The Popular Science Monthly Volume 86, The Scientific Monthly Volume I

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  • 9/1915,12/1915
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NOTE: degrees A (Absolute?) is the same as the current degrees K (Kelvin).









THUS far our description of the stellar universe has been confined to its geometrical properties. A serious study of the evolution of the stars must seek to determine, first of all, what the stars really are, what their chemical constitutions and physical conditions are; and how they are related to each other as to their physical properties. The application of the spectroscope has advanced our knowledge of the subject by leaps and bounds. This wonderful instrument, assisted by the photographic plate, enables every visible celestial body to write its own record of the conditions existing in itself, within limits set principally by the brightness of the body. Such records physicists have succeeded to some extent in duplicating in their laboratories; and the known conditions under which the laboratory experiments have been conducted are the Rosetta Stones which are enabling us to interpret, with more or less success, the records written by the stars.

It is well known that the ordinary image of a star, whether formed by the eye alone, or by the achromatic telescope and the eye combined, contains light of an infinite variety of colors corresponding, speaking according to the mechanical theory of light, to waves of energy of an infinite variety of lengths which have traveled to us from the star. In the point image of a star, these radiations fall in a confused heap. and the observer is unable to say that radiations corresponding to any given wave-lengths are present or absent. When the star’s light has been passed through the prism, or diffracted from the grating of a spectroscope, these rays are separated one from another and arranged side by side in perfect order, ready for the observer to survey them and to determine which ones are present in superabundance and which other ones are lacking wholly or in part. The following comparison is a fair one: the ordinary point image of a star is as if all the books in the university library were thrown together in a disorderly but compact pile in the center of the reading room: we could say little concerning the contents and characteristics of that library; whether it is strong in certain fields of human endeavor, or weak in other fields. The spectrum of a star is as the same library when the books are arranged on the shelves in complete perfection and simplicity, so that he who looks may appraise its contents at any or all points. Let us consider the fundamental principles of spectroscopy.

1. When a solid body, a liquid, or a highly-condensed gas is heated to incandescence, its light when passed through a spectroscope forms a continuous spectrum: that is, a band of light, red at one end and violet at the other, uninterrupted by either dark or bright lines.

2. The light from the incandescent gas or vapor of a chemical element, passed through a spectroscope, forms a bright-line spectrum; that is, one consisting entirely of isolated bright lines, distributed differently throughout the spectrum for the different elements, or of bright lines superimposed upon a relatively faint continuous spectrum.

3. If radiations from a continuous-spectrum source pass through cooler gases or vapors before entering the spectroscope, a dark-line spectrum results: that is, the positions which the bright lines in the spectra of the vapors and gases would have are occupied by dark or absorption lines. These are frequently spoken of as Fraunhofer lines.

To illustrate: the gases and vapors forming the outer strata of the Sun’s atmosphere would in themselves produce bright-line spectra of the elements involved. If these gases and vapors could in effect be removed, without changing underlying conditions, the remaining condensed body of the Sun should have a continuous spectrum. The cooler overlying gases and vapors absorb those radiations from the deeper and hotter sources which the gases and vapors would themselves emit, and thus form the dark-line spectrum of the Sun. The stretches of spectrum between the dark lines are of course continuous-spectrum radiations.

These principles are illustrated in Fig. 12. The essential parts of a spectroscope are the slit–an opening perhaps 1/100th of an inch wide and 1/10th of an inch long–to admit the light properly; a lens to render the light rays parallel before they fall upon the prism or grating; a prism or grating; a lens to receive the rays after they have been dispersed by the prism or grating and to form an image of the spectrum a short distance in front of the eye, where the eye will see the spectrum or a sensitive dry-plate will photograph it. If we place an alcohol lamp immediately in front of the slit and sprinkle some common salt in the flame the two orange bright lines of sodium will be seen in the eyepiece, close together, as in the upper of the two spectra in the illustration. If we sprinkle thallium salt in the flame the green line of that element will be visible in the spectrum. If we take the lamp away and place a lime light or a piece of white-hot iron in front of the slit we shall get a brilliant continuous spectrum not crossed by any lines, either bright or dark. Insert now the alcohol-sodium-thallium lamp between the lime light and the slit, and the observer will see the two sodium lines and one thallium line in the same places as before, but as dark lines on a background of bright continuous spectrum, as: illustrated in the lower of the two spectra. Let us insert a screen between the lamp and the lime light so as to cut out the latter, and we shall see the bright lines of sodium and thallium reappear as in the upper of the two spectra. These simple facts illustrate Kirchhoff’s immortal discovery of certain fundamental principles of spectroscopy, in 1859. The gases and vapors in the lamp flame are at a lower temperature than the lime source. The cooler vapors of sodium and thallium have the power of absorbing exactly those rays from the hotter lime or other similar source which the vapors by themselves would emit to form bright lines.

When we apply the spectroscope to celestial objects we find apparently an endless variety of spectra. We shall illustrate some of the leading characteristics of these spectra as in Figs. 13 to 18, inclusive, and Figs. 21, 22, 23 and 24. The spectra of some nebulae consist almost exclusively of isolated bright lines, indicating that these bodies consist of luminous gases, as Huggins determined in 1864; but a very faint continuous band of light frequently forms a background for the brilliant bright lines. Many of the nebular lines are due to hydrogen, others are due to helium; but the majority, including the two on the extreme right in Fig. 13, which we attribute to the hypothetical element nebulium, and the close pair on the extreme left, have not been matched in our laboratories and, therefore, are of unknown origin. Most of the irregular nebulae whose spectra have been observed, the ring nebulae, the planetary and stellar nebulae, have very similar spectra, though with many differences in the details.[1]

[1] My colleague, Wright, who has been making a study of the nebular spectra, has determined the accurate positions of about 67 bright nebular lines.

The great spiral nebula in Andromeda has a continuous spectrum crossed by a multitude of absorption lines. The spectrum is a very close approach to the spectrum of our Sun. It is clear that this spiral nebula is widely different from the bright-line or gaseous nebulae in physical condition. The spiral may be a great cluster of stars which are approximate duplicates of our Sun, or there is a chance that it consists, as Slipher has suggested, of a great central sun, or group of suns, and of a multitude of small bodies or particles, such as meteoric matter, revolving around the nucleus; this finely divided matter being visible by reflected light which originates in the center of the system.

There is an occasional star, like chi Carinae, whose spectrum consists almost wholly of bright lines, in general bearing no apparent relationship to the bright lines in the spectra of the gaseous nebulae except that the hydrogen lines are there, as they are almost everywhere. There is reason to believe that such a spectrum indicates the existence of a very extensive and very hot atmosphere surrounding the main body, or core, of the star in question. This particular star is remarkable in that it has undergone great changes in brilliancy and is located upon a background of nebulosity. The chances are strong that the star has rushed through the nebulosity with high rate of speed and that the resulting bombardment of the star has expanded and intensely heated its atmosphere.

There are the Wolf-Rayet stars, named from the French astronomers who discovered the first three of this class, whose spectra show a great variety of combinations of continuous spectrum and bright bands. We believe that the continuous spectrum in such a star comes from the more condensed central part, or core, and that the bright-line light proceeds from a hot atmosphere extending far out from the core.

The great majority of the stars have spectra which are continuous, except for the presence of dark or absorption lines: a few lines in the very blue stars, and an increasing number of lines as we pass from the blue through the yellow and red stars to those which are extremely red.

Secchi in the late 60’s classified the spectra of the brighter stars, according to the absorption lines in their spectra, into Types I, II III and IV, which correspond: Type I, to the very blue stars, such as Spica and Sirius; Type II, to the yellow stars similar to our Sun; Type III, to the red stars such as Aldebaran; and Type IV, to the extremely red stars, of which the brightest representatives are near the limit of naked-eye vision. Secchi knew little or nothing concerning stars whose spectra contain bright lines, except as to the isolated bright-line spectra of a few nebulae, and as to the bright hydrogen lines in gamma Cassiopeia, and his system did not include these.

One of the most comprehensive investigations ever undertaken by a single institution was that of classifying the stars as to their spectra, over the entire sky, substantially down to and including the stars of eighth magnitude, by the Harvard College Observatory, as a memorial to the lamented Henry Draper. Professor Pickering and his associates have formulated a classification system which is now in universal use. It starts with the bright-line nebulae, passes to the bright-line stars, and then to the stars in which the helium absorption lines are prominent. The latter are called the helium stars, or technically the Class B stars. The next main division includes the stars in which hydrogen absorption is prominent, called Class A. Classes B and A are blue stars. Then follows in succession Class F, composed of bluish-yellow stars, which is in a sense a transition class between the hydrogen stars and those resembling our Sun, the latter called Class G. The Class G stars are yellow. Class K stars are the yellowish-red; Class M, the red; and Class N, the extremely red. Each of these classes has several subdivisions which make the transition from one main class to the next main class fairly gradual, and not per saltum; though it should be said that the relationship of Class N to Class M spectra is not clear. The illustration, Fig. 17, brings out the principal features of the spectra of Classes B to M. The spectrum becomes more complicated as we pass from Class B to the Class M, and the color changes from blue to extreme red, because the violet and blue radiations become rapidly weaker as we pass through the various classes.


The general course of the evolutionary processes as applied to the principal classes of celestial bodies is thought to be fairly well known. With very few exceptions astronomers are agreed as to the main trend of this order, but this must not be interpreted to mean that there are no outstanding differences of opinion. There are, in fact, some items of knowledge which seem to run counter to every order of evolution that has been proposed.

