صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

where a young fellow, called the bride-lifter, lifts the bride and the two bridesmaids on a wagon in which the married couple are to travel home.* Among the Bedouins the groom must force the bride to enter his tent. A similar custom existed in some provinces of France in the seventeenth century. Among the Circassians exists a form like that in ancient Rome. In the midst of noisy feasting and revelry, the groom must rush in, and, with the help of a few daring young men, carry off the lady by force. By this proceeding she becomes his lawful wife.

Lord Kames gives a vivid picture of the custom existing in his day, or shortly previous, among the Welsh. On the morning of the wedding-day the groom appeared, with his friends, on horseback, and demanded the bride. Her friends, also mounted, refused. There ensued a mock contest, the bride being carried off mounted behind her nearest kinsman, and pursued with loud shouts. “It is not uncommon to see two or three hundred sturdy Cambro-Britains riding at full speed, crossing and jostling, to the no small amusement of the spectators.” When they all were tired the groom was allowed to overtake the bride and lead her off in triumph.Ş In Africa the same custom exists, as observed by Speke and others. Also throughout America. It is observed in its perfection among the people of Tierra del Fuego. As soon as a youthful Fuegian has shown his ability to support a wife by exploits in fishing and bird-catching, he obtuins her parents' consent, builds or steals a canoe, and watches his chance to carry her off. If she is opposed, she hides in the woods till he is tired of looking for her. But this seldom happens. Il

Sir Henry Piers, in 1682, describes a custom of like nature among the ancient Irish. The ceremony commenced with the

Weinhold, p. 50.
+ Marriage Ceremonies, etc., Gaya, London, 1698, p. 30.

Louis Moser, The Caucasus and its People, p. 31,
& Sketches of the History of Man, 1807, Book I, sec. 6, p.

| Capt. Fitzroy, Voyage of the Adventure and Beagle, vol. ii, p. 182

drinking of a bottle of good usquebaugh, called the agreement bottle. Next the payment of the portion was agreed upon, generally a fixed number of cows. On the day of bringing home the two parties rode out to meet each other. “Being come near to each other the custom was of old to cast short darts at the company that attended the bride, but at such distance that seldom any hurt ensued."*

The Toorkoman youth elopes with his lady love to some neigboring village, where they live five or six weeks. In the meantime his friends obtain the consent of the parents. Afterwards the bride returns to her own home, where she is retained for six months or a year, sometimes two years,

and is not allowed to see her husband except by 'stealth.t

This custom of spending the honeyinoon away from home is observed by various other tribes, and has its counterpart in the civilized custom of a wedding journey. Among the Bedouins of Sinai, the maiden, when coming home in the evening with the cattle, is attacked by the groom and two of his friends. She often defends herself fiercely with stones. The more she struggles, bites, and cries, the more her own companions applaud her. She is taken to her father's tent, where follows the ceremony of throwing over her the Abba, or man's cloak, and the name of the groom is formally announced. In the Mezeyne tribe, the girl, after being captured as above, is permitted to escape from her tent and fly to the neighboring mountains. The groom goes in search of her, and is often many days in finding her. Her female companions know her hidingplace and keep her supplied with provisions. The length of time she remains hidden from the groom depends greatly upon the impression he has made on her heart. After being found, she returns home, but runs away again in the evening. These flights are several times repeated before she finally returns to her tent. It is sometimes a year before she goes to live in her husband's tent. I

Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, vol. i, p. 122.
| Fraser's Journey, vol. ii, p. 372. | Burckhardt's Notes, vol. i, p. 209.

We have thus given instances of the form of capture which extends through all quarters of the world. These might be greatly multiplied, had we the space; and they stretch away from such striking cases as these into fainter traces everywhere distributed. *

It becomes, then, an important question as to the true signification of these varied ceremonies, so apparently meaningless in themselves. The natural conclusion is that they must originate in some social state in which what is now a feint was a reality. We are forced to associate them in our minds with a period of savage lawlessness in which wives were habitually stolen. In fact, the custom to marry women captured in war is common in barbarous countries. But this alone could not have originated so wide-spread a legal symbol. It must have a much more general signification. The custom of getting wives by capture or theft must have been so general as to establish an association between capture and marriage, so that the pretence of rapine was afterwards required to give validity to the marriage ceremony. This custom must have been founded deeper than the mere savage desire to deprive foreign tribes of their women. We would naturally imagine that the primitive races would have married their own women in preference, and have made slaves of those captured.

