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inter-communion with God; after life in God's life, and after growth through the partaking of God's food, or of that food which represents God. The studies of many observers in widely different fields have led both the rationalistic and the faith-filled student to conclude, that in their sphere of observation it was a religious sentiment, and not a mere animal craving,—either through a scarcity of food, or from a spirit of malignity,—that was at the bottom of cannibalistic practices there; even if that field were an exception to the world's fields generally. And now we have a glimpse of the nature and workings of that religious sentiment which prompted cannibalism wherever it has been practised.
Man longed for oneness of life with God. Oneness of life could come only through oneness of blood. To secure such oneness of life, man would give of his own blood, or of that substitute blood which could best represent himself. Counting himself in oneness of life with God, through the covenant of blood, man has sought for nourishment and growth through partaking of that food which in a sense was life, and which in a larger sense gave life, because it was the food of God, and because it was the food which stood for God. In misdirected pursuance of this thought, men have given the blood of a consecrated human victim to bring themselves into union with God; and then they
SUBSTITUTES FOR HUMAN FLESH.
have eaten of the flesh of that victim which had supplied the blood which made them one with God. This seems to be the basis of fact in the premises; whatever may be the understood philosophy of the facts. Why men reasoned thus, may indeed be in question. That they reasoned thus, seems evident.
Certain it is, that, where cannibalism has been studied in modern times, it has commonly been found to have had originally, a religious basis; and the inference is a fair one, that it must have been the same wherever cannibalism existed in earlier times. Even in some regions where cannibalism has long since been prohibited, there are traditions and traces of its former existence as a purely religious rite. Thus, in India, little images of flour paste or clay are now made for decapitation, or other mutilation, in the temples,1 in avowed imitation of human beings, who were once offered and eaten there. Referring to the frequency of human sacrifices in India, in earlier and in later times, and to these emblematic substitutes for them, now employed, the Abbe Dubois says: 2 the kingdom of Tanjore there is a village called Tirushankatam Kudi, where a solemn festival is celebrated every year, at which great multitudes of people assemble, each votary bringing with him one of those 1 See page 176 f., supra.
Des. of Man. and Cust. of India, Part III., chap. 7.
little images of dough into the temple dedicated to Vishnu, and there cutting off the head in honor of that god. This ceremony, which is annually performed with great solemnity, was instituted in commemoration of a famous event which happened in that village.
"Two virtuous persons lived there, Sirutenden and his wife Vanagata-ananga, whose faith and piety Vishnu was desirous to prove. He appeared to them, and demanded no other service of them but that of sacrificing, with their own hands, their only and much beloved son Siralen, and serving up his flesh for a repast. The parents with heroic courage, surmounting the sentiments and chidings of nature, obeyed without hesitation, and submitted to the pleasure of the god. So illustrious an act of devotion is held worthy of this annual commemoration, at which the sacrifice is emblematically renewed. The same barbarous custom is preserved in many parts of India; and the ardor with which the people engage in it leaves room to suspect that they still regret the times when they would have been at liberty to offer up to their sanguinary gods the reality, instead of the symbol.”
Such a legend as this, taken in conjunction with the custom which perpetuates it, and with all the known. history of human sacrifices, in India and elsewhere, furnishes evidence that cannibalism as a religious rite
FEEJEE AND MOHAWK CANNIBALISM. 187
was known to the ancestors of the present dwellers in India. And as it is in the far East, so it is in the far West; and so, also, in mid-ocean.
Thus, for example, in the latter field, among the degraded Feejee Islanders, where one would be least likely to look for the sway of a religious sentiment in the more barbarous customs of that barbarous people, this truth has been recognized by Christian missionaries, who would view the relics of heathenism with no undue favor. The Rev. Messrs. Williams and Calvert-the one after thirteen years, and the other after seventeen years of missionary service there-said on this subject: "Cannibalism is a part of the Fijian religion, and the gods are described as delighting in human flesh." And again: "Human flesh is still the most valued offering [to the gods], and their 'drink offerings of blood' are still the most acceptable [offerings to the gods] in some parts of Fiji.”1
It was the same among the several tribes of the North American Indians, according to the most trustworthy testimony. A Dutch clergyman, Dominie Megapolensis, writing two centuries ago from near the present site of Albany, "bears the strongest testimony to the ferocity with which his friends the Mohawks treated their prisoners, and is very explicit as to
1 See Williams and Calvert's Fiji and the Fijians, pp. 35 f., 161– 166, 181 f.
The common people,' he says 'eat the arms, buttocks, and trunk; but the chiefs eat the head and the heart.' This feast was of a religious charac
ter." Parkman says, of the "hideous scene of feasting [which] followed the torture of a prisoner," "it was, among the Hurons, partly an act of vengeance, and partly a religious rite." He cites evidence, also, that there was cannibalism among the Miamis, where "the act had somewhat of a religious character [and], was attended with ceremonial observances." 3
Of the religious basis of cannibalism among the primitive peoples of Central and South America, students seem agreed. Dorman who has carefully collated important facts on this subject from varied sources, and has considered them in their scientific bearings, is explicit in his conclusions at this point. Reviewing all the American field, he says: "I have dwelt longer upon the painful subject of cannibalism than might seem desirable, in order to show its religious character and prevalence everywhere. Instead of being confined to savage peoples, as is generally supposed, it prevailed to a greater extent and with more horrible rites among the most civilized. Its religious inception was the cause of this." Again, he says, of the peoples of
1 Cited in Parkman's Jesuits in No. Am., p. 228, note.
2 Ibid., p. xxxix.
Origin of Prim. Supers., p. 151 f.