Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Child and Childhood in Folk-Thought by Alexander F. Chamberlain

Part 5 out of 12

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

"Scarcely has the infant mind begun to think, ere this perpetual
priestess lights the fires of reverence and keeps them ever burning,
like a faithful vestal" (112. 12).

Though women and mothers have often been excluded from the public or the
secret ceremonials and observations of religion, the household in
primitive and in modern times has been the temple, of whose
_penetralia_ they alone have been the ministers.


Tarde, in his monograph on the "Laws of Imitation," has shown the great
influence exerted among peoples of all races, of all grades and forms of
culture, by imitation, conscious or unconscious,--a factor of the
highest importance even at the present day and among those communities
of men most advanced and progressive. Speaking a little too broadly,
perhaps, he says (541. 15):--

"All the resemblances, of social origin, noticed in the social world are
the direct or indirect result of imitation in all its forms,--custom,
fashion, sympathy, obedience, instruction, education, naive or
deliberate imitation. Hence the excellence of that modern method which
explains doctrines or institutions by their history. This tendency can
only be generalized. Great inventors and great geniuses do sometimes
stumble upon the same thing together, but these coincidences are very
rare. And when they do really occur, they always have their origin in a
fund of common instruction upon which, independent of one another, the
two authors of the same invention have drawn; and this fund consists of
a mass of traditions of the past, of experiments, rude or more or less
arranged, and transmitted imitatively by language, the great vehicle of
all imitations."

In her interesting article on "Imitation in Children," Miss Haskell
observes: "That the imitative faculty is what makes the human being
educable, that it is what has made progressive civilization possible,
has always been known by philosophical educators. The energy of the
child must pass from potentiality to actuality, and it does so by the
path of _imitation_ because this path offers the least resistance
or the greatest attraction, or perhaps because there is no other road.
Whatever new and striking things he sees in the movements or condition
of objects about him, provided he already has the experience necessary
to apperceive this particular thing, he imitates" (260. 31).

In the pedagogy of primitive peoples imitation has an extensive
_role_ to play. Of the Twana Indians, of the State of Washington,
Rev. Mr. Eells observes: "Children are taught continually, from youth
until grown, to mimic the occupations of their elders." They have games
of ball, jumping and running races, and formerly "the boys played at
shooting with bows and arrows at a mark, and with spears, throwing at a
mark, with an equal number of children on each side, and sometimes the
older ones joined in." Now, however, "the'boys mimic their seniors in
the noise and singing and gambling, but without the gambling." The girls
play with dolls, and sometimes "the girls and boys both play in canoes,
and stand on half of a small log, six feet long and a foot wide, and
paddle around in the water with a small stick an inch in thickness; and,
in fact, play at most things which they see their seniors do, both
whites and Indians" (437. 90, 91). Concerning the Seminoles of Florida,
we are told: "The baby, well into the world, learns very quickly that he
is to make his own way through it as best he may. His mother is prompt
to nourish him, and solicitous in her care for him if he falls ill; but,
as far as possible, she goes her own way and leaves the little fellow to
go his." Very early in life the child learns to help and to imitate its
elders. "No small amount," Mr. MacCauley tells us, "of the labour in a
Seminole household is done by children, even as young as four years of
age. They can stir the soup while it is boiling; they can aid in
kneading the dough for bread; they can wash the 'koonti' root, and even
pound it; they can watch and replenish the fire; they contribute in this
and many other small ways to the necessary work of the home" (496. 497,

Of the Indians of British Guiana, Mr. im Thurn reports: "As soon as the
children can run about, they are left almost to themselves; or, rather,
they begin to mimic their parents. As with the adults, so with the
children. Just as the grown-up woman works incessantly, while the men
alternately idle and hunt, so the boys run wild, playing not such
concerted games as in other parts of the world more usually form child's
play, but only with mimic bows and arrows; but the girls, as soon as
they can walk, begin to help the older women. Even the youngest girl can
peel a few cassava roots, watch a pot on the fire, or collect and carry
home a few sticks of firewood. The games of the boy are all such as
train him to fish and hunt when he grows up; the girl's occupations
teach her woman's work" (477. 219). The children imitate their elders in
other ways also, for in nearly every Indian house are to be seen toy
vessels of clay; for "while the Indian women of Guiana are shaping the
clay, their children, imitating them, make small pots and goglets" (477.
298). And in like manner have been born, no doubt, among other peoples,
some of the strange freaks of art which puzzle the _connoisseurs_
in the museums of Europe and America.

Mr. Powers, speaking of the domestic economy of the Achomawi Indians of
California, says: "An Achomawi mother seldom teaches her daughters any
of the arts of barbaric housekeeping before their marriage. They learn
them by imitation and experiment after they grow old enough to perceive
the necessity thereof" (519. 271). This peculiar neglect, however, is
not entirely absent from our modern civilization, for until very
recently no subject has been so utterly overlooked as the proper
training of young girls for their future duties as mothers and
housekeepers. The Achomawi, curiously enough, have the following custom,
which helps, no doubt, the wife whose education has been so imperfect:
"The parents are expected to establish a young couple in their lodge,
provide them with the needful basketry, and furnish them with cooked
food for some months, which indulgent parents sometimes continue for a
year or even longer; so that the young people have a more real honeymoon
than is vouchsafed to most civilized people."

Among the Battas of Sumatra, "It is one of the morning duties of women
and girls, even down to children of four and five years old, to bring
drinking-water in the _gargitis_, a water-vessel made of a thick
stalk of bamboo. The size and strength of growing girls are generally
measured by the number of _gargitis_ they can carry" (518. XXII.

Of the Kaffir children Theal informs us: "At a very early age they
commence trials of skill against each other in throwing knobbed sticks
and imitation assegais. They may often be seen enjoying this exercise in
little groups, those of the same age keeping together, for there is no
greater tyrant in the world than a big Kaffir boy over his younger
fellows; when above nine or ten years old they practise sham-fighting
with sticks; an imitation hunt is another of their boyish diversions"
(543. 220).

Among the Apaches, as we learn from Reclus: "The child remains with its
mother until it can pluck certain fruits for itself, and has caught a
rat by its own unaided efforts. After this exploit, it goes and comes as
it lists, is free and independent, master of its civil and political
rights, and soon lost in the main body of the horde" (523. 131).

On the Andaman Islands, "little boys hunt out swarms of bees in the
woods and drive them away by fire. They are also expected regularly to
collect wood." From their tenth year they are "accustomed to use little
bows and arrows, and often attain great skill in shooting." The girls
"seek among the coral-reefs and in the swamps to catch little fish in
hand-nets." The Solomon Islands boy, as soon as he can walk a little,
goes along with his elders to hunt and fish (326. I. 6). Among the
Somali, of northeastern Africa, the boys are given small spears when ten
or twelve years old and are out guarding the milk-camels (481 (1891).

Of the Eskimo of Baffin Land, Dr. Boas tells us that the children, "when
about twelve years old, begin to help their parents; the girls sewing
and preparing skins, the boys accompanying their fathers in hunting
expeditions" (402. 566). Mr. Powers records that he has seen a Wailakki
Indian boy of fourteen "run a rabbit to cover in ten minutes, split a
stick fine at one end, thrust it down the hole, twist it into its scut,
and pull it out alive" (519. 118).

Among the games and amusements of the Andamanese children, of whom he
says "though not borrowed from aliens, their pastimes, in many
instances, bear close resemblance to those in vogue among children in
this and other lands; notably is this the case with regard to those
known to us as blind-man's buff, leap-frog, and hide-and-seek,"--Mr.
Man enumerates the following: _mock pig-hunting_ (played after
dark); _mock turtle-catching_ (played in the sea); going after the
Evil Spirit of the Woods; swinging by means of long stout creepers;
swimming-races (sometimes canoe-races); pushing their way with rapidity
through the jungle; throwing objects upwards, or skimming through the
air; playing at "duck-and-drakes"; shooting at moving objects; wrestling
on the sand; hunting small crabs and fish and indulging in sham
banquets, comparable to the "doll's feast" with us; making miniature
canoes and floating them about in the water (498. 165).

_Education of Boys and Girls._

With the Dakota Indians, according to Mr. Riggs, the grandfather and
grandmother are often the principal teachers of the child. Under the
care of the father and grandfather the boy learns to shoot, hunt, and
fish, is told tales of war and daring exploits, and "when he is fifteen
or sixteen joins the first war-party and comes back with an eagle
feather in his head, if he is not killed and scalped by the enemy."
Among the amusements he indulges in are foot-races, horse-racing,
ball-playing, etc. Another branch of his education is thus described:
"In the long winter evenings, while the fire burns brightly in the
centre of the lodge, and the men are gathered in to smoke, he hears the
folk-lore and legends of his people from the lips of the older men. He
learns to sing the love-songs and the war-songs of the generations gone
by. There is no new path for him to tread, but he follows in the old
ways. He becomes a Dakota of the Dakota. His armour is consecrated by
sacrifices and offerings and vows. He sacrifices and prays to the stone
god, and learns to hold up the pipe to the so-called Great Spirit. He is
killed and made alive again, and thus is initiated into the mysteries
and promises of the Mystery Dance. He becomes a successful hunter and
warrior, and what he does not know is not worth knowing for a Dakota.
His education is finished. If he has not already done it, he can now
demand the hand of one of the beautiful maidens of the village" (524.
209, 210).

Under the care and oversight of the mother and grandmother the girl is
taught the elements of household economy, industrial art, and
agriculture. Mr. Biggs thus outlines the early education of woman among
these Indians: "She plays with her 'made child,' or doll, just as
children in other lands do. Very soon she learns to take care of the
baby; to watch over it in the lodge, or carry it on her back while the
mother is away for wood or dressing buffalo-robes. Little girl as she
is, she is sent to the brook or lake for water. She has her little
work-bag with awl and sinew, and learns to make small moccasins as her
mother makes large ones. Sometimes she goes with her mother to the wood
and brings home her little bundle of sticks. When the camp moves, she
has her small pack as her mother carries the large one, and this pack is
sure to grow larger as her years increase. When the corn is planting,
the little girl has her part to perform. If she cannot use the hoe yet,
she can at least gather off the old corn-stalks. Then the garden is to
be watched while the god-given maize is growing. And when the
harvesting comes, the little girl is glad for the corn-roasting." And so
her young life runs on. She learns bead-work and ornamenting with
porcupine quills, embroidering with ribbons, painting, and all the arts
of personal adornment, which serve as attractions to the other sex. When
she marries, her lot and her life (Mr. Riggs says) are hard, for woman
is much less than man with these Dakotas (524. 210).

More details of girl-life among savage and primitive peoples are to be
found in the pages of Professor Mason (113. 207-211). In America, the
education varied from what the little girl could pick up at her mother's
side between her third and thirteenth years, to the more elaborate
system of instruction in ancient Mexico, where, "annexed to the temples
were large buildings used as seminaries for girls, a sort of aboriginal
Wellesley or Vassar" (113 208).

_Games and Plays._

In the multifarious games of children, echoes, imitations, re-renderings
of the sober life of their elders and of their ancestors of the long ago,
recur again and again. The numerous love games, which Mr. Newell
(313. 39-62) and Miss Gomme (243) enumerate, such as "Knights of
Spain," "Three kings," "Here comes a Duke a-roving," "Tread, tread the
Green Grass," "I'll give to you a Paper of Pins," "There she stands a
lovely Creature," "Green Grow the Rushes, O!" "The Widow with Daughters
to marry," "Philander's March," "Marriage," etc., corresponding to many
others all over the globe, evidence the social instincts of child-hood
as well as the imitative tendencies of youth.

Under "Playing at Work" (313. 80-92), Mr. Newell has classed a large
number of children's games and songs, some of which now find their
representatives in the kindergarten, this education of the child by
itself having been so modified as to form part of the infantile
curriculum of study. Among such games are: "Threading the Needle," "Draw
a Bucket of Water," "Here I Brew and here I Bake," "Here we come
gathering Nuts of May," "When I was a Shoemaker," "Do, do, pity my
Case," "As we go round the Mulberry Bush," "Who'll be the Binder?"
"Oats, Pease, Beans, and Barley grows." Mr. Newell includes in this
category, also, that well-known dance, the "Virginia Reel," which he
interprets as an imitation of weaving, something akin to the
"Hemp-dressers' Dance," of the time of George III., in England.

