From John Lubbock 18 March 1
My dear Mr Darwin
I have now finished the “Descent”,—I need not say with the greatest interest,—& I venture to trouble you with a few remarks.
V. 1. P. 325 re Hectocotylus. If I remember right Aristotle mentions this, & it has always struck me as a remarkable instance of the universality of his genius.2
109— Variation of muscles. I do not know whether it would be worth while to refer to my paper on the muscles of Pygæra bucephala (Linn Trans. 1858) in which I have described many cases of variations.3
V. 2. P. 361 & 383. I am surprised that you quote the analogy of the lower animals as opposing our views on Communal Marriage. I think the lower animals support us. What monkey ever watched over the conduct of a daughter? or scrupled to carry off anothers wife? The struggle for the females which you shew to prevail so generally clearly negatives the existence of marriage as giving a recognised right.
Communal marriage does not necessarily involve the actual practise of promiscuous intercourse, but seems to me to indicate the retention by woman of all her rights over herself, which she may exercise as she pleases; whereas marriage is the surrender of them to another, who thus acquires a right to complain if she is, even with her own consent, carried off by another man.
The essence of marriage among the lower races of man is the subjection of women to a single man, or (rarely) group of men.
Believe me | yours most sincerely | John Lubbock
C Darwin Esq
Comments on Descent [2: 358–60] especially on CD’s view that behaviour of lower animals is evidence against JL’s interpretation [of aboriginal promiscuity]. View on communal marriage.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7598,” accessed on 4 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7598