Typos p. 46: anarchcial [= anarchical]; p. 48: Lorenzen [= Lorentzen]; p. 48, n. 4: LA RESEMBLANCE ENTRE LES EPOUX [= LA RESSEMBLANCE ENTRE LES ÉPOUX]; p. 51, n. 1: PILGRIMS ON THE RHINE [= PILGRIMS OF THE RHINE]; p. 51, n. 2: Xenephon [= Xenophon]; p. 57: pthisis [= phthisis]; p. 73, n. 1: L'EGYPTE [= L'ÉGYPTE]; p. 73, n. 3: enie [= eine]; p. 74, n. 3: See. J. H. Breasted [= See J. H. Breasted]; p. 81, n. 3: author says [= the author says]; p. 83: inbred. 5 [= inbred, 5]; p. 88, n. 8: MEM. [= MÉM.]
The More Fundamental Desiderata
In the choice of a mate, one of the first questions that arises is, Shall my mate be like me or unlike?
In this and the ensuing chapter I am going to oppose the modern, democratic and, I think, unhealthy doctrine of the desirability of the marriage of "opposites", and argue in favour of the marriage of similar, or like people. This will necessitate entering into the whole question of consanguinity.
Let the matter be reviewed for a moment in an unlearned, chatty manner.
What do we actually find lovers doing when they first wish to convince each other that they love, without, however uttering, the fatal words?
Do they not subject each other to a most searching examination regarding all their habits of mind and body, from the literature each favours, to the kind of food each prefers?
"Oh, you like that? So do I!"
This is the incessant joyous refrain of the first ardent conversations, when each is secretly longing to tell the other that love has already been kindled.
"How funny that you should like eating the rind of oranges! So do I! How strange! You like the Sankhayana-Brahmanas? So do I! How funny that you should always have stood up for vulgar old Clacton-on-Sea! I have always loved it!" etc.
We have all held such conversations. We have all lied unscrupulously in trying to keep the two tastes absolutely identical. And we have all glowed when, at the end of the catechism, it became abundantly clear to both that there was not a single point, except perhaps the best material for knickers, on which we differed.
What does this mean? It is very deep and very unconscious; because everybody does it. Even those do it who consciously protest that they believe in marrying one's opposite.
And does not all this catechizing about tastes indicate that there is also a desire to make certain that the instinct has been gratified?
Readers may object that it is a matter of pure caution to determine the tastes of a person with whom you may have to live. But it is much more than that. It is not an examination for discovering the tastes of the prospective partner. This is merely incidental. It is the expression of a desire to demonstrate that, no matter what the prospective partner's tastes are, one shares them with him or her. It is not an inquiry in which tastes are approved or disapproved, but in which the similarity of tastes, alone, is approved. It is the outcome of an unconscious, not a conscious, motive. Because very often, I repeat, he who indulges in such a fire of cross-questioning will in the next breath consciously and foolishly declare that he disbelieves in the desirability of similar tastes in spouses, and thinks life would be very dull if everybody thought alike, and so on in fact, the customary twaddle of democratic, disputatious and restless social conditions.
I take it that this fire of cross-questioning, with the joy that follows every proof of similarity, is an indication that beneath the unhealthy democratic veneer there is a natural impulse, which we possess in common with the animals, to pursue our like. And that even when we have been misguided enough to choose a mate that is unlike, we try, at least in the spirit, to establish identity of tastes and a common matrix. 1
Now let us probe a little more deeply into the matter while still avoiding biology, anthropology and statistics.
1 The ancient Greeks evidently took it for granted that mating is with like and not unlike; for in Homer (ODYSSEY, XVII, 218) we read: "Heaven ever bringeth like and like together." See also Agathon's speech in Plato's SYMPOSIUM (195 B.), where he says: "Like to like as the proverb says." This is probably the idea behind Ovid's advice in ARTIS AMATORIA (II, 199, 200), although he gives no reason for it. Addressing men regarding their behaviour to their mistresses, he says: "Blame if she blames; approve whatever she approves. Affirm what she affirms and deny what she denies." See too Dr. Esther Harding (op. cit., p. 148) where, of a young couple, she says: "The assumption that they think alike in all questions matters relatively little here, for the ideas and attitudes of both are as yet hardly formed." Yes, but what is important is that the assumption is made. See also Roswell H. Johnson (Lecturer in Eugenics at Pittsburgh University) in E.R. (XIV, p. 258) on MATE SELECTION, in which he takes the view that mating is usually of like to like.
If the statement is deliberate, and not said for a joke, or by way of thoughtlessly repeating a popular tag, does it not indicate a desire for correction? I mean for the correction of one's stock or individual qualities, whether physical or psychological? And when there is a desire for correction may there not be self-contempt, inferiority-feelings in fact, doubts as to one's general desirability?
A creature proud of his stock's desirable acquired characteristics does not seek an opposite, a correction, which, in his children, would nullify or adulterate the object of his pride. Why should he? In fact, as we shall soon see, there appears to be an instinct implanted in all sound animals and races of men to segregate and hold themselves aloof the moment they have distinguished themselves from the rest by any acquisition.
Only the unsound, the self-despising, have the instinct to seek correction or modification in marriage. Hence, possibly, the popularity of the idea of dissimilars mating in degenerate times. 1 Those people, too, who feel that they are much removed from the mean of their stock, or their nation, and are conscious of being odd, will tend to look for means of modifying their eccentricities in their children by the choice of a mate who displays characteristics unlike their own. 2
The sound, average person, however, tends to seek his like, and to shun his opposite, not merely out of instinct, but consciously, out of a desire to preserve his stock's achievements in quality. He seeks his like, moreover, because if he is an intelligent observer of his fellows, he knows that there are reasons enough for discord in marriage, without multiplying them unduly by the selection of a mate who, by morphology and temperament (which means, by insuperable and unmodifiable fundamentals), must disagree with him in hundreds of things.
Those who, in this connexion, argue that life is made interesting by disagreements, are romantics without any knowledge of the fierce light which intimacy sheds on the smallest divergence from
1 See Dr. J. A. M. Périer. (Mémoires de la Soc. d'Anthropologie de Paris. 18601863. I, p. 215). "Cette théorie de la diversité des époux qui s'adapte si bien aux prédispositions morbides, nous semble donc trouver là seulement son application."
2 See B.M., p. 317, where Ernst Kretschmer says: "Among a mixed material of sound human beings, marriages of contrast are decidedly more frequent, generally speaking, than those of similarity. The more extreme, the more one-sided, the temperaments are, the more strongly do they prefer marriages of contrast."
Married life is not parliamentary life. It is not an institution for diverting the nation with its quarrels. Debates and differences of opinion, especially those based on psycho-physical differences, do not, as a rule, lead to much entertainment or jollity in married life. It is important, therefore, apart from any biological reasons which may be adduced hereafter, and merely for the sake of peace and the durability of the mutual affection, to choose one's like in mating, unpopular though the doctrine may seem in these anarchcial and democratic days. 1
Aristotle seems to have argued in favour of this view, because his only objection to incestuous marriages appears to have been that in them the love between the partners is likely to be excessive. 2 He apparently thought that similarity, which is, of course, more easily found between partners who are closely related, is conducive to greater love than dissimilarity.
The great modern authorities on genetics, Dr. Fritz Lenz and Professor Hermann Lundborg, both seem to argue that the marriage of one's like is advisable, and the latter quotes E. A. Theilhaber with approval when he ascribes the known comparative sterility of mixed Christian and Jew marriages to the ultimate impermanence of sympathy between unlike people. 3 The former explicitly says: "The marriages of people with pronounced differences of nature, culture and outlook, are not in the long run happy. . . . There is probably much to be said for the fact that feats of genius may result from the tension created by the discord resulting from mixed breeding; but, as a rule, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages in the results of mixed breeding, and the condition of the offspring is more often than not unfortunate." 4
It is true that in the latter part of this paragraph Dr. Lenz is
1 See Dr. S. Courtenay Beale: W.W., p. 35: "It is sometimes contended that people of opposite temperaments ought to marry . . . but we strongly doubt the soundness of the advice. For it is not a case of blending or balancing, but of harmonising; and two totally dissimilar temperaments will produce not harmony but discord."
2 See Moyse Amyraut: Considérations sur les droits par lesquels la nature reigle les mariages (Saumur, 1648, p. 223). I was unable to find Aristotle's own words, but as Amyraut is otherwise reliable, they probably exist. There is a passage in THE POLITICS (II, iv) which, at a pinch, might fit the meaning. But I may have missed a more explicit statement.
3 See R.B.M., p. 128.
4 M.A.R., pp. 503, 506.
Much in the same spirit. Dr. Périer, writing between 1860 and 1863, said: "We believe that, on the whole, except in the case of aberrations, there exists in the various branches of the human race a sort of instinctive aversion to matings between very different types." 1
In the little symposium on WHOM SHOULD ONE MARRY? six contributors refer to this question of similarity and dissimilarity of mates, and of these, three take the modern, popular and democratic view, which was also Plato's view, 3 that mates should be unlike. The first of these. Dr. W. Hagen, recommends the marriage of people of different characters and types, though he admits that this makes the relationship more difficult; for, he says, "There will remain on either side a residuum of the personality which the other will never be able wholly to understand." 3 Dr. Felix Hipert recommends a difference of temperament and character in the married, and the avoidance of too great similarity. 4 He gives, however, no convincing reason for this view.
Dr. Lorentzen, as I shall show in a moment, seems to take my view, for he not only recommends the choice of a girl of the same class as the man, but also seems to have observed marked similarities between all couples, young and old. He appears, therefore, to think that it is a law of Nature that like should choose like. 5
Two contributors, Herr von Schiber-Burkhardsberg and Dr. Eisenlohr, both advise a spouse from the same class or caste as the suitor. 6 Although this does not by any means guarantee similarity of type or temperament, it is an admission that similarity of a sort is required, more particularly as Eisenlohr is not in
1 Op. cit., p. 216. See also Count Arthur de Gobineau, p. 103 infra.
2 THE LAWS (trans. by Jowett, Oxford, 773). But Plato evidently believed, as most thinkers do, that like attracts like in the normal; for he says: "For somehow everyone is by nature prone to that which is likest to himself." Then, however, he advises marriage with opposites, whether in wealth or nature, in order to equalize things. See also footnote p. 44 supra.
3 W.S.H., p. 28. See also p. 29.
4 Ibid., pp. 3637.
5 Ibid., p. 58.
6 Ibid., pp. 66 and 85.
Dr. Fritz Kauffmann recommends the marriage of persons of the same economic and social status, 2 which is at least a step in the same direction.
According to Havelock Ellis, Leonardo da Vinci believed that parity and not disparity was attractive, and the celebrated sexologist argues that, at least in pigmentation and stature, like attracts like. 3
Arguing against the belief that married couples, as the result of the unconscious imitation of each other's expression, grow alike, Hermann Fol, in a small statistical survey of married people made in 1891, found "that couples tend to unite in accordance with the law of like to like, and not as a result of their dissimilarities, and that, consequently, the resemblances between aged married couples are not acquired as a result of conjugal life." 4
Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, who conducted a similar inquiry among only 50 married couples, found that similarity proved an attraction in regard to 182 characters, and dissimilarity in regard to 168 characters. 5
Dr. Lorenzen says definitely: "It has always struck me how fantastically alike in expression and bearing married couples are, not merely the old ones . . . but also the young ones." 6
Karl Pearson found a distinct likeness between the husbands and wives of two groups of 1000 and of 774 respectively, in regard to stature and eye-colour, and his tables show an undoubted tendency for like to marry like. 7 "So far," he says, "I have only measured two characters, stature and eye-colour, yet in both
1 Ibid., p. 85.
2 Ibid., p. 88.
3 S.P.S., IV, pp. 196198. See also M.H., pp. 177178: "It is not a fact that snub noses seek to combine with aquiline, that tall men prefer short women, or that women of delicate sentiment are specially attracted by ignorant and boorish but vigorous men. . . . A good-looking man is not impelled to throw himself away upon an ugly woman; his inclination is to seek a partner as good or better than himself."
