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characteristics; but surely this is what nature has been doing time out of mind, and most in the rudest nations and hardest times. Nature disheartened in each generation the ill-fitted members of each customary group, so deprived them of their full vigor, or if they were weakly, killed them.
The Spartan character was formed because none but people with a Spartan make of mind could endure a Spartan existence; the early Roman character was so formed too; perhaps all very marked national characters can be traced back to a time of rigid and pervading discipline. In modern times, when society is more tolerant, new national characters are neither so strong, so featurely, nor so uniform.
In this manner society was occupied in prehistoric times; it is consistent with and explicable by our general principle as to savages that society should for ages have been so occupied, strange as that conclusion is, and incredible as it would be if we had not been taught by experience to believe strange things.
Secondly, this principle and this conception of prehistoric times explain to us the meaning and the origin of the oldest and strangest of social anomalies, – an anomaly which is among the first things history tells us, – the existence of caste nations. Nothing is at first sight stranger than the aspect of those communities where several nations seem to be bound up together, where each is governed by its own rule of law, where no one pays any deference to the rule of law of any of the others; but if our principles be true, these are just the nations most likely to last, which would have a special advantage in early times, and would probably not only maintain themselves but conquer and kill out others also. The characteristic necessity of early society, as we have seen, is strict usage and binding coercive custom; but the obvious result and inevitable evil of that is monotony in society, - no one can be much different from his
fellows or can cultivate his difference. Such societies are necessarily weak from the want of variety in their elements; but a caste nation is various and composite, and has in a mode suited to early societies the constant co-operation of contrasted persons, which in a later age is one of the greatest triumphs of civilization. In a primitive age the division between the warrior caste and the priestly caste is especially advantageous. Little popular and little deserving to be popular nowadays as are priestly hierarchies, most probably the beginnings of science were made in such and were for ages transmitted in such. An intellectual class was in that age only possible when it was protected by a notion that whoever hurt them would certainly be punished by Heaven; in this class apart, discoveries were slowly made and some beginning of mental discipline was slowly matured: but such a community is necessarily unwarlike, and the superstition which protects priests from home murder will not aid them in conflict with the foreigner; few nations mind killing their enemies' priests, and many priestly civilizations [may] have perished without record before they well began. But such a civilization will not perish if a warrior caste is tacked on to it and is bound to defend it; on the contrary, such a civilization will be singularly likely to live,-the head of the sage will help the arm of the soldier.
That a nation divided into castes must be a most difficult thing to found is plain; probably it could only begin in a country several times conquered, and where the boundaries of each caste rudely coincided with the boundaries of certain sets of victors and vanquished. But as we now see, when founded it is a likely nation to last: a party-colored community of many tribes and many usages is more likely to get on and help itself [at first] than a nation of a single lineage and one monotonous rule. I say "at first, because I apprehend that in this case, as in so many others in the puzzling history of progress, the very
institutions which most aid at step No. 1 are precisely those which most impede at step No. 2. The whole of a caste nation is more various than the whole of a non-caste nation, but each caste itself is more monotonous than anything is or can be in a noncaste nation ; gradually a habit of action and type of mind forces itself on each caste, and it is little likely to be rid of it, for all who enter it are taught in one way and trained to the same employment. Several non-caste nations have still continued to progress; but all caste nations have stopped early, though some have lasted long. Each color in the singular composite of these tessellated societies has an indelible and invariable shade.
Thirdly, we see why so few nations have made rapid advance, and so many have become stationary; it is in the process of becoming a nation, and in order to become such, that they subjected themselves to the influence which has made them stationary. They could not become a real nation without binding themselves by a fixed law and usage, and it is the fixity of that law and usage which has kept them as they were ever since. I wrote a whole essay on this before, so I need say nothing now; and I only name it because it is one of the most important consequences of this view of society, if not indeed the most important.