In a recent interesting and valuable essay, "Education by Plays and
Games," by Mr. G. E. Johnson, of Clark University,--an effort "to
present somewhat more correctly than has been done before, the
educational value of play, and to suggest some practical applications to
the work of education in the grades above the kindergarten,"--we have
presented to us a list of some five hundred games, classified according
to their value for advancing mental or physical education, for
cultivating and strengthening the various faculties of mind and body.
These games have also been arranged by Mr. Johnson, into such classes
and divisions as might be held to correspond to the needs and
necessities of the pupils in each of the eight grades above the
kindergarten. Of the educational value of play and of "playing at work,"
there can be no doubt in the mind of any one at all acquainted with the
history of the individual and the history of the race. As Mr. Johnson
justly observes (269.100): "The field of the study of play is very wide;
the plays are well-nigh infinite, and as varied as life itself. No one
can estimate the value of them. Given right toys and surroundings, the
young child has an almost perfect school. It is marvellous how well he
learns, Preyer does not overestimate the facts when he says the child in
the first three or four years of his life learns as much as the student
in his entire university course. In the making of mud pies and doll
dresses, sand-pile farms and miniature roads, tiny dams and
water-wheels, whittled-out boats, sleds, dog-harnesses, and a thousand
and one other things, the child receives an accumulation of facts, a
skill of hand, a trueness of eye, a power of attention and quickness of
perception; and in flying kites, catching trout, in pressing leaves and
gathering stones, in collecting stamps, and eggs, and butterflies, a
culture also, seldom appreciated by the parent or teacher."

Upon the banner of the youthful hosts might well be inscribed _in hoc
ludo vincemus_. Yet there is danger that the play-theory may be
carried to excess. Mr. James L. Hughes, discussing "The Educational
Value of Play and the Recent Play-Movement in Germany," remarks: "The
Germans had the philosophy of play, the English had an intuitive love of
play, and love is a greater impelling force than philosophy. English
young men never played in order to expand their lungs, to increase their
circulation, to develop their muscles in power and agility, to improve
their figures, to add grace to their bearing, to awaken and refine their
intellectual powers, or to make them manly, courageous, and chivalrous.
They played enthusiastically for the mere love of play, and all these,
and other advantages resulted from their play" (265. 328).

Swimming is an art soon learned by the children of some primitive races.
Mr. Man says of the Andaman Islanders: "With the exception of some of
the e.rem-tag.a-(inlanders), a knowledge of the art of swimming is
common to members of both sexes; the _children_ even, learning
almost as soon as they can run, speedily acquire great proficiency"
(498. 47).


With some primitive peoples the ideas as to language-study are pretty
much on a par with those prevalent in Europe at a date not so very
remote from the present. Of the Kato Pomo Indians of California, Mr.
Powers remarks: "Like the Kai Pomo, their northern neighbours, they
forbid their squaws from studying languages--which is about the only
accomplishment possible to them save dancing--principally, it is
believed, in order to prevent them from gadding about and forming
acquaintances in neighbouring valleys, for there is small virtue among
the unmarried of either sex. But the men pay considerable attention to
linguistic studies, and there is seldom one who cannot speak most of the
Pomo dialects within a day's journey of his ancestral valley. The
chiefs, especially, devote no little care to the training of their sons
as polyglot diplomatists; and Robert White affirms that they frequently
send them to reside several months with the chiefs of contiguous valleys
to acquire the dialects there in vogue" (519. 150).

Nevertheless, as Professor Mason observes, among primitive races,
woman's share in the "invention, dissemination, conservation, and
metamorphosis of language" has been very great, and she has been _par
excellence_ the teacher of language, as indeed she is to-day in our
schools when expression and _savoir faire_ in speech, rather than
deep philological learning and dry grammatical analysis, have been the
object of instruction.


Much has been said and written about the wonderful knowledge of
geography and topography possessed by the Indian of America, and by
other primitive peoples as well. The following passage from Mr. Powers'
account of the natives of California serves to explain some of this
(519. 109):--

"Besides the coyote-stories with which gifted squaws amuse their
children, and which are common throughout this region, there prevails
among the Mattoal a custom which might almost be dignified with the name
of geographical study. In the first place, it is necessary to premise
that the boundaries of all the tribes on Humboldt Bay, Eel River, Van
Dusen's Fork, and in fact everywhere, are marked with the greatest
precision, being defined by certain creeks, canons, bowlders,
conspicuous trees, springs, etc., each one of which objects has its own
individual name. It is perilous for an Indian to be found outside of his
tribal boundaries, wherefore it stands him well in hand to make himself
acquainted with the same early in life. Accordingly, the squaws teach
these things to their children in a kind of sing-song not greatly unlike
that which was the national _furore_ some time ago in rural
singing-schools, wherein they melodiously chanted such pleasing items of
information as this: 'California. Sacramento, on the Sacramento River.'
Over and over, time and again, they rehearse all these bowlders, etc.,
describing each minutely and by name, with its surroundings. Then when
the children are old enough, they take them around to beat the bounds
like Bumble the Beadle; and so wonderful is the Indian memory naturally,
and so faithful has been their instruction, that the little shavers
generally recognize the objects from the descriptions of them previously
given by their mothers. If an Indian knows but little of this great
world more than pertains to boundary bush and bowlder, he knows his own
small fighting-ground infinitely better than any topographical engineer
can learn it."

Mr. Powers' reference to "beating the bounds like Bumble the Beadle" is
an apt one. Mr. Frederick Sessions has selected as one of his
_Folk-Lore Topics_ the subject of "Beating the Bounds" (352), and
in his little pamphlet gives us much interesting information concerning
the part played by children in these performances. The author tells us:
"One of the earliest of my childish pleasures was seeing the Mayor and
Corporation, preceded by Sword-bearer, Beadles, and Blue Coat School
boys, going in procession from one city boundary-stone to another,
across the meadows and the river, or over hedges and gardens, or
anything else to which the perambulated border-line took them. They were
followed along the route by throngs of holiday makers. Many of the
crowd, and all the Blue boys, were provided with willow-wands,
_peeled_, if I remember rightly, with which each boundary mark was
well flogged. The youngest boys were bumped against the 'city stones.'"
In the little town of Charlbury in Oxfordshire, "the perambulations seem
to have been performed mostly by boys, accompanied by one or more of
their seniors." At Houghton, a village near St. Ives in Huntingdonshire:
"The bounds are still beaten triennially. They are here marked by holes
in some places, and by stones or trees in others. The procession starts
at one of the holes. Each new villager present is instructed in the
position of this corner of the boundary by having his head forcibly
thrust into the hole, while he has to repeat a sort of mumbo-jumbo
prayer, and receives three whacks with a shovel. He pays a shilling for
his 'footing' (boys only pay sixpence), and then the forty or fifty
villagers march off to the opposite corner and repeat the process,
except the monetary part, and regale themselves with bread and cheese
and beer, paid for by the farmers who now occupy any portion of the old
common lands."

In Russia, before the modern system of land-registration came into
vogue, "all the boys of adjoining Cossack village communes were
'collected and driven like flocks of sheep to the frontier, whipped at
each boundary-stone, and if, in after years two whipped lads, grown into
men, disputed as to the precise spot at which they had been castigated,
then the oldest inhabitant carrying a sacred picture from the church,
led the perambulations, and acted as arbitrator."

Here also ought to be mentioned perhaps, as somewhat akin and
reminiscent of like practices among primitive peoples, "the _blason
populaire_ (as it is neatly called in French), in which the
inhabitants of each district or city are nicely ticketed off and
distinguished by means of certain abnormalities of feature or form, or
certain mental peculiarities attributed to them" (204.19). In parts of
Hungary and Transylvania a somewhat similar practice is in vogue (392
(1892). 128).


Some Indian children have almost the advantages of the modern home in
the way of story-telling. Clark informs us (420.109):--

"Some tribes have regular story-tellers, men who have devoted a great
deal of time to learning the myths and stories of their people, and who
possess, in addition to a good memory, a vivid imagination. The mother
sends for one of these, and, having prepared a feast for him, she and
her little 'brood,' who are curled up near her, await the fairy stories
of the dreamer, who, after his feast and smoke, entertains them for
hours. Many of these fanciful sketches or visions are interesting and
beautiful in their rich imagery, and have been at times given erroneous
positions in ethnological data."

Knortz refers in glowing terms to the _adisoke-winini_, or
"storyteller" of the Chippeway Indians, those gifted men, who entertain
their fellows with the tales and legends of the race, and who are not
mere reciters, but often poets and transformers as well (_Skizzen_,

So, too, among the Andaman Islanders, "certain mythic legends are
related to the young by _okopai-ads_ [shamans], parents, and
others, which refer to the supposed adventures or history of remote
ancestors, and though the recital not unfrequently evokes much mirth,
they are none the less accepted as veracious" (498. 95).


Among some of the native tribes of California we meet with
_i-wa-musp_, or "men-women" (519. 132). Among the Yuki, for
example, there were men who dressed and acted like women, and "devoted
themselves to the instruction of the young by the narration of legends
and moral tales." Some of these, Mr. Powers informs us, "have been known
to shut themselves up in the assembly-hall for the space of a month,
with brief intermissions, living the life of a hermit, and spending the
whole time in rehearsing the tribal-history in a sing-song monotone to
all who chose to listen."

Somewhat similar, without the hermit-life, appear to be the functions of
the orators and "prophets" of the Miwok and the peace-chiefs, or
"shell-men," of the Pomo (519. 157, 352). Of the Indians of the Pueblo
of Tehua, Mr. Lummis, in his entertaining volume of fairy-tales, says:
"There is no duty to which a Pueblo child is trained in which he has to
be content with the bare command, 'Do thus'; for each he learns a fairy-
tale designed to explain how people first came to know that it was right
to do thus, and detailing the sad results which befell those who did
otherwise." The old men appear to be the storytellers, and their tales
are told in a sort of blank verse (302. 5).

Mr. Grinnell, in his excellent book about the Blackfeet,--one of the
best books ever written about the Indians,--gives some interesting
details of child-life. Children are never whipped, and "are instructed
in manners as well as in other more general and more important matters."
Among other methods of instruction we find that "men would make long
speeches to groups of boys playing in the camps, telling them what they
ought to do to be successful in life," etc. (464. 188-191).

Of the Delaware Indians we are told that "when a mere boy the Indian lad
would be permitted to sit in the village councilhouse, and hear the
assembled wisdom of the village or his tribe discuss the affairs of
state and expound the meaning of the _keekg_' (beads composing the
wampum belts).... In this way he early acquired maturity of thought, and
was taught the traditions of his people, and the course of conduct
calculated to win him the praise of his fellows" (516. 43). This reminds
us of the Roman senator who had his child set upon his knee during the
session of that great legislative and deliberative body.

_Playthings and Dolls._

As Professor Mason has pointed out, the cradle is often the "play-house"
of the child, and is decked out to that end in a hundred ways (306.
162). Of the Sioux cradle, Catlin says:--"A broad hoop of elastic wood
passes around in front of the child's face to protect it in case of a
fall, from the front of which is suspended a little toy of exquisite
embroidery for the child to handle and amuse itself with. To this and
other little trinkets hanging in front of it, there are attached many
little tinselled and tinkling things of the brightest colours to amuse
both the eyes and the ears of the child. While travelling on horseback,
the arms of the child are fastened under the bandages, so as not to be
endangered if the cradle falls, and when at rest they are generally
taken out, allowing the infant to reach and amuse itself with the little
toys and trinkets that are placed before it and within its reach" (306.
202). In like manner are "playthings of various kinds" hung to the
awning of the birch-bark cradles found in the Yukon region of Alaska. Of
the Nez Perce, we read: "To the hood are attached medicine-bags, bits of
shell, haliotis perhaps, and the whole artistic genius of the mother is
in play to adorn her offspring." The old chronicler Lafiteau observed of
the Indians of New France: "They put over that half-circle [at the top
of the cradle] little bracelets of porcelain and other little trifles
that the Latins call _crepundia_, which serve as an ornament and as
playthings to divert the child" (306. 167, 187, 207).

And so is it elsewhere in the world. Some of the beginnings of art in
the race are due to the mother's instinctive attempts to please the eyes
and busy the hands of her tender offspring. The children of primitive
peoples have their dolls and playthings as do those of higher races. In
an article descriptive of the games and amusements of the Ute Indians,
we read: "The boy remains under maternal care until he is old enough to
learn to shoot and engage in manly sports and enjoyments. Indian
children play, laugh, cry, and act like white children, and make their
own play-things from which they derive as much enjoyment as white
children" (480. IV. 238).

