i86 H. Lincx Roth.aNatives of Sarawak and Brit. N. Borneo.
wealth. On the whole they appear very free from disease ; marriages take place early (but not too early), and old bachelors and old maids are alike unknown. Why, then, we must inquire, has not a greater population been produced ? Why are the Dyak villages so small and so widely scattered while nine-tenths of the country is still covered with forest ?
" Of all the checks to population among savage nations, mentioned by Malthusastarvation, disease, war, infanticide, immorality, and infertility of the womenathe last is that which he seems to think least important, and of doubtful efficacy ; and yet it is the only one that seems to me capable of accounting for the state of the population among the Sarawak Dyaks. The population of Great Britain increases so as to double itself in about fifty years. To do this it is evident that each married couple must average three children who live to be married at the age of about twenty-five. Add to these those who die in infancy, those who never marry, or those who marry late in life and have no offspring, the number of children born to each marriage must average four or five ; and we know that families of seven or eight are very common, and of ten and twelve by no means rare. But from inquiries at almost every Dyak tribe I visited, I ascertained that the women rarely had more than three or four children, and an old chief assured me that he had never known a woman have more than seven. In a village consisting of a hundred and fifty families only one consisted of six children living, and only six of five children, the majority appearing to be two, three, or four. Comparing this with the known proportions in European countries, it is evident that the number of children to each marriage can hardly average more than three or four ; and, as even in civilized countries half the population die before the age of twenty-five, we should have only two left to replace their parents ; and, so long as this state of things continued, the population must remain stationary. Of course, this is a mere illustration, but the facts I have stated seem to indicate that something of the kind really takes place, and if so, there is no difficulty in understanding the smallness and almost stationary population of the Dyak tribes.
" We have next to inquire what is the cause of the small number of births and of living children in a family. Climate and race may have something to do with this, but a more real and efficient cause seems to me to be the hard labour of the women, and the heavy weights they constantly carry. A Dyak woman generally spends the whole day in the field, and carries home every night a heavy load of vegetables and firewood, often for several miles, over tough and hilly paths, and not unfrequently has to climb up a rocky mountain by ladders and over slippery stepping-stones, to an elevation of a thousand feet. Besides this, she has an hour's work every evening to pound the rice with a heavy wooden stamper, which violently strains every part of the body. She begins this kind of labour when nine or ten years old, and it never ceases but with the extreme decrepitude of age. Surely we need not wonder at the limited number of her progeny, but rather be surprised at the successful efforts of nature to prevent the extermination of the race.
" One of the surest and most beneficial effects of advancing civilization will be the amelioration of the condition of these women. The precept and" One of the surest and most beneficial effects of advancing civilization will be the amelioration of the condition of these women. The precept and