Again, we can thus explain one of the most curious facts of the present world. “Manner,” says a shrewd observer who has seen much of existing life, “ Manner gets regularly worse as you go from the East to the West: it is best in Asia, not so good in Europe, and altogether bad in the Western States of America." And the reason is this: an imposing manner is a dignified usage, which tends to preserve itself and also all other existing usages along with itself; it tends to induce the obedience of mankind. One of the cleverest novelists of the present day has a curious dissertation to settle why on the hunting field, and in all collections of men, "some men snub and some men get snubbed;" and why society recognizes in each case the ascendency or the subordination as if it was right. “It is not at all," Mr. Trollope fully explains, “rare ability which gains the supremacy: very often the ill-treated man is quite as clever as the man who ill-treats him. Nor does it absolutely depend on wealth ; for though great wealth is almost always a protection from social ignominy, and will always insure a passive respect, it will not, in a miscellaneous group of men, of itself gain an active power to snub others. Schoolboys, in the same way, ” the novelist adds, “let some boys have dominion and make other boys slaves." And he decides, no doubt truly, that in each case "something in the manner or gait” of the supreme boy or man has much to do with it.* On this account, in early society a dignified manner is of essential importance: it is then not only an auxiliary mode of acquiring respect, but a principal mode. The competing institutions which have now much superseded it had not then begun : ancient institutions or venerated laws did not then exist, and the habitual ascendency of grave manner was a primary force in winning and calming mankind. To this day it is rare to find a savage chief without it, and almost always they greatly excel in it. Only last year a red Indian chief came from the prairies to see President Grant, and everybody declared that he had the best manners in Washington : the secretaries and heads of departments seemed vulgar to him ; though of course intrinsically they were infinitely above him, for he was only “a plundering rascal.” But an impressive manner had been a tradition in the societies in which he had lived, because it was of great value in those societies; and it is not a tradition in America, for nowhere is it less thought of or of less use than in a rough English colony,--the essentials of civilization there depend on far different influences.
And, manner being so useful and so important, usages and customs grow up to develop it. Asiatic society is full of such things, if it should not rather be said to be composed of them.
“ From the spirit and decision of a public envoy upon such points," says Sir John Malcolm, “the Persians very generally form their opinion of the character of the country he represents. This fact I had read in books, and all I saw convinced me of its truth. Fortunately the Elchee had resided at some of the principal courts of India, whose usages are very similar ; he was therefore deeply versed in that important science denominated `Kâida-e-nishest-00berkhâst' (or the art of sitting and rising), in which is included a knowledge of the forms and manners of good society, and particularly those of Asiatic kings and their courts.
“He was quite aware, on his first arrival in Persia, of the consequence of every step he took on such delicate points ; he was therefore anxious to fight all his battles regarding ceremonies before he came near the footstool of royalty. We were consequently plagued, from the moment we landed at Abusheher till we reached Shiraz, with daily - almost hourly - drilling, that we might be perfect in our demeanor at all places and under all circumstances. We were carefully instructed where to ride in a procession, where to stand or sit within doors, when to rise from our seats, how far to advance to meet a visitor, and to what part of the tent or house we were to follow him when he departed, if he was of sufficient rank to make us stir a step.
“The regulations of our risings and standings and movings and reseatings were, however, of comparatively less importance than the time and manner of smoking our kelliâns and taking our coffee. It is quite astonishing how much depends upon coffee and tobacco in Persia : men are gratified or offended according to the mode in which these favorite refreshments are offered. You welcome a visitor or send him off by the way in which you call for a pipe or a cup of coffee ; then you mark in the most minute manner every shade of attention and consideration by the mode in which he is treated. If he be above you, you present these refreshments yourself, and do not partake till commanded ; if equal, you exchange pipes and present him with coffee, taking the next cup yourself; if a little below you, and you wish to pay him attention, you leave him to smoke his own pipe, but the servant gives bim, according to your condescending nod, the first cup of coffee ; if much inferior, you keep your distance and maintain your rank by taking the first