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The right of property implies that a certain person or certain persons are recognised as having a right to the exclusive disposal of a certain thing. The owner is not necessarily allowed to do with his property whatever he likes ; but whether absolute or limited, his right to disposal is not shared by anybody else, save under very exceptional circumstances, as in the case of “ compulsion by necessity.” Property in a thing thus means not only that the owner of it is allowed, at least within certain limits, to use or deal with it at his discretion, but also that other persons are forbidden to prevent him from using or dealing with it in any manner he is entitled to.

The most common offence against property is illicit appropriation of other persons' belongings. Not the mere fact that individuals are in actual possession of certain objects, but the public disapproval of acts by which they are deprived of such possession, shows that they have proprietary rights over those objects. Hence the universal condemnation of what we call theft or robbery proves that the right of property exists among all races of men known

to us.

1 Supra, i. 285 599.




Travellers often accuse savages of thievishness. But then their judgments are commonly based upon the treatment to which they have been subject themselves, and from this no conclusions must be drawn as regards intratribal morality. Nor can races who have had much to do with foreigners be taken as fair representatives of savage honesty, as such contact has proved the origin of thievish propensities. In the majority of cases uncivilised peoples seem to respect proprietary rights within their own communities, and not infrequently even in their dealings with strangers. Many of them are expressly said to con

Beni, · Notizie sopra gli indigeni p. 79 ; Mitchell, Expeditions into the di Mexico,' in Archivio per l'antropo. Interior of Eastern Australia, i. 264, logia e la etnologia, xii. 15 (Apaches). 304; Lumholtz, Among Cannibals, Burton, City of the Saints, p. 125 p. 71 sq. (Australian tribes). Reade, (Dacotahs and Prairie Indians). Powers, Savage Africa, p. 579 (West African Tribes of California, p. 127 (Yuki). Negroes). Bosman, Description of the Macfic, Vancouver Island and British Corst of Guinea, p. 324 sq. (Negroes of Columbia, p. 468. Heriot, Travels Fida and the Gold Coast). Caillie, through the Canadas, p. 22 (New- Travels through Central Africa, i. 353 foundland Eskimo). Coxe, Russian (Mandingoes). Beltrame, Il Fiume Discoveries between Asia and America, Biunio, P. 83 (Shilluk). Wilson and p. 300 (Kinaighi). Georgi, Russia, iv. Felkin, Uganda and the Egyptian 22 (Kalmucks), 133 (Buriats). Scott Soudan, ii. 310 (Gowane people of Robertson, Kúfirs of the Hindu-Krish, Kordofan). Krapf, Travels, Researches, P. 193 sq. Modigliani, Viaggio a Nias, and Missionary Labours in Eastern

Powell, Wandering's in a Africa, p. 355 (Wakamba). Burton, Wild Country, p. 23 (South Sea Is. Zanzibar, ii. 92 (Wanika). Bonfanti, landers). Romilly, From my Verandah L'incivilimento dei negri nell'Africa in New Guinea, p. 50 ; Comrie, ‘An- intertropicale,' in Archivio per l' antro. thropological Notes on New Guinea,' pologia e la etnologia, xv. 133 (Bantu in jour. Anthr. Inst. vi. 109 sq. de races). Arbousset and Daumas, Er. Labillardière, Voyage in Scarih of La ploratory Tour to the North-East of the Pérouse, i. 275 ; Moseley, Notes by a Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, Naturalist on the Challenger," p. 391 P: 323 (Bechuanas). Andersson, Lake (Admiralty Islanders). Brenchley, Nurami, pp. 468 sq. (Bechuanas), 499 Jottings during the Cruise of H.M.S. (Bayeye). Leslie, Among thi Zuluis Curaçoa, p. 58 (natives of Tutuila). and Amatongas, p. 256. Fritsch, Die Lisiansky, Torage round the World, Eingeborenen Suid-Afrika's, pp. 53 p. 88 sq. (Nukahivans). Williams, (Kafirs), 372, 419 (Hottentots and Missionary Enterprises in the South Bushmans). Sea Islands, p. 126 (natives of Raro- ? Domenech, Great Deserts of North tonga). Cooke, Journal of a Voyage America, ii. 321. Mackenzie, Voyages round the World, p. 40 ; Montgomery, to the Frozen and Pacifii Oceans, p. Journal of Voyages and Travels by xcvi. note (Crees). Burion, Highlands Tyerman and Beniret, ii. 1 (Society of the Brazil, i. 403 sq;

