness that conflict, and consequent injury, may probably result from the endeavor to take that which is held by another, ever tends to establish and strengthen the custom of leaving each in possession of whatever he has obtained by labor; and this custom takes among primitive men the shape of an overtly-admitted claim."

Perhaps this explains also the custom of leaving each in possession of what he obtains without labor. At any rate, the claim to ownership comes to be admitted, and then only is it ownership or property, whether founded on participation in production or, as Lieber ("Property and Labor") insists, on appropriation or what not.

 


 
Prof. Joseph Le Conte has suggested that the custom of deducing the relative mortality from different diseases by comparison with the total mortality, instead of the number of persons still living, is liable to lead to erroneous conclusions. Even estimates of general mortality by comparing the total annual deaths with the number of persons at all ages may mislead. Thus the apparent low rate of mortality in San Francisco as compared with Eastern cities arises from the abnormal proportion of adults to children there, and not from general conditions unusually favorable to health. The true coefficient of mortality from cholera infantum is expressed by the ratio of the number of deaths from the disease to the number of persons liable to be attacked by it—or to the number of children under three years of age.