The large irregular nebulae, such as the great nebula in Orion, the Trifid nebula, and the background of nebulosity which embraces a large part of the constellation of Orion, are thought to represent the earliest form of inorganic life known to us. The material appears to be in a chaotic state. There is no suggestion of order or system. The spectroscope shows that in many cases the substance consists of glowing gases or vapors; but whether they are glowing from the incandescence resulting from high temperature, or electrical condition, or otherwise, is unknown, though heat origin of their light is the simplest hypothesis now available. Whether such nebulae are originally hot or cold, we must believe that they are endowed with gravitational power, and that their molecules or particles are, or will ultimately be, in motion. It will happen that there are regions of greater density, or nuclei, here and there throughout the structure which will act as centers of condensation, drawing surrounding materials into combination with them. The processes of growth from nuclei originally small to volumes and masses ultimately stupendous must be slow at first, relatively more rapid after the masses have grown to moderate dimensions and the supplies of outlying materials are still plentiful, and again slow after the supplies shall have been largely exhausted. By virtue of motions prevailing within the original nebular structure, or because of inrushing materials which strike the central masses, not centrally but obliquely, low rotations of the condensed nebulous masses will occur. Stupendous quantities of heat will be generated in the building-up process. This heat will radiate rapidly into space because the gaseous masses are highly rarefied and their radiating surfaces are large in proportion to the masses. With loss of heat the nebulous masses will contract in volume and gradually assume forms more and more spherical. When the forms become approximately spherical, the first stage of stellar life may be said to have been reached.

It was Herschel’s belief that by processes of condensation, following the loss of heat by radiation into surrounding space, formless nebulae gravitated into nebula of smaller and smaller volumes until finally the planetary form was reached, and that planetaries were the ancestors of stars in general. That the planetaries do develop into stars, we have every reason to believe; but that all nebulae, or relatively many nebulae, pass through the planetary stage, or that many of our stars have developed from planetaries, we shall later find good reason for doubting. The probabilities are immensely stronger that the stars in general have been formed directly from the irregular nebulae, without the intervention of the planetaries. The planetary nebula seem to be exceptional cases, but to this point we shall return later.

It is quite possible, and even probable, that gaseous masses have not in all cases passed directly to the stellar state. The materials in a gaseous nebula may be so highly attenuated, or be distributed so irregularly throughout a vast volume of space, that they will condense into solids, small meteoric particles for example, before they combine to form stars. Such masses or clouds of non-shining or invisible matter are thought to exist in considerable profusion within the stellar system. The nebulosity connected more or less closely with the brighter Pleiades stars may be a case in illustration. Slipher has recently found that the spectra of two small regions observed in this nebula are continuous, with absorption lines of hydrogen and helium. This spectrum is apparently the same as that of the bright Pleiades stars. Slipher’s interpretation is that the nebula is not shining by its own light, but is reflecting to us the light of the Pleiades stars. That this material will eventually be drawn into the stars already existing in the neighborhood, or be condensed into new centers and form other stars, we can scarcely doubt. The condensation of such materials to form stars large enough to be seen from the great distance of the Pleiades cluster must generate heat in the process, and cause these stars in their earliest youth to be substantially as hot as other stars formed directly from gaseous materials. It is possible, also, that the spiral nebulae will develop into stars, perhaps each such object into many, or some of the larger ones into multitudes, of stars.

Let us attempt to visualize the conditions which we think exist in a newly-formed star of average mass. It should be essentially spherical, with surface fairly sharply defined. Our Sun has average specific gravity of 1.4, as compared with that of water. The average density of the very young star must certainly be vastly lower; perhaps no greater than the density of our atmosphere at the Earth’s surface; it may even be considerably lower than this estimate. The diameter of our Sun is 1,400,000 kilometers. The diameter of the average young star may be ten or twenty or forty times as great. The central volume or core of the star is undoubtedly a great deal denser than the surface strata, on account of pressure due to the star’s own gravitational forces. The conditions in the outer strata should bear some resemblance to those existing in the gaseous nebula. The star may or may not have a corona closely or remotely similar to our Sun’s corona. The deep interior of the star must be very hot, though not nearly so hot as the interiors of older stars; but the surface strata of the young star should be remarkably hot; for, being composed of highly attenuated gases, any lowering of the temperature by radiation into surrounding space will be compensated promptly through the medium of highly-heated convection currents which can travel more rapidly from the interior to the surface than in the case of stars in middle or old age. Even though the star, as observed in our most powerful telescopes, is a point of light, without apparent diameter, its outer strata should supply some bright lines in the spectrum, because these strata project out beyond what we may call the core of the star and themselves act as sources of light. The spectrum should, therefore, consist of some of the bright lines which were observed in the nebular spectrum, these proceeding from the outer strata of the star; and of a continuous spectrum made up of radiations proceeding from the deeper strata or core of the star, in which a few dark lines may be introduced by the absorption from those parts of the outer gaseous strata which lie between us and the core.

A few hundred stellar spectra resembling this description are well known, discovered mostly at the Harvard Observatory. Their details differ greatly, but they have certain features in common. The bright lines of helium are extremely rare in stars, but they have been observed in a few stellar spectra. The bright lines of nebulium have never been observed in a true star: they and the radiations in the ultra-violet known as at 3726A, seem to be confined to the nebular state; and the absorption lines of nebulium have never been observed in any spectrum. As soon as the stellar state is reached nebulium is no longer in evidence. Stellar spectra containing bright lines seem always to include hydrogen bright lines. This is as we should expect; hydrogen is the lightest known gas, and it is probably the substance which can best exist in the outer strata of stars in general. The extensive outer strata of very young stars seem to be composed largely of hydrogen, though other elements are in some cases present, as indicated by the weaker bright lines in a few cases. This preference of hydrogen for the outermost strata is illustrated by several very interesting observations of the nebulae. The nebulium lines are relatively strong in the central denser parts of the Orion and Trifid nebulae, but the hydrogen bright-lines are relatively very strong in the faint outlying parts of these nebulae. The planetary nebula B.D.–12 degrees.1172 is seen in the ordinary telescope to consist of a circular disc (probably a sphere or spheroid) of light and a faint star in its center. When this nebula is observed with a slitless spectrograph the hydrogen and nebulium components are seen as circular discs, but the hydrogen discs are larger than the nebulium discs. In other words, the hydrogen forms an atmosphere about the central star which extends out into space in all directions a great deal farther than the nebulium discs extend. The Wolf-Rayet star-planetary nebula D. M. + 30 degrees.3639 looks hazy in a powerful telescope, and when examined in a spectroscope the haziness is seen to be due to a sharply defined globe of hydrogen 5 seconds of arc in diameter surrounding the star in its center. Wolf and Burns have shown that in the Ring Nebula in Lyra the 3726A and the hydrogen images are larger as to outer diameter than the nebulium images, but that the latter are the more condensed on the inner edge of the ring. Wright has in the present year examined these and other nebulae with special reference to the distribution of the principal ingredients. He finds in general that the radiations at 4363A and 4686A, of unknown or possibly helium origin, are most closely compressed around the central nuclei of nebulae; that the matter definitely known to be helium is more extended in size; that the nebulium structure is still larger; and that the hydrogen uniformly extends out farther than the nebulium; and that the ultra violet radiation at 3726A seems to proceed from the largest volume of all. The 37726A line, like the nebulium line, is unknown in stellar spectra; it seems also to be confined to true nebulosity. Neglecting the elements which have never been observed in true stars, we may say that all these observations are in harmony with the view that hydrogen should be and is the principal element in the outer stratum of the very young star. A few of the stars whose spectra contain bright hydrogen lines have also a number of bright lines whose chemical origin is not known. They appear to exist exactly at this state of stellar life: several of them have not been found in the spectra of the gaseous nebulae, and they are not represented in the later types of stellar spectra. The strata which produce these bright lines are thought to be a little deeper in the stars than the outer hydrogen stratum.

A slightly older stage of stellar existence is indicated by the type of spectrum in which some of the lines of hydrogen, always those at the violet end, are dark, and the remaining hydrogen lines, always those toward the red end, are bright. The brightest star in the Pleiades group, Alcyone, presents apparently the last of this series, for all of the hydrogen lines are dark except H alpha, in the red. In some of the bright-line stars which we have described, technically known as Oe5, Harvard College Observatory found that the dark helium and hydrogen lines exist, and apparently increase in intensity, on the average, as the bright lines become fainter. Wright has observed the absorption lines of helium and hydrogen in the spectra of the nuclei of some planetary nebulae, although the helium and hydrogen lines are bright in the nebulosity surrounding the nuclei. We may say that when all of the bright lines have disappeared from the spectra of stars, the helium lines, and likewise the hydrogen lines, have in general become fairly conspicuous. These stars are known as the helium stars, or stars of Class B. Proceeding through the subdivisions of Class B, the helium lines increase to a maximum of intensity and then decrease. The dark hydrogen lines are more and more in evidence, with intensities increasing slowly. In the middle and later subdivisions of the helium stars silicon, oxygen and nitrogen are usually represented by a few absorption lines.

Just as the gaseous nebulae radiate heat into space and condense, so must the stars, with this difference: the nebulae are highly rarified bodies, with surfaces enormously large in proportion to the heat contents; and the radiation from them must be relatively rapid. In fact, some of the nebulae seem to be so highly rarified that radiation may take place from their interiors almost as well as from their surfaces. The radiation from a star just formed must occur at a much slower rate. The continued condensation of the star, following the loss of heat, must lead to a change of physical condition, which will be apparent in the spectrum. It should pass from the so-called helium group, to the hydrogen, or Class A group, not suddenly but by insensible gradations of spectrum. In the Class A stars the hydrogen lines are the most prominent features. The helium lines have disappeared, except in a few stars where faint helium remnants are in evidence. The magnesium lines have become prominent and the calcium lines are growing rapidly in strength. The so-called metallic lines, usually beginning with iron and titanium lines, which have a few extremely faint representatives in the last of the helium stars, become visible here and there in the Class A spectra, but they are not conspicuous.

In the next main division, the Class F spectra, the metallic lines increase rapidly in prominence, and the hydrogen lines decrease slightly in strength. These stars are not so blue as the helium and hydrogen stars. They are intermediate between the blue stars and the yellow stars, which begin with the next class, G, of which our Sun is a representative.

The metallic lines are in Class G spectra in great number and intensity, and the hydrogen lines are greatly reduced in prominence. The calcium bands are very wide and intense.

Another step brings us to the very yellow and the slightly-reddish stars, known as Class K. These stars are weak in violet light, the hydrogen lines are substantially of the same intensity as the most prominent metallic lines, and the metallic lines are more and more in evidence.