4 LA RESEMBLANCE ENTRE LES EPOUX (Rev. Scientifique, Paris, XLVII, p. 49).
5 G.K., II, pp. 4243.
6 W.S.H., p. 58.
7 G.S., pp. 429, 431, 436.
Commenting on these findings. Dr. J. B. Rice says: 1 "This is opposed to the popular belief that men and women are attracted to their opposites, but a moment's reflection will verify from personal experience the conclusions of Pearson. Indeed, this is probably the reason for the belief that husband and wife grow to resemble one another. They were probably much alike in the beginning."
Kretschmer, on the other hand, who regards the marriage of opposites with favour, found that out of 100 marriages, 63 were of "predominantly dissimilar" people, 13 of predominantly similar, and 24 of people "about equally similar and dissimilar." 2
These observations, however, whether of Lorentzen, Karl Pearson, Nisbet, or Kretschmer, whatever else they may indicate, constitute no argument either for or against the marriage of opposites; because we are not so much concerned here with what is actually taking place to-day in our corrupt and very largely sick populations, highly differentiated and suffering under the appalling confusion of types and races described in Chapter I, as with what should be the practice both eugenically and hedonistically of couples who are now anxious to do the right thing. And the facts I shall adduce below in establishing my case in favour of consanguinity, leave little room for doubt that the ideal match, for both health and happiness, is that of like with like.
Paul Popenoe, summing up his own examination of the problem, writes: "Stating the results in the broadest possible way, it may be said that people tend to marry for unlikeness in sexual traits, and likeness in other traits. . . . Whatever the cause may be, it has been found beyond all doubt that, even in the most trivial details, husband and wife resemble each other, on the average, much more than would be possible if men and women married at random. They are indeed about as much alike as first cousins, or an uncle and a niece." 3
1 R.H., p. 262.
2 B.M., pp. 312313.
3 M.M., pp. 3840.
Before entering more deeply into this question, however, a word must be said about the attitude of persons afflicted with some visible congenital blemish.
According to the learned authors of HUMAN HEREDITY 2 "persons afflicted with congenital mutilation or malformation will usually mate with persons similarly afflicted, or with persons who are mentally below par." Such people, however, are sufficiently exceptional for it to be hazardous to draw inferences from their behaviour. A person with a visible congenital blemish may feel that he has a right only to another blemished person, although nowadays, unfortunately, there is no reason why he should feel this; for, as I have already shown, he has only to make it plain (if his congenital blemish does not do so) that he "can't help it", in order almost to compel the sentimental female, bred on modern morality, to accept him. But there is no doubt that the more noble among visibly congenitally blemished people would hesitate to propose to or to accept anyone but their like, "for", as the authors of HUMAN HEREDITY add, "those who are sound in mind and body will not accept them as life-partners." 3
Later on in the same work. Dr. Fritz Lenz, alone, maintains that "an individual suffering from a hereditary illness or anomaly seldom mates with a person suffering from the same illness or anomaly." 4
This appears incompatible with the paragraph previously quoted. But whereas congenital mutilations or malformations are usually visible, hereditary illnesses or anomalies are not necessarily so. I take it, therefore, that Dr. Lenz means that people who are aware of being victims of the latter deliberately
1 See p. 90, note 1, where the great genealogist, O. Lorentz, is quoted as saving: "Love prospers best where ancestors are reduced and where there is equality of rank and birth." His expression is AHNENVERLUST, which must mean "reduction of ancestors by mating consanguineously." He thinks that the attraction of like to like is on the whole irrepressible in man.
2 B.F.L., p. 461.
3 Unfortunately, I repeat, this is by no means always true. Where modern sentimentality and the purely moral estimate of man are both strong, such obstacles count for nothing. It would be better if they did.
4 Ibid., p. 513.
Turning now to the more difficult, but cognate, question, whether, from the deeper standpoints of biology, anthropology and eugenics, it is better for mates to be similar or dissimilar, we are confronted with the problems of heredity and consanguinity and cannot circumvent them.
Seeing that biologically the mate most likely to resemble a man or a woman is one from the same family either sister or brother, aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, mother or father, or, at least, first cousin, it behoves us to investigate the whole problem of consanguinity, and from our findings determine the precise genetic importance, if any, of likeness in mating. Incidentally, the investigation may provide us with a deeper warrant for our thesis that the mating of the similar is preferable to the mating of the dissimilar.
I have made it sufficiently plain in the previous chapter that I see neither help nor any relation to reality in the arbitrary elevation of mind above body, or in the separation of the two. I have shown that this arbitrary differentiation popularized chiefly by that monster magician, Socrates, to save his own self-esteem, besides being worthless as a contribution to knowledge is actually an obstacle in the way of a clear understanding of man. 2
Unfortunately, however, it still governs the lay world. And, although one or two scientific men, like Dr. Draper, of America, and Sir Charles Sherrington over here, seem to be shaking themselves free from it, it still also governs science to a very great extent.
At all events I have found it helpful and more wholesome, to abandon this Socratic magic altogether, and when, therefore,
1 It was hardly true even of the cultivated classes early last century, otherwise it is impossible to account for such a plot as that in Lytton's PILGRIMS ON THE RHINE, published in 1854.
2 Apparently Socrates always lied quite unscrupulously in order to save his self-esteem. For instance, in trying to excuse his blunder in marrying the virago Xanthippe, he had the effrontery to say he had chosen her so that her bad temper might inure him to all sorts of people. (Xenephon: SYMPOSIUM, II, 10.) Diogenes Laertius makes him excuse himself for Xanthippe on the score that she made him better able to cope with the rest of the world. (LIVES OF EMINENT PHILOSOPHERS, Book II, 37.)
Contemplating the problems of health and culture on this non-magic basis, I find, a priori, that culture, in so far as it is social harmony and order, healthy and enduring, must be the product of an ordered, harmonious, healthy man.
And if I turn my eyes from the social chaos of to-day, back to the origins of the most harmonious and healthiest cultures, I suspect without inquiry that the people who created these cultures must have been unlike us at least in this that they were harmoniously constituted and vigorously healthy.
They were beautiful, harmonious, and wholesome, consequently their creations could not help being beautiful, harmonious and wholesome.
Turning now from these a priori conclusions to facts, what do we find?
We find not only that these early cultures were actually very harmonious, but also that their vigour and power must have been very great; for our culture owes what little beauty, harmony and health it possesses entirely to them.
A further interesting fact is that all these cultures arose in naturally or artificially confined areas, where broadmindedness, the universal brotherhood of mankind, internationalism, the love of one's neighbour, and other forms of claptrap were quite unknown.
We find these cultures originally in islands like Crete and Japan, peninsulas like India, Greece and Italy, naturally enclosed areas like Peru, Mesopotamia and Egypt, and artificially enclosed areas like China and ancient Palestine. 1
Furthermore, we know that where intercourse with the outside world, with the neighbour, is checked, the secluded people are condemned to inbreeding and very often close inbreeding, that is to say, at any rate, to a form of mating which brings like to like.
In the only cultures that have left a permanent mark on the world, we find, however, not merely inbreeding but also a strong
1 As far as I am aware Reibmayr was the first to call attention to this interesting fact (D.E.T.G., I, p. 9).
This was so among the Egyptians, the Jews, the Hindus and the Peruvians. In all these cases it was an unconscious instinct to separate, or a conscious pride of race and caste, that caused the segregation. 1
The same seems to have been true of the ancient inhabitants of these islands and their Germanic invaders. Thus, speaking of the fact that the Saxon invaders of Britain brought their wives and families over with them, Stubbs says: "The wives and families were necessary to the comfort and continued existence of the settlements. It was not only that the attitude of the Britons forbade intermarriages; the Saxons, as all testimony has shown, declined the connubium of foreign races." 2
It would seem as if men who have acquired a set of peculiar qualities possess an instinct to keep aloof from anyone who can adulterate these qualities. I could quote many facts to prove that animals have a similar instinct, but will content myself with only a few from Darwin.
Darwin tells us that "the alco dog of Mexico dislikes dogs of other breeds; and the hairless dog of Paraguay mixes less readily with the European races than the latter do with each other. . . . In Paraguay the horses have much freedom and . . . the native horses of the same colour and size prefer associating with each other, and . . . the horses imported from Entre Rios and Banda Oriental into Paraguay likewise prefer associating together. In Circassia . . . horses of three sub-races whilst living a free life, almost always refuse to mingle and cross, and will even attack one another.
"In a district stocked with heavy Lincolnshire and light Norfolk sheep, both kinds, though bred together, when turned out, in a short space of time separate to a sheep . . . the two
1 For a detailed account, with documentation, of measures taken by the Egyptians, Jews and Hindus to keep themselves pure and free from any mixture of foreign blood, see my DEFENCE OF ARISTOCRACY, Chap. VII.
2 THE CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY OF ENGLAND (Oxford, 1897, p. 69), also p. 46, where, quoting Rudolf, author of the TRANSLATIO SANCTI ALEXANDRI, Stubbs says of the Saxons of the early Frank Empire: "They scarcely ever allow themselves to be infected by any marriages with other or inferior races, and they try to keep their nationality apart and unlike any other. Hence the universal prevalence of one physical type." See also op. cit., p. 18 for purity of Germanic races.
Darwin gives numerous similar facts about geese, cattle, monkeys and other animals.
In healthy cultivated man, this instinct is so pronounced as to be a matter of almost common knowledge. 2 Even among primitive peoples it has been noticed by scores of observers. Lotsy and Goddiju, for instance, say of the Bushmen of Kalahari: "Their women were not at all nattered by the attentions of their Bechuana lords. Instead of an honour, they looked upon intercourse with anyone not of their tribe, no matter how superior, as a degradation." 3
Pastor Mojola Agbebi, Director of the Niger Delta Mission, says: "No un-Europeanized native of tropical Africa seeks intermarriage with white people. Commercial intercourse and other unavoidable contact with white people may lead to a progeny of mixed blood, but no Tropical African pure and simple is inclined to marry a European or appreciates mixed marriages. . . . The unsophisticated African entertains aversion to white people." 4
F. L. Hoffman also refers to the reluctance of different peoples to intermarry, and says: "An interesting instance is presented in the case of the Ainos of Japan, who are a distinct race from the Japanese, and who, after centuries of close association, are
1 V.A.P.U.D., II, pp. 8o. 81.
2 See two notes on previous page.
3 GENETICA, 1928. (HYBRIDISATION AMONG HUMAN RACES IN SOUTH AFRICA, pp. 146147.) Also Otto von Kotzebue: A NEW VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD (London, 1830, I, p. 125), who says of the alleged mixing of the Tahitans and the Jeris on Tahiti: "The pride of the Jeris keeps them aloof from any such connexions, which, had they subsisted, must have long since destroyed the broad and acknowledged line of distinction."
4 PAPERS ON INTER-RACIAL PROBLEMS (Ed. by G. Spiller, 1911. The West African Problem, p. 344).
Dr. H. Berkusky, referring to the laws against mixed breeding among savages, says that formerly a Zulu girl who had intercourse with a white man was killed by her own people, together with her child. The cross-bred child was also killed among the Pilagoi and Mahave Indians, while among the Orang-Laût of the Malacca Peninsula, all half-breeds are segregated, and a woman who mixes her blood is ostracized. Among the Inois of Annam, and the Karagasses of Southern Siberia, all girls who mix their blood are punished. 2 Hrdlicka tells us that when infanticide does occur among the Indians, the child "is of mixed blood." 3
Professor Nieuwenhuis tells us that intermarriage between the tribes of Central Borneo, although not prohibited, "occurs so rarely that the Taman-Dajak and Kajan-Dajak have lived over a hundred years close to one another without mixing." 4 Among other instances, Darwin says that even among the degraded Australian blacks, half-castes were killed, which indicates that there was a strong bias against mixing. 5 Among the peoples principally responsible for our civilization, the Egyptians, the Jews, the Greeks and the Saxons, the abhorrence of the stranger was so great that in some cases their very word for stranger was a term of opprobrium. 6 And each of these peoples was not only inbred, but also incestuous.