Of the Seminole Indians of Florida, Mr. MacCauley says that among the
children's games are skipping and dancing, leap-frog, teetotums,
building a merry-go-round, carrying a small make-believe rifle of stick,
etc. They also "sit around a small piece of land, and, sticking blades
of grass into the ground, name it a 'corn-field,'" and "the boys kill
small birds in the bush with their bows and arrows, and call it
'turkey-hunting.'" Moreover, they "have also dolls (bundles of rags,
sticks with bits of cloth wrapped around them, etc.), and build houses
for them which they call 'camps'" (496. 506).

Of the Indians of the western plains, Colonel Dodge says: "The little
girls are very fond of dolls, which their mothers make and dress with
considerable skill and taste. Their baby houses are miniature teepees,
and they spend as much time and take as much pleasure in such play as
white girls" (432. 190). Dr. Boas tells us concerning the Eskimo of
Baffin Land: "Young children are always carried in their mothers' hoods,
but when about a year and a half old they are allowed to play on the
bed, and are only carried by their mothers when they get too
mischievous." The same authority also says: "Young children play with,
toys, sledges, kayaks, boats, bow and arrows, and dolls. The last are
made in the same way by all the tribes, a wooden body being clothed with
scraps of deerskin cut in the same way as the clothing of the men" (402.
568, 571). Mr. Murdoch has described at some length the dolls and toys
of the Point Barrow Eskimo. He remarks that "though several dolls and
various suits of miniature clothing were made and brought over for sale,
they do not appear to be popular with the little girls." He did not see
a single girl playing with a doll, and thinks the articles collected may
have been made rather for sale than otherwise. Of the boys, Mr. Murdoch
says: "As soon as a boy is able to walk, his father makes him a little
bow suited to his strength, with blunt arrows, with which he plays with
the other boys, shooting at marks--for instance the fetal reindeer
brought home from the spring hunt--till he is old enough to shoot small
birds and lemmings" (514. 380, 383).

In a recent extensive and elaborately illustrated article, Dr. J. W.
Fewkes has described the dolls of the Tusayan Indians (one of the Pueblo
tribes). Of the _tihus_, or carved wooden dolls, the author says
(226. 45): "These images are commonly mentioned by American visitors to
the Tusayan Pueblos as idols, but there is abundant evidence to show
that they are at present used simply as children's playthings, which are
made for that purpose and given to the girls with that thought in mind."
Attention is called to the difficulty of drawing the line between a doll
and an idol among primitive peoples, the connection of dolls with
religion, psychological evidence of which lingers with us to-day in the
persistent folk-etymology which connects _doll_ with _idol_.
The following remarks of Dr. Fewkes are significant: "These figurines
[generally images of deities or mythological personages carved in true
archaic fashion] are generally made by participants in the
_Ni-man-Ka-tci-na_, and are presented to the children in July or
August at the time of the celebration of the farewell of the
_Ka-tci'-nas_ [supernatural intercessors between men and gods]. It
is not rare to see the little girls after the presentation carrying the
dolls about on their backs wrapped in their blankets in the same manner
in which babies are carried by their mothers or sisters. Those dolls
which are more elaborately made are generally hung up as ornaments in
the rooms, but never, so far as I have investigated the subject, are
they worshipped. The readiness with which they are sold for a proper
remuneration shows that they are not regarded as objects of reverence."
But, as Dr. Fewkes himself adds, "It by no means follows that they may
not be copies of images which have been worshipped, although they now
have come to have a strictly secular use." Among some peoples, perhaps,
the dolls, images of deities of the past, or even of the present, may
have been used to impart the fundamentals of theology and miracle-story,
and the play-house of the children may have been at times a sort of
religious kindergarten of a primitive type. Worthy of note in this
connection is the statement of Castren that "the Finns manufacture a
kind of dolls, or _paras_, out of a child's cap filled with tow and
stuck at the end of a rod. The fetich thus made is carried nine times
round the church, with the cry 'synny para' (Para be born) repeated
every time to induce a _hal'tia_--that is to say, a spirit--to
enter into it" (388. 108).

A glance into St. Nicholas, or at the returns to the syllabus on dolls
sent out by President Hall, is sufficient to indicate the farreaching
associations of the subject, while the doll-congress of St. Petersburg
has had its imitators both in Europe and America. A bibliography of
doll-poems, doll-descriptions, doll-parties, doll-funerals, and the like
would be a welcome addition to the literature of dolls, while a
doll-museum of extended scope would be at once entertaining and of great
scientific value.

The familiar phrase "to cry for the moon" corresponds to the French
"prendre la lune avec ses dents." In illustration of this proverbial
expression, which Rabelais used in the form _Je ne suis point clerc
pour prendre la lune avec les dents_, Loubens tells the amusing story
of a servant who, when upbraided by the parents for not giving to a
child what it wanted and for which it had been long crying, answered:
"You must give it him yourself. A quarter-of-an-hour ago, he saw the
moon at the bottom of a bucket of water, and wants me to give it him.
That's all." (_Prov. et locut. franc_., p. 225.)

To-day children cry for the moon in vain, but 'twas not ever thus. In
payment for the church, which King Olaf wanted to have built,--a task
impossible, the saint thought,--the giant demanded "the sun and moon, or
St. Olaf himself." Soon the building was almost completed, and St. Olaf
was in great perplexity at the unexpected progress of the work. As he
was wandering about "he heard a child cry inside a mountain, and a
giant-woman hush it with these words: 'Hush! hush! to-morrow comes thy
father Wind-and-Weather home, bringing both sun and moon, or saintly
Olaf's self.'" Had not the king overheard this, and, by learning the
giant's name, been enabled to crush him, the child could have had his
playthings the next day.

In the course of an incarnation-myth of the raven among the Haida
Indians of the Queen Charlotte Islands, Mr. Mackenzie tells us (497.

"In time the woman bore a son, a remarkably small child. This child
incessantly cried for the moon to play with, thus--_Koong-ah-ah,
Koong-ah-ah_ ('the moon, the moon'). The spirit-chief, in order to
quiet the child, after carefully closing all apertures of the house,
produced the moon, and gave it to the child to play with." The result
was that the raven (the child) ran off with the moon, and the people in
consequence were put to no little inconvenience. But by and by the raven
broke the original moon in two, threw half up into the sky, which became
the sun, while of the other half he made the moon, and of the little
bits, which were left in the breaking, all the stars.

In the golden age of the gods, the far-off _juventus mundi_, the
parts of the universe were the playthings, the _Spielzeug_ of the
divine infants, just as peasants and human infants figure in the
folk-tales as the toys of giants and Brobdingnagians. Indeed, some of
the phenomena of nature and their peculiarities are explained by
barbarous or semi-barbarous peoples as the result of the games and
sports of celestial and spiritual children.

With barbarous or semi-civilized peoples possessing flocks and herds of
domesticated animals the child is early made acquainted with their
habits and uses. Regarding the Kaffirs of South Africa Theal says that
it is the duty of the young boys to attend to the calves in the kraal,
and "a good deal of time is passed in training them to run and to obey
signals made by whistling. The boys mount them when they are eighteen
months or two years old, and race about upon their backs" (543. 220). In
many parts of the world the child has played an important role as
shepherd and watcher of flocks and herds, and the shepherd-boy has often
been called to high places in the state, and has even ascended the
thrones of great cities and empires, ecclesiastical as well as


In his little book on the philosophy of clothing Dr. Schurtz has given
us an interesting account of the development and variation of external
ornamentation and dress among the various races, especially the negro
peoples of Africa. The author points out that with not a few primitive
tribes only married persons wear clothes, girls and boys, young women
and men even, going about _in puris naturalibus_ (530. 13).
Everywhere the woman is better clothed than the girl, and in some parts
of Africa, as the ring is with us, so are clothes a symbol of marriage.
Among the Balanta, for example, in Portuguese Senegambia, when a man
marries he gives his wife a dress, and so long as this remains whole,
the marriage-union continues in force. On the coast of Sierra Leone, the
expression "he gave her a dress," intimates that the groom has married a
young girl (530. 14, 43-49).

Often, with many races the access of puberty leads to the adoption of
clothing and to a refinement of dress and personal adornment. A relic of
this remains, as Dr. Schurtz points out, in the leaving off of
knickerbockers and the adoption of "long dresses," by the young people
in our civilized communities of to-day (530. 13).

With others the clothing of the young is of the most primitive type, and
children in very many cases go about absolutely naked.

That the development of the sex-feeling, and entrance upon marriage,
have with very many peoples been the chief incitements to dress and
personal ornamentation, has been pointed out by Schurtz and others (530.

Not alone this, but, sometimes, as among the Bura Negroes of the upper
Blue Nile region, the advent of her child brings with it a modification
in the dress of the mother. With these people, young girls wear an apron
in front, married women one in front and one behind, but women who have
already had a child wear two in front, one over the other. A similar
remark applies to tattooing and kindred ornamentations of the body and
its members. Among the women of the Bajansi on the middle Congo, for
example, a certain form of tattoo indicated that the woman had borne a
child (530. 78).

Schurtz points out that the kangaroo-skin breast-covering of the
Tasmanian women, the shoulder and arm strips worn by the women of the
Monbuttu in Africa, the skin mantles of the Marutse, the thick
hip-girdle of the Tupende, and other articles of clothing of a like
nature, seem to be really survivals of devices for carrying children,
and not to have been originally intended as dress _per se_ (530.
110, 111). Thus early does childhood become a social factor.



In great states, children are always trying to remain children, and the
parents wanting to make men and women of them. In vile states, the
children are always wanting to be men and women, and the parents to keep
them children.--_Ruskin_.

Children generally hate to be idle; all the care is then that their busy
humour should be constantly employed in something of use to

Look into our childish faces;
See you not our willing hearts?
Only love us--only lead us;
Only let us know you need us,
And we all will do our parts.--_Mary Howitt_.

[Greek: Anthropos Phusei zoon politikon] [Man is by nature a political
(social) animal].--_Aristotle_.

Never till now did young men, and almost children, take such a command
in human affairs.--_Carlyle_.

Predestination and Caste.

"Who can tell for what high cause
This darling of the Gods was born?"

asks the poet Marvell. But with some peoples the task of answering the
question is an easy one; for fate, or its human side, caste, has settled
the matter long before the infant comes into the world. The Chinese
philosopher, Han Wan-Kung, is cited by Legge as saying: "When Shuh-yu
was born, his mother knew, as soon as she looked at him, that he would
fall a victim to his love of bribes. When Yang sze-go was born, the
mother of Shuh-he-ang knew, as soon as she heard him cry, that he would
cause the destruction of all his kindred. When Yueh-tseaou was born,
Tzewan considered it was a great calamity, knowing that through him all
the ghosts of the Johgaou family would be famished" (487. 89).

In India, we meet with the Bidhata-Purusha, a "deity that predestines
all the events of the life of man or woman, and writes on the forehead
of the child, on the sixth day of its birth, a brief precis of them"
(426. 9). India is _par excellence_ the land of caste, but other
lands know the system that makes the man follow in his father's
footsteps, and often ignores the woman altogether, not even counting her
in the census of the people, as was formerly the case even in Japan and
China, where a girl was not worthy to be counted beside the son. Of
ancient Peru, Letourneau says: "Every male inherited his father's
profession; he was not allowed to choose another employment. By right of
birth a man was either labourer, miner, artisan, or soldier" (100. 486).
Predestination of state and condition in another world is a common
theological tenet, predestination of state and condition in this world
is a common social theory.

Vast indeed is the lore of birth-days, months and years, seasons and
skies--the fictions, myths, and beliefs of the astrologist, the
spiritualist, the fortune-teller, and the almanac-maker--which we have
inherited from those ancestors of ours, who believed in the kinship of
all things, who thought that in some way "beasts and birds, trees and
plants, the sea, the mountains, the wind, the sun, the moon, the clouds,
and the stars, day and night, the heaven and the earth, were alive and
possessed of the passions and the will they felt within themselves"
(258. 25). Here belongs a large amount of folk-lore and folk-speech
relating to the defective, delinquent, and dependent members of human
society, whose misfortunes or misdeeds are assigned to atavistic causes,
to demoniacal influences.