Stars in the last subdivisions of the Class K and all of the Class M stars are decidedly red. In these the hydrogen lines are still further weakened and the metallic lines are even more prominent. Their spectra are further marked by absorption bands of titanium oxide, which reach their maximum strength in the later subdivisions of Class M.

The extremely red stars compose Class N on the Harvard scale. Their spectra are almost totally lacking in violet light, the metallic absorption is very strong, and there are conspicuous absorption bands of carbon.

Deep absorbing strata of titanium and carbon oxides seem to exist in the atmospheres of the Class M and N stars, respectively. The presence of these oxides indicates a relatively low temperature, and this is what we should expect from stars so far advanced in life.

The period of existence succeeding the very red stars has illustrations near at hand, we think, in Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and in the Earth and the other small planets and the Moon: bodies which still contain much heat, but which are invisible save by means of reflected light.

The progression of stellar development, which we have described, has been based upon the radiation of heat. This is necessarily gradual, and the corresponding changes of spectrum should likewise be gradual and continuous. It is not intended to give the impression that only a few types of spectra are in evidence: the variety is very great. The labels, Class B, Class A, and so on to Class N, are intended to mark the miles in the evolutionary journey. The Harvard experts have put up other labels to mark the tenths of miles, so to speak, and some day we shall expect to see the hundredths labeled. Further, it is not here proposed that heat radiation is the only vital factor in the processes of evolution. The mass of a star may be an important item, and the electrical conditions may be concerned. A very small star and a very massive star may develop differently, and it is conceivable that there may be actual differences of composition. But heat-radiation is doubtless the most important factor.

The evolutionary processes must proceed with extreme deliberation. The radiation of the heat actually present at any moment in a large helium star would probably not require many tens of thousands of years, but this quantity of heat is negligible in comparison with the quantity generated within the star during and by the processes of condensation from the helium age down to the Class M state. We know that the compression of any body against resistance generates or releases heat. Now a gaseous star at any instant is in a state of equilibrium. Its internal heat and the centrifugal force due to its rotation about an axis are trying to expand it. Its own gravitational power is trying to draw all of its materials to the center. Until there is a loss of heat no contraction can occur; but just as soon as there is such a loss gravity proceeds to diminish the stellar volume. Contraction will proceed more slowly than we should at first thought expect, because in the process of contraction additional heat is generated and this becomes a factor in resisting further compression. Contraction is resisted vastly more by the heat generated in the process of contraction than it is by the store of heat already in evidence. The quantity of heat in our Sun, now existing as heat, would suffice to maintain its present rate of outflow only a few thousands of years. The heat generated in the process of the Sun’s shrinkage under gravity, however, is so extensive as to maintain the supply during millions of years to come. Helmholtz has shown that the reduction of the Sun’s radius at the rate of 45 meters per year would generate as much heat within the Sun as is now radiated. This rate of shrinkage is so slow that our most refined instruments could not detect a change in the solar diameter until after the lapse of 4,000 or 5,000 years. Again, there are reasons for suspecting that the processes of evolution in our Sun, and in other stars as well, may be enormously prolonged through the influence of energy within the atoms or molecules of matter composing them. The subatomic forces residing in the radioactive elements represent the most condensed form of energy of which we have any conception. It is believed that the subatomic energy in a mass of radium is at least a million-fold greater than the energy represented in the combustion or other chemical transformation of any ordinary substance having the same mass. These radioactive forces are released with extreme slowness, in the form of heat or the equivalent; and if these substances exist moderately in the Sun and stars, as they do in the Earth, they may well be important factors in prolonging the lives of these bodies.

Speaking somewhat loosely, I think we may say that the processes of evolution from an extended nebula to a condensed nebula and from the latter to a spherical star, are comparatively rapid, perhaps normally confined to a few tens of millions of years; but that the further we proceed in the development process, from the blue star to the yellow, and possibly but not certainly on to the red star, the slower is the progress made, for the radiating surface through which all the energy from the interior must pass becomes smaller and smaller in proportion to the mass, and the convection currents which carry heat from the interior to the surface must slow down in speed.




THE Fijians had a well-organized social system which recognized six classes of society. (1) Kings and queens (Tuis and Andis). (2) Chiefs of districts (Rokos). (3) Chiefs of villages, priests (Betes), and land owners (Mata-ni-vanuas). (4) Distinguished warriors of low birth, chiefs of the carpenter caste (Rokolas), and chiefs of the turtle fishermen. (5) Common people (Kai-si). (6) Slaves taken in battle.

The high chiefs still inspire great respect, and indeed it has been the policy of the British government to maintain a large measure of their former authority. Thus of the 17 provinces into which the group was divided, 11 are governed by high chiefs entitled Roko Tui, and there are about 176 inferior chiefs who are the head men of districts, and 31 native magistrates. In so far as may be consistent with order and civilization these chiefs are permitted to govern in the old paternal manner, and they are veritably patriarchs of their people. The district chiefs are still elected by the land owners, mata-ni-vanuas, by a showing of hands as of old.

Independent of respect paid to those in authority, rank is still reverenced in Fiji. Once acting under the kind permission and advice of our generous friend Mr. Allardyce, the colonial secretary, and accompanied by my ship-mates Drs. Charles H. Townsend, and H. F. Moore, I went upon a journey of some days into the interior of Viti Levu, our guide and companion being Ratu Pope Seniloli, a grandson of king Thakombau, and one of the high chiefs of Mbau. Upon meeting Ratu Pope every native dropped his burdens, stepped to the side of the wood-path and crouched down, softly chanting the words of the tame, muduo! wo! No one ever stepped upon his shadow, and if desirous of crossing his path they passed in front, never behind him. Clubs were lowered in his presence, and no man stood fully erect when he was near. The very language addressed to high chiefs is different from that used in conversation between ordinary men, these customs being such that the inferior places himself in a defenceless position with respect to his superior.

It is a chief’s privilege to demand service from his subjects; which was fortunate for us, for when we started down the Waidina River from Nabukaluka our canoes were so small and overloaded that the ripples were constantly lapping in over the gunwale, threatening momentarily to swamp us. Soon, however, we came upon a party of natives in a fine large canoe, and after receiving their tama Ratu Pope demanded: “Where are you going”? The men, who seemed somewhat awestricken, answered that it had been their intention to travel up the river. Whereupon Ratu Pope told them that this they might do, but we would take their canoe and permit them to continue in ours. To this they acceded with the utmost cheerfulness, although our noble guide would neither heed our protests nor permit us to reward them for their service, saying simply, “I am a chief. You may if you choose pay me.” In this manner we continued to improve our situation by “exchanging” with every canoe we met which happened to be better than our own, until finally our princely friend ordered a gay party of merry-makers out of a fine large skiff, which they cheerfully “exchanged” for our leaky canoes and departed singing happily, feeling honored indeed that this opportunity had come to them to serve the great chief Ratu Pope Seniloli; and thus suffering qualms of conscience, we sailed to our destination leaving a wake of confusion behind us. Moreover I forgot to mention that many natives had by Ratu Pope’s orders been diverted from their intended paths and sent forward to announce the coming of himself and the “American chiefs.” Thus does one of the Royal house of Mbau proceed through Fiji.

At first sight such behavior must appear autocratic, to say the least, but it should be remembered that a high chief has it in his power fully to recompense those about him, and this without the payment of a penny. Indeed, many intelligent natives still regret the introduction of money into their land, saying that all the white man’s selfishness had been developed through its omnipotence. In Fiji to-day there are no poor, for such would be fed and given a house by those who lived beside them. The white man’s callous brutality in ignoring the appeal of misery is incomprehensible to the natives of Fiji. “Progress” they have not in the sense that one man possesses vast wealth and many around him struggle helplessly, doomed to life-long poverty; nor have they ambition to toil beyond that occasional employment required to satisfy immediate wants. Yet if life be happy in proportion as the summation of its moments be contented, the Fijians are far happier than we. Old men and women rest beneath the shade of cocoa-palms and sing with the youths and maidens, and the care-worn faces and bent bodies of “civilization” are still unknown in Fiji. They still have something we have lost and never can regain.

It is impossible to draw a line between personal service such as was rendered to Ratu Pope and a regular tax (lala) for the benefit of the entire community or the support of the communal government; and the recognition of this fact actuated the English to preserve much of the old system and to command the payment of taxes in produce, rather than in money.

Land tenure in Fiji is a subject so complex that heavy volumes might be written upon it. In general it may be said that the chief can sell no land without the consent of his tribe. Cultivated land belonged to the man who originally farmed it, and is passed undivided to all his heirs. Waste land is held in common. Native settlers who have been taken into the tribes from time to time have been permitted to farm some of the waste land, and for this privilege they and their heirs must pay a yearly tribute to the chief either in produce or in service. Thus this form of personal lala is simply rent. The whole subject of land-ownership has given the poor English a world of trouble, as one may see who cares to read the official reports of the numerous intricate cases that have come before the courts.

For example, one party based their claims to land on the historic fact that their ancestors had eaten the chief of the original owners, and the solemn British court allowed the claim.

Basil Thomson in his interesting work upon “The Fijians; a Study of the Decline of Custom,” has given an authoritative summary of the present status of taxation and land tenure, land being registered under a modification of the Australian Torrens system.

In order to protect these child-like people from the avarice of our own race they are not permitted to sell their lands, and the greater portion of the area of Fiji is still held by the natives. The Hawaiian Islands now under our own rule furnish a sad contrast, for here the natives are reduced by poverty to a degraded state but little above that of peonage. The Fijians. on the other hand, may not sell, but may with the consent of the commissioner of native affairs lease their lands for a period of not more than twenty years.

The Fijians appear never to have been wholly without a medium of exchange, for sperm-whale’s teeth have always had a recognized purchasing power, but are more especially regarded as a means of expressing good will and honesty of purpose. A whale’s tooth is as effective to secure compliance with the terms of a bargain as an elaborately engraved bond would be with us. More commonly, however, exchanges are direct, each man bringing to the village green his taro, yaqona, yams or fish and exchanging with his neighbors; the rare disputes being settled by the village chief.