Moorcroft Islanders). Barrington, History of and Trebeck, Travels in the Himalayan New South Wales, p. 22 ; Breton, Ex- Provinces, i. 321 (Ladakhis). Anderson, cursions in New South Wales, p. 221 ; Mandalayto lomien, p. 151 (Kakhyens). Collins, Arcount of the English Colony Earl, Papuans, p. 8o. Tyler, Forly in New South Wales, i. 599 54: ; Years among the Zulus, p. 192. Tlodgson, Reminiscences of Australia,

p. 468.

demn or abhor theft, at any rate when committed among themselves. And that all of them disapprove of it may be inferred from the universal custom of subjecting a detected thief to punishment or revenge, or, at the very least, of compelling him to restore the stolen property to its owner.

The Fuegians have shown themselves enterprising thieves on board European vessels visiting their shores ; 1 but, when presents were given to them, a traveller noticed that if any present was designed for one canoe, and it fell near another, it was invariably given to the right owner.” 2 The boys are taught by their fathers not to steal ; 3 and in case a theft has been committed, “quand le coupable est découvert et châtié, l'opinion publique est satisfaite.”4 In his dealings with the Tehuelches Lieutenant Musters was always treated with fairness, and the greatest care was taken of his belongings, though they were borrowed at times. He gives the following advice to the traveller :-“Never show distrust of the Indians; be as free with your goods and chattels as they are to each other. .. As you treat them so they will treat you. Among the Abipones doors, locks, and other things with which civilised men protect their possessions from thieves, were as unnecessary as they were unknown; and if children pilfered melons grown in the gardens of the missionaries or chickens reared in their houses, they falsely imagined that these things were free to all, or might be taken not much against the will of the owner."

"G Among the Brazilian Indians theft and robbery were extremely rare, and are so still in places where strangers have not settled. We are told that the greatest insult which could be offered to an Indian was to accuse him of stealing, and that the wild women preferred the epithet of a prostitute to that of a

" 5



i Weddell, l'orage towards the South Pole, Pp. 151, 154, 182. King and Fitzroy, Voyages of the Adventureand Beagle,'' i. 128; ii. 188.

? Darwin, Journal of Researches, p. 242. See also Snow, Wild Tribes of Terra del Fuego,' in Jour. Ethn. Soc. London, N.S. i. 264.

3 Bridges, in A Voice for South Ameriia, viii. 204.

Ilyades and Deniker, Mission scientifique du Cap Horn, vii. 243.

* Musters, At Home with the Pata

gonians, pp. 195, 197 sq.

6 Dobrizhoffer, Account of the dbi. pones, ii. 148 sq.

von Martius, Beiträge zur Ethnographie Amerika's, i. 85, 87 sy. Idem, in Jour. Roy. Geo. Soc. ii. 196. Spix and von Martius, Travels in Brazil, ii. 242. Southey, History of Brazil, i. 247. von den Steinen, Unter den Naturvölkern Zentral-Brasiliens, p. 332. Burton, Highlands of the Brazil, i. 403 sy.


thief.1 When detected a thief was not only obliged to restore the property he had stolen, but was punished with stripes and wounds, the chief often acting as executioner. Among the Indians of British Guiana theft and pilfering rarely occur ; “if they happen to take anything, they do it before one's eyes, under the notion of having some claim to it, which, when called to an account, they are always prepared to substantiate." 3 If anything is stolen from his house during his absence, the Guiana Indian thinks that the missing article has been carried off by people of some other race than his own. Formerly, when the Caribs lost anything, they used to say, Christians have been here." 5 In Hayti the punishment of a thief was to be eaten.6

It is known that many North American tribes had a very high standard of honesty among themselves. Domenech wrote : “ The Indians who do not come in contact with the Palefaces never appropriate what belongs to others; they have no law against theft, as it is a crime unknown among them. They never close their doors.”? According to Colonel Dodge, theft was the sole unpardonable crime amongst them ; a man found guilty of stealing even the most trifling article from a member of his own band was whipped almost to death, deprived of his property, and together with his wives and children driven away from the band to starve or live as best he could.8 Among the Rocky Mountains Indians visited by Harmon theft was frequently punished with death. Among the Omahas," when the suspected thief did not confess his offence, some of his property was taken from him until he told the truth. When he restored what he had stolen, one-half of his own property was returned to him, and the rest was given to the man from whom he had stolen. Sometimes all of the policemen whipped the thief. But when the thief Aed from the tribe, and remained away for a year or two, the offence was not remembered.” 10 Among the Wyandots the punishment for theft is twofold restitution. 11 The Iroquois looked down upon

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