Among primitive peoples, the advent of a child, besides entailing upon
one or both of the parents ceremonies and superstitious performances
whose name and fashion are legion, often makes a great change in the
constitution of society. Motherhood and fatherhood are, in more than one
part of the globe, primitive titles of nobility and badges of
aristocracy. With the birth of a child, the Chinese woman becomes
something more than a mere slave and plaything, and in the councils of
uncivilized peoples (as with us to-day) the voice of the father of a
family carries more weight than that of the childless. With the
civilized races to-day, more marriages mean fewer prison-houses, and
more empty jails, than in the earlier days, and with the primitive
peoples of the present, this social bond was the salvation of the tribe
to the same extent and in the same way.

As Westermarck points out, there are "several instances of husband and
wife not living together before the birth of a child." Here belong the
temporary marriages of the Creek Indians, the East Greenlanders, the
Fuegians, the Essenes, and some other Old World sects and peoples--the
birth of a child completes the marriage--"marriage is therefore rooted
in family, rather than family in marriage," in such cases. With the
Ainos of the island of Tezo, the Khyens of Farther India, and with one
of the aboriginal tribes of China, so Westermarck informs us, "the
husband goes to live with his wife at her father's house, and never
takes her away till after the birth of a child," and with more than one
other people the wife remains with her own parents until she becomes a
mother (166. 22, 23).

In some parts of the United States we find similar practices among the
population of European ancestry. The "boarding-out" of young couples
until a child is born to them is by no means uncommon.


Adoption is, among some primitive peoples, remarkably extensive. Among
the natives of the Andaman Islands "it is said to be of rare occurrence
to find any child above six or seven years of age residing with its
parents, and this, because it is considered a compliment and also a mark
of friendship for a married man, after paying a visit, to ask his hosts
to allow him to adopt one of their children" (498. 57).

Of the Hawaiian Islanders, Letourneau remarks (100. 389, 390): "Adoption
was rendered extremely easy; a man would give himself a father or sons
almost _ad infinitum_." In the Marquesas Islands "it was not
uncommon to see elderly persons being adopted by children." Moreover,
"animals even were adopted. A chief adopted a dog, to whom, he offered
ten pigs and some precious ornaments. The dog was carried about by a
_kikino_, and at every meal he had his stated place beside his
adopted father." Connected with adoption are many curious rites and
ceremonies which may be found described in Ploss and other authorities.
Dr. Friedrich S. Krauss (280) has recently treated at some length of a
special form of adoption symbolized by the cutting of the hair, and
particularly known among the southern Slavonians. The cutting off the
hair here represents, the author thinks, the unconditional surrendering
of one's body or life to another. The origin of the sacrifice of the
hair is to be sought in the fact that primitive peoples have believed
that the seat of the soul was in the hair and the blood, which were
offered to the spirits or demons in lieu of the whole body. The relation
between nurse and child has been treated of by Ploss and Wiedniann
(167), the latter with special reference to ancient Egypt and the
Mohammedan countries. In ancient Egypt the nurse was reckoned as one of
the family, and in the death-steles and reliefs of the Middle Kingdom
her name and figure are often found following those of the children and
parents of the deceased. The wet-nurse was held in especial honour. The
milk-relationship sometimes completely takes the place of
blood-relationship. The Koran forbids the marriage of a nurse and a man
whom, as a child, she has suckled; the laws of the Hanafi forbid a man
to marry a woman from whose breast he has imbibed even a single drop of
milk. Among the southern Slavonians: "If of two children who have fed at
the breast of the same woman, one is a boy and the woman's own child,
and the other (adopted) a girl, these two must never marry." If they are
both girls, they are like real sisters in love and affection; if both
boys, like real brothers. In Dardistan and Armenia also,
milk-relationship prevents marriage (167. 263).

In Mingrelia as soon as a child is given to a woman to nurse, she, her
husband, children, and grandchildren are bound to it by ties more dear
even than those of blood-relationship; she would yield up her life for
the child, and the latter, when grown up, is reciprocally dutiful. It is
a curious fact that even grown-up people can contract this sort of
relationship. "Thus peasant-women are very anxious to have grown-up
princesses become then foster-children--the latter simply bite gently
the breasts of their foster-mothers, and forthwith a close relationship
subsists between them." It is said also that girls obtain protectors in
like manner by having youths bite at their breasts, which (lately) they
cover with a veil (167. 263). Adoption by the letting or transfusion of
blood is also found in various parts of the world and has far-reaching
ramifications; as Trumbull, Robertson Smith, and Daniels have pointed
out. The last calls attention to the Biblical declaration (Proverbs,
xxviii. 24): "There is a friend which sticketh closer than a brother,"
underlying which seems to be this mystic tie of blood (214. 16).

The mourning for the death of children is discussed in another part of
this work. It may be mentioned here, however, that the death of a child
often entails other, sometimes more serious, consequences. Among the
Dyaks of Borneo, "when a father has lost his child, he kills the first
man he meets as he goes out of his house; this is to him an act of duty"
(100. 238).

_Hereditary Bights._

The hereditary rights of children to share in the property of their
parents have been made the subject of an interesting study by Clement
Deneus (215), a lawyer of Ghent, who has treated in detail of the
limitation of the patria potestas in respect to disposition of the
patrimony, and the reservation to the children of a portion of the
property of their parents--an almost inviolable right, of which they can
be deprived only in consequence of the gravest offences. This
reservation the author considers "a principle universally recognized
among civilized nations," and an institution which marks a progress in
the history of law and of civilization (215. 49), while testamentary
freedom is unjust and inexpedient. The author discusses the subject from
the points of view of history, statute and natural law, social economy,
etc., devoting special attention to pointing out the defects of the
system of the school of Le Play,--primogeniture, which still obtains in
England, in several parts of Germany, in certain localities of the
Pyrenees, and in the Basque provinces.

In the countries of modern Europe, the testamentary power of the father
is limited as follows: _Austria_ (Code of 1812): One-half of
parents' property reserved for children. The law of 1889 makes exception
in the case of rural patrimonies of moderate size with dwelling
attached, where the father has the right to designate his heir.
_Denmark_ (Code of 1845): Father can dispose of but one-fourth of
the property; nobles, however, are allowed to bestow upon one of their
children the half of their fortune. _Germany_: No uniform civil
legislation exists as yet for the whole empire. In the majority of the
smaller states, in a part of Bavaria, Rugen, eastern Pomerania,
Schleswig-Holstein, the _Corpus Juris Civilis_ of Justinian is in
force, while the Napoleonic code obtains in Rhenish Prussia, Hesse, and
Bavaria, in Baden, Berg, Alsace-Lorraine. In Prussia, the reserve is
one-third, if there are less than three children; one-half, if there are
three or four. In Saxony, if there are five or more children, the
reserve is one-half; if there are four or less, one-third.
_Greece:_ The Justinian novels are followed. _Holland:_ The
Napoleonic code is in force. _Italy_ (Code of 1866): The reserve is
one-half. _Norway_ (Code of 1637, modified in 1800, 1811, 1825):
The father is allowed free disposal of one-half of the patrimony, but
for religious charities (_fondationspieuses_) only.
_Portugal_: The legitimate is two-thirds. _Roumania_ (Code of
1865): The same provision as in the Napoleonic code. _Russia_ (Code
of 1835): The father can dispose at pleasure of the personal property
and property acquired, but the property itself must be divided equally.
In Esthonia, this provision also applies to personal property acquired
by inheritance. _Spain_ (Code of 1889): The father can dispose of
one-third of the patrimony to a stranger; to a child he can will
two-thirds. He can also, in the case of farming, industry, or commerce,
leave his entire property to one of his children, except that the
legatee has to pecuniarily indemnify his brothers and sisters.
_Sweden_ (Code of 1734): In the towns, the father can dispose of
but one-sixth of the patrimony; in the country, the patrimonial property
must go to the children. The rest is at the will of the father, except
that he must provide for the sustenance of his children.
_Switzerland:_ At Geneva, the Napoleonic code is in force; in the
Canton of Uri, the younger son is sometimes specially favoured; in
Zurich, the father can dispose of one-sixth in favour of strangers, or
one-fifth in favour of a child; in Bale, he is allowed no disposal; in
the cantons of Neuchatel and Vaud, the reserve is one-half, in Bern and
Schaffhausen, two-thirds, and in Eriburg and Soleure, three-fourths.
_Turkey:_ The father can dispose of two-thirds by will, or of the
whole by gift (215. 39-41).

In Prance, article 913 of the civil code forbids the father to dispose,
by gift while living, or by will, of more than one-half of the property,
if he leaves at his death but one legitimate child; more than one-third,
if he leaves two children; more than one-fourth, if he leave three or
more children. In the United States great testamentary freedom prevails,
and the laws of inheritance belong to the province of the various

Among the nations of antiquity,--Egyptians, Persians, Assyrians,
Chinese,--according to Deneus (215. 2), the _patria potestas_
probably prevented any considerable diffusion of the family estates. By
the time of Moses, the Hebrews had come to favour the first-born, and to
him was given a double share of the inheritance. With the ancient Hindus
but a slight favouring--of the eldest son seems to have been in vogue,
the principle of co-proprietorship of parent and children being
recognized in the laws of Manu. In Sparta, the constitution was inimical
to a reserve for all the children; in Athens, the code of Solon forbade
a man to benefit a stranger at the expense of his legitimate male
children; he had, however, the right to make particular legacies,
probably up to one-half of the property. Deneus considers that the
_penchant_ of the Athenians for equality was not favourable to a
cast-iron system of primogeniture, although the father may have been
able to favour his oldest child to the extent of one-half of his
possessions. In ancient Rome (215. 4-16), at first, a will was an
exception, made valid only by the vote of a lex curiata; but afterwards
the absolute freedom of testamentary disposition, which was approved in
450 B.C. by the Law of the Twelve Tables,--_Uti legassit super
pecunia tutelage suce rei, ita jus esto,_--appears, and the father
could even pass by his children in silence and call upon an utter
stranger to enjoy his estate and possessions. By 153 B.C., however, the
father was called upon to nominally disinherit his children, and not
merely pass them over in silence, if he wished to leave his property to
a stranger. For some time this provision had little effect, but a breach
in the _patria potestas_ has really been made, and by the time of
Pliny the Younger (61-115 A.D.), who describes the procedure in detail,
the disinherited children were given the right of the _querula
inoffidosi testamenti,_ by which the father was presumed to have died
intestate, and his property fell in equal shares to all his children.
Thus it was that the right of children in the property of the father was
first really recognized at Rome, and the _pars legitima,_ the
reserve of which made it impossible for the children to attack the will
of the father, came into practice. In the last years of the Republic,
this share was at least one-fourth of what the legitimate heir would
have received in the absence of a will; under Justinian, it was
one-third of the part _ab intestate,_ if this was at least
one-fourth of the estate; otherwise, one-half. The father always
retained the right to disinherit, for certain reasons, in law. With this
diminution of his rights over property went also a lessening of his
powers over the bodies of his children. Diocletian forbade the selling
of children, Constantine decreed that the father who exposed his
new-born child should lose the _patria potestas,_ and Valentinian
punished such action with death. Among the ancient Gauls, in spite of
the father's power of life and death over his offspring, he could not
disinherit them, for the theory of co-proprietorship obtained with these
western tribes (215. 16). With the ancient Germans, the father appears
to have been rather the protector of his children than their owner or
keeper; the child is recognized, somewhat rudely, as a being with some
rights of his own. Michelet has aptly observed, as Deneus remarks, that
"the Hindus saw in the son the reproduction of the father's soul; the
Romans, a servant of the father; the Germans, a child" (215. 17). At
first wills were unknown among them, for the system of
co-proprietorship,--_hoeredes successoresgue sui cuique liberi et
nullum testamentum,_--and the solidarity of the family and all its
members, did not feel the need of any. The inroad of Roman ideas, and
especially, Deneus thinks, the fervour of converts to Christianity,
introduced testamentary legacies.