In traveling you will discover no hotels, but will be entertained in the stranger’s houses, and in return for your host’s hospitality you should make presents to the chief. Indeed to journey in good fashion you should be accompanied by a train of bearers carrying heavy bags full of purposed gifts, and nowhere in the world is the “rate per mile” higher than in Polynesia.

As in all communities, including our own world of finance, a man’s wealth consists not only in what he possesses but even more so in the number of people from whom he can beg or borrow. Wilkes records an interesting example of this, for he found that the rifle and other costly presents he had presented to King Tanoa were being seized upon by his (Tanoa’s) nephew who as his vasu had a right to take whatever he might select from the king’s possessions. Indeed, in order to keep his property in sight, Tanoa was forced to give it to his own sons, thus escaping the rapacity of his nephew. The construction of the British law is such that a vasu who thus appropriates property to himself could be sued and forced to restore it, but not a single Fijian has yet been so mean as to bring such a matter into court.

An individual as such can hardly be said to own property, for nearly all things belong to his family or clan, and are shared among cousins. This condition is responsible for that absence of personal ambition and that fatal contentment with existing conditions, which strikes the white man as so illogical, but which is nevertheless the dominant feature of the social fabric of the Polynesians, and which has hitherto prevented the introduction of “ideals of modern progress.” The natives are happy; why work when every reasonable want is already supplied? None are rich in material things, but none are beggars excepting in the sense that all are such. No one can be a miser, a capitalist, a banker, or a “promoter” in such a community, and thieves are almost unknown. Indeed, the honesty of the Fijians is one of those virtues which has excited the comment of travelers. Wilkes, who loathed them as “condor-eyed savages,” admits that the only thing which any native attempted to steal from the Peacock was a hatchet, and upon being detected the chief requested the privilege of taking the man ashore in order that he might be roasted and eaten. Theft was always severely punished by the chief; Maafu beating a thief with the stout stalk of a cocoanut leaf until the culprit’s life was despaired of, and Tui Thakau wrapping one in a tightly wound rope so that not a muscle could move while the wretch remained exposed for an entire day to the heat of the sun.

During Professor Alexander Agassiz’s cruises in which he visited nearly every island of the Fijis, and the natives came on board by hundreds, not a single object was stolen, although things almost priceless in native estimation lay loosely upon the deck. Once, indeed, when the deck was deserted by both officers and crew and fully a hundred natives were on board, we found a man who had been gazing wistfully for half an hour at a bottle which lay upon the laboratory table. Somehow he had managed to acquire a shilling, a large coin in Fiji, and this he offered in exchange for the coveted bottle. One can never forget his shout of joy and the radiance of his honest face as he leaped into his canoe after having received it as a gift.

Even the great chief Ratu Epele of Mbau beamed with joy when presented with a screw-capped glass tobacco jar, and Tui Thakau of Somo somo had a veritable weakness for bottles and possessed a large collection of these treasures.

Intelligent and well-educated natives who know whereof they speak have told me that they desire not the white man’s system, entailing as it does untold privation and heart-burnings to the many that the few may enjoy a surfeit of mere material things. As the natives say, “The white man possesses more than we, but his life is full of toil and sorrow, while our days are happy as they pass.”

Thus in the Pacific life is of to-day; the past is dead, and the future when it comes will pass as to-day is passing. Life is a dream, an evanescent thing, all but meaningless, and real only as is the murmur of the surf when the sea-breeze comes in the morning, and man awakens from the oblivion of night.

Hoarded wealth inspires no respect in the Pacific, and indeed, were it discovered, its possession would justify immediate confiscation. Yet man must raise idols to satisfy his instinct to worship things above his acquisition, and thus rank is the more reverenced because respect for property is low. Even to-day there is something god-like in the presence of the high chiefs, and none will cross the shadow of the king’s house. Even in war did a common man kill a chief he himself was killed by men of his own tribe.

As it is with property so with relationships. The family ties seem loosened; every child has two sets of parents, the adopted and the real, and relationships founded upon adoption are more respected than the real. Rank descends mainly through the mother. The son of a high chief by a common woman is a low chief, or even a commoner, but the son of a chieftainess by a common man is a chief. Curiously, there are no words in Fijian which are the exact equivalent of widow and widower. In the Marshall group the chief is actually the husband of all the women of his tribe, and as Lorimer Fison has said in his “Tales from Old Fiji,” their designation and understanding of relationships suggests that there was once a time when “all the women were the wives of every man, and all the men were the husbands of every woman,” as indeed was almost the case in Tahiti at the time of Captain Cook’s visit to this island.

The social customs of Fiji are rarely peculiar to Fiji itself, but commonly show their relationship or identity with those of the Polynesians or Papuans. Curiously indeed, while the original stock of the Fijians was probably pure Papuan, their social and economic systems are now dominated by Polynesian ideas, and only among the mountain tribes do we find a clear expression of the crude Papuan systems of life and thought. This in itself shows that under stimulation the Fijians are capable of advancement in cultural ideals.

This superposition of a Polynesian admixture upon a barbarous negroid stock may account for the anomalous character of the Fijians, for in the arts they equalled or in some things excelled the other island peoples of the Pacific, and some of their customs approached closely to the cultural level of the Polynesians, but in certain fundamental things they remained the most fiendish savages upon earth. Indeed we should expect that contact with a somewhat high culture would introduce new wants, and thus affect their arts more profoundly than their customs.

In common with all primitive peoples, their names of men and women are descriptive of some peculiarity or circumstance associated with the person named. Indeed, names were often changed after important events in a person’s life, thus our old friend Thakombau began life as Seru, then after the coup d’etat in which he slaughtered his father’s enemies and reestablished Tanoa’s rule in Mbau he was called Thakombau (evil to Mbau). At the time he also received another name Thikinovu (centipede) in allusion to his stealthiness in approaching to bite his enemy, but this designation, together with his “missionary” name “Ebenezer,” did not survive the test of usage. Miss Gordon Cumming gives an interesting list of Fijian names translated into English. For women they were such as Spray of the Coral Reef, Queen of Parrot’s Land, Queen of Strangers, Smooth Water, Wife of the Morning Star, Mother of Her Grandchildren, Ten Whale’s Teeth, Mother of Cockroaches, Lady Nettle, Drinker of Blood, Waited For, Rose of Rewa, Lady Thakombau, Lady Flag, etc. The men’s names were such as The Stone (eternal) God, Great Shark, Bad Earth, Bad Stranger, New Child, More Dead Man’s Flesh, Abode of Treachery, Not Quite Cooked, Die Out of Doors, Empty Fire, Fire in the Bush, Eats Like a God, King of Gluttony, Ill Cooked, Dead Man, Revenge, etc.

In the religion of a people we have the most reliable clue to the history of their progress in culture and intelligence, for religions even when unwritten are potent to conserve old conceptions, and thus their followers advance beyond them, as does the intelligence of the twentieth century look pityingly upon the conception of the cruel and jealous God of the Old Testament, whose praises are nevertheless still sung in every Christian church. Thus in Tahiti the people were not cannibals, but the gods still appeared in the forms of birds that fed upon the bodies of the sacrificed. The eye of the victim was, indeed, offered to the chief, who raised it to his lips but did not eat it. In Samoa also where the practice of cannabalism was very rare and indulged in only under great provocation, some of the gods remained cannibals, and the surest way of appeasing any god was to be laid upon the stones of a cold oven. In Tahiti and Samoa, while most of the gods were malevolent, a few were kindly disposed towards mortals; in Fiji, however, they were all dreaded as the most powerful, sordid, cruel and vicious cannibal ghosts that have ever been conjured into being in the realm of thought.

All over the Pacific from New Zealand to Japan, and from New Guinea to Hawaii, ancestor-worship forms the backbone of every religion as clearly as it did in Greece or Rome. There are everywhere one or more very ancient gods who may always have existed and from whom all others are descended. Next in order of reverence, although not always in power, come their children, and finally the much more numerous grandchildren and remote descendants of these oldest and highest gods. Finally, after many generations, men of chieftain’s rank were born to the gods. Thus a common man could never attain the rank of a high chief, for such were the descendants of the gods, while commoners were created out of other clay and designed to be servants to the chiefs.

But the process of god-making did not end with the appearance of men, for great chiefs and warriors after death became kalou yalo, or spirits, and often remained upon earth a menace to the unwary who might offend them. Curiously, these deified mortals might suffer a second death which would result in their utter annihilation, and while in Fiji we heard a tale of an old chief who had met with the ghost of his dead enemy and had killed him for the second and last time; the club which served in this miraculous victory having been hung up in the Mbure as an object of veneration.

Of a still lower order were the ghosts of common men or of animals, and most dreaded of all was the vengeful spirit of the man who had been devoured. The ghosts of savage Fiji appear all to have been malevolent and fearful beings, whereas those of the more cultured Polynesians were some of them benevolent. As Ellis says of the Tahitian mythology:

Each lovely island was made a sort of fairyland and the spells of enchantment were thrown over its varied scenes. The sentiment of the poet that

“Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth, Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep”

was one familiar to their minds, and it is impossible not to feel interested in a people who were accustomed to consider themselves surrounded by invisible intelligences, anti who recognized in the rising sun, the mild and silver moon, the shooting star, the meteor’s transient flame, the ocean’s roar, the tempest’s blast, or the evening breeze the movements of mighty spirits.

The gods and ghosts of Fiji often entered into the bodies of animals or men, especially idiots.

Thus when the Carnegie Institution Expedition arrived at the Murray Islands in Torres Straits, the scientific staff were much pleased at the decided evidences of respect shown by the natives until it came out that the Islanders considered their white guests to be semi-idiots, and hence powerful sorcerers to be placated. Fijian religion had developed into the oracular stage, and the priest after receiving prayers and offerings would on occasions be entered into by the god. Tremors would overspread his body, the flesh of which would creep horribly. His veins would swell, his eyeballs protrude with excitement and his voice, becoming quavering and unnatural, would whine out strange words, words spoken by the god himself and unknown to the priest who as his unconscious agent was overcome by violent convulsions. Slowly the contortions grew less and with a start the priest would awaken, dash his club upon the ground and the god would leave him. It may well be imagined that the priests were the most powerful agents of the chiefs in forwarding the interests of their masters, for, as in ancient Greece or Rome, nothing of importance was undertaken without first consulting the oracle.