1 RACE TRAITS AND TENDENCIES OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO (New York, 1896) pp. 195196). Also N.E., p. 115, where Bryk says: "In his race consciousness, the Black is extremely exclusive. This exclusiveness may go so far that a woman who has relations with a man of another race becomes the object of the most bitter persecution at the hands of her own people. . . . The very fact that a woman loves a man of another race lands her in the most tragic conflicts."
2 DIE SEXUELLE MORAL DER NATURVÖLKER (ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR SOCIAL WlSSENSCHAFT, 12 Jahrgang. Heft 12, p. 726).
3 PHYSIOLOGICAL AND MEDICAL OBSERVATIONS AMONG THE INDIANS OF S.W. U.S.A. AND NORTHERN MEXICO, p. 166.
4 B.M., p. 74.
5 D.O.M., p. 170. Also Westermarck, THE HISTORY OF HUMAN MARRIAGE (I, pp. 3941), where, among many other instances, the author says of the people of Lapland: "Marriages between Lapps and Swedes very rarely occur, being looked upon as dishonourable by both peoples; they are equally uncommon between Lapps and Norwegians, and it hardly ever happens that a Lapp marries a Russian." Regarding scarcity of offspring between English and Australian natives, despite extensive relations, see THE PHENOMENA OF HYBRIDITY IN THE GENUS HOMO, by Dr. P. Broca (London, 1864, pp. 4760), who denies that hybrids were killed.
6 The Egyptians called all foreigners "impure Gentiles" (Herodotus, II, 158, and Wilkinson: THE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS,
There is at present much prejudice against consanguineous and particularly against incestuous matings. Is it possible that like other superstitions, like the ascription of disease to some invading microbe and the belief in the superiority of the soul over the body, it is based merely on ancient magic?
If the modern prejudice against consanguinity and incest is part of the old magic stock-in-trade, it is important to get rid of it, because the vital question of the mating of like or unlike is involved, and because the people responsible for civilizing the world were probably greater than a people like ourselves who have left no stone unturned in order to decivilize it.
How does modern science regard inbreeding and incest?
I may say, straight away, that much as I was jeered at ten years ago for publicly advocating as a eugenic measure the repeal of our laws against incest, to-day I find almost the whole of authoritative science on my side.
If, however, the science of the past had done what it always should do, and had compared its own findings with the tastes and traditions of the greatest cultures of antiquity, it would necessarily have hesitated before supporting magic and religion; because history and anthropology confirmed the advocates of inbreeding.
Darwin, the greatest biologist of what will probably be known as the darkest age of English history, the nineteenth century, succumbed to the influence of his democratic and magic-ridden environment. One can see his great intellect battling with his emotional bias in favour of the sloppy errors of his day, and the fact that in the end it was defeated has left a blemish on the one great thing the nineteenth century attempted.
For, although he collected a mass of evidence pointing to the
London, 1878, I, p. 264). The Hebrews called the rest of mankind Goïm, and the Greek barbaros = not Greek, implied inferiority. After the Persian War it came to mean outlandish, brutal, rude. The word "was used of all defects which the Greeks thought foreign to themselves and natural to other nations." (Liddell and Scott: Article, barbaros.)
Breeding is the process of producing a new individual by the conjunction of two germ cells, male and female.
In random-bred human stocks, like the stocks forming the populations of modern civilized countries, among which anybody may marry anybody except a close relative, and among which even cousin matings are comparatively rare, the hereditary equipment (germ-plasm) of each party to every mating is different. Each contains factors, genes, or developmental determiners of a kind not contained in the other. Each, therefore, has psycho-physical potentialities of a different type, with different qualities and accomplishments from the other. Each also has different morbidity-determining factors or genes. But it should be noted that in random-bred stocks, morbidity-determining factors tend to be spread so widely over the population that it is quite possible for each party to the mating, although quite unrelated, to possess one, two or more morbidity-determining factors in common. That is to say, that although, as a rule, the Miss Smith who marries the Mr. Brown brings him a tendency to a number of diseases with which he may not be tainted say, diabetes, Bright's disease, and myopia, while he brings her a tendency to say, pthisis, hepatic insufficiency and gout so that their offspring have only 50 per cent of all six diseases, it may happen nowadays, with disease as widespread as it is, that Miss Smith, though quite unrelated to Mr. Brown, brings him urticaria, gall-bladder disease and varicose veins, while he brings her hypothyroidism, varicose veins and myopia. So that although they hand on to their offspring only 50 per cent of the four diseases not common to both of them, they hand on 100 per cent of varicose veins.
When a male and a female from different families in such random-bred stocks are joined together in marriage, we may picture the process of the conjunction of their two germ-cells as an intermingling of portions of the supplies of wools from two different wool-shops, each supply containing the wools of different colours, qualities and strength. And, as in random-bred stocks there is always latent in the germ-plasm of both parties much that is deleterious, 1 we must imagine some of the wools from each shop as being diseased, infected and unsound.
1 A. D. Buchanan Smith, M.A.M.Sc., INBREEDING IN CATTLE AND HORSES (E.R., VIII, No. 3, p. 195). "There is latent in the germ-plasm of all random-bred stock much that is deleterious and only waiting its opportunity for expression."
If six parcels are made up from wools taken at haphazard from Shop I and Shop II, the chances are that most of the parcels will be inharmonious and discordant in themselves, and also disparate from one another, because we have seen that the supplies of wool in each shop are similar only in regard to a few wools. But it is also possible that one or perhaps two out of the parcels may by chance contain wools which are common to both shops. In which case, despite the haphazard blending, and the different supplies in each shop, a parcel will be produced which will be oddly harmonious, and more attractive than the other parcels. If, however, the similar wools which come together in a parcel happen to be the diseased, infected, or unsound wools in each shop, the parcel will be unlike the other parcels in view of its extreme morbidity.
As the coming together of similar wools from each shop in haphazard parcelling (random-breeding) is much less common than the joining of dissimilar wools, we must regard the production of a harmonious or of an extremely morbid parcel as less frequent in haphazard parcelling, than the production of a discordant or inharmonious parcel. For what usually happens is that when morbid wools from each shop come together they are morbid in a different way, so that not 100 per cent of one kind, but 50 per cent of two or more kinds of morbidity appears in each parcel.
It should, however, be remembered that when hundreds of thousands of such parcels with only 50 per cent of various kinds of morbidity are annually sent out into the world, the world gradually gets stocked with parcels containing latent morbidity, and that if these parcels are combined to produce fresh parcels, the 50 per cent may easily be made up to 100 per cent. 1
If we imagine the six parcels as children of the same parents, we can now understand how, in the same family, in a random-
1 See Dr. F. A. E. Crew (M.L., p. 388): "It is not known how widespread such recessive genes [determiners or morbidity in this context] are, but the fact that defective individuals appear in certain communities may be interpreted as meaning that individuals carrying the same gene have at last mated."
There is no space to enter into the question of dominants and recessives, 1 except to say that, if in some section of each of the six parcels of wool, some colour, or other quality, dominates over others so as to supersede without destroying them, the reader will perceive what happens when a dominant say, brown occurs. In that case the parcel, in one of its sections, will appear all brown. But the blue and red in that section are not destroyed. They are merely recessive. And if the parcel containing dominant brown is used for a further series of parcels, the blue and red will reappear in the section concerned.
Thus a child in a family of six, both parents of which have brown eyes, may have blue eyes. On enquiry, however, it will be found that blue was a recessive factor in each or one of the parents, each or one of them having had parents or grandparents with blue eyes.
In this way recessive morbid factors also pass from one generation to another, unobserved, unmanifested; but they suddenly turn up and cause consternation to those concerned.
Thus mixed breeding in random-bred stocks such as those composing the populations of modern civilized countries, has three principal results:
(1) It may, by a stroke of pure luck, produce a new individual who is harmonious and symmetrical, with bodily parts proportionately correlated, and who is free from morbid factors, or possesses them only in innocuous, fractional proportions, or as recessives.
(2) It may, and usually does, produce an individual who is inharmonious and discordant, that is to say, who presents an asymmetrical whole, with bodily parts disproportionately correlated, and who has some morbid traits sufficiently pronounced to be displayed.
(3) And, by the same chance conjunction which produced (1) it may produce an unlucky individual, with a grave state of disharmony, showing itself in ugliness, mal-co-ordination and
1 In a book intended for the ordinary reader, it was not thought necessary to give more than a popular summary of the facts about breeding, or to enter narrowly into Mendel's laws. These can be studied in easily accessible popular works, and I recommend Dr. Crew's HEREDITY, or Dr. J. B. Rice's RACIAL HYGIENE.
Even the lucky individual, however, who looks healthy, sound, and handsome in a random-bred stock, bears in his hereditary equipment the deleterious elements common to his parental stocks, which produced his less fortunate brothers. This explains why, in a random-bred stock, children are often so unaccountably inferior, and sometimes so unaccountably superior to their parents. In fact it explains all the anomalies which the opponents of the hereditary principle habitually advance as arguments against it, and which are thus seen to be no arguments against it at all.
There is, therefore, no certainty of reckoning with random-bred stocks, and it is all-important to remember that in such stocks, in which the germ-plasm (i.e. the hereditary equipment of the stock) is not stabilized, it is not safe to judge by appearances, especially in the case of an individual who is an exception, as regards vigour, beauty, or intelligence, in his stock or family. 1
This is, of course, also true of the so-called geniuses that sometimes arise in mixed random-bred stocks. They too are just lucky strokes which it would be ridiculous to hope to see repeated, for how could they breed true? The fact that Marcus Aurelius and Napoleon had no geniuses as sons is thus seen to be (quite apart from the mate in each case, who may have been unsuitable) no argument against, but rather in favour of, the hereditary principle. 2
Now what happens if we inbreed from stocks hitherto random-bred?
If instead of taking a male and a female from different families in a mixed random-bred stock, we take, say, brother and sister, mother and son, or father and daughter, we may picture the conjunction of their two germ-cells as an intermingling of portions of a supply of wool from only one shop; and we must imagine the supply of wools in the one shop as being divided into two halves, one half on one side of the shop and one half on the other; and each half of the stock as containing wools represented in the other half.
1 H., p. 63: "Another lesson that is to be learned from the facts of inheritance is that appearance alone is not a reliable guide to breeding ability and that a more certain method . . . is the progeny test." I think if Dr. Crew had inserted the words "in random-bred stocks", after the word "alone" he would have been more correct.
2 See infra, p. 113 et seq.
Thus a rapid elimination of the unsound and morbid parcels takes place, 1 and the stock of wools, though very much reduced, is speedily cleansed of morbid elements. 2
Meanwhile, some highly harmonious parcels will have been produced, from which a further series of harmonious parcels can be combined and recombined. This process will tend to increase; for, as fast as the morbid elements concentrate in particular parcels and are sacrificed, the morbid wools available for fresh parcels are naturally reduced until they completely disappear.
Pari passu with this process of eliminating morbidity, all the parcels in the second, third and fourth series have, in this arrangement and quality of wools quickly become more and more alike, so that at every reshuffle it is more easy to stake on the product of any two parcels being like its parent parcels. 3 The parcels, in fact, become "homozygous" (i.e. having a like hereditary equipment), and can be relied upon to produce parcels like themselves. In a word, they breed true. 4 They are, therefore, in many important respects, quite unlike the parcels made tip
1 B.F.L., p. 109. "Inbreeding and reproduction from individuals who are closely akin favours the mendelising out of recessive developmental defects."
2 O.I.I.M., p. 97. "Inbreeding will purify a stock, but the process may be expensive." See also H., p. 61: "Inbreeding thus purifies a stock."
3 H., p. 65: "Inbreeding leads to a rapid increase in homozygosity, and when this state is reached, stability and uniformity will be reached."
4 H., p. 66: "Such individuals as have been made homozygous for the desirable characters will be far more valuable material in the hands of the breeder than the stock with which he started, for, in virtue of their hereditary constitution, they must now breed true for this character."
