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Letter 5459

Lubbock, John to Darwin, C. R.

25 Mar 1867

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    Discusses the practice of exogamy; asks if any animals have an instinctive repugnance to inbreeding.


25 Mar. 67

My dear Mr. Darwin

I do not know whether you have read McLennans ``Primitive marriage''.

He refers the curious practise of Exogamy to the prevalence among certain tribes of female infanticide.

I should have thought that the objection to marriage between near relations might have had much to do with it.

Can you tell me whether we have any evidence that any animals have an instinctive repugnance to breeding in sin.

Believe me always | Very sincerely | Yours | John Lubbock

C Darwin Esq

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 5459.f1
    The reference is to John Ferguson McLennan's Primitive marriage: an inquiry into the origin of the form of capture in marriage ceremonies (McLennan 1865).
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    f2 5459.f2
    The terms exogamy (the custom of marrying outside a clan or group) and endogamy (the custom of marrying within a clan or group) were coined by McLennan (OED; see McLennan 1865, pp. 48--9, 53). McLennan surmised that female infanticide resulted in a shortage of women in a tribe, and the consequent need to capture women for marriage from other groups (McLennan 1865, pp. 138--41). For Lubbock's later discussion of exogamy and endogamy, see Lubbock 1870, pp. 92--113.
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