Surrounded by multitudes of demons, ghosts, and genii who were personified in everything about him, religion was the most powerful factor in controlling Fijian life and politics. In fact, it entered deeply into every act the native performed. The gods were more monstrous in every way than man, but in all attributes only the exaggerated counterparts of Fijian chiefs.

War was constantly occurring among these gods and spirits, and even high gods could die by accident or be killed by those of equal rank so that at least one god, Samu, was thus dropped out of the mythology in 1847.

Ndengei was the oldest and greatest, but not the most universally reverenced god. He lived in a cavern in the northeastern end of Viti Levu, and usually appeared as a snake, or as a snake’s head with a body of stone symbolizing eternal life. Among the sons and grandsons of Ndengei were Roko Mbati-ndua, the one-toothed lord; a fiend with a huge tooth projecting from his lower jaw and curving over the top of his head. He had bat’s wings armed with claws and was usually regarded as a harbinger of pestilence. The mechanic’s god was eight-handed, gluttony had eighty stomachs, wisdom possessed eight eyes. Other gods were the adulterer, the abductor of women of rank and beauty, the rioter, the brain-eater, the killer of men, the slaughter god, the god of leprosy, the giant, the spitter of miracles, the gods of fishermen and of carpenters, etc. One god hated mosquitoes and drove them away from the place where he lived. The names and stations of the gods are described by Thomas Williams, who has given the most detailed account of the old religion.

As with all peoples whose religion is barbarous, there were ways of obtaining sanctuary and many a man has saved his life by taking advantage of the tabus which secured their operation. No matter how desirous your host might be of murdering you, as long as you remained a guest under his roof you were safe, although were you only a few yards away from his door he would eagerly attack you.

But not only did the Fijians live in a world peopled by witches, wizards, prophets, seers and fortune-tellers, but there was a perfect army of fairies which overran the whole land, and the myths concerning which would have filled volumes could they ever have been gathered. The gnome-like spirits of the mountains had peaked heads, and were of a vicious, impish disposition, but were powerless to injure any one who carried a fern leaf in his hand.

Sacred relics such as famous clubs, stones possessing miraculous powers, etc., were sometimes kept in Fijian temples, but there were no idols such as were prayed to by the Polynesians.

The fearful alternatives of heaven and hell were unknown to the Fijians. They believed in an eternal existence for men, animals, and even canoes and other inanimate things, but the future life held forth no prospect either of reward for virtues or punishment for evil acts committed while alive. So certain were they of a future life that they always referred to the dead as “the absent ones,” and their land of shades (Mbulu) was not essentially different from the world they lived in. Indeed, their chief idea of death was that of rest, for as William’s states, they have an adage: “Death is easy: Of what use is life? To die is rest.”

There were, however, certain precautions the Fijian felt it advisable to take before entering the world to come. If he had been so unfortunate as not to have killed a man, woman or child, his duty would be the dismal one of pounding filth throughout eternity, and disgraceful careers awaited those whose ears were not bored or women who were not tatooed upon parts covered by the liku. Moreover, should a wife not accompany him (be strangled at the time of his death) his condition would be the dismal one of a spirit without a cook. Thirdly, as one was at the time of death so would the spirit be in the next world. It was therefore an advantage to die young, and people often preferred to be buried alive, or strangled, than to survive into old age. Lastly and most important, one must not die a bachelor, for such are invariably dashed to pieces by Nangganangga, even if they should succeed in elud- ing the grasp of the Great Woman, Lewa-levu, who flaunts the path of the departed spirits and searches for the ghosts of good-looking men. Let us imagine, however, that our shade departs this life in the best of form, young, married, with the lobes of his ears pierced, not dangerously handsome and a slayer of at least one human being. He starts upon the long journey to the Valhalla of Fiji. Soon he comes to a spiritual Pandanus at which he must throw the ghost of the whale’s tooth which was placed in his hand at time of burial. If he succeeds in hitting the Pandanus, he may then wait until the spirit of his strangled wife comes to join him, after which he boards the canoe of the Fijian Charon and proceeds to Nambanggatai, where until 1847 there dwelt the god Samu, and after his death Samuyalo “the killer of souls.”

This god remains in ambush in some spiritual mangrove bushes and thrusts a reed within the ground upon the path of the ghost as a warning not to pass the spot. Should the ghost be brave he raises his club in defiance, whereupon Samuyalo appears, club in hand, and gives battle. If killed in this combat, the ghost is cooked and eaten by the soul killer, and if wounded he must wander forever among the mountains, but if the ghost be victorious over the god he may pass on to be questioned by Ndengei, who may consign him either to Mburotu, the highest heaven, or drop him over a precipice into a somewhat inferior but still tolerable abode, Murimuria. This Ndengei does in accordance with the caprice of the moment and without reference either to the virtues or the faults of the deceased. Thus of those who die only a few can enter the higher heaven for the Great Woman and the Soul destroyer overcome the greater number of those who dare to face them. As for the victims of cannibal feasts, their souls are devoured by the gods when their bodies are eaten by man.

In temperament and ambitions the spirits of the dead remained as they were upon earth, but of more monstrous growth in all respects, resembling giants greater and more vicious than man. War and cannibalism still prevailed in heaven, and the character of the inhabitants seems to have been fiendish or contemptible as on earth; for the spirits of women who were not tattooed were unceasingly pursued by their more fortunate sisters, who tore their bodies with sharp shells, often making mince-meat of them for the gods to eat. Also the shade of any one whose ears had not been pierced was condemned to carry a masi log over his shoulder and submit to the eternal ridicule of his fellow spirits.

Altogether, this religion seems to have been as sordid, brutal and vicious as was the ancestral negroid stock of the Fijians. Connected with it there was, however, a rude mythology, clumsy but romantic, too much of which has been lost; for the natives of to-day have largely forgotten its stories or are ashamed to repeat it to the whites. In recent times the natives have tended to make their folk-lore conform to Biblical stories, or to adapt them to conditions of the present day. The interesting subject of the lingering influence of old beliefs upon the life of the natives of to-day has engaged the attention of Basil Thomson in “The Fijians, a Study of the Decay of Custom.”

As in every British colony, the people are taught to respect the law. Sentences of imprisonment are meted out to natives for personal offences which if committed by white men would be punished by small fines, but the reason for this is that in the old native days such acts were avenged by murder, and it is to prevent crime that a prison term has been ordained. The natives take their imprisonment precisely as boys in boarding school regard a flogging, the victim commonly becoming quite a hero and losing no caste among his fellows. Indeed it is a common sight to see bands of from four to eight stalwart “convicts” a mile or more from the prison marching unguarded through the woods as they sing merrily on their way “home” to the jail. Once I recall seeing two hundred prisoners, all armed with long knives, engaged in cutting weeds along the roadside, chanting happily as they slashed, while a solitary native dressed only in a waist-cloth and armed only with a club stood guard at one end of the line, and this not near the prison, but in a lonely wood fully a mile from the nearest house.

In 1874, the British undertook the unique task of civilizing without exploiting a barbarous and degraded race which was drifting hopelessly into ruin. They began the solution of this complex problem by arresting the entire race and immuring them within the protecting walls of a system which recognized as its cardinal principle that the natives were unfit to think or act for themselves. For a generation the Fijians have been in a prison wherein they have become the happiest and best behaved captives upon earth. During this time they have become reconciled to a life of peace, and have forgotten the taste of human flesh; and while they cherish no love for the white man, they feel the might of his law and know that his decrees are as finalities of fate. All are serving life sentences to the white man’s will, and the fire of their old ambition has cooled into the dull embers of resignation and then died into the apathy of contentment with things that are. Worse still, they have grown fond of their prison world, and the most pessimistic feature in the Fijian situation of to-day is the evident fact that there is almost no discontent among the natives. Old things have withered and decayed, but new ambition has not been born.

It is in no spirit of criticism of British policy that I have written the above paragraph for it was absolutely necessary that the race should “calm down” for a generation at least before it could be trusted to arise. Now, however, there are no more old chiefs whose memories hark back to days of savagery, and now for the first and only time has come the critical period in the unique governmental experiment the British have undertaken to perform, for now is the time when the child must learn to walk alone and the support of guardian arms must in kindness be withdrawn, else there must be nurtured but a cripple, not a man.

Among the generation of to-day the light of a new ambition must appear in Fiji or the race shall dwindle to its death. No real progress has been made by the Fijians; they have received much from their teachers, but have given nothing in return. They are in the position of a youth whose schooling has just been finished, life and action lie before him; will he awaken to his responsibility, develop his latent talent, character and power, and recompense his teachers by achievement, or will he sink into the apathy of a vile content?

The situation in Fiji is one of peculiar delicacy for the desire for better things must arise among the Fijians themselves, and should it once appear, the paternalism of the present government must be wisely withdrawn to permit of more and more freedom in proportion as the natives may become competent to think and act rightly for themselves. A cardinal difficulty is the unfortunate fact that the natives DESIRE no change, and even if individually discontented and ambitious, they know of no profession, arts or trades to which they might turn with hope of fortune. The establishment of manual training schools wherein money-making trades should be taught, if possible BY NATIVE teachers, is sorely needed in Fiji.

At present there is too little freedom of thought in Fiji; fear of the chief and of Samuyalo’s club has been replaced by fear of the European and his hell. Free, fearless thought is the father of high action, and while their minds remain steeped in an apathy of dread there can be no soil in which the seed of independence can germinate.

Yet it is still possible that the Fijians may attain civilization. Of all the archipelagoes of Polynesia, Fiji alone may still be called the “Isles of Hope.” As one who has known and grown to love these honest, hospitable, simple people, I can only hope that the day is not far distant when a leader may arise among them who will turn their faces toward the light of a brighter sky, and their hands to a worthier task than has ever yet been performed in Polynesia.

Yet why civilize them? Often does one ask oneself this question, but the answer comes as the voice of fate, “they must attain civilization or they must die.” Should the population continue to decline at its present rate, the time is imminent when the dark-skinned men of Fiji will be not the natives, but the swarming progeny of the coolies of Calcutta.