If then we continue to inbreed from them, we may do so quite safely, because the chances of morbid or lethal factors coming together in the offspring in any high percentage have now been removed. The stock is in fact pure and will breed true. 2
Beauty is likely to have increased, because, as we shall see presently, it is largely dependent on harmony; health is likely to have increased, because, in addition to the elimination of morbidity-determining factors, dysfunction, as we shall also see, will have been avoided by an increased correlation between the parts of the body; and appearance will become reliable as a measure of hereditary potentialities in germ-plasm, because the germ-plasm of the stock will have become stabilized.
Thus, although in the early stages of close inbreeding from a stock hitherto random-bred, a great number of casualties are produced by concentrating the deleterious factors in the stock, it should not be forgotten that a parallel concentration of the finer qualities of the stock takes place in other individuals, and that when once the deleterious factors have been mendelized out, the stock is purified; whereas in cross, or out-breeding, if a rapid production of casualties is avoided, it is only by covering up morbid factors and spreading them further afield.
It is now established, in fact, that consanguinity in itself is not a bar to mating. 3 If inbreeding results in disappointment it is not the method of mating that has created the taints revealed.
1 Buchanan Smith (op. cit., p. 194). "The primary effect of inbreeding is merely the creation of homozygosity . . . inbreeding per se is merely the stabilisation of the germ plasm.
2 R.H., p. 157. "Where no morbid variations exist, as in the case of old well-adapted families which tor several generations have been clear of defect consanguineous marriages may he practised with no bad effect. Indeed they tend to accumulate homogeneous determiners in the germ-plasm, and so families which are thoroughly healthy in all their members may practise consanguinity with advantage since each new union will result in the accumulation of favourable combinations."
3 H., p. 66.
This, roughly, is what science has to say about the two methods of breeding. 2
It was all perfectly plain and could have been inferred sixty years ago from the facts of animal and human life.
What about the actual practice of Nature and the breeder of animals?
In the first place, we know that "the closest inbreeding occurs in plants, in which the egg-cells are fertilized by pollen cells produced by the same individual." 3
The common blue violet, 4 garden beans, the many species of the small evening primrose, are examples of such plants. While "the small-flowered Oenotheres are much more widespread in their wild condition in N. America than the large-flowered forms which are open pollinated, and hence have greater chances for crossing. The former have been more successful in an evolutionary way, despite their self-pollination." 5 Darwin tells us, "there exist, however, some plants which, under their natural conditions appear to be always self-fertilized, such as the Bee Ophrys (Ophrys apifera) and a few other Orchids; yet these plants exhibit the plainest adaptations for cross-fertilization. Again, some few plants are believed to produce only closed flowers, called cleistogene, which cannot possibly be crossed." 6
"Self-pollination is also the rule in wheat, oats, and the majority of the other cereal crops," says Professor Castle, "the most important economically of cultivated plants." 7
And the process cannot be attended by any recognizable ill-effects, otherwise these plants would not be with us to-day.
1 O.I.I.M., p. 97. "Inbreeding is only disastrous if the ingredients of disaster are already in the stock."
2 There was no need to burden these pages with a more elaborate statement. Those who feel the need of the latter are referred to the literature quoted in this and the following chapter.
3 W. E. Castle: GENETICS AND EUGENICS (Camb., Mass., 1916, p. 219).
4 R.H., p. 52. "There are plants which are definitely arranged so as to prevent cross-pollination and to make self-pollination not only possible, but certain. The common blue violet is such a plant, and there are many others."
5 H.E., p. 206.
6 V.A.P.U.D., II, p. 69. The fact that the species to which Bee Ophrys belongs is one in which self-fertilization prevails, and is of a very prolific character, seems incompatible with the belief that self-fertilization is an unnatural or vicious form of propagation. (See William Adam, FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW, No. 12, Nov. 1st, 1865, p. 723.)
7 Op. cit., p. 220.
As Dr. Briffault tells us, "reproduction without any regard to relationship takes place habitually in animal species, such as rats, rabbits, and other rodents, which by their fertility and vitality have become obnoxious as vermin." 3
On the authority of P. L. Sclater and O. Thomas, Brehm-Strassen and D. C. F. Macdonald and others, he also says that many animals appear to propagate exclusively by what we should term the closest incestuous unions. "Thus the African reedbuck usually brings forth two young at a birth, a male and a female; these, when they become mature, pair with one another, and the race is thus perpetuated by the union of brothers and sisters. The same appears to be true of most of the smaller species of antelopes. It is also the invariable rule among red-deer." 4
"At Fitzroy (Falkland Isles), near Mare and Island harbours, is . . . a herd of guanaco," Mr. Huth tells us, "numbering some twenty individuals, all sprung from a couple brought over as a present to the governor." Given to a Captain Packe, he "removed them to the neighbourhood of Fitzroy, where through necessarily breeding in-and-in, they have thriven and multiplied." 5
The herds of magnificent cattle in the Falkland Isles are all descended from a few introduced there from La Plata about a hundred and thirty years ago, and Darwin tells us they have been noticed to break up into smaller herds of different colours, which breed at different times of the year, and thus intensify the in-and-inbreeding out of which the whole herd originally sprang. 6
After enumerating a number of cases of close consanguineous mating in cattle, sheep, and antelopes, Darwin says: "Almost all the animals as yet mentioned are gregarious, and the males most frequently pair with their own daughters, for they expel the young males as well as all intruders, until forced by old age and loss of strength to yield to some stronger male." 7
1 R.H., p. 153. "Animals have no instincts tending to prevent inbreeding."
2 C.M.R., p. 412.
3 MO., I, p. 204.
4 MO., I, p. 205.
5 THE MARRIAGE OF NEAR KIN (2nd Ed., 1887, p. 265).
6 V.A.P.U.D., II, p. 80. Also p. 99, where, of the deer in English parks, Darwin says: "Mr. Shirley, who has carefully studied the management of deer, admits that in some parks there was no admittance of foreign blood from a time beyond the memory of man."
7 Ibid., p. 102.
According to A. C. Brehm, 2 the nature of the troop or horde among monkeys makes constant matings between the head of the horde and his daughters, sisters and other close relatives, wholly inevitable; in fact, among all polygamous animals, whether gorilla, wild boar, or elephant, the leading male must enjoy the favours of his daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters, as long as he is able to keep other males away. Nor, as Mr. Huth points out, does the incest cease, when the old male is at last turned out; because the first in the field will most probably be his own sons or grandsons. 3
A new and recently authenticated case of naturally determined incest was discovered by the British Museum Expedition to the Gobi Desert in 1929, when a bird, the Eoörnis Pterovelox Gobiensis was found, which hatches twins at birth, a male and a female, and these same individuals later mate and are monogamous. 4
We also know of the rabbits of Australia, the pigs of New Zealand, and the cattle of South America all offspring of a few individuals let loose on the soil. According to W. Hornady, a classical example of a huge stock of animals bred from only three ancestors is afforded by the red deer of New Zealand. The original three specimens were introduced from England in 1864, and only ten years ago the herd numbered five thousand. Yet they show no signs of disease, but are indeed superior in vigour and constitution to the original parent stock. 5
1 DER HEUTIGE STAND DER INZUCHTFRAGE (ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR TIERZÜCHTUNG UND ZÜCHTUNGSBIOLOGIE, Band II, Heft I, Berlin, Sept., 1924, p. 3).
2 THIERLEBEN (1876, I, p. 48). Brehm, it should be remembered, actually kept monkeys.
3 Op. cit., pp. 910.
4 QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY. See also Dr. Emile Laurent: MARIAGES CONSANGUINS ET DÉGÉNÉRESCENCES (Paris, 1895, p. 19), for a remarkable instance of close inbreeding of sheep in the flock at Mauchamp in Le Cher, which was wholly successful.
5 Kronacher (op. cit., p. 4).
And what do experienced breeders do?
Here the evidence conclusively points to the best results being obtained from the closest inbreeding.
But, just as in Nature, natural selection eliminates individuals which are the outcome of two polluted streams becoming confluent in consanguineous unions, so the wise breeder, who imitates Natures way, carefully weeds out unhappy specimens and carries on his inbreeding with constant selection.
For as we have seen, if morbid or deleterious factors still exist in a stock's germ-plasm, and they come together from both parents in incestuous breeding, then, instead of a confluence of two pure streams, leading to enhanced health, beauty and vigour, a confluence of impure streams occurs, which, of course, results in a stream doubly contaminated.
It is, however, remarkable that, owing to the ethico-theological superstition against inbreeding and incest, bad and ignorant breeders have until recently always ascribed to close inbreeding per se, and not to the pollution of the confluent streams, the bad results of their methods so much so, indeed, that not only Darwin, who consulted many such ignorant breeders, but also countless other authorities, take it for granted that inbreeding in itself must be bad, particularly as it was forbidden by the table of affinities.
Settegast in 1868 in Germany took an even stronger stand than Darwin against inbreeding, with the result, as Kronacher shows, that for several decades nobody ever accomplished anything notable in the breeding of cattle or horses in Germany. 1 And it was only when Dr. de Chapeaurouge reversed Settegast's theological prejudices that Germany began once again to produce reputable strains of animals.
Paying no heed to the theorists, however, knowledgeable breeders all over the world have from time immemorial always practised inbreeding, accompanied by careful selection.
"One of the stock arguments used against inbreeding," says C. A. House, "is that under its influence stamina deteriorates. It is not so; nowhere is stamina required more than in the Homing Pigeon, and in no branch of the Fancy is in-breeding more practically and closely followed than in dealing with homing pigeons." 2
1 Op. cit., pp. 12.
2 INBREEDING (London, 1920, p. 6).
And it is this incestuous stock that has given our racehorses some of their finest qualities.
The Clydesdale breed of horses, as Mr. A. Calder shows, is also closely inbred. Their homozygosity "relative to the condition existing in the foundation stock, has been increased by 6.2 per cent due to inbreeding alone." 2 And Mr. House says: "From 80 to 90 per cent of the horses registered in recent volumes of the Shire Stud Book go back within half-a-dozen generations in direct line to three stallions living from thirty to forty years ago. These are Lincolnshire Lad, William the Conqueror and Matchless." 3
Writing of the famous royal Austrian breed of horses at Kladrub, Kronacher says: "They have been more or less closely inbred for about a century, and in spite of what many have said they display no signs either of physiological or morphological degeneration." 4
Among dog-breeders. Dr. de Chapeaurouge produced a closely inbred stock of pugs with complete success. 5 N. H. Gentry reports from America a successfully inbred stock of Berkshire pigs, while a Dutch landowner recently reared a stock of middle white breed without any evil effects from one imported boar and two sows. 6 Dr. Kronacher himself, starting with one male and three females (a mother and two daughters) bred a stock of ordinary goats in and in for eight generations, with no loss of size, physical development, milking capacity, or vitality. Indeed, their fertility tended to increase. And he declares that in this case he practised no selection whatsoever. 7
1 Huth (op. cit., p. 266).
2 THE ROLE OF INBREEDING IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CLYDESDALE BREED OF HORSES (Proc. of the Royal Soc. of Edinburgh, XLVII, 1927, p. 139).
3 Ibid., p. 24.
4 Op. cit., p. 3.
5 Ibid., p. 4.
6 Ibid., p. 2
7 Ibid., pp. 5, 10, and 21. Kronacher explains his success with goats as follows (p. 21): Bei den Ziegen handelte es sich um einen aus zwei nicht weit von einander entfernten Gehöften in etwas ablegender Gegend entnommenen Stamm ganz gewöhnlicher, gehörnter Landziegen. In solchen Verhältnissen ist und war die Inzucht meist seit langem etwas
Prejudice could hardly go further!
"Could I give my readers," says Mr. House, "a few pedigrees of Jersey cattle, they would be astounded to find how closely inbred are all the great milking families. Yet we are told inbreeding causes loss of stamina. If it were so, the Jersey cattle as a distinct breed would have been wiped out long ago, for no fresh blood is ever introduced into the island of Jersey. The reason why? To keep the breed pure and free from any alien taint." 3
All successful breeders of Hereford cattle have also been advocates of this system. The famous cow Restless came of the most persistent inbreeding. The bull Bolingbroke, with his half-sister Phoenix, produced the bull Favourite. Favourite with his mother produced the cow Young Phoenix, a celebrated animal. With his daughter. Favourite then produced the famous bull Comet. He was thereupon put to his daughter's daughter, and again to his daughter's daughter's daughter. The produce of this last union had 93.75 per cent of Favourite's blood in her, and was put to the bull Wellington, who had 61.5 per cent of Favourite's blood. This union produced Clarissa, an admirable cow, who with the bull Lancaster, who had 68.75 per cent of Favourite's blood in his veins, produced the celebrated cow Restless. 4
Gewöhnliches und der Bock wurde vielfach aus der Nachzucht im Stalle des Bockhalters selbst entnommen." Thus the deleterious elements in the germ-plasm of this goat family were probably mendelized out before the experiment started.
