Among many uncivilized peoples custom, or law, has considerably abridged the right of divorce. Thus the Kukis regard marriage as indissoluble if children have resulted from the union;2 so also do the Red Karens of Indo-China; and in Western Victoria, according to Dawson, a man can divorce a childless wife, but only when the charge against her has been laid before the chiefs of his own and her tribe, and the punishment made official by their united decree.'
Several tribes of the Indian Archipelago do not allow divorce, except for the cause of adultery;* many negro peoples have a similar rule; and the Hottentot only can divorce his wife "by showing such cause as shall be satisfactory to the men of his Kraal."5 Casalis states sterility to be the only ground of divorce, among the Basutos, "not subject to litigation;"* and among some few savage races, consent of