Nowhere over all the wide Pacific have the natives been more wisely or unselfishly ruled than in Fiji, yet even here native life seems to be growing less and less purposeful year by year. In time it is hoped a reaction may set in and that with the decline of communism new ambitions may replace the old, but then will come the problem of the rich and the poor–a thing unknown in Fijian life to-day.

Hardly the first lessons in civilization have been taught in Polynesia, yet who can predict the noon day, should even the faintest glow appear in native hope. In former ages the Japanese were a barbarous insular people, and as in our own civilization the traditions and habits of rude Aryan ancestors still color our fundamental thoughts so in Japan we find evidences of a culture essentially similar to that of the Pacific Islands of to-day. The ancient ancestor worship of Japan is strangely like that of the tropical Pacific with its gods, the ghosts of long departed chiefs, and its high chief a living god to-day. Moreover in the Pacific Islands the house consists of but a single room, and such to-day is essentially the case in Japan, save only that delicate paper screens divide its originally unitary floor-space into temporary compartments. As in the South Seas, matting still covers the floor of the Japanese house, its roof is thatched, and is constructed before the sides are made, there is no chimney, the fire-place is an earthen space upon the floor or is sustained within an artistically molded bronze brazier, the refined descendant of the cruder hearth. In Polynesia as in Japan one seats oneself anywhere in tailor-fashion upon the floor, and upon this floor the meals are served, and here one sleeps at night, nor will the women partake of food in the presence of the men. In essential fundamental things of life the Japanese show their kinship in custom and tradition to the insular peoples of Asiatic origin now occupying the Pacific, and if Japan has attained to so great a height in culture and civilization, why may we not hope for better days for the South Sea Islanders?




“The human harvest was bad!” Thus the historian sums up the conditions in Rome in the days of the good emperor, Marcus Aurelius. By this he meant that while population and wealth were increasing, manhood had failed. There were men enough in the streets, men enough in the camps, menial laborers enough and idlers enough, but of good soldiers there were too few. For the business of the state, which in those days was mainly war, its men were inadequate.

In recognition of this condition we touch again the overshadowing fact in the history of Europe, the effect of “military selection” on the human breed.

In rapid survey of the evidence brought from history one must paint the picture, such as it is, with a broad brush, not attempting to treat exceptions and qualifications, for which this article has no space and concerning which records yield no data. Such exceptions, if fully understood, would only prove the rule. The evil effects of military selection and its associated influences have long been recognized in theory by certain students of social evolution. But the ideas derived from the sane application of our knowledge of Darwinism to history are even now just beginning to penetrate the current literature of war and peace. In public affairs most nations have followed the principle of opportunism, “striking while the iron is hot,” without regard to future results, whether of financial exhaustion or of race impoverishment.

The recorded history of Rome begins with small and vigorous tribes inhabiting the flanks of the Apennines and the valleys down to the sea, and blending together to form the Roman republic. They were men of courage and men of action, virile, austere, severe and dominant.[1] They were men who “looked on none as their superior and none as their inferior.” For this reason, Rome was long a republic. Free-born men control their own destinies. “The fault,” says Cassius, “is not in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings.” Thus in freedom, when Rome was small without glory, without riches, without colonies and without slaves, she laid the foundations of greatness.

[1] Virilis, austerus, severus, dominous, good old words applied by Romans to themselves.

But little by little the spirit of freedom gave way to that of domination. Conscious of power, men sought to exercise it, not on themselves but on one another. Little by little this meant aggression, suppression, plunder, struggle, glory and all that goes with the pomp and circumstance of war. So the individuality in the mass was lost in the aggrandizement of the few. Independence was swallowed up in ambition and patriotism came to have a new meaning, being transferred from hearth and home to the camp and the army.

In the subsequent history of Rome, we have now to consider only a single factor, the reversal of selection.” In Rome’s conquests, Vir, the real man, went forth to battle and foreign invasion; Homo, the human being, remained on the farm and in the workshop and begat the new generations. “Vir gave place to Homo,” says the Latin author. Men of good stock were replaced by the sons of slaves and camp-followers, the riff-raff of those the army sucked in but could not use.

The Fall of Rome was due not to luxury, effeminacy or corruption, not to Nero’s or Caligula’s wickedness, nor to the futility of Constantine’s descendants. It began at Philippi, where the spirit of domination overcame the spirit of freedom. It was forecast still earlier in the rise of consuls and triumvirs incident to the thinning out of the sturdy and self-sufficient strains who brooked no arbitrary rule. While the best men were falling in war, civil or foreign, or remained behind in faraway colonies, the stock at home went on repeating its weakling parentage. A condition significant in Roman history is marked by the gradual swelling of the mob, with the rise in authority of the Emperor who was the mob’s exponent. Increase of arbitrary power went with the growing weakness of the Romans themselves. Always the “Emperor” serves as a sort of historical barometer by which to measure the abasement of the people. The concentrated power of Julius Caesar, resting on his own tremendous personality, showed that the days of Cincinnatus and of Junius Brutus were past. The strength of Augustus rested likewise in personality. The rising authority of later emperors had its roots in the ineffectiveness of the mob, until it came to pass that “the little finger of Constantine was thicker than the loins of Augustus.” This was due not to Constantine’s force, but to the continued reversal of selection among the people over whom he ruled. The emperor, no longer the strong man holding in check all lesser men and organizations, became the creature of the mob; and “the mob, intoxicated with its own work, worshipped him as divine.” Doubtless the last emperor, Augustulus Romulus, before the Goths threw him into the scrap-heap of history, was regarded by the mob and himself as the most god-like of the whole succession.

The Romans of the Republic might perhaps have made a history very different. Had they held aloof from world-conquering schemes Rome might have remained a republic, enduring even down to our day. The seeds of Rome’s fall lay not in race nor in form of government, nor in wealth nor in senility, but in the influences by which the best men were cut off from parenthood, leaving its own weaker strains and strains of lower races to be fathers of coming generations.

“The Roman Empire,” says Professor Seely, “perished for want of men.” Even Julius Caesar notes the dire scarcity of men, while at the same time there were people enough. The population steadily grew; Rome was filling up like an overflowing marsh. Men of a certain type were plenty, but self-reliant farmers, “the hardy dwellers on the flanks of the Apennines,” men of the early Roman days, these were fast going, and with the change in type of population came the turn in Roman history.

The mainspring of the Roman army for centuries has been the patient strength and courage, capacity for enduring hardships, instinctive submission to military discipline of the population that lined the Apennines.

“The effect of the wars was that the ranks of the small farmers were decimated, while the number of slaves who did not serve in the army multiplied,” says Professor Bury. Thus “Vir gave place to Homo,” thus the mob filled Rome and the mob-hero rose to the imperial throne. No wonder that Constantine seemed greater than Augustus. No wonder that “if Tiberius chastised his subjects with whips, Valentinian chastised them with scorpions.”[2]

[2] The point of this is that the cruel Tiberius was less severe on the Romans of his day than was the relatively benevolent Valentinian on his decadent people.

With Marcus Aurelius and the Antonines came a “period of sterility and barrenness in human beings.” Bounties were offered for marriage. Penalties were devised against race-suicide. “Marriage,” says Metellus, “is a duty which, however painful, every citizen ought manfully to discharge.” Wars were conducted in the face of a declining birth-rate, and the decline in quality and quantity in the human breed engaged very early the attention of Roman statesmen. Deficiencies of numbers were made up by immigration, willing or enforced. Failure in quality was beyond remedy.

Says Professor Zumpt:

‘Government having assumed godhead, took at the same time the appurtenances of it. Officials multiplied. Subjects lost their rights. Abject fear paralyzed the people and those that ruled were intoxicated with insolence and cruelty…. The worst government is that which is most worshipped as divine. . . . The emperor possessed in the army an overwhelming force over which citizens had no influence, which was totally deaf to reason or eloquence, which had no patriotism because it had no country, which had no humanity because it had no domestic ties. . . . There runs through Roman literature a brigand’s and barbarian’s contempt for honest industry. . . . Roman civilization was not a creative kind, it was military, that is, destructive.’

What was the end of it all? The nation bred Romans no more. To cultivate the Roman fields “whole tribes were borrowed.” The man with quick eye and strong arm gave place to the slave, the scullion, the pariah, whose lot is fixed because in him there lies no power to alter it. So at last the Roman world, devoid of power to resist, was overwhelmed by the swarming Ostrogoths.

The barbarian settled and peopled the empire rather than conquered it. It was the weakness of war-worn Rome that gave the Germanic races their first opportunity.

“The nation is like a bee,” wisely observes Bernard Shaw, “as it stings it dies.”

In his monumental history of the “Downfall of the Ancient World” (Der Untergang der Antikenwelt) Dr. Otto Seeck of the University of Munster in Westphalia, treats in detail the causes of such decline. He first calls attention to the intellectual stagnation which came over the Roman Empire about the beginning of the Christian Era. This manifested itself in all fields of intellectual activity. No new idea of any importance was advanced in science nor in technical and political studies. In the realm of literature and art also one finds a complete lack of originality and a tendency to imitate older models. All this Seeck asserts, was brought about by the continuous “rooting out (Ausrottung) of the best”[3] through war.

[3] “Die Ausrottung der Besten, die jenen schwacheren Volken die Vernichtung brachte, hat die starken Germanen erst befahigt, auf den Trummern der antiken Welt neue dauerende Gemeinschaften zu errichten.” Seeck.

Such extermination which took place in Greece as well as in Rome, was due to persistent internal conflicts, the constant murderous struggle going on between political parties, in which, in rapid succession, first one and then the other was victorious. The custom of the victors being to kill and banish the leaders and all prominent men in the defeated party, often destroying their children as well, it is evident that in time every strain distinguished for moral courage, initiative or intellectual strength was exterminated. By such a systematic killing off of men of initiative and brains, the intellectual level of a nation must necessarily be lowered more and more. In Rome as in Greece observes Seeck:

‘A wealth of force of spirit went down in the suicidal wars. . . . In Rome, Marius and Cinna slew the aristocrats by hundreds and thousands. Sulla destroyed the democrats, and not less thoroughly. Whatever of strong blood survived, fell as an offering to the proscription of the Triumvirate. . . . The Romans had less of spontaneous force to lose than the Greeks. Thus desolation came sooner to them. Whoever was bold enough to rise politically in Rome was almost without exception thrown to the ground. ONLY COWARDS REMAINED, AND FROM THEIR BLOOD CAME FORWARD THE NEW GENERATIONS.[4] Cowardice showed itself in lack of originality and in slavish following of masters and traditions.’