1 Mr. Thomas Nesbit, of North Broomhill, Northumberland, writes to me about the fighting cocks his father once bred, as follows: "These fanciers, such as father, did not believe in out-crossing. The Americans, in contrast to this old English idea, believed in out-crossing. Father's experience is that the best you can do for the game bird breed is to bring it back to its own blood. In cases where you have an out-cross i.e. two unrelated strains of pure breed breeding father believes in putting the young cock back to his mother, or the full sisters to the mother. The hens of such breeding he recommends to be put back to the father or the full brothers of the father. This is, of course, only providing the breed is pure . . . inbreeding must be free from taint of any kind. When taint is known to exist you further intensify it by inbreeding." (July 10th, 1933.)
2 V.A.P.U.D., p. 102.
3 Op. cit., p. 26.
4 House (op. cit., p. 27). See also M.O.C., p. 464.
Overlooking much of what experienced breeders did and said, and all the historical and anthropological evidence available at that time, these scientists seemed not only to have been blinded to everything by the cases in which inbreeding with tainted stocks had, of course, led to bad results, but also performed experiments of their own which, astonishing as it may seem, without exception proved that inbreeding was harmful.
These experiments ended about 1900. They closed, as it were, the Dark Age of English history, and left Darwin's findings confirmed. These were:
(a) That the consequences of close inbreeding are, as is generally believed, loss of size, constitutional vigour and fertility.
(b) That it is a great law of Nature that the crossing of animals and plants not closely related is highly beneficial and even necessary. 1
More recently, however, these conclusions began to be doubted. The work was taken up afresh, and in 1916 Professor Castle published the results of his experiments.
With his pupils he had successfully bred a small fly, Drosophila, brother and sister for 59 generations in succession, "without obtaining any diminution in either the vigour or the fecundity of the race." 2
1 An able writer on MARRIAGES AND CONSANGUINITY in the WESTMINSTER REVIEW (July, 1863) called Darwin's attention to the inconsistencies in this conclusion. Darwin wrote THE VARIOUS CONTRIVANCES BY WHICH ORCHIDS ARE FERTILIZED BY INSECTS in order to substantiate conclusion (b); but as the able WESTMINSTER REVIEW writer points out (p. 105): "When we come to look into the argument more closely, the first tincture of distrust is imparted to our minds by the fact that, after all, it is but an argument from final causes," etc. He then suggests an alternative theory which would equally account for Darwin's facts, and points out that Darwin's inferences are from the exception, not the rule. The article should be read in extenso, especially the facts of Hallett's inbreeding with wheat for five generations. "The length of the ears was doubled, their contents nearly trebled, and the tillering power of the seed increased fourfold" (p. 107) In the 2nd Ed. of Darwin's ORCHIDS (1877) there is no satisfactory reply to this WESTMINSTER REVIEW article.
2 Castle (op. cit., 221).
Dr. H. D. King, in America, experimented with white rats, mating brother and sister successively for 25 generations, and among the offspring of this inbred stock, rats were obtained which proved actually superior to the stock rats from which they had started. The males were 15 per cent heavier, and the females 3 per cent, while the fertility was nearly 8 per cent higher. 3 In the seventh generation of this incestuously inbred stock the largest albino rat ever bred was obtained. 4
Commenting on these experiments. Dr. Rice says: "[These] results lead to the very definite suspicion that the earlier investigators unconsciously selected animals in such a way as to lead to the diminished fertility or vitality, or else were using defective strains for their experiment." 5
What then is the position now?
"If undesirable characters are shown after inbreeding," say E. M. East and D. F. Jones, "it is only because they already existed in the stock. . . . If evil is brought to light, inbreeding is no more to be blamed than the detective who unearths a crime. Instead of being condemned it should be commended." 6
"The records of the breeds of domesticated animals," says Dr. Crew, of Edinburgh, "show that close inbreeding of sound stock, if associated with intelligent elimination of the weakly and abnormal, can be practised for many generations without any undesirable consequences. They show, in fact, that some degree
1 R.H., p. 153. See also Federley, DAS INZUCHTPROBLEM (Berlin, 1927, p. 13).
2 Federley (pp. 13, 14).
3 Ibid. (pp. 9, 10). Castle (p. 221).
4 Kronacher (op. cit., p. 5), who points out that Dr. King started experimenting with rats slightly sub-normal in size.
5 R.H., pp. 153154, and O.I.I.M., p. 94, where Crew says almost the same thing, and concludes that the deleterious results of the previous work "must not be ascribed to the system of mating employed, but to other causes."
6 INBREEDING AND OUTBREEDING (London, 1919, p. 139). See also R.H., p. 156. "The type of defect is not determined by the inbreeding, but rather by the inherent defect of the original germ-plasm which has been allowed to come out when inbreeding has been practised."
"Continued crossing," says Professor Castle, "only tends to hide inherent defects, not to exterminate them; and inbreeding only tends to bring them to the surface, not to create them." 2 "If inbreeding exposes the undesirable," says Dr. Crew, "it equally thoroughly emphasizes the desirable, and the desirable will breed true when complete homozygosis in respect of the. characters is obtained." 3
"The healthy offspring of parents who are related have therefore far better hereditary prospects," says Dr. Fritz Lenz, "than the offspring of unrelated parents. There is no such thing as degeneracy, in the sense of a sudden and new appearance of morbid hereditary tendencies, due to inbreeding." 4
"En realité," le Gendre concludes, "la consanguinité exalte les tares héréditaires, mais ne les crée pas." 5
All inbreeding, however, to be successful, must be attended with the most ruthless selection.
In G. M. Rommel's experiment, for instance, thirty-three pairs of guinea-pigs were taken at haphazard and inbred. Pronounced defects in the form of infertility and decline in vigour became apparent in the resulting stocks, although the various families differed in this respect. At all events, in the twentieth generation of brother and sister matings, only sixteen of the thirty-three families survived; but these were superior to the original stock. 6
As a free-lance scientist of long standing in this matter, I therefore suggest the following provisional description of the effects of inbreeding and out- or cross-breeding respectively:
Inbreeding canalizes and isolates health and other desirable qualities, just as it canalizes and isolates ill-health and other undesirable qualities. It stabilizes the germ-plasm, and this causes hereditary factors to be calculable. It therefore makes appearance
1 O.I.I.M., p. 93.
2 Op. cit., p. 224.
3 O.I.I.M., p. 99.
4 M.A.R., p. 471. See also M.O.C., p. 465.
5 R.H., p. 156. See also p. 154. And also Crew (H., p. 65), "It is now established that the effects of inbreeding depend not upon any pernicious attribute of this system of mating, but upon the hereditary conditions of the individuals involved."
6 Kronacher (op. cit., p. 5).
All these conclusions apply equally to Man and beast; but I shall now deal especially with the historical aspects of inbreeding in so far as Man is concerned.
I need not repeat what I said at the opening about Reibmayr's claims regarding the segregating instincts of cultivated human stocks. What interests us more now is to see how far these endogamic instincts led, in the peoples to whom we owe civilization, to intensive inbreeding within certain groups.
In ancient Egypt, in addition to the national endogamy, which forbade mixing with the foreigner, incestuous unions prevailed both among the common people and among the ruler groups. Diodorus tells us, "It was a law . . . in Egypt, against the custom of all other nations, that brothers and sisters might marry with one another." 1
Philo, who was himself a native of Alexandria, writes: "The lawgiver of the Egyptians, ridiculing, etc. . . . and permitting men fearlessly and with impunity to marry all their sisters, whether by both parents, or by one. . . ." 2
G. Maspero, in the ANNUAIRE DE L'ÉCOLE PRATIQUE DES HAUTES ÉTUDES, says of the ancient Egyptians: "Marriage between brother and sister was the marriage most in vogue, and it acquired an odour of the utmost sanctity when the brother and sister contracting it were themselves born of a brother and sister who were likewise the issue of a union the same as theirs." 3 The same author, in his translation of an ancient Egyptian papyrus, shows that even among the common people the custom
1 HISTORICAL LIBRARY, I, ii. (Trans. by G. Booth. London, 1700.)
2 A TREATISE ON THOSE SPECIAL LAWS WHICH ARE REFERABLE TO TWO COMMANDMENTS IN THE DECALOGUE, the 6th and 7th. (Trans. by C. D. Yonge, M.A. London, 1855, III, c. IV.)
3 JOURN. OF HELLENIC STUDIES, VIII, p. 244. (Miss R. E. White on Woman in Ptolemaic Egypt).
Sir Marc Armand Ruffer, C.M.G., mentions the Amherst papyrus as being also a proof of brother and sister marriages among the common people in ancient Egypt, and maintains quite correctly that this custom lasted into late Roman times, seeing that in the reign of the Emperor Commodus two-thirds of the citizens of Arsinoë were said to have married their sisters. 2 Dr. J. Nietzold certainly supports the view that such marriages. were common in Ptolemaic and Roman times, 3 while J. G. Wilkinson makes it plain that these incestuous marriages were by no means confined to the ruling dynasties. 4 And Sir James Frazer, who may be relied upon to have sifted the evidence carefully, says: "The evidence of legal documents, including marriage contracts, tends to prove that such unions were the rule, not the exception, in Egypt. . . . Nor did the principle apply only to gods and kings. The common people acted on it in their daily life." 5
Commenting on these facts. Sir Armand Ruffer says: "As consanguineous unions were so common, the evil results should have been numerous and have attracted popular notice. Yet, as far as I know, no such observations are recorded in Egyptian literature." 6
With regard to the Pharaohs, the facts are more generally known, and have been so for some time. It is indeed established that from the earliest times they married their sisters if they could. Speaking of the wife of the Pharaoh, G. Maspero says:
"She was only rarely a stranger. Almost invariably she was a princess born in the purple, a daughter of Ra, and as often as possible the Pharaoh's sister, who . . . more than anyone else
1 LES CONTES POPULAIRES DE L'EGYPTE ANCIENNE (4th Ed., Paris, 1911, p. 129). The passage reads: "Ahuri, notre fille, aime Nenoferkephtah, son frère ainé: marions les ensemble comme c'est la coutume."
2 ON THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF CONSANGUINEOUS MARRIAGES IN THE ROYAL FAMILIES OF EGYPT. (Proc. of the Roy. Soc. of Med., 1919. XII. Supplement SECT. HISTORY OF MEDICINE, p. 148).
3 DIE EHE IN AEGYPTEN ZUR PTOLEMÄISCH-RÖMISCHEN ZEIT (Leipsig, 1903, p. 12). On marriage of brother and sister: "Letzteres war enie alte Landessitte . . . offenbar sah man die Geschwisterehe als das natürlichste und Vernünftigste an."
3 Op. cit., I, p. 319. In III, p. 113, the author speaks of "a custom prevalent in Egypt from the earliest to the latest period, which permitted brothers and sisters to marry. . . . Many individuals even among the priesthood of early Pharaonic periods, are found, from the sculptures of Thebes, to have married their sisters."
5 ADONIS, ATTIS, OSIRIS (London, 1914, II, pp. 214215).
6 Op. cit., p. 148.
Thus as early as the fourth dynasty, Queen Mirisônkhou, wife of Khephren, was the daughter of Kheops, and thus the sister of her husband. 2 Kings married their sisters in the XIIth, XIIIth and XVIIth dynasties, and in the glorious XVIIIth dynasty, seven of the rulers married their sisters or brothers (one ruler was a female, as we shall see); in the XIXth all but three did so, in the XXth every king did so, and in the XXIst consanguineous marriages were common.