The Goths and Burgundians, in their Roman laws, allowed the parent to
dispose of three-fourths, the Visigoths one-third or one-fifth,
according as the testator disposed of his property in favour of a child
or a stranger. The national law of the Burgundians allowed to the father
the absolute disposal of his acquisitions, but prescribed the equal
sharing of the property among all the children. The ripuarian law of the
Franks left the children a reserve of twelve sons, practically admitting
absolute freedom of disposition by will (215. 18). The course of law in
respect to the inheritance of children during the Middle Ages can be
read in the pages of Deneus and the wider comparative aspect of the
subject studied in the volumes of Post, Dargun, Engels, etc., where the
various effects of mother-right and father-right are discussed and

_Subdivisions of Land._

In some cases, as in Wurtemburg, Switzerland, Hanover, Thuringia, Hesse,
certain parts of Sweden, France, and Russia, the subdivision of property
has been carried out to an extent which has produced truly Lilliputian
holdings. In Switzerland there is a certain commune where the custom
obtains of transmitting by will to each child its proportional share of
each parcel; so that a single walnut-tree has no fewer than sixty
proprietors. This reminds us of the Maoris of New Zealand, with whom "a
portion of the ground is allotted to the use of each family, and this
portion is again subdivided into individual parts on the birth of each
child." It is of these same people that the story is told that, after
selling certain of their lands to the English authorities, they came
back in less than a year and demanded payment also for the shares of the
children born since the sale, whose rights they declared had not been
disposed of. On the islands of the Loire there are holdings "so small
that it is impossible to reduce them any less, so their owners have them
each in turn a year"; in the commune of Murs, in Anjou, there is "a
strip of nine hectares, subdivided into no fewer than thirty-one
separate parcels." The limit, however, seems to be reached in Laon,
where "it is not rare to find fields scarce a metre (3 ft. 3.37 in.)
wide; here an apple-tree or a walnut-tree covers with its branches four
or five lots, and the proprietor can only take in his crop in the
presence of his neighbours, to whom he has also to leave one-half of the
fruit fallen on their lots." No wonder many disputes and lawsuits arise
from such a state of affairs. It puts us in mind at once of the story of
the sand-pile and the McDonogh farm. The exchange or purchase of
contiguous parcels sometimes brings temporary or permanent relief (215.
112, 113).

The following figures show the extent to which this Lilliputian system
obtained in France in 1884, according to the returns of the Minister of

Less than 20 ares
(100 ares = one hectare) 4,115,463 29.00
Less than 50 ares 6,597,843 47.00 1,147,804 2.31
Less than 1 hectare ( =2-1/2 acres) 8,585,523 61.00 2,574,589 5.19
Less than 2 hectares 10,426,368 74.09 5,211,456 10.53
From 2 to 6 hectares 2,174,188 15.47 7,543,347 15.26
From 6 to 50 hectares 1,351,499 9.58 19,217,902 38.94
From 50 to 200 hectares 105,070 0.74 9,398,057 19.04
More than 200 hectares 17,676 0.12 8,017,542 16.23

Totals..................... 14,074,801 100.00 49,388,304 100.00

Deneus gives other interesting figures from Belgium and elsewhere,
showing the extent of the system. Other statistics given indicate that
this parcelling-out has reached its lowest point, and that the reaction
has set in. It is a curious fact, noted by M. Deneus, that of the
1,173,724 tenant-farmers in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland in the year 1884, no fewer than 852,438 cultivated an acre or

_Younger Son._

Mr. Sessions, in his interesting little pamphlet (351) calls attention
to the important _role_ assigned in legend and story to the
"younger son," "younger brother," as well as the social customs and laws
which have come into vogue on his account. Sir Henry Maine argued that
"primogeniture cannot be the natural outgrowth of the family, but is a
political institution, coming not from clansmen but from a chief." Hence
the youngest son, "who continues longest with the father, is naturally
the heir of his house, the rest being already provided for." Mr.
Sessions observes (351. 2): "Among some primitive tribes, as those of
Cape York [Australia] and the adjacent islands, the youngest son
inherited a double portion of his deceased father's goods. Among the
Maoris of New Zealand he takes the whole. Among some hill tribes of
India, such as the Todas of the Neilgherries, he takes the house and
maintains the women of the family, whilst the cattle, which represent
the chief personalities, are equally divided. The Mrus and Kolhs and
Cotas have similar customs." Somewhat similar to the code of the Todas
was that of the Hindu Aryans, as embodied in the laws of Manu, for "the
youngest son has, from time immemorial, as well as the eldest, a place
in Hindu legislation." The succession of the youngest prevails among the
Mongolian Tartars, and "when in Russia the joint family may be broken
up, the youngest takes the house." The right of the youngest was known
among the Welsh, Irish, and some other Celtic tribes; the old Welsh law
gave the youngest son the house and eight acres, the rest of the land
being divided equally between all the sons. Mr. Sessions calls attention
to the fact that, while in Old Testament Palestine primogeniture was the
rule, the line of ancestry of Christ exhibits some remarkable
exceptions. And among primitive peoples the hero or demi-god is very
often the younger son.

Under the name of "Borough English," the law by which the father's real
property descends to the youngest son alone, survives in Gloucester and
some few other places in England,--Lambeth, Hackney, part of Islington,
Heston, Edmonton, etc.

Another interesting tenure is that of gavelkind, by which the land and
property of the father was inherited in equal portions by all his sons,
the youngest taking the house, the eldest the horse and arms, and so on.
This mode of tenure, before the Conquest, was quite common in parts of
England, especially Wales and Northumberland, still surviving especially
in the county of Kent. Many things, indeed, testify of the care which
was taken even in primitive times to secure that the youngest born, the
child of old age, so frequently the best-loved, should not fare ill in
the struggle for life.


One important function of the child (still to be seen commonly among the
lower classes of the civilized races of to-day) with primitive peoples
is that of nurse and baby-carrier. Even of Japan, Mrs. Bramhall gives
this picture (189. 33):--

"We shall see hundreds of small children, not more than five or six
years of age, carrying, fast asleep on their shoulders, the baby of the
household, its tiny smooth brown head swinging hither and thither with
every movement of its small nurse, who walks, runs, sits, or jumps,
flies kites, plays hop-scotch, and fishes for frogs in the gutter,
totally oblivious of that infantile charge, whether sleeping or waking.
If no young sister or brother be available, the husband, the uncle, the
father, or grandfather hitches on his back the baby, preternaturally
good and contented."

The extent to which, in America, as well as in Europe, to-day, young
children are entrusted with the care of infants of their family, has
attracted not a little attention, and the "beyond their years" look of
some of these little nurses and care-takers is often quite noticeable.
The advent of the baby-carriage has rather facilitated than hindered
this old-time employment of the child in the last century or so. In a
recent number (vol. xvii. p. 792) of _Public Opinion_ we find the
statement that from June 17, 1890, to September 15, 1894, the "Little
Mothers' Aid Association," of New York, has been the means of giving a
holiday, one day at least of pleasure in the year, to more than eight
thousand little girls, who are "little mothers, in the sense of having
the care of younger children while the parents are at work." In thrifty
New England, children perform not a little of the housework, even the
cooking; and "little mothers" and "little housekeepers" were sometimes
left to themselves for days, while their elders in days gone by visited
or went to the nearest town or village for supplies.


"Marriages are made in heaven," says the old proverb, and among some
primitive peoples we meet with numerous instances of their having been
agreed upon and arranged by prospective parents long before the birth of
their offspring. Indeed, the betrothal of unborn children by their
parents occurs sporadically to-day in civilized lands. Ploss has called
attention to child-marriages in their sociological and physiological
bearings (125.1. 386-402), and Post has considered the subject in his
historical study of family law. In these authorities the details of the
subject may be read. In Old Calabar, men who already possess several
wives take to their bosom and kiss, as their new wife, babes two or
three weeks old. In China, Gujurat, Ceylon, and parts of Brazil, wives
of from four to six years of age are occasionally met with. In many
parts of the world wives of seven to nine years of age are common, and
wives of from ten to twelve very common. In China it is sometimes the
case that parents buy for their infant son an infant wife, nursed at the
same breast with him (234. xlii.). Wiedemann, in an article on
child-marriages in Egypt (381), mentions the fact that a certain king of
the twenty-first dynasty (about 1100 B.C.) seems to have had as one of
his wives a child only a few days old. From Dio Cassius we learn that in
Rome, at the beginning of the Empire, marriages of children under ten
years occasionally took place.

In some parts of the world the child-wife does not belong to her
child-husband. "Among the Reddies, of India," Letourneau informs us, "a
girl from sixteen to twenty years of age is married to a boy of five or
six. The wife then becomes the real wife of the boy's uncle, or cousin,
or of the father of the reputed husband. But the latter is considered to
be the legal father of the children of his pretended wife." So it is
only when the boy has grown up that he receives his wife, and he, in
turn, acts as his relative before him (100. 354). Temple cites the
following curious custom in his tales of the Panjab (542. I. xviii.):--
"When Raja Vasali has won a bride from Raja Sirkap, he is given a
new-born infant and a mango-tree, which is to flower in twelve years,
and when it flowers, the girl is to be his wife." The age prescribed by
ancient Hindu custom (for the Brahman, Tshetria, and Vysia classes) is
six to eight years for the girl, and the belief prevailed that if a girl
were to attain her puberty before being married, her parents and
brothers go to hell, as it was their duty to have got her married before
that period (317. 56). Father Sangermano, writing of Burma a hundred
years ago, notices the "habit of the Burmese to engage their daughters
while young, in real or fictitious marriages, in order to save them from
the hands of the king's ministers, custom having established a rule,
which is rarely if ever violated, that no married woman can be seized,
even for the king himself" (234. xlii.). The child-marriages of India
have been a fruitful theme for discussion, as well as the enforced
widowhood consequent upon the death of the husband. Among the most
interesting literature on the subject are the "Papers relating to Infant
Marriage and Enforced Widowhood in India" (317), Schlagintweit (142),
etc. The evils connected with the child-marriages of India are forcibly
brought out by Mrs. Steel in several of the short stories in her _From
the Five Rivers_ (1893), and by Richard Garbe in his beautiful little
novel _The Redemption of the Brahman_(1894).

But India and other Eastern lands are not the only countries where
"child-marriages" have flourished. Dr. F. J. Furnivall (234), the
distinguished English antiquary and philologist, poring over at Chester
the "Depositions in Trials in the Bishop's Court from November, 1561 to
March, 1565-6," was astonished to find on the ninth page the record:
"that Elizabeth Hulse said she was married to George Hulse in the Chapel
of Knutsford, when she was but _three or four_ years old, while the
boy himself deposed that he was about seven," and still more surprised
when he discovered that the volume contained "no fewer than twenty-seven
cases of the actual marriage in church of the little boys and girls of
middle-class folk." The result of Dr. Furnivall's researches is
contained in the one-hundred-and-eighth volume (original series) of the
Early English Text Society's Publications, dealing with child-marriages,
divorces, ratifications, etc., and containing a wealth of quaint and
curious sociological lore. Perhaps the youngest couple described are
John Somerford, aged about three years, and Jane Brerton, aged about two
years, who were married in the parish church of Brerton about 1553. Both
were carried in arms to the church, and had the words of the marriage
service said for them by those who carried them. It appears that they
lived together at Brerton for ten years, but without sustaining any
further marital relations, and when the husband was about fifteen years,
we find him suing for a divorce on account of his wife's "unkindness,
and other weighty causes." Neither party seemed affectionately disposed
towards the other (234.26). Other very interesting marriages are those
of Bridget Dutton (aged under five years) and George Spurstowe (aged
six) (234. 38); Margaret Stanley (aged five) and Roland Dutton (aged
nine), brother of Bridget Dutton (234. 41); Janet Parker (aged five) and
Lawrence Parker (aged nine to ten). The rest of the twenty-seven couples
were considerably older, the most of the girls ranging between eight and
twelve, the boys between ten and fourteen (234. 28). It would Seem that
for the most part these young married couples were not allowed to live
together, but at times some of the nuptial rites were travestied or
attempted to be complied with. In two only of the twenty-seven cases is
there mention of "bedding" the newly-married children. John Budge, who
at the age of eleven to twelve years, was married to Elizabeth
Ramsbotham, aged thirteen to fourteen years, is said to have wept to go
home with his father and only by "compulsion of the priest of the
Chapel" was he persuaded to lie with his wife, but never had any marital
relations with her whatever, and subsequently a petition for divorce was
filed by the husband (234. 6). In the case of Ellen Dampart, who at the
age of about eight years, was married to John Andrew aged ten, it
appears that they slept in the same bed with two of the child-wife's
sisters between them. No marital relations were entered upon, and the
wife afterwards sues for a divorce (234. 15, 16).