[4] Author’s italics.

Certain authors, following Varro, have maintained that Rome died a “natural death,” the normal result of old age. It is mere fancy to suppose that nations have their birth, their maturity and their decline under an inexorable law like that which determines the life history of the individual. A nation is a body of living men. It may be broken up if wrongly led or attacked by a superior force. When its proportion of men of initiative or character is reduced, its future will necessarily be a resultant of the forces that are left.

Dr. Seeck speaks with especial scorn of the idea that Rome died of “old age.” He also repudiates the theory that her fall was due to the corruption of luxury, neglect of military tactics or over-diffusion of culture.

‘It is inconceivable that the mass of Romans suffered from over-culture.[5] In condemning the sinful luxury of wealthy Romans we forget that the trade-lords of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were scarcely inferior in this regard to Lucullus and Apicius, their waste and luxury not constituting the slightest check to the advance of the nations to which these men belonged. The people who lived in luxury in Rome were scattered more thinly than in any modern state of Europe. The masses lived at all times more poorly and frugally because they could do nothing else. Can we conceive that a war force of untold millions of people is rendered effeminate by the luxury of a few hundreds? . . . Too long have historians looked on the rich and noble as marking the fate of the world. Half the Roman Empire was made up of rough barbarians untouched by Greek or Roman culture.

Whatever the remote and ultimate cause may have been, the immediate cause to which the fall of the empire can be traced is a physical, not a moral decay. In valor, discipline and science the Roman armies remained what they had always been, and the peasant emperors of Illyricum were worthy successors of Cincinnatus and Calus Marius. But the problem was, how to replenish those armies. Men were wanting. The empire perished for want of men.’

[5] “Damitsprechend hat man das Wort `Ueberkultur’ uberhaupt erfunden, als wenn ein zu grosses Maass von Kultur uberhaupt denkbar ware.”

In a volume entitled “Race or Mongrel” published as I write these pages, Dr. Alfred P. Schultz of New York, author of “The End of Darwinism,” takes essentially the same series of facts as to the fall of Rome and draws from them a somewhat different conclusion. In his judgment the cause was due to “bastardy,” to the mixing of Roman blood with that of neighboring and subjective races. To my mind, bastardy was the result and not the cause of Rome’s decline, inferior and subject races having been sucked into Rome to fill the vacuum left as the Romans themselves perished in war. The continuous killing of the best left room for the “post-Roman herd,” who once sold the imperial throne at auction to the highest bidder. As the Romans vanished through warfare at home and abroad, came an inrush of foreign blood from all regions roundabout. As Schultz graphically states:

‘The degeneration and depravity of the mongrels was so great that they deified the emperors. And many of the emperors were of a character so vile that their deification proves that the post-Roman soul must have been more depraved than that of the Egyptian mongrel, who deified nothing lower than dogs, cats, crocodiles, bugs and vegetables.’

It must not be overlooked, however, that the Roman race was never a pure race. It was a union of strong elements of frontier democratic peoples, Sabines, Umbrians, Sicilians, Etruscans, Greeks, being blended in republican Rome. Whatever the origins, the worst outlived the best, mingling at last with the odds and ends of Imperial slavery, the “Sewage of Races” (“cloaca gentium”) left at the Fall.

Gibbon says:

‘This diminutive stature of mankind was daily sinking below the old standard and the Roman world was indeed peopled by a race of pygmies when the fierce giants of the north broke in and mended the puny breed. They restored the manly spirit of freedom and after the revolutions of ten centuries, freedom became the parent of taste and science.’

But again, the redeemed Italian was of no purer blood than the post-Roman-Ostrogoth ancestry from which he sprang. The “puny Roman” of the days of Theodoric owed his inheritance to the cross of Roman weaklings with Roman slaves. He was not weak because he was “mongrel” but because he sprang from bad stock on both sides. The Ostrogoth and the Lombard who tyrannized over him brought in a great strain of sterner stuff, followed by crosses with captive and slave such as always accompany conquest. To understand the fall of Rome one must consider the disastrous effects of crossings of this sort. Neither can one overlook the waste of war which made them inevitable through the wholesale influx of inferior tribes. Neither can one speak of the Roman, the Italian, the Spaniard, the French, the Roumanian, nor of any of the so-called “Latin” peoples as representing a simple pure stock, or as being, except in language, direct descendants of those ancient Latins who constituted the Roman Republic. The failure of Rome arose not from hybridization, but from the wretched quality on both sides of its mongrel stock, descendants of Romans unfit for war and of base immigrants that had filled the vacancies.

Greece.–Once Greece led the world in intellectual pursuits, in art, in poetry, in philosophy. A large and vital part of European culture is rooted directly in the language and thought of Athens. The most beautiful edifice in the world was the Peace Palace of the Parthenon, erected by Pericles, to celebrate the end of Greece’s suicidal wars. This endured 2,187 years, to be wrecked at last (1687) in Turkish hands by the Christian bombs of the Venetian Republic.

But the glory of Greece had passed away long before the fall of the Parthenon. Its cause was the one cause of all such downfalls–the extinction of strong men by war. At the best, the civilization of Greece was built on slavery, one freeman to ten slaves. And when the freemen were destroyed, the slaves, an original Mediterranean stock, overspread the territory of Hellas along with the Bulgarians, Albanians and Vlachs, barbarians crowding down from the north.

The Grecian language still lives, the tongue of a spirited and rising modern people. But the Greeks of the classic period–the Hellenes of literature, art and philosophy–will never be known again. Says Mr. W. H. Ireland:

‘Most of the old Greek race has been swept away, and the country is now inhabited by persons of Slavonic descent. Indeed, there is a strong ground for the statement that there was more of the old heroic blood of Hellas in the Turkish army of Edhem Pasha than in the soldiers of King George.’

The modern Greek has been called a “Byzantinized Slav.” King George himself and Constantine his son are only aliens placed on the Grecian throne to suit the convenience of outer powers, being in fact descendants of tribes which to the ancient Greeks were merely barbarians.

It is maintained that the modern Greeks are in the main the descendants of the population that inhabited Greece in the earlier centuries of Byzantine rule. Owing to the operation of various causes, historical, social and economic, that population was composed of many heterogeneous elements and represented in very limited degree the race which repulsed the Persians and built the Parthenon. The internecine conflicts of the Greek communities, wars with foreign powers, and the deadly struggles of factions in the various cities had to a large extent obliterated the old race of free citizens by the beginning of Roman period. The extermination of the Plataeans by the Spartans and of the Melians by the Athenians during the Peloponnesian war, the proscription of the Athenian citizens after the war, the massacre of the Coreyrean oligarchs by the democratic party, the slaughter of the Thebans by Alexander and of the Corinthians by Mummius are among the more familiar instances of the catastrophes which overtook the civic element in the Greek cities. The void can only have been filled from the ranks of the metics or resident aliens and of the descendants of the far more numerous slave population. In the classic period four fifths of the population of Attica were slaves; of the remainder, half were meties In A.D. 100 only three thousand free arm-bearing men were in Greece. (James D. Bourchier.)

The constant little struggles of the Greeks among themselves made no great showing as to numbers compared to other wars, but they wiped out the most valuable people, the best blood, the most promising heredity on earth. This cost the world more than the killing of millions of barbarians. In two centuries there were born under the shadow of the Parthenon more men of genius than the Roman Empire had in its whole existence. Yet this empire included all the civilized world, even Greece herself. (La Pouge.)

The downfall of Greece,[6] like that of Rome, has been ascribed by Schultz to the crossing of the Greeks with the barbaric races which flocked into Hellas from every side. These resident aliens, or metics, steadily increased in number as the free Greeks disappeared. Selected slaves or helots were then made free in order to furnish fighting men, and again as these fell their places were taken by immigrants.

[6] Certain recent writers who find in environment the causes of the rise and fall of nations, ascribe the failure of Greece to the introduction in Athens and Sparta of the malaria-bearing mosquito. As to the facts in question, we have little evidence. But while the prevalence of malaria may have affected the general activity of the people, it could in no way have obliterated the mental leadership which made the strength of classic Hellas, nor could it have injected its poison into the stream of Greek heredity.

It is doubtless true at this day that “no race inhabits Greece,” and the main difference between Greeks and other Balkan peoples is that, inhabiting the mountains and valleys of Hellas, they speak in dialects of the ancient tongue. Environment, except through selection and segregation, can not alter race inheritance and the modern “Greeks” have not been changed by it. Schultz observes:

‘We are told that the Hellenes owed their greatness largely to the country it was their fortune to dwell in. To that same country, with the same wonderful coast line and harbors, mountains and brooks, and the same sun of Homer, the modern Greeks owe their nothingness.’

In other words, it is quite true that the Greece of Pericles owed its strength to Greek blood, not to Hellenic scenery. When all the good Greek blood was spent in suicidal wars, only slaves and foreign-born were left. ” ‘Tis Greece, but living Greece no more.”[7]

[7] In contrasting a new race with the old–as the modern Greeks with the incomparable Hellenes–we must not be unjust to the men of to-day whose limitations are evident, contrasted with a race we know mainly by its finest examples. In spite of poverty, touchiness and vanity characteristic of the modern Greek, there is good stuff in him. He is frank, hopeful, enthusiastic. The mountain Greek, at least, knows the value of freedom, and has more than once put up a brave fight for it. The valleys breed subserviency, and the Greeks of Thessaly are said to be less independent than the mountain-born.

Furthermore, we do not know that even the first Hellenes of Mycenae were an unmixed race, or that any unmixed races ever rose to such prominence as to command the world’s attention. We do know that when war depletes a nation slaves and foreigners come in to fill the vacuum, and that the decline of a great race in history has always been accompanied by a debasing of its blood.