Now I have so constantly found, both in the lecture hall and elsewhere, that thoughtful and otherwise quite honest people are prepared solemnly to declare, for no reason whatsoever, except perhaps the customary ethico-theological prejudice against incest, that all this incestuous mating led to degeneracy in the Pharaohs, that, at the risk of burdening these pages unduly, I feel I must offer an elaborate contradiction of this allegation.
The contradiction should be quite unnecessary. Because, as I have pointed out, if you study the glories of Egypt's thousands of years of civilisation, 3 and grasp that she and probably she alone (certainly she alone according to the diffusionists) 4 was responsible for everything that we have ever known or seen as culture and civilization, how could she possibly have had as rulers a series of families who were not exceptionally wise, tasteful, and above all creative? And how could these rulers themselves have succeeded in inspiring any but a great people? And yet, as we have seen, both rulers and people were almost entirely incestuous.
Let me, however, under the guidance of Breasted and Sir Armand Ruffer, 5 examine the monarchs of two dynasties the XVIIIth and the Ptolemaic.
The first King of what the well-known Orientalist, Reginald Stuart Poole, calls the "glorious XVIIIth Dynasty" 6 was
1 HlSTOIRE ANCIENNE DES PEUPLES DE L'ORIENT CLASSIQUE (Paris, 1895, I, p. 270).
3 Predynastic Egypt, it should be remembered, was flourishing in 4500 B.C. The introduction of the calendar, when the year of 365 days was fixed, took place in 4241 B.C. (the earliest fixed date in history!) an indication of the degree of civilization already achieved in those early days. See. J. H. Breasted, Ph.D., A HISTORY OF THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS (London, 1908).
4 See G. Elliot Smith's IN THE BEGINNING (London, 1932), which gives a brief and able outline of the diffusionist's standpoint.
5 Sir Armand Ruffer prefaces his analysis of the two dynasties in question as follows: "In what follows we shall select for illustration only those families the physical and mental characters of the individuals of which are known." (Op. cit., p. 148).
6 E.B. (11th Ed. Art. EGYPT, p. 83).
Now what does history say of this product of two incestuous unions? The first task of the XVIIIth Dynasty, says Reginald Stuart Poole, "was to crush the Hyksos power in the north-east of the Delta; this was fully accomplished by its founder Ahmosi." Then follows a long record of Ahmose's other feats, which anyone can read for himself. 2
Of this Pharaoh, Breasted says: "Out of the chaos which the rule of foreign lords had produced, the new state and new conditions slowly emerged as Ahmose I gradually gained leisure from his arduous wars. . . . We find Ahmose I therefore in his twenty-second year undertaking the repair and equipment of the temples. His greatest work, however, remains the XVIIIth Dynasty itself, for whose brilliant career his own achievements had laid so firm a foundation." 3
Now Ahmose married his sister or half-sister, Nefertari, and by her had a son, Amenhotep I, who was thus the third product of known successive incestuous unions.
He too was a great conqueror, as R. S. Poole and Breasted both acknowledge, and fought successfully in Lybia and Ethiopia. 4 He married his sister, Aahotep II, by whom he had a daughter, Aahmes. Sir Armand tells us that "her portrait adorns the walls of the temple of Deir-el-Bahari, and without doubt her expression is fascinating; the features are refined, and it would be difficult to find a nobler countenance than that of this queen, the descendant of incestuous marriages of great-grandparents, grandparents and parents." 5
Now Aahmes married her half-brother, Thutmose I, the son of Amenhotep I by a slave called Senseneb. And "it is to him," says Breasted, "that Egypt owed the conquest of Upper Nubia,
1 The fact that they were Egyptians is in favour of this conclusion in any case.
3 Op. cit., p. 205.
4 Works already quoted.
5 Op. cit., p. 152.
By Aahmes, Thutmose I, himself the fourth product of successive incestuous unions, had a brilliant daughter, Hatshepsut, who became the glorious Queen Hatshepsut I, who "cultivated the arts of peace", and who "while she lived . . . secured the devotion of her servants and held all ambition in check." 2 She married her half-brother, Thutmose II, the son of Thutmose I and a woman of semi-royal lineage, called Mutnefert. The couple had a daughter, Merytra Hatshepsut, who married Thutmose III, son of Thutmose II and Asab.
Thus Thutmose III was the seventh ruler of the dynasty, and the sixth in a continuously incestuous line, and yet he was certainly the greatest king of the dynasty, and perhaps the strongest ruler in Egyptian history.
R. S. Poole speaks of his "immense energy", and after enumerating his various feats, says: "He was the greatest Pharaoh of the New Empire, if not in all Egyptian history." 3
Breasted's eulogy of him, alone, covers a whole page and more of his history, and cannot be quoted here, except curtailed.
"His character," says Breasted, "stands forth with more of colour and individuality than that of any king of early Egypt, except Ikhnaton. We see the man of a tireless energy unknown to any Pharaoh before or since; the man of versatility designing exquisite vases in a moment of leisure; the lynx-eyed administrator, who launched his armies upon Asia with one hand and with the other crushed the extortionate tax-gatherer; the astute politician of many a court crisis, and the first great military strategist of the early east . . . reminds us of an Alexander or a Napoleon. . . ." And so on. 4
Now Thutmose III married his half-sister Merytra Hatshepsut, and by her had as son Amenotep II, the last distinguished monarch of the Dynasty, and, curiously enough or, as I should say, naturally enough the last to be born of an incestuous mating.
He led his armies with success into Syria, 5 and, according to
1 Op. cit., p. 208. See also E.B., where Poole gives eighteen lines of eulogy of Thutmose I and his glorious deeds.
2 Poole (op. cit.). But her whole record should be read.
3 Ibid., pp. 8384.
4 Op. cit., pp. 241242.
5 Poole (op. cit.).
He married Tiaa, who was unrelated to him, and had as son Thutmose IV; the latter married Mutemuya, who was unrelated to him, and had as son Amenhotep III; the latter married Tiy, who was unrelated to him, and had as son Amenhotep IV (Ikhnaton); the latter had daughters only by a wife unrelated to him, and he was followed by two sons-in-law, Sakere and Tutenkhamen, who ruled for a short while only; and an adherent named Eye or Ay, closed the dynasty.
Now, none of these later rulers was at all distinguished, with the exception of Ikhnaton, who was so chiefly as a religious reformer. On the other hand, the others were by no means nonentities, and although no longer the issue of incestuous unions, we must remember that they were directly descended from a closely inbred line. It is, however, interesting to see how the dynasty tails off more or less insignificantly the moment incest ceases.
Sir Armand Ruffer's comment on the whole dynasty is as follows: "There is no evidence to show that idiocy, deaf-mutism, or other diseases generally attributed to consanguineous marriages, ever occurred among the members of this dynasty, and as far as can be ascertained from mummified bodies, masks and statues, the features of both men and women were fine, distinguished and handsome. . . . The result of this inquiry is that a royal family, in which consanguineous marriage was the rule, produced nine distinguished rulers. . . . There is no evidence that the physical characteristics or mental power of the family were unfavourably influenced by the repeated consanguineous marriages." 2
The Ptolemies, however, are the object of the most passionate charges usually made on the score of incest. And if we do not remember that moral indignation is here the chief motive power, we too are apt to become passionate in rebutting them. One of the principal claims of the modern middle-class historian or student is that the incestuous practices of the Ptolemies must have led to degeneration, 3 otherwise how can we account for their terrible immorality?
1 Op cit., p. 158. See also Breasted (p. 247): "Physically he was a very powerful man, and claims in his inscriptions that no man could draw his bow."
2 Op. cit., pp. 165167. See also Breasted (op. cit., p. 19) for a high tribute to the Pharaohs of the XVIIIth Dynasty.
3 Even Poole makes this error, although he should have known that, if incestuous practices led to degeneracy, the whole of Egypt must have sunk into the lowest depths of decay centuries before the Ptolemies were heard of.
In the first place, it is essential to banish from one's mind all idea of any necessary connexion between immorality and degeneracy. Even the most enlightened members of the Eugenic Society are much too prone to assume this "necessary" connexion, and much erratic and dangerous eugenism is talked on that account.
Immorality may or may not be connected with degeneracy, and usually is not. In any case, immorality associated with degeneracy is usually of the least formidable and least dangerous kind and may generally be ignored.
It is not every burglar who is a degenerate, and those who are, are easily disposed of. The most dangerous kind of burglar, as the Rev. Thomas Holmes has clearly shown, is not the man who breaks into a house because he must have food for his starving wife and children, whom he is too degenerate to support; it is the man who, having no taste for the effeminate callings open to a full-grown and able-bodied man in our grossly over-urbanized and safe civilization, insists on pursuing a calling in which he can find danger, risks and the vicissitudes of the chase or of war. 1 But he is not a degenerate!
And yet the middle-class legislator or eugenist, from the safety-first environment of his or her drawing-room, is inclined to ascribe all crime to degeneracy. This savours rather of moral indignation masquerading as science.
Henry VIII was not a degenerate. Charles II was not a degenerate. The Borgias were not degenerates. Horatio Bottomley was not a degenerate. 2 If immorality were always a proof of degeneracy, there is hardly a character in the whole of the magnificent Italian Renaissance who would have escaped the charge Mr. Poole makes against the Ptolemies.
That is why it may be dangerous to have Puritans on the Council of the Eugenics Society people who are all too ready
1 PICTURES AND PROBLEMS FROM LONDON POLICE COURTS (London, 1900), particularly pp. 212213. See also Byron, who, in a letter to Mr. Murray (26.8.1821), said: "All the other professions [except highway robbery] are at present so ungentlemanly by the conduct of those who follow them, that open robbery is the only fair resource left to a man of any principles; it is even honest in comparison, by being undisguised." See also pp. 230231 infra.
2 Having seen him and heard him I should be much surprised to learn there was anything degenerate in the man. But this did not prevent me from disliking him.
When, therefore, the average middle-class male or female writes as Mr. Poole writes in the ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, or rises in the body of a lecture hall, to point out to me and my audience that the Ptolemies were immoral because they were degenerate, and that they were degenerate because they were incestuous, my heart always sinks before the task of exposing the mass of error involved in such a statement.
Of the Ptolemies, Ptolemy II was the first to marry his sister, but the marriage was without issue. It was by his wife Arsinoë II that he had Ptolemy III Euergetes. Ptolemy III married his sister and cousin, Berenice, and their son, Ptolemy IV, was thus the first fruit of incest in the line. Ptolemy IV married his sister, Arsinoë III, by whom he had Ptolemy V, who was thus the second monarch to be the issue of incest. Ptolemy V married Cleopatra I, with whom he was hardly connected, and had Ptolemy VI. The latter married his sister, Cleopatra II. He was succeeded by his brother, Ptolemy VII, who married his sister, Ptolemy VI's widow, by whom he had a son who ultimately murdered him. But it was by his second marriage to his niece, Cleopatra IV, the daughter of his brother and sister, that he had Ptolemy VIII and IX. Thus both Ptolemy VIII and IX, in addition to coming from closely inbred stock, were themselves the fruit of incest. By his second wife, Selene, his sister, Ptolemy VIII had two children, but they never came to the throne. Ptolemy IX, on the other hand, by his first wife, had Ptolemy X. With him the direct male line of the Ptolemies became extinct, and the throne fell to Ptolemy XI, Auletes, who was an illegitimate son of Ptolemy VIII, and it was he who became the father of the famous Cleopatra, the last reigning member of the family.
It is neither desirable nor possible to deny that the majority of these rulers were debauchees. But that they were degenerates, in the sense of being physiologically and morphologically below normal, is, I believe, false. We must remember that if they were connected with Egypt in her decline, this was inevitable from the nature of the case. They were a race of foreign rulers imposed on Egypt by conquest. They would hardly have been there had Egypt not started decaying before the inception of their dynasty. She had endured over four thousand years, and, through the increasing miscegenation of her people, her institutions were tottering. Her people were as debauched
"The Ptolemies born from consanguineous unions were neither better nor worse," says Sir Armand Ruffer, "than the first four kings of the same family issued from non-consanguineous marriages, and had the same general characteristics. Their conduct of foreign affairs and of internal administration, was in every way remarkable and energetic. They were not unpopular in their capital, and the Alexandrians rallied round their rulers when the Romans entered Egypt and resisted the foreigner. . . . Their standard of morality was certainly not lower than that of their fellow townsmen. . . . The children from these incestuous marriages displayed no lack of mental energy. Both men and women were equally strong, capable, intelligent and wicked." 2
Prejudiced people, incapable of imagining the marvellous health that can be secured by four thousand years of the closest inbreeding, have said that after this long period Egypt came to an unhappy end through her incestuous practices. But the truth is that she declined only when her endogamic fences broke down and when the world about her had so far changed that she was confronted by forces, like Alexander, for instance, with which she was not equipped to cope.
