The Popular Science Monthly Volume LXXXVI July to September, 1915 The Scientific Monthly Volume I October to December, 1915

Part 1 out of 8

Scanned by Charles Keller with OmniPage Professional OCR

NOTE: degrees A (Absolute?) is the same as the current
degrees K (Kelvin).




THE SCIENTIFIC MONTHLY ------ OCTOBER, 1915 -------------





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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,

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

[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
FORWARD THE NEW GENERATIONS.[4] Cowardice showed itself in lack
of originality and in slavish following of masters and

[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

'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.

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

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

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

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


Back to Full Books