Yet out of this decadence natural selection may in time bring forward better strains, and with normal conditions of security and peace nature may begin again her work of recuperation.

In the fall of Greece we have another count against war, scarcely realized until the facts of Louvain and Malines, of Rheims and Ypres, have brought it again so vividly before us. War respects nothing, while the human soul increasingly demands veneration for its own noble and beautiful achievements. As I write this, there rise before me the paintings in the “Neue Pinakothek” at Munich, representing the twenty-one Cities of Ancient Greece, from Sparta to Salamis, from Eleusis to Corinth, not as they were, “in the glory which was Greece,” not as they are now, largely fishing hamlets by the blue Aegean Sea, but as ruined arches and broken columns half hid in the ashes of war, wars which blotted out Greece from world history.




ONE of the most curious of those misstatements of fact and confusions of thought the conservative seems even more prone to make than the radical has to do with a certain suppositiously historical relation between women and war. It is assumed[1] that early society is ever militant and that because of its militarism it excludes women, women not being fighters, not only from its government, but from all its privileges, even making of them its drudges and its beasts of burden. And so, argues the conservative, women are for the same reasons disfranchised, and properly disfranchised, to-day. Whether more or less militant than it was, society is still founded on force, and because women are not as strong as men, men will not give them the vote. Besides it is only right, since they can not fight, they should not vote. It has always been so, and so it should continue to be, at any rate until war becomes a thing of the past, and that will never be, you can’t change human nature, etc., etc.

[1] And, let us admit, not merely by the conservative anti-feminist. As radical and discerning a feminist as Thomas Wentworth Higginson, after asserting that physical strength was once “sole ruler,” cites in agreement Walter Bagehot’s reference to “the contempt for physical weakness and for women which marks early society.” (“Women and the Alphabet,” p. 49. Boston and New York, 1900.)

There are of course various answers to this militarist anti-suffrage argument, answers which in spite of the logic of current events are still likely to be satisfactory or not according to previous convictions, but the only point I wish to challenge is the appeal in this connection to the past. Let the militarist anti-suffragist assert his belief in government by force if he likes, but let him not try to justify it by the precedents of primitive life. Nor may he–or she–explain the exclusion of women to-day as a survival of their subjection in primitive society to brute force. The government of primitive society is not based on physical prowess, and although modern woman is excluded from men’s activities for the same reason as primitive woman was excluded, the reason is not muscular inferiority.

It is a pity in the feminist controversies of the last hundred years or so that the “exclusion of women” did not become a more popular phrase than the “subjection of women.” That term gave a fallacious twist both to observation and analysis. Primitive and modern men alike commonly EXCLUDE women, they seldom subject them. Similarly, in some societies, children and young people, all in fact but the elderly, are treated to methods of exclusion rather than of subjection.

Early society is dominated by the elders; its practices and customs have been determined by them and, in the most primitive society, government is nothing but a gerontocracy, a government of old men. Even with chieftaincy the council of the elders is weighty and the heads of households have considerable influence. Are the elders the fighters or raiders of the tribe? No, they are its judges, its legislators and, most important of all, its magicians. Nor is the chief or king the fighter par excellence of the tribe. But he too may be and often is the tribal magician. Through their powers of magic elders and chiefs are responsible for the weather, for the reproduction of plants and animals, for the success of the crops, of hunts and catches, for the health and general welfare of the people. And in war? In war they are the most important personages too. Because they fight? No, because in war too they make magic; they charm the approaches to the village, they “doctor” the trails or the weapons or the canoes, they make war medicine, they invoke and propitiate the war gods. The warriors are the younger men, men whose efforts would be vain without the backing of their magic-working seniors or chiefs. The elders make peace and declare war. And it is at their dictate that the young men take to head-hunting or to raiding or even to stealing women.

As to the subjection of women, what exists of it the elders are responsible for. It is they who scare a girl or shame her into being docile. It is they who marry her off against her will, it is they who set her unending tasks or shut her up in idleness. It is they who make her undergo the discomforts or miseries of what we call conventional life or bully her into exile or death.

With this control of girls or women the warriors, the “standing army,” have little or nothing to do, even less in primitive life than in modern. It is the old people, the old women at times as well as the old men. Again it is the old men who are leaders in the exclusion of the women. In control of the initiation of the youths, they separate them from their mothers or sisters and often decree for the initiates a ceremonial avoidance of all women for a set time. The penalties they threaten–sickness, decrepitude, effeminacy–are too dire to pass unheeded. This “avoidance” has been explained as due to the monopolistic spirit of the elders. With their women they want no interference by the youths. But a far more plausible explanation, I think, takes the avoidance as a concentration rite, so to speak, a symbol, if you like, of the life ahead, the life in which the boys, “made” men, are going to have little to do in public with women. For even after the special avoidance of the initiation period ends, the segregation of the sexes continues. Men keep together and away from women in their club-houses, and in all the places of assembly which are differentiated from the primitive club-house–the church, the council, the workshop, the gymnasium, the university, the play-house. And from all the interests which center in these places men have from time to time excluded women, they have excluded them from magic and religion, from arts and letters, from games, from politics and, let me add, from war.

Why are men so exclusive? Because–the reason will seem almost too simple, I fear, for acceptance–because now and always men do not want to be bothered by women. Women get in our way, they say, women are a nuisance. Almost anywhere away from home women are a nuisance–in church organization, in the university, in business, etc. Of course if women can be kept apart from us in these activities and will stay in their place, if they join an order of nuns or deaconesses, if they go to a separate college in the university, if they will become good stenographers, we don’t mind having their cooperation, we welcome it. Women may even go to war–as an absolutely separate division of the army, said the men of Dahomi, as non-combatant pahia women or workers of magic, said the Roro-speaking tribesmen of New Guinea, or as Red (dross nurses, say the men of Europe and America. If we men can be sure women will not interfere with us, we really do not mind. Women have only to give us that assurance of non-interference to make us doubt the assertion we sometimes make that in going to war they are interfering with the order of nature.




THERE are good reasons for believing that the Russians are practically the greatest peace people in Christendom. They are the least commercial in the competitive sense, the least capitalistic also, and as a people, the least combative in Europe, despite the wrecks of warring dynasties that ten centuries have left upon their plains and the miscellaneous strifes and calamities of all kinds that have beset them.

Always expanding along lines of least resistance; absorbing by comparatively petty conquests, decaying or scanty peoples; reaching Kamchatka in the Far East with more ease than she reached the shores of the Baltic; never flinging her legions far and wide victoriously as did Rome, Spain, France or Great Britain–Russia remains to-day, for the most part, humble, and, in reality, a conquered people, living, dreaming and preaching a morality born both of this humility and of the physical environment that has helped to foster it. All Muscovy can not be judged by those few who live in the saddle–the Cossack population, men and women, numbers only about two million–nor by the pitiable pageant of despotism the observer beholds in their land: pogroms, poverty, disease, distress, militarism, orthodoxy and Pan-Slavism. Russia has a soul in spite of these; a gentle and beautiful soul, only half revealed, and too much concealed by her dilapidation and her dilemma; a peaceful soul, abnormally humble and devout, and in respect to these qualities unequalled in Christendom.

Since the age of Vladimir the Holy, “The Beautiful Sun of Kief,” in the tenth century, Russia has had the tradition of international peace. Vladimir wandered over the country, sword and battle ax in hand, like a reincarnation of Thor, armed with his mighty and wondrous hammer. Then came his yearning for a new religion–something to inspire his life better than Perun–Russia’s old god of thunder–and the other idols, and a little later, the picturesque investigation of his peripatetic commissioners having been completed, he became a Christian of the Greek church, was baptized with many fine and grand ceremonies, compelled his docile people to do likewise, and, like a true Northman that he was–the great grandson of Rurik of the Baltic wilds–he so impressed his frowsy hordes, half Scythian and half Slav, that now in the hearts of their descendants, in their popular songs and legends, in those concerning Kief especially–a beautiful and pathetic strain of music eight centuries old–he, Vladimir, is still the central heroic figure; once a man, but now a kind of god, sent from Heaven to rule, enlighten and bring peace to his people and be known in story and song as “Vladimir the Holy, the Beautiful Sun of Kief.”

An old chronicle describes for us how his hordes drank their cup of trembling at his hands. There, around about the low hills of the southern Dnieper River, probably on the crumbling sandstone cliffs of Kief–the city, studded with jewel-like legends and famed for its “golden palaces,” stood his candidates for baptism; near by were priests from Constantinople, gorgeously arrayed, chanting, in strains unknown to the populace, the Greek church baptismal service. Then the democratic immersion!–rich man, poor man and all, at Vladimir’s command, wade into the baptismal waters, some up to their knees, some to their waists, some to their necks, and, thus finding a new faith from Heaven, they crossed themselves for the first time as the thunder rolled on high! Here is Russia remembering her Creator in the days of her youth–and forgetting Him ever since; from then on, Holy Russia! Possibly Holy Vladimir, at any rate, for becoming, with that ceremony, peaceable, except for self-defence, he gave up all of his idols and his aggressive sword. The former he scourged and cast into the river, the latter he sheathed in its scabbard. And all this about 988–the first peace movement of Holy Russia. The faith of it, and its vision and dream came early in her history and have not yet gone out or been extinguished.

Before the next such movement, time enough passed by to give the seasons and the winds and rains full opportunity to whittle down old Kief’s storied sandstone hills. In 1815, the much-expanded realm of Muscovy, then a partner in the holy alliance, proclaimed under Alexander the First, the ideal of peace. This Czar declared he would rule as a father over his children and in the interest of “justice, charity and peace,” and, in so doing, created the leading precedent for the peace program of Nicolas the Second.

Alexander, who in the first half of his reign ruled liberally for the days of Napoleonic supremacy, no doubt was sincere in his desire to govern in the “spirit of brotherhood,” but in the latter years of his power, he fell sadly short of this standard.

Alexander the Second, the emancipator of forty-six million serfs, may have had some world peace ideal in mind when he in