Nor was Egypt an isolated case of endogamy and incestuous inbreeding in the East. Persia too was strictly endogamic; she
1 Op. cit., p. 37. Also B.F.L., p. 484: "In the few instances among human beings where inbreeding is known to have continued for many generations, as in the Ptolemies and in the ruling house of the Incas of Peru, no injurious consequences have been detected."
2 Op. cit., p. 189. Also p. 190. Of Cleopatra, Sir Armand says (p. 185): "Certainly the audacity, cleverness and resources of the Egyptian Queen, the last offspring of many incestuous marriages, compel our admiration, and had not Cæsar's murder put an end to her ambitions, she might have become the empress of the world! She was musical, artistic, and encouraged science; her good spirits were proverbial. She was considered a very fine linguist."
Herodotus writes as if Cambyses (reigned 528 to 521 B.C.) had been the first to introduce incest into Persia. Referring to his murder of his sister and wife in Egypt, Herodotus writes:
"She was his full sister, the daughter of both his father and his mother. . . . It was not the custom of the Persians, before his time, to marry their sisters. . . . Cambyses, therefore, married the object of his love [Atossa], and no long time afterwards he took to wife another sister. It was the younger of these who went with him into Egypt and there suffered death at his hands." 1
Ctesias, however, a contemporary of Herodotus, who lived for many years in Persia as private physician to King Artaxerxes Mnemon, and who wrote a history of Persia to correct the erroneous notions about that country which were current in Greece, seems to have spoken of incest in Persia as an established and general custom. His history has been lost, but the ancient writers had access to it, and Tertullian, on the authority of Ctesias, mentions the incestuous practices of the Persians in two separate works, 2 and does not limit these practices to any particular class.
Quintus Curtius, in his biography of Alexander the Great, also speaks of incestuous marriage at least among the Bactrians, a subject people of the Persians, 3 and Strabo assures us that the Persian Magi married their mothers. 4 Diodorus tells us that the Carian Satrap Mausolus married his sister Arthemisia; 5 Philo confirms Strabo, 6 while Clement of Alexandria declares, on the authority of Xanthus, an older historian than Herodotus, that the Magians cohabited with mothers and daughters, and that it was lawful to cohabit with sisters. 7 Josephus also tells us that
1 THE HISTORY (trans. by George Rawlinson, London, 1910, III, 3132).
2 THE WRITINGS OF QUINTUS, SEPTIMUS, FLOR. TERTULLIANUS (trans. by Dr. Holmes) I. TO THE NATIONS, Chap. XVI. Also Vol I APOLOGY, C. 9.
3 HISTOIRE D'ALEXANDRE LE GRAND (trans. by V. Crépin. Paris, 1922, II, Book VIII, Ch. 2. Of the country named Nautaca, author says: "Le satrape en était Sisimithrès; il avait eu deux fils de sa propre mère, car chez ce peuple les mères ont le droit de se marier avec leurs fils."
4 THE GEOGRAPHY (trans. by W. Falconer, M.A., Book XV, Chap. III, para. 20).
5 Op cit., XVI, 36.
6 Op. cit., III, Ch. III. "For the magistrates of the Persians marry their own mothers, and consider the offspring of such marriages the most noble of men."
7 THE WRITINGS OF CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA (trans. by Rev. William Wilson. I. The Instructor. Book I, Chap. VII): "But the children [of the Persians] only learn to use the bow, and on reaching sexual maturity have sexual intercourse with sisters, and mothers, and women, wives and courtesans innumerable."
It seems likely, therefore, that the story told by Herodotus that Cambyses was the first to introduce incestuous marriages into Persia was legendary, as it could hardly have become such a universally accepted custom in that country so soon after this king's death (521 B.C.), if it had been first introduced by him. Xanthus and Ctesias both speak of it as an established custom in their day which was less than fifty years after the death of Cambyses, and Herodotus is the only author, as far as I have been able to discover, who relates the story of the introduction by Cambyses. If Agathias had access to reliable sources of information (and writing in the sixth century A.D. he probably knew of many documents and histories now lost), he completely disposes of the account given by Herodotus; for he says that the custom of incestuous marriages was introduced into Persia by Zoroaster, that is to say, centuries before Cambyses lived. 3
Nor, as Mr. William Adam claims, does ancient history furnish any ground for supposing that the Egyptians and Persians suffered any physical degeneracy from these practices. 4
According to W. Robertson Smith, 5 the Phnicians, and according to Dr. Périer, 6 the Assyrians, were regularly incestuous, as were also the Scythians and Tatars. 7
1 ANTIQUITIES (trans. by W. Whiston, London, 1865, Book XVIII, Chap. II).
2 Op. cit., VII, 224. See also St. John Chrysostom. ON THE SECOND EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS (Homily VII, Sect. 7). "Then nearest thou not the Persians, and that without any compulsion, have intercourse with their own mothers, and that not one or two individuals, but the whole nation?" (trans. by Rev. J. Ashworth, M.A., 1848).
3 HISTOIRE DE L'EMPEREUR JUSTINIAN (trans. by Cousin. Paris, 1671, Book II, Chap. X), where Agathias says of Persians: "Ce sont eux qui ont corrompu l'honnêteté des mariages quand ils ont permis que les frères ayent épousé leurs soeurs, que les oncles ayent pris leurs nièces pour femmes, que les pères soient devenus les maris de leurs filles, etc. . . . Ce sont les Perses de ce temps-ci qui ont négligé, ou plûtôt qui ont violé toutes leurs ancienne lois, et qui se sont laissé corrompre par les moeurs des étrangers que Zoroastre a introduites." Dr. F. von Spiegel, in his great work, ERANISCHE ALTERTHUMSKUNDE (Leipzig, 1878, III, p. 678), says definitely that the AVESTA ordained the marriage of relatives, and, referring to Herodotus and his statement about Cambyses, claims that "the custom certainly existed already before him."
4 Op. cit., No. XIII, Nov. 15, 1865, p. 81.
5 KINSHIP AND MARRIAGE IN EARLY ARABIA (Camb. Univ. Press, 1885, p. 163): "Among the Phnicians, King Tabnith marries his father's daughter Amashtoreth, and at Tyre a man might marry his father's daughter down to the time of Achilles Tatius."
6 Op. cit, I, p. 196. "Les Assyriens épousaient aussi leurs soeurs; et c'est par une sorte de respect religieux, dit-on, et en mémoire de Sémirumis, quils s'unissaient avec leurs mères." This is also asserted by Agathias (op. cit. Book and Chap., as before).
7 Op. cit., p. 197; also Letourneau (op. cit., p. 66).
Thus the Jews, also an endogamic people, were from the earliest times surrounded by races all mating consanguineously, for the sake of purity. It is highly probable, therefore, that at least the aristocrats among them also practised incest in spite of the table of prohibited degrees.
Abraham certainly married his half-sister, Sarah. 6 Nahor married his niece, Milcah. 7 Lot, the sire of the Moabites and Ammonites, mated with his two daughters. 8 And when, in later years, incest was condemned and dropped, the editors of the Scriptures, evidently shocked by the fact that this sinful stock produced their great King David, 9 but unable to deny it, because the traditional story was too firmly rooted in the memories of the people, probably invented the details about Lot's daughters having made him drunk before lying with him, thus removing from the story its implied sanction of incest.
But the favour shown by Jehovah to the two tribes, which resulted from this double incest, is hardly consistent with the view that at that time the practice was condemned.
Nor did it cease with Lot and his daughters. It lasted far beyond the days of Moses and Aaron, who were both the fruit of incest, 10 down to David's own time. For we find Amnon, the
1 Op. cit., p. 163.
2 Op. cit., Book XVI, Chap. IV, para. 25.
3 Op. cit., p. 167.
4 Op. cit., p. 82. And he adds, of the Algerian Light Infantry, who are mostly Kabyles or Arabs, that they "ont résisté plus que les soldats des régiments français aux vicissitudes de la campagne de Crimée, et dernièrement aux épreuves de celle d'Italie." Lower on the same page he says the same of the Arab horses in the Crimea.
5 Robertson Smith seems to think this. See op. cit., p. 163.
6 GENESIS xx. 21.
7 Ibid. xi. 29.
8 Ibid. xix. 2728.
9 Ruth, the Moabite woman, daughter of Naomi, married Boaz, great-grandfather of David. They had a son Obed, who was father of Jesse, who was father of David. JEWISH ENCYCL., Art.: Moab and Obed.
10 EXODUS vi. 26.
Incestuous marriages are known to have been common in the Siamese aristocracy, 2 the Burmese, the Cambodians, the Mongols, 3 and many other peoples, including the ancient Scandinavians. 4
In Britain, whose ancient inhabitants, as we have seen, shunned the foreigner as a mate, we find, as late as the fifth century, Vortigern marrying his own daughter. Nor could the practice have been condemned, since the issue of this supposedly sinful union was none other than St. Faustus. According to Strabo, the ancient Irish married without distinction their mothers and sisters, 5 and it appears that Himneccius vouches for the fact that the ancient Germans used to marry their sisters. 6 We have already seen above that the ancient Saxons refused to mix their blood with the foreigner, and as we should expect, they were not only endogamic, but even within the nation itself forbade mixed marriages. Thus Stubbs tell us: "The race consists of four ranks of men, the noble, the free, the freedman, and the servi. And it is by law established that no order shall in contracting marriages remove the landmark of its own lot; but noble must marry noble, freeman freewoman, freedman freedwoman, serf handmaiden." 7
There is very conclusive evidence that the ancient Peruvians were endogamic, 8 and the proud Incas, refusing to mix their blood, married their sisters. 9 Gomara, confirming Garcilasso's
1 2 SAMUEL xiii. 13. The whole chapter should be read.
2 Périer, on the authority of La Loubère (op. cit., p. 218).
3 Huth (op. cit., pp. 74 76). See also Périer (op. cit., p. 218).
4 Spencer, SOCIOLOGY, I, 607.
5 Op. cit., Book IV, Chap. V, para 4. See also Westermarck (HIST. OF HUMAN MARRIAGE, II, p. 87).
6 Huth (op. cit., p. 59), who may be consulted for many other instances.
7 Op. cit., p. 46.
8 HISTOIRE DES YNCAS ROIS DE PÉROU (trans. of Garcilasso de la Vego by Jean Baudoin. Amsterdam, 1715, I, p. 352). And W. H. Prescott, HISTORY OF THE CONQUEST OF PERU (London, 1878, p. 54).
9 GARCILASSO DE LA VEGA (op. cit., pp. 353354): "On regardait comme une loi inviolable, depuis le premier Ynca, celle qui portait que l'hérifier du Royaume se mariât avec sa soeur aînée, conçûe d'un légitime mariage. . . . Mais s'il n'avait point de soeur légitime, il épousait sa plus proche parente de la Tige Royale, soit qu'elle fut sa cousine,
A certain passage in Prescott, however, suggests that in the aloofness and incest of the Incas there was something more than mere pride of position or rank, and that both attitudes were due to a definite racial or caste quality, differentiating them from their subjects, which was kept pure by segregation. For Prescott says: "The crania of the Inca race show a decided superiority over the other races of the land in intellectual power." 3
Another people of antiquity who were strictly endogamous, and who forbade mixed marriages of all kinds, were the Greeks. Dr. Licht tells us that nowhere, at any time, "do very severe penalties appear to have existed for incest." 4 Marriages between brothers and sisters were in older times interdicted, though later they were allowed provided the spouses had different mothers. 5 In noble and conservative families, however, incestuous marriages probably continued until the fifth century B.C., as the marriage of Cimon and his sister, Elpinike, seems to show. 6
In spite of what Licht says, this was probably common in earlier times also, as we see not only from the relationship of Zeus and Hera, and Hyperion and Theia (both brother and sister marriages), but also from that passage in Homer, where we find the six sons of Aeolus living in peaceful marriage with their six sisters. 7
The Spartans apparently were allowed to marry a sister uterine.
