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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/313

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THE ETHICS OF TRIBAL SOCIETY.

the Napoleonic coup d'état, and now betrays serious symptoms of a relapse, which it is to be hoped do not portend an imperial restoration. As a rule, such manifestations may be regarded as evidences of internal derangement, which is pretty sure to break out sooner or later in some violent disorder. Knownothingism in the United States was the symptom of such a crisis, although its indications were at that time only partially understood.

It is but recently, in fact, that civilized nations have rid themselves of the most obnoxious relics of ethnocentric prejudice in their legislation—such, for example, as the gabella hereditaria, which discriminated against foreigners in matters of inheritance; and the detractus personalis, which virtually punished emigration by the imposition of a heavy fine. These vestiges of vassalage were removed from the statute-books of the German states in relation to each other by the acts of federation of 1815, and have been successively abolished between Germany and other countries by independent treaties.

The English law of extradition with other European powers still refuses to deliver up or to prosecute an Englishman who has committed a felony in a foreign land, unless the crime has been committed against one of his own countrymen. Some years ago a case of this kind occurred in Zurich, and still more recently in Munich. In the latter instance, one of the burglars, although residing in London, proved to be an American by birth, and was therefore handed over to the Bavarian police, and finally sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, while his English confederate in crime was set at liberty. Here we have, as the result of insularism, a survival of ethnocentric ethics in its crassest and most offensive form, such as one would expect to find only among a people still in the tribal stage of development.

In the volume already cited. Sir Henry Sumner Maine not only shows kinship to have been the original basis of society, but also indicates the process by which mankind may have gradually grown out of this primitive condition. The head of the family soon became through natural increase the head of a clan or tribe. The patriarch possessed the authority and exercised the functions of a chieftain over his lineal and collateral descendants, who were known as his men and were called by his name. He was honored and obeyed as their first man, Fürst, or prince, their stem-sire or king, an appellation which has nothing to do with personal "canning" or cunning, as Carlyle, in his excessive admiration of human force and faculty, would fain make us believe, but refers solely to race (kuni). The ruler was an ethnarch in the strictest sense of the term, and held his position by virtue of his primogenitureship or procreative seniority.

The correctness of this theory, so far as the genetic connection