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The Truth About Woman by C. Gasquoine Hartley

Further Examples of the Matriarchal Family in Australia


THE

MOTHER-AGE CIVILISATION

I.--_Progress from Lower to Higher Forms of the Family Relationship_

Primitive human love--The same domination of sex-needs in man as among the animals--Different conditions of expression--Acquisition of a new element--The individuation of love--Sex uninterruptedly interesting--The human need for sexual variety--The personal end of passion--Primitive sex-customs and forms of marriage--Superabundance of evidence--An attempt to group the periods to be considered--An early period in which man developed from his ape-like ancestors--Illustrations from primitive savages--First formation of tribal groups--Second period--Mother-descent and mother-rights--The position of women--The importance of this early matriarchate--The transitional period from mother-right to father-right--The assertion of the male force in the person of the woman's brother--This alien position of the husband and father--The formation of the patriarchal family--The change a gradual one and dependent upon property--Civilisation started with the woman as the dominant partner--Traces of mother-descent found in all parts of the world--Evidence of folk-lore as legends--Examples of mother-descent in the early history of England, Scotland, and Ireland--The freedom enjoyed by women--Survival of mother-right customs

among the ancient Hebrews.

II.--_The Matriarchal Family in America_

Traces of mother-descent frequent in the American continent--Mother-rule still in force in some districts--Morgan's description of the system among the Iroquois--The customs of Iroquois tribes--Communal dwellings--The authority of the women--The creeping in of changes leading to father-right--The system of government among the Wyandots--Further examples of the sexual relationships--The interesting customs of the Seri tribe--The probation of the bridegroom--His service to the bride's family--Stringent character of the conditions imposed--The freedom granted to the bride--A decisive example of the position of power held by women--The Pueblos--The customs of these tribes--Monogamic marriage--The happy family relationship--This the result of the supremacy of the wife in the home--Conclusions to be drawn from these examples of mother-rights among the Aboriginal tribes of America--Women the dominant force in this stage of civilisation--Why this early power of women has been denied--A meeting with a native Iroquois--He testifies to the high status and power of the Indian women.

III.--_Further Examples of the Matriarchal Family in Australia, India and other Countries_

The question of the position of women during the mother-age a disputed one--Bachofen's opinion--An early period of gynaeocracy--This view not accepted--Need for unprejudiced opinion--Women the first owners of property--Their power dependent on this--Further examples of mother-right customs--The maternal family in Australia--Communal marriage--Mother-right in India--The influence of Brahmanism--Traces of the maternal family--Some interesting marriage customs--Polyandry--Examples of its practice--Great polyandrous centres--The freedom enjoyed by women--The causes of polyandry--Matriarchal polyandry--The interesting custom of the Nayars--The Malays of Sumatra--The _ambel-anak_ marriage--Letter from a private correspondent--It proves the high status of women under the early customs of mother-descent--Traces of the maternal family among the Arabs--The custom of _beena_ marriage--Position of women in the Mariana Islands--Rebellion of the husbands--Use of religious symbolism--The slave-wife--Her consecration to the Bossum or god in Guinea.


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