So much for the people of antiquity, with whom I have dealt by no means exhaustively.
sa soeur, sa nièce, ou sa tante. . . . Si le Prince n'avait point d'enfants de sa soeur ainée, il épousait la seconde, ou bien la troisième, jusques à ce qu'il en eut."
1 HISTOIRE GÉNÉRALE DES INDES OCCIDENTALES (trans. of Lopez de Gomara, by M. Fumée Sieur de Marly le Chastel, Paris, 1586, Chap. 124, p. 144. Of the "Orejones", the Peruvian men-at-arms, Gomara says: "Ceux-cy, qui sont proprement soldats, se marient avec autat de femmes qu'ils veullent, et mesme aucuns se marient avec leurs propres soeurs." In Chap. 194, p. 227, he says: "En matière de mariage, ils n'ont guères d'esgard à la parenté. . . . Ils se marient avec autant de femmes qu'il leur plaist: quelques Orejons espouzent leurs soeurs."
2 Op. cit., p. 9, footnote.
3 Ibid, p. 18.
4 S.L.A.G., p. 516.
7 Ibid., pp. 517518.
The careful monographs of authorities like Shapiro, Dr. Rodenwaldt, Dr. Fischer and Dr. Voisin, on such closely inbred, though originally partially random-bred, stocks as the Pitcairn Islanders, the Kisar Hybrids, the Bastards of Rehoboth, and the people of the island of Batz, prove these people to be examples of almost contemporary experiments in close consanguineous breeding without harmful results.
Harry L. Shapiro refers again and again to the close inbreeding of the Pitcairn and Norfolk Islanders, "cousins marrying to such an extent that . . . everyone in the island was related." 7 And yet he reports that there had been no loss of fertility, 8 or stature, 9
1 SOCIOLOGY, I, p. 602 et seq.
2 Op. cit., pp. 6566, etc.
3 D.W., II, p. 229 et seq.
4 MO, I, p. 218 et seq.
5 S.S.N.M., pp. 448, 449, 450.
6 Of the first cousins, Malinowski says: "The two are regarded by tradition as specially suited for intercourse and for marriage" (S.S.N.M., p. 450).
7 D.M.B., p. 25.
8 Ibid., p. 60. If the size of families is decreasing on Norfolk Island "contraception probably plays a part."
9 Ibid., p. 23.
When it is remembered that all the inhabitants of Pitcairn Island, and later of Norfolk Island, are descended from an original stock consisting in 1790 of nine English mutineers, six Tahitan men, and fifteen Tahitan women, and that in 1800 all the men were dead except Alexander Smith, afterwards known as John Adams, Shapiro's investigation clearly shows that inbreeding, even of the closest kind, cannot create degeneracy where it does not exist. 4
Dr. Rodenwaldt, who investigated the Hybrids of Kisar, has written what is probably the most monumental and learned work on a contemporary experiment in human breeding. True, this experiment has been carried on since the seventeenth century. But it still continues; for of their segregation as a people, Dr. Rodenwaldt writes as follows: "The Hybrids of Kisar in this respect too [of further cross-breeding with natives] enjoy a wholly exceptional position. Their isolation and their caste-consciousness were obstacles to further miscegenation." 5
The principal group which he investigated had thirty-two ancestors, one-third of which were Europeans (Dutch, or else principally German and French), and two-thirds Malayan natives. They were very closely inbred. 6 But Rodenwaldt found none of
1 Ibid., pp. 6263. Here he is confirmed by Henri Neuville, L'ANTROPOLOGIE, XLIII, No. 34, p. 275).
2 Ibid., pp. 6263.
3 Ibid., p. 69. The people of Pitcairn and Norfolk Island certainly lose their teeth while still comparatively young; but one of their few ancestors, Edward Young one of the ordinal mutineers, "was said to have very bad teeth" (p. 61). Neuville, in a further article (op. cit., Nos. 56, pp. 488489) discusses this, but adds nothing material to Shapiro. Miss E. Swanson, however, sheds new light on the question (B.M.J., 10.9.32, p. 576) by pointing out that, at least on Pitcairn, with its lack of cattle, the loss of teeth may be due to "the absence of milk from the diet in early life".
4 As regards intelligence, Shapiro says: "Most visitors to Pitcairn have rated the intelligence of the islanders very high" (D.M.B., p. 31; also p. 32). Neuville (op. cit., p. 270) gives 9 Englishmen, 12 Tahitan women, one with a girl eleven months old, and 6 Tahitan men.
5 M.A.K., I, p. 52.
6 Ibid., p. 108 and elsewhere; but particularly p. 305 et seq.
Dr. Eugen Fischer, who investigated the case of the Bastards of Rehoboth, in German S.W. Africa a hybrid people sprung from the marriage of Boers and Hottentots leaves us in no doubt about the close inbreeding that has always been practised among them since the group became settled and isolated north of the Kanu Mountains, 4 but he denies any evil consequences from the practice. 5
He says, "Fertility has in no wise been lowered. At the very beginning, when the small group of people rapidly spread, there occurred the greatest number of marriages between relatives. But the only cases of infertility or lowered fertility we found were among families in which inbreeding had not occurred." 6 And he adds: "Thus one may say that, up to the present, the comparatively widespread practice of inbreeding had led to no evil results." 7
Dr. Auguste Voisin, who in 1865 investigated a closely inbred community on the island of Batz, tells us he wrote the history of every family while seated in the very homes of the people he describes. He saw and examined the children, questioned the mayor, the local priest and the old people of the community, and he declares that he is entitled to say that he has written only of what he saw. 8
The community of Batz (Loire Inférieure) lives on a peninsula,
1 M.A.K., p. 311.
3 Ibid., p. 308. For details of highly inbred communities in Germany, see pp. 308309.
4 R.B., pp. 23, 220221.
5 R.B., pp. 220222.
7 R.B., p. 222. On p. 220 he says fifty to seventy-five years ago marriages between brother and sister were frequent.
8 CONTRIBUTIONS À L'HlSTOIRE DES MARIAGES CONSANGUINS (MEM. DE LA SOC. D'ANTHROPOL. DE PARIS, II, 1865, p. 434).
He speaks of the majority of the people as being more than usually intelligent, well built, vigorous and beautiful in old age. 3
"My observations all tend to show," he says, "that consanguinity is in no way disastrous when the mated couples are healthy, well-constituted, and contribute no hereditary taint to the marriage." 4
"There are two children in the commune (the hamlet of Trigaté) who are sickly . . . their father and mother were not related. The married couple, Daniel, who are not related, have two inferior children (a boy and a girl). . . . But apart from these exceptions, all the children of the commune are strong, well developed, jolly and good looking. 5
Delage reports the case of Dr. Bourgeois, who wrote a history of his family, which was closely inbred for generations ever since 1729 without any evil effects, 6 and there are many other records of similar cases, 7 both in Europe itself, and in other continents. But the above examples must suffice for the present.
1 Ibid., pp. 434, 436445.
2 Ibid., p. 435.
3 Ibid., pp. 435444.
4 Ibid., p. 435. He adds: "Cancer is unknown in Batz and only one woman is known to be consumptive."
5 Ibid., p. 445. Dr. Voisin concludes (p. 447): "Cette étude m'a laissé convaincu que la consanguinité n'est nullement préjudiciable aux enfants, lorsque le père et la mère n'ont aucune diathèse, aucune maladie héréditaire, sont de belle santé, de forte constitution, dans de bonnes conditions climactériques et hygiéniques, et que, dans ces cas, la consanguinité ne nuit d'aucune façon au produit et à la race, mais au contraire, exalte les qualités, comme elle ferait les defauts et les causes de dégénérescences."
6 L'HÉRÉDITÉ (2nd Ed., Paris, 1903, p. 269, note).
7 See, for instance, R.H., p. 156, MO, I, pp. 217 et seq., and Huth (op. cit., chap. IV). Also E.R., XIV, pp. 131132, for pedigree of a successfully inbred family, and Dr. E. Laurent (op. cit., pp. 2728) for consanguineous mating with excellent results in Pouillac, Granville, Arromanches and le Portel.
* * * * * * *
Thus we have seen that man, like the animals, seems to have an instinct impelling him to canalize qualities acquired with pain; and the natural law appears to be, not as Darwin thought, to have crosses, but to avoid them. We have also seen that it is a mistake to suppose that man suffers any more than the animals do from the closest consanguineous matings, but that, on the contrary, when the original parent stock is healthy, or where all pathological elements have been mendelized out by close and even incestuous inbreeding, no harm but only good arises from the practice.
Hence the great genealogist, O. Lorenz, speaks of an instinct in man to lop his family tree and to reduce his ancestors. 1 Why?
Because by out-breeding or mixed breeding, both animals and man risk the loss of something conquered, some victory achieved by a particular group.
In proud peoples, irrespective of their degree of civilization, 2 we therefore find a tendency to endogamy, and within the confines of such endogamous peoples, a select group or class who practise incest.
Even in those tribes and races where incest is condemned by the laws or traditions, we frequently find the rulers or chiefs infringing the prohibited degrees in order to keep their stock pure. 3
Nor are the people addicted to these practices said to have been found in a state of degeneration or disease. On the contrary, most travellers comment on their great vigour and beauty. Captain Cook, who first discovered many of the Polynesian peoples, among whom the closest consanguineous matings were practised, constantly praises their fine physique. 4
1 R.B.M., p. 55. "Es gibt ein in der Menschennatur begründetes Beitreben, die Ahnenmasse zu verringen. Das Gesetz der Attraction des Gleichartigen und ebenbürtigsten wird zuweilen in kleinerem Spielraum verlassen und beseitigt, aber es ist im ganzen unausrottbar; denn die Liebe gedeiht am besten bei Ahnenverlust und Ebenburtigkeit."
2 Spencer: SOCIOLOGY, I, p. 608. "Nor does the diminution of incestuous connexions preserve a constant ratio to social evolution."
3 S.S.N.M., p. 474. Spencer: SOCIOLOGY, I, p. 606; Huth (op. cit., p. 75. See also Chap. II); Périer after Loubère (op. cit., p. 218). CAPTAIN COOK'S VOYAGES (ed. W. Anderson, London, p. 22).
4 See also Shapiro: THE DISAPPEARING PEOPLES OF THE SOUTH SEAS (Journ. of Amer. Mus. of Nat. History, XXX, p. 253). "The beauty of the Polynesian, his natural physical and social grace, created in the minds of the early navigators an impression of a race favoured by the gods." Darwin, despite his belief in the advantages of cross-breeding, was very fair in confounding the nonsense talked by those who blindly attacked incest. For instance, to those who said the depopula-
Pöch also reports the case of a Papuan tribe, the Monumbo, living in primitive conditions on the north coast of New Guinea and consisting of 500 souls, which, although practising the closest inbreeding reveals absolutely no signs of any evil consequences. 2
It is impossible that such evidences of the harmless or actually beneficial results of consanguinity in mating should not long ago have imprinted themselves upon men's minds and led to a strong prejudice in favour of consanguineous unions; hence probably the enormous numbers of peoples, too numerous to mention, who encourage cousin marriages, from the cultivated and civilized Mahommedans to the Trobriand Islanders.
tion of Melanesia and Polynesia was due to inbreeding, he replied:
"Some writers have suggested that the aborigines of islands have suffered in fertility and health from long continued inter-breeding; but in the above cases infertility has coincided too closely with the arrival of Europeans for us to admit this explanation (D.O.M., pp. 188189). See also Périer (op. cit., p. 80) for various authorities on the beauty of the Polynesians when first visited.
1 C.M.R., p. 411.
2 R.B., p. 222, and M.A.K., p. 308.