The practice seems to have been for each of the children married to go
to live with some relative, and if the marriage were not ratified by
them after reaching years of consent, to petition for a divorce. In some
nine cases the boy is younger than the girl, and Humfrey Winstanley was
under twelve when he was married to Alice Worsley aged over seventeen;
in this case no marital relations were entered upon, though the wife was
quite willing; and the husband afterwards petitions for a divorce
(234.2-4). Thomas Dampart, who at the age of ten years, was married to
Elizabeth Page, appears to have lived with his wife about eight years
and to have kept up marital relations with her until she left him of her
own motion. Dr. Furnivall (234. 49-52) cites four cases of ratification
of child-marriages by the parties after they have attained years of
discretion, in one of which the boy and the girl were each but ten years
old when married. The most naive account in the whole book is that of
the divorce-petition of James Ballard, who, when about eleven years of
age, was married in the parish church of Colne at ten o'clock at night
by Sir Roger Blakey, the curate, to a girl named Anne; the morning after
the ceremony he is said "to have declared unto his uncle that the said
Anne had enticed him with two Apples, to go with her to Colne, and marry
her." No marital relations were entered upon, and the curate was
punished for his hasty and injudicious action (234. 45).

Dr. Furnivall (234. xxxv.) quotes at some length the legal opinion--the
law on infant marriages--of Judge Swinburne (died, 1624), from which we
learn that "infants" (i.e. children under seven years of age) could not
contract spousals or matrimony, and such contracts made by the infants
or by their parents were void, unless subsequently ratified by the
contracting parties by word or deed,--at twelve the girls ceased to be
children, and at fourteen the boys, and were then fully marriageable, as
they are to-day in many parts of the world. Of childhood, Judge
Swinburne says, "During this age, children cannot contract Matrimony
_de praesenti_., but only _de futuro_"; but their spousals
could readily be turned into actual marriages after the girls were
twelve and the boys fourteen, as Dr. Furnivall points out.

The fifth limitation to his general statement, which the learned judge
made, is thus strangely and quaintly expressed: "The fifth Limitation
is, when the Infants which do contract Spousals are of that _Wit and
Discretion_, that albeit they have not as yet accomplished the full
Age of Seven Years, yet doth their supra-ordinary understanding fully
supply that small defect of Age which thing is not rare in these days,
wherein Children become sooner ripe, and do conceive more quickly than
in former Ages" (234. xxxvi.).

First among the causes of these child-marriages Dr. Furnivall is
inclined to rank "the desire to evade the feudal law of the Sovereign's
guardianship of all infants," for "when a father died, the Crown had the
right to hold the person and estate of the propertied orphan until it
came of age, and it could be sold in marriage for the benefit of the
Crown or its grantee." Moreover, "if the orphan refused such a marriage
with a person of its own rank, it had to pay its guardian a heavy fine
for refusing his choice, and selecting a spouse of its own" (234.
xxxix.). Property-arrangement also figures as a cause of these
alliances, especially where the bride is older than the groom: Elizabeth
Hulse (aged four) was married to George Hulse (aged seven) "because her
friends thought she should have a living by him" (234. 4). When
Elizabeth Ramsbotham (aged 13-14) married John Bridge (aged 11-12),
"money was paid by the father of the said Elizaboth, to buy a piece of
land" (234. 6); according to the father of Joan Leyland (aged 11-12),
who married Ralph Whittall (aged 11-12), "they were married because she
should have had by him a pretty bargain, if they could have loved, one
the other" (234.12); Thomas Bentham (aged twelve) and Ellen Boltoii
(aged ten) were married because Richard Bentham, grandfather of Ellen,
"was a very wealthy man, and it was supposed that he would have been
good unto them, and bestowed some good farm upon them" (234. 32); the
marriage of Thomas Fletcher (aged 10-11) and Anne Whitfield (aged about
nine) took place because "John Fletcher, father of the said Thomas, was
in debt; and, to get some money of William Whitfield, to the discharge
of his debts, married and bargained his sonne to the said Whitfield's
daughter." The "compulsion of their friends" seems also to have been a
cause of the marriages of children; Peter Hope (about thirteen) married
Alice Ellis (aged nine), "because it was his mother's mind, he durst not
displease her" (234. 20, 23).

So far the evidence has related to unsatisfactory and unfortunate
marriages, but, as Dr. Furnivall remarks, "no doubt scores of others
ended happily; the child-husband and--wife just lived on together,
and--when they had reached their years of discretion (girls twelve, boys
fourteen) or attained puberty--ratified their marriage by sleeping in
one bed and having children" (234. xix., 203).

Some additional cases of child-marriages in the diocese of Chester are
noticed by Mr. J. P. Earwaker (234. xiv.), a pioneer in this branch of
antiquarian research, whose studies date back to 1885. The case of John
Marden, who, at the age of three years, was married to a girl of five is
thus described: "He was carried in the arms of a clergyman, who coaxed
him to repeat the words of matrimony. Before he had got through his
lesson, the child declared he would learn no more that day. The priest
answered: 'You must speak a little more, and then go play you.'" Robert
Parr, who, in 1538-9, at the age of three, was married to Elizabeth
Rogerson, "was hired for an apple by his uncle to go to church, and was
borne thither in the arms of Edward Bunburie his uncle ... which held
him in arms the time that he was married to the said Elizabeth, at which
time the said Robert could scarce speak." Mr. Earwaker says that in the
_Inquisitiones post mortem_, "it is by no means unfrequent to read
that so and so was heir to his father, and then aged, say, ten years,
and was already married" (234. xxi.-xxxiii.).

A celebrated child-marriage was that at Eynsham, Oxfordshire, in 1541,
the contracting parties being William, Lord Eure, aged 10-11 years, and
Mary Darcye, daughter of Lord Darcye, aged four. The parties were
divorced November 3, 1544, and in 1548, the boy took to himself another
wife. Dr. Furnivall cites from John Smith's _Lives of the
Berkeleys_, the statements that Maurice, third Lord Berkeley, was
married in 1289, when eight years old, to Eve, daughter of Lord Zouch,
and, before he or his wife was fourteen years of age, had a son by her;
that Maurice, the fourth Lord Berkeley, when eight years of age, was
married in 1338-9, to Elizabeth, daughter of Hugh Lord Spenser, about
eight years old; that Thomas, the fourth Lord Berkeley, when about
fourteen and one-half years of age, was married, in 1366, to Margaret,
daughter of Lord de Lisle, aged about seven. Smith, in quaint fashion,
refers to King Josiah (2 Kings, xxiii., xxvi.), King Ahaz (2 Kings, xvi.
2, xviii. 2), and King Solomon (1 Kings, xi. 42, xiv. 21) as having been
fathers at a very early age, and remarks: "And the Fathers of the Church
do tell us that the blessed Virgin Mary brought forth our Saviour at
fifteen years old, or under" (234. xxvii).

Even during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries child-marriages
are numerously attested. Following are noteworthy cases (234. xxiii.):
In 1626 Anne Clopton, aged nearly fourteen, was married to Sir Simonds
D'Ewes, aged nearly twenty-four; in 1673, John Power, grandson of Lord
Anglesey, was married at Lambeth, by the Archbishop of Canterbury to
Mrs. Catherine Fitzgerald, his cousin-german, she being about thirteen,
and he eight years old; at Dunton Basset, Leicestershire, in 1669, Mary
Hewitt (who is stated to have lived to the good old age of seventy-
seven) was married when but three years old; in 1672, the only daughter
(aged five) of Lord Arlington was married to the Duke of Grafton, and
the ceremony was witnessed by John Evelyn, who, in 1679, "was present at
the re-marriage of the child couple"; in 1719, Lady Sarah Cadogan, aged
thirteen, was married to Charles, Duke of Eichmond, aged eighteen; in
1721, Charles Powel, of Carmarthen, aged about eleven, was married to a
daughter of Sir Thomas Powel, of Broadway, aged about fourteen; in 1729,
"a girl of nine years and three months was taken from a boarding school
by one of her guardians, and married to his son"; Bridget Clarke, in
1883, is reputed to have been twenty-five years old, to have had seven
children, and to have been married when only thirteen; at Deeping,
Lincolnshire, a young man of twenty-one married a girl of fourteen, and
"it was somewhat of a novelty to observe the interesting bride the
following day exhibiting her skill on the skipping-rope on the pavement
in the street." Mr. Longstaff, who has studied the annual reports of the
registrar-general for 1851-81, finds that during these thirtyone years,
"out of 11,058,376 persons married, 154 boys married before 17, and 862
girls before 16. Of these, 11 boys of 15 married girls of 15 (four
cases), 16, 18 (two cases), 20, and 21. Three girls of 14 married men of
18, 21, and 25. Five girls of 15 married boys of 16; in 29 marriages
both girl and boy were sixteen" (234. xxxiii).

Further comments upon infant marriages may be found in an article in the
_Gentleman's Magazine_, for September, 1894, the writer of which
remarks: "Within recent years, however, the discovery has been made,
that, so far from being confined, as had been supposed, to royal or
aristocratic houses, infant marriages were, in the sixteenth century,
common in some parts of England among all classes" (367. 322).

It was said "marriages are made in heaven," and that some times
children are married before they are born; it might also be said
"marriages are made for heaven," since some children are married after
they are dead. In some parts of China (and Marco Polo reported the same
practice as prevalent in his time among the Tartars) "the spirits of all
males who die in infancy or in boyhood are, in due time, married to the
spirits of females who have been cut off at a like early age" (166.

As Westermarck observes, "Dr. Ploss has justly pointed out that the
ruder a people is, and the more exclusively a woman is valued as an
object of desire, or as a slave, the earlier in life is she chosen;
whereas, if marriage becomes a union of souls as well as of bodies, the
man claims a higher degree of mental maturity from the woman he wishes
to be his wife."

In so civilized a nation even as the United States, the "age of consent"
laws evidence the tenacity of barbarism. The black list of states,
compiled by Mr. Powell (180. 201), in a recent article in the
_Arena_, reveals the astonishing fact that in three
states--Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina-the "age of consent" is
_ten_ years; in four states, twelve years; in three states,
thirteen years; in no fewer than twenty states, fourteen years; in two
states, fifteen years; in twelve states, sixteen years; and in one state
(Florida), seventeen years. In Kansas and Wyoming alone is the "age of
consent" eighteen years, and it is worthy of note that Wyoming is the
only state in the Union in which women have for any considerable length
of time enjoyed the right to vote on exactly the same terms as men. In
England, the agitation set going by Mr. Stead, in 1885, resulted in, the
passage of a law raising the "age of consent" from thirteen to sixteen
years. It is almost beyond belief, that, in the State of Delaware, only
a few years ago, the "age of consent" was actually as low as seven years
(180.194)! Even in Puritan New England, we find the "age of consent"
fixed at thirteen in New Hampshire, and at fourteen in Connecticut,
Vermont, and Maine (180. 195). It is a sad comment upon our boasted
culture and progress that, as of old, the law protects, and even
religion fears to disturb too rudely, this awful sacrifice to lust which
we have inherited from our savage ancestors. There is no darker chapter
in the history of our country than that which tells of the weak
pandering to the modern representatives of the priests of Bacchus,
Astarte, and the shameless Venus. The religious aspect of the horrible
immolation may have passed away, but wealth and social attractions have
taken its place, and the evil works out its destroying way as ever. To
save the children from this worse than death, women must fight, and they
will win; for once the barbarity, the enormity, the inhumanity of this
child-sacrifice is brought home to men they cannot for their own
children's sake permit the thing to go on. Here, above all places else,
apply the words of Jesus: "Whoso shall cause one of these little ones
which believe on me to stumble, it is profitable that a great millstone
should be hanged about his neck, and he should be sunk in the depths of
the sea." The marriage-laws of some of the states savour almost as much
of prehistoric times and primitive peoples. With the consent of her
parents, a girl of twelve years may lawfully contract marriage in no
fewer than twenty-two states and territories; and in no fewer than
twenty, a boy of fourteen may do likewise. Among the twenty-two states
and territories are included: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,
Vermont; and among the twenty, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,
Vermont. In some of the Southern States the age seems to be somewhat
higher than in a number of the Northern. The existence of slavery may
have tended to bring about this result; while the same fact in the West
is to be accounted for by the vigour and newness of the civilization in
that part of the country.