Inquiring more fully into the origin of this system, we find two distinct sets of marriage customs prevailing in existing tribes,—that in which the youth is forbidden to marry within, and that in which he is forbidden to marry without the limits of his tribe. These have been appropriately termed exogamous and endogamous marriage. The form of marriage by gift or by sale could not have originated with the latter, since each primitive tribe is a group of kindred, common in interests and in possessions ; but where several tribes are politically united, the right of intertribal marriage may result. In

O“ Nothing in nature stands by itself. Each example of the Form of Capture leads us to contemplate a great area over which the custom once prevailed, just as a fossil fish in a rock on the hill-side forces us to conceive of the whole surrounding country as at one time under water."-- Primitive Marriage, p. 41.

such a case the one tribe loses, the other gains, a woman, and such a marriage may well be made a question of compensation to the losing tribe. But such tribal unions are evidence of some degree of civilized advancement, and are no feature of primitive life; and, moreover, marriage by violent capture could not occur habitually in the case of such close political affiliation. The relations between the more savage tribes are always hostile, or nearly so. Each group, on separating from others, soon comes to view the others as enemies, and in such cases, where marriage within the tribe is prohibited, wives must be forcibly obtained from hostile clans.

The exogamous tribes now existing are numerous and widely distributed. The practice of capture is found in great perfection among the American Indians, existing everywhere throughout the savage races of South America, but more particularly in the regions of the Orinoco and the Amazon. The Fuegians have the practice as well as the fiction of capture. The Horse Indians.of Patagonia are commonly at war with each other, or with the Canoe Indians, victory on either side resulting in the capture of women and the slaughter of men. The Oens, or Coin men, are more systematic, for every year at the time of red leaf they are said to make excursions from the mountains in the north to plunder the Fuegians of their women, dogs, and arms.

The tribes of the Amazon and the Orinoco are in a state of constant warfare, and alternately rich and poor in women. . Mr. Bates found the Manaos on the Rio Negro to resemble the Oens in babits. The Caribbees were found by Humboldt to form family groups, often numbering only forty or fifty, which were at constant enmity with each other. Capture prevailed among them to such an extent that the women of any

tribe belonged so much to distinct tribes, that in no group were the men and women found to speak the same language.t Among the wild Indians of the North the same account is applicable in varying degrees. There are tribes, both in

Prim. Marriage, p. 61. † Personal Narrative of Travels, vol. v, p. 210.

North and South America, occupying much higher planes of civilization than those we have considered ; and in these, more advanced marriage customs have appeared. Thus in the nations of the Huron tongue and the Attakapas, the position of the women is exceedingly good. *

The capture of women for wives prevails among the aborigines, of the Deccan, and in Afghanistan. It formerly prevailed, according to Olans Magnus, in Muscovy, Lithuania, and Livonia. I

There is ample reason to believe that the practice was general among the nations in the north of Europe and Asia. Olans Magnus, indeed, represents the tribes of the north as having been continually at war with one another, either on account of stolen women, or with the object of stealing women, “propter raptas virgines aut arripiendas." $ In numerous cases the plunderers were of the royal houses of Denmark and Sweden. Among the Scandinavians, before they became Christians, wives were almost invariably fought for and wedded at the sword-point. Among the Kalmucks, Kirghiz, Nogais, and Circassians, where the price cannot be agreed upon, nothing is more common than to carry off the lady by force. This capture constitutes a marriage, even before the parties come to terms.||

The Australians, while having a general system of betrothals, yet employ the practice of capturing wives to a great extent. According to Turnbull, when a man sees a woman whom he likes, he tells her to follow him. If she refuses, he forces her to accompany him by blows, ending by knocking her down and carrying her off. I Sir George Grey says that many plots are laid to carry off the women, and in the encounters which result they are almost certain to receive some violent injury, each combatant throwing a spear at the

Prim. Marriage, p. 66. +Lathani's Descriptive Ethnology, vol. ii, p. 215. Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus, Book XIV, chap. 9, p. 481. $ Ut supra, p. 328.

| Primitive Marriage, p. 73. Voyage round the World, vol. i, pp. 81, 82.

« السابقةمتابعة »