In the Philippine Islands, among the Tagals, Visayans and Pangasinans, marriage among women is comparatively late in life, for the following reason, which I do not think has hitherto been noted, but which my somewhat intimate life amongst these races enables me to verify. The female sexual organs, as well as the pelvic canal, are abnormally small; and up to the age of twenty, not only would parturition be exceedingly difficult, and dangerous, but sexual intercourse itself well nigh impossible. With girls of sixteen, there fully developed, I have been compelled, in making the digital examination, to use my little finger, and that could be introduced only with considerable difficulty. It may be remarked, however, that the male genitals among these people is correspondingly small.
Among the Burmese, and Hill Dyaks of Borneo, old maids and old bachelors are alike unknown;1 and the Greenlanders frequently marry years before there is any possibility of the union being productive.1 Among the Mandans, Californians, and most of the northwestern Indian tribes, marriage among girls takes place at twelve to fourteen years;1 and in Central Mexico it is rare for a girl to be unmarried at fifteen.1
In Brazil, according to the same authority, girls marry at from ten to twelve years, and boys almost invariably before eighteen; and in Terra del Fuego, the young lady begins to cast about for a husband at ten or twelve, rarely passing fourteen without capturing one. In Japan, celibates of either sex are practically unknown; the same rule holding in China.4 In the latter country, were a grown-up son or daughter to die unmarried, the parents would regard it as deplorable; and if a young man be afflicted with any incurable disease, he is obliged to marry of once, lest he dishonor his parents by dying single; and so far is this foolish and pernicious idea carried that not a few instances are recorded where the dead have been married.5
So among the Tartars, the unfortunate biped who at twenty, or over, remains unmarried, is never called a "man," but a "yatow," a name given by the Chinese to young girls who fail to secure husbands; and even Tartar boys are permitted to abuse, domineer over, and order about the poor " yatow " of middle age, who dares not open his mouth in return.*
The Mohammedan laws enjoined marriage, as a duty, upon both men and women. That polygyny was allowed by the Koran, everyone knows; but few are acquainted with the limitations which governed it. Mohammed did not grant unbounded plurality of wives or concubines,7 as is commonly supposed; but expressly limits (Koran, Chapter iv) the number of either to four. But if his means did not enable him to many that number of wives, the Mussulman was permitted, after legally marrying one woman, to take up with his female slaves, or those of others, to the number of eight;1 so that, as far as polygyny is concerned, it was a distinction without a material difference. "Nothing," however, as Niebuhr remarks, "is more seldom to be met with in the East than a woman unmarried, after a certain time of life." She will rather marry a poor man, or a man already sufficiently married, than endure the shame of celibacy; a feeling, I am inclined to think, fully shared by nearly all women.
In Egypt and Persia, practically the same rules hold good; while in India, according to the Laws of Manu, "marriage is the twelfthSantkara, and hence a religious duty incumbent on all."1 " Until he find a wife a man is only half of a whole," reads the Brahmadharma; and as if to lend sensual support to what might otherwise prove too weak as a mere moral duty, it is taught that women are designed for no other end than to provide pleasure for men.'