_Children's Rights._

Where, as in ancient Rome, for example, the _patria potestas_
flourished in primitive vigour,--Mommsen says, "all in the household
were destitute of legal rights,--the wife and the child no less than the
bullock or the slave" (166. 229), children could in nowise act as
members of society. Westermarck (166. 213-239) shows to what extent and
to what age the _mundiwm_, or guardianship of the father over his
children, was exercised in Rome, Greece, among the Teutonic tribes, in
France. In the latter country even now "a child cannot quit the paternal
residence without the permission of the father before the age of
twenty-one, except for enrolment in the army. For grave misconduct by
his children the father has strong means of correction. A son under
twenty-five and a daughter under-twenty-one cannot marry without the
consent of their parents; and even when a man has attained his
twenty-fifth year, and the woman her twenty-first, both are still bound
to ask for it, by a formal notification." Westermarck's observations on
the general subject are as follows:--"There is thus a certain
resemblance between the family institution of savage tribes and that of
the most advanced races. Among both, the grown-up son, and frequently
the grown-up daughter, enjoys a liberty unknown among peoples at an
intermediate stage of civilization. There are, however, these vital
differences: that children in civilized countries are in no respect the
property of their parents; that they are born with certain rights
guaranteed to them by society; that the birth of children gives parents
no rights over them other than those which conduce to the children's
happiness. These ideas, essential as they are to true civilization, are
not many centuries old. It is a purely modern conception the French
Encyclopaedist expresses when he says, 'Le pouvoir paternel est plutot
un devoir qu'un pouvoir'" (166. 239).

_The Child at School._

It was in this spirit also that Count Czaky (when Minister of Education
in Hungary), replying to the sarcastic suggestion of one of the
Deputies, during the debate on the revision of the curriculum of
classical studies, that "the lazy children should be asked whether they
liked to study Greek or not," said that "when it became necessary, he
would willingly listen to the children themselves." That children have
some rights in the matter is a view that is slowly but surely fixing
itself in the minds of the people,--that the school should be something
more than an intellectual prison-house, a mental and moral tread-mill, a
place to put children in out of the way of the family, a dark cave into
which happy, freedom-loving, joyous childhood must perforce retire from
that communion with nature which makes the health of its body and the
salvation of its soul. This false theory of education is vanishing,
however tardily, before the teachings of the new psychology and the new
anthropology, which demand a knowledge of what the child is, feels,
thinks, before they will be party to any attempt to make him be, feel,
think, something different. The school is but a modified form of
society, of its fundamental institution, the family. Dr. Eiccardi, in
the introduction to his _Antropologia e Pedagogia_,-in which he
discusses a mass of psychological, sociological, and anthropological
observations and statistics,--well says (336. 12):--

"The school is a little society, whose citizens are the scholars. The
teacher has not merely to instruct the pupil, but ought also to teach
him to live in the little school-society and thus fitly prepare him to
live in the great society of humanity. And just as men are classified in
human society, so ought to be classified the scholars in the little
school-society; and just as the teacher looks upon the great human world
in movement upon the earth, so ought he also to look upon that little
world called the school, observing its elements with a positive eye,
without preconceptions and without prejudices. The teacher, therefore,
in regard to the school-organism, is as a legislator in regard to
society. And the true and wise legislator does not give laws to the
governed, does not offer security and liberty to the citizens, until
after he has made a profound study of his country and of society. Let
the teacher try for some time to take these criteria into his school;
let him try to apply in the school many of those facts and usages which
are commonly employed in human society, and he will see how, little by
little, almost unnoticeably, the primitive idea of the school will be
modified in his mind, and he will see how the school itself will assume
the true character which it ought to have, that is, the character of a
microscopic social organism. This legislator for our children, by making
the children and youths clearly see of themselves that the school is
nothing else but a little society, where they are taught to live, and by
making them see the points of resemblance and of contact with the great
human society, will engender in the minds of the pupils the conscience
of duty and of right; will create in them the primitive feeling of
justice and of equity. And the pupils, feeling that there is a real
association, feeling that they do form part of a little world, and are
not something merely gathered together by chance for a few hours, will
form a compact homogeneous scholastic association, in which all will try
to be something, and of which all will be proud. In this way will the
assemblage of disparate, diverse, heterogeneous elements, with which the
school begins the year, be able to become homogeneous and create a true
school organism. And if the teacher will persevere, whether in the
direction of the school, in the classification of the pupils, or in the
different contingencies that arise, in applying those criteria, those
ideas, those forms, which are commonly employed in society, he will be
favouring the homogeneity of the little organism which he has to
instruct and to educate. He will thus have always before his mind all
the organic, psychic, and moral characteristics of human society and
will see the differences from, and the resemblances to, those of the
school-organism. In so far will he have an example, a law, a criterion,
a form to follow in the direction of the little human society entrusted
to him, with its beautiful and its ugly side, its good and its bad, its
vices and its virtues. This idea of the school as an organism, however
much it seems destined to overturn ideas of the past, will be the
crucible from which will be turned out in the near future all the
reforms and many new ideas."

This view of the school as an organism, a social microcosm, a little
society within the great human society, having its resemblances to, and
its differences from, the family and the nation, is one that the new
development of "child-study" seems bound to promote and advance. Rank
paternalism has made its exit from the great human society, but it has
yet a strong hold upon the school. It is only in comparatively recent
times that motherhood, which, as Zmigrodzki says, has been the basis of
our civilization, has been allowed to exercise its best influence upon
the scholastic microcosm. Paternalism and celibacy must be made to yield
up the strong grasp which they have upon the educational institutions of
the land, and the early years of the life of man must be confided to the
care of the mother-spirit, which the individual man and the race alike
have deified in their golden age. The mother who laid so well the
foundations of the great human society, the originator of its earliest
arts, the warder of its faiths and its beliefs, the mother, who built up
the family, must be trusted with some large share in the building of the


In _The Story of a Sand-Pile_ (255), President G. Stanley Hall has
chronicled for us the life-course of a primitive social community-nine
summers of work and play by a number of boys with a sand-pile in the
yard of one of their parents. Here we are introduced to the originality
and imitation of children in agriculture, architecture, industrial arts,
trade and commerce, money and exchange, government, law and justice,
charity, etc. The results of this spontaneous and varied exercise,
which, the parents say, "has been of about as much yearly educational
value to the boys as the eight months of school," and in contrast with
which "the concentrative methodic unities of Ziller seem artificial,
and, as Bacon said of scholastic methods, very inadequate to subtlety of
nature," Dr. Hall sums up as follows (255. 696):--

"Very many problems that puzzle older brains have been met in simpler
terms and solved wisely and well. The spirit and habit of active and
even prying observation has been greatly quickened. Industrial
processes, institutions, and methods of administration and organization
have been appropriated and put into practice. The boys have grown more
companionable and rational, learning many a lesson of self-control, and
developed a spirit of self-help. The parents have been enabled to
control indirectly the associations of their boys, and, in a very mixed
boy-community, to have them in a measure under observation without in
the least restricting their freedom. The habit of loafing, and the evils
that attend it, have been avoided, a strong practical and even
industrial bent has been given to their development, and much social
morality has been taught in the often complicated _modus vivendi_
with others that has been evolved. Finally, this may perhaps be called
one illustration of the education according to nature we so often hear
and speak of."

This study of child-sociology is a _rara avis in terra_; it is to
be hoped, however, that if any other parents have "refrained from
suggestions, and left the hand and fancy of the boys to educate each
other under the tuition of the mysterious play-instinct," they may be as
fortunate in securing for the deeds of their young off-spring, as
observant and as sympathetic a historian as he who has told the story of
the sand-pile in that little New England town.

Bagehot, in the course of his chapter on "Nation-Making," observes (395.

"After such great matters as religion and politics, it may seem trifling
to illustrate the subject from little boys. But it is not trifling. The
bane of philosophy is pomposity: people will not see that small things
are the miniatures of greater, and it seems a loss of abstract dignity
to freshen their minds by object lessons from what they know. But every
boarding-school changes as a nation changes. Most of us may remember
thinking,' How odd it is that this _half_ should be so unlike last
_half_; now we never go out of bounds, last half we were always
going; now we play rounders, then we played prisoner's base,' and so
through all the easy life of that time. In fact, some ruling spirits,
some one or two ascendant boys, had left, one or two others had come,
and so all was changed. The models were changed, and the copies changed;
a different thing was praised, and a different thing bullied." It was in
the spirit of this extract (part of which he quotes), that the editor of
the "Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political
Science" happily admitted into that series of monographs, Mr. J. H.
Johnson's _Rudimentary Society among Boys_(272), a sociological
study of peculiar interest and importance--"a microcosm, not only of
the agrarian, but of the political and economic history of society." Mr.
Johnson has graphically described the development of society among some
fifty boys on the farm belonging to the McDonogh School, not far from
the city of Baltimore, Maryland; land-tenure, boy-legislation, judicial
procedure, boy-economy, are all treated of in detail and many analogies
with the life and habits of primitive peoples brought out, and the
author has gone a long way towards realizing the thesis that "To show a
decided resemblance between barbarian political institutions and those
of communities of civilized children, would be a long step towards
founding a science of Social Embryology" (272. 61).


Mr. Stewart Culin (212) in his interesting account of the "Street Games
of Boys in Brooklyn, N.Y." notices _en passant_ the existence of
"gangs" of boys--boys' societies of the ruder and rougher kind. As
evidence of the extent to which these organizations have flourished, the
following somewhat complete list of those known to have existed in the
city of Philadelphia is given:--

Badgers, Bed Bugs, Bleeders, Blossoms, Bouncers, Buena Vistas,
Buffaloes, Bull Dogs, Bullets, Bunker Hills, Canaries, Clippers,
Corkies, Cow Towners, Cruisers, Darts, Didos, Dirty Dozen, Dumplingtown
Hivers, Dung Hills, Muters, Forest Eose, Forties, Garroters, Gas House
Tarriers, Glassgous, Golden Hours, Gut Gang, Haymakers, Hawk-Towners,
Hivers, Killers, Lancers, Lions, Mountaineers, Murderers, Niggers, Pigs,
Pluckers, Pots, Prairie Hens, Railroad Roughs, Rats, Ramblers, Ravens,
Riverside, Eovers, Schuylkill Eangers, Skinners, Snappers, Spigots,
Tigers, Tormentors, War Dogs, Wayne Towners.

Of these Mr. Culin remarks: "They had their laws and customs, their
feuds and compacts. The former were more numerous than the latter, and
they fought on every possible occasion. A kind of half-secret
organization existed among them, and new members passed through a
ceremony called 'initiation,' which was not confined to the lower
classes, from which most of them were recruited. Almost every
Philadelphia boy, as late as twenty years ago, went through some sort of
ordeal when he first entered into active boyhood. Being triced up by
legs and arms, and swung violently against a gate, was usually part of
this ceremony, and it no doubt still exists, although I have no
particular information, which indeed is rather difficult to obtain, as
boys, while they remain boys, are reticent concerning all such matters"
(212. 236).

These street-organizations exist in other cities also, and have their
ramifications in the school-life of children, who either belong to, or
are in some way subject to, these curious associations. Every ward, nay,
every street of any importance, seems to have its "gang," and it is no
small experience in a boy's life to pass the ordeal of initiation,
battle with alien organizations, and retire, as childhood recedes,
unharmed by the primitive _entourage_.

No doubt, from these street-gangs many pass into the junior criminal
societies which are known to exist in many great cities, the
training-schools for theft, prostitution, murder, the feeding-grounds
for the "White Caps," "Molly Maguires," "Ku-Klux," "Mafia," "Camorra,"
and other secret political or criminal associations, who know but too
well how to recruit their numbers from the young. The gentler side of
the social instinct is seen in the formation of friendships among
children, associations born of the nursery or the school-room which last
often through life. The study of these early friendships offers a
tempting field for sociological research and investigation.

_Secret Societies of the Young._

There are among primitive peoples many secret societies to which
children and youth are allowed to belong, or which are wholly composed
of such.

Among the secret societies of the Kwakiutl Indians, of British Columbia,
Dr. Boas mentions the "Keki'qalak--( = the crows)," formed from the
children (403. 53). The same author speaks of the Tsimshians, another
British Columbia tribe, in these terms (403. 57):--

"A man who is not a member of a secret society is a 'common man.' He
becomes a middle-class man after the first initiation, and attains
higher rank by repeated initiations. The novice disappears in the same
way as among the Kwakiutl. It is supposed that he goes to heaven. During
the dancing season a feast is given, and while the women are dancing the
novice is suddenly said to have disappeared. If he is a child, he stays
away four days; youths remain absent six days, and grown-up persons
several months. Chiefs are supposed to stay in heaven during the fall
and entire winter. When this period has elapsed, they suddenly reappear
on the beach, carried by an artificially-made monster belonging to their
crest. Then all the members of the secret society to which the novice is
to belong gather and walk down in grand procession to the beach to fetch
the child. At this time the child's parents bring presents, particularly
elk skins, strung on a rope as long as the procession, to be given at a
subsequent feast. The people surround the novice and lead him into every
house in order to show that he has returned. Then he is taken to the
house of his parents and a bunch of cedar-bark is fastened over the
door, to show that the place is tabooed, and nobody is allowed to
enter." The dance and other ceremonies which follow may be read of in
Dr. Boas' report.

Dr. Daniels, in his study of _Regeneration_, has called attention
to "seclusion" and "disappearance," followed by reappearance and
adoption as members of society, as characteristic practices in vogue
among many savage and semi-civilized tribes with respect to children and
those approaching the age of puberty--a change of name sometimes
accompanies the "entering upon the new life," as it is often called. Of
the Australians we read: "The boy at eight or ten years of age must
leave the hut of his father and live in common with the other young men
of the tribe. He is called by another name than that which he has borne
from birth and his diet is regulated to some extent." In New Guinea, in
Africa, and among some of the tribes of American aborigines like habits
prevail. The custom of certain Indians formerly inhabiting Virginia is
thus described: "After a very severe beating the boys are sent into a
secluded spot. There they must stay nine months and can associate with
no human being. They are fed during this time with a kind of
intoxicating preparation of roots to make them forget all about their
past life. After their return home everything must seem strange to them.
In this way it is thought that they 'begin to live anew.' They are
thought of as having been dead for a short time and are 'numbered among
the older citizens after forgetting that they once were boys'" (214.

In the African district of Quoja existed a secret society called
Belly-Paaro, "the members of which had to spend a long time in a holy
thicket. Whoever broke the rules of this society was seized upon by the
Jannanes, or spirits of the dead, who dwelt in the thicket and brought
thither, whence he was unable to return" (127. I. 240). Of this practice
Kulischer remarks: "'It is a death and a new birth, since they are
wholly changed in the consecrated thicket, dying to the old life and
existence, and receiving a new understanding.' When the youths return
from the thicket, they act as if they had come into the world for the
first time, and had never known where their parents lived or their
names, what sort of people they were, how to wash themselves" (214. 12).

Of another part of Africa we read: "In the country of Ambamba each
person must die once, and come to life again. Accordingly, when a
fetich-priest shakes his calabash at a village, those men and youths
whose hour is come fall into a state of death-like torpor, from which
they recover usually in the course of three days. But if there is any
one that the fetich loves, him he takes into the bush and buries in the
fetich-house. Oftentimes he remains buried for a long series of years.
When he comes to life again, he begins to eat and drink as before, but
his reason is gone, and the fetich-man is obliged to train him and
instruct him in the simplest bodily movements, like a little child. At
first the stick is only the instrument of education, but gradually his
senses come back to him, and he begins to speak. As soon as his
education is finished, the priest restores him to his parents. They
seldom recognize their son, but accept the express assurance of the
feticero, who also reminds them of events in the past. In Ambamba a man
who has not passed through the process of dying and coming to life again
is held in contempt, nor is he permitted to join in the dance" (529.

Some recollection, perhaps, of similar customs and ideas appears in the
game of "Ruripsken," which, according to Schambach, is played by
children in Gottingen: One of the children lies on the ground,
pretending to be dead, the others running up and singing out "Ruripsken,
are you alive yet?" Suddenly he springs up and seizes one of the other
players, who has to take his place, and so the game goes on.

Among the Mandingos of the coast of Sierra Leone, the girls approaching
puberty are taken by the women of the village to an out-of-the-way spot
in the forest, where they remain for a month and a day in strictest
seclusion, no one being permitted to see them except the old woman who
has charge of their circumcision. Here they are instructed in religion
and ceremonial, and at the expiration of the time set, are brought back
to town at night, and indulge in a sort of Lady Godiva procession until
daybreak. At the beginning of the dry-cool season among the Mundombe
"boys of from eight to ten years of age are brought by the
'kilombola-masters' into a lonely uninhabited spot, where they remain
for ninety days after their circumcision, during which time not even
their own parents may visit them. After the wound heals, they are
brought back to the village in triumph" (127. 1. 292).

With the Kaffirs the circumcision-rites last five months, "and during
this whole time the youths go around with their bodies smeared with
white clay. They form a secret society, and dwell apart from the village
in a house built specially for them" (127. I. 292). Among the Susu there
is a secret organization known as the _Semo_, the members of which
use a peculiar secret language, and "the young people have to pass a
whole year in the forest, and it is believed right for them to kill any
one who comes near the wood, and who is not acquainted with this secret
tongue" (127. I. 240). A very similar society exists among the tribes on
the Rio Nunez. Here "the young people live for seven or eight years a
life of seclusion in the forest." In Angoy there is the secret society
of the _Sindungo_, membership in which passes from father to son;
in Bomma, the secret orders of the fetich Undembo; among the Shekiani
and the Bakulai, that of the great spirit Mwetyi, the chief object of
which is to keep in subjection women and children, and into which boys
are initiated when between fourteen and eighteen years old; the Mumbo
Jumbo society of the Mandingos, into which no one under sixteen years of
age is allowed to enter (127. I. 241-247).

Among the Mpongwe the women have a secret society called _Njembe_,
the object of which is to protect them against harsh treatment by the
men. The initiation lasts several weeks, and girls from ten to twelve
years of age are admissible (127. I. 245).

Of the Indians of the western plains of the United States of America we
are told: "At twelve or thirteen these yearnings can no longer be
suppressed; and, banded together, the youths of from twelve to sixteen
years roam over the country; and some of the most cold-blooded
atrocities, daring attacks, and desperate combats have been made by
these children in pursuit of fame" (432. 191).

Among the Mandingos of West Africa, during the two months immediately
following their circumcision, the youths "form a society called
_Solimana_. They make visits to the neighbouring villages, where
they sing and dance and are _feted_ by the inhabitants."

In Angola the boys "live for a month under the care of a fetich-priest,
passing their time in drum-beating, a wild sort of singing, and
rat-hunting." Among the Beit Bidel "all the youths who are to be
consecrated as men unite together. They deck themselves out with beads,
hire a guitar-player, and retire to the woods, where they steal and kill
goats from the herds of their tribe, and for a whole week amuse
themselves with sport and song. The Wanika youths of like age betake
themselves, wholly naked, to the woods, where they remain until they
have slain a man." On the coast of Guinea, after their circumcision,
"boys are allowed to exact presents from every one and to commit all
sorts of excesses" (127. 1.291-4).

"Among the Fulas, boys who have been circumcised are a law unto
themselves until the incision has healed. They can steal or take
whatever suits them without its being counted an offence. In Bambuk, for
fourteen days after the circumcision-_fete_, the young people are
allowed to escape from the supervision of their parents. From sunrise to
sunset they can leave the paternal roof and run about the fields near
the village. They can demand meat and drink of whomsoever they please,
but may not enter a house unless they have been invited to do so." In
Darfur, "after their circumcision, the boys roamed around the adjacent
villages and stole all the poultry" (127. I. 291).

_Modern Aspects_.

These secret societies and outbursts of primitive lawlessness recall at
once to our attention the condition of affairs at some of our
universities, colleges, and larger schools. The secret societies and
student-organizations, with their initiations, feasts, and extravagant
demonstrations, their harassing of the uninitiated, their despisal of
municipal, collegiate, even parental authority, and their oftentime
contempt and disregard of all social order, their not infrequent
excesses and debauches, carry us back to their analogues in the
institutions of barbarism and savagery, the accompaniments of the
passage from childhood to manhood. Of late years, the same spirit has
crept into our high schools, and is even making itself felt in the
grammar grades, so imitative are the school-children of their brothers
and sisters in the universities and colleges. Pennalism and fagging, so
prevalent of old time in Germany and England, are not without their
representatives in this country. The "freshman" in the high schools and
colleges is often made to feel much as the savage does who is serving
his time of preparation for admission into the mysteries of Mumbo-

In the revels of "May Day," "Midsummer," "Eogation Week," "Whitsuntide,"
"All Fools' Day," "New Year's Day," "Hallow E'en," "Christmas,"
"Easter," etc., children throughout England and in many parts of Europe
during the Middle Ages took a prominent part and _role_ in the
customs and practices which survive even to-day, as may be seen in
Brand, Grimm, and other books dealing with popular customs and
festivals, social _fetes_ and merry-makings.

In _Tennyson's May_ Queen we read:--

"You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
To-morrow'll be the happiest time of all the glad New Year;
Of all the glad New Year, mother, the maddest, merriest day;
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May."

And a "mad, merry day" it certainly was in "merry England," when the
fairest lass in the village was chosen "Queen of the May," and sang
merry songs of Robin Hood and Maid Marian.

Polydore Virgil tells us that in ancient Home the "youths used to go
into the fields and spend the Calends of May in dancing and singing in
honour of Flora, goddess of fruits and flowers." Westermarck seems to
think some of these popular customs have something to do with the
increase of the sexual function in spring and early summer (166. 30).

In seizing upon this instinct for society-making among children and
youth lies one of the greatest opportunities for the prevention of crime
and immorality the world has ever known. To turn to good ends this
spontaneity of action, to divert into channels of usefulness these
currents of child-activity, will be to add immensely to the equipment of
mankind in the struggle with vice. A certain bishop of the early
Christian Church is credited with having declared that, if the
authorities only took charge of the children soon enough, there would be
no burning of heretics, no scandalous schisms in the body ecclesiastic;
and there is a good deal of truth in this observation.

The Catholic Church, and many of the other Christian churches have seen
the wisdom of appealing to, and availing themselves of, the child-power
in social and socio-religious questions. Not a little of the great
spread of the temperance movement in America and Europe of recent years
is due to the formation of children's societies,--Bands of Hope, Blue
Ribbon Clubs, Junior Temperance Societies and Prohibition Clubs, Young
Templars' Associations, Junior Father Matthew Leagues, and the like,--
where a legitimate sphere is open to the ardour and enthusiasm of the
young of both sexes. The great Methodist Church has been especially
quick to recognize the value of this kind of work, and the junior
chapters of the "Epworth League"--whose object is "to promote
intelligence and loyal piety in its young members and friends and to
train them in experimental religion, practical benevolence, and church
work"--now numbers some three thousand, with a membership of about one
hundred and twenty thousand. This society was organized at Cleveland,
Ohio, May 15, 1889. The "Young People's Society of Christian Endeavour,"
the first society of which was established at Portland, Maine, February
2,1881, with the object of "promoting an earnest Christian life among
its members, increasing their mutual acquaintance, and making them more
useful in the service of God," has now enrolled nearly thirty-four
thousand "Companies," with a total membership (active and associate) all
over the world of over two million; of these societies 28,696 are in the
United States and 2243 in Canada. Another society of great influence,
having a membership in America and the Old World of some thirty-five
thousand, is the "Ministering Children's League," founded by the
Countess of Meath in 1885, and having as objects "to promote kindness,
unselfishness, and the habit of usefulness amongst children, and to
create in their minds an earnest desire to help the needy and suffering;
to give them some definite work to do for others, that this desire may
be brought to good effect"; there are also the "Lend-a-Hand Clubs" of
the Unitarian Church. The Episcopal Church has its "Girls' Friendly
Societies," its "Junior Auxiliaries to the Board of Missions"; its
"Brotherhood of St. Andrew," and "Brotherhood of Andrew and Philip," for
young men. For those of not too youthful years, the "Young Men's
Christian Association," the associations of the "White," "Red," and
"Iron Cross" exist in the various churches, besides many other "Guilds,"
"Alliances," "Leagues," etc. For those outside the churches there are
"Boys' Clubs," and "Girls' Societies" in the cities and larger towns.
The "Bands of Mercy" and the branches of the "Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals" exert a widespread influence for good; while
several of the secret benevolent associations, such as the "Foresters,"
for example, have instituted junior lodges, from which the youth are
later on drafted into the society of their elders. There exist also many
social clubs and societies, more or less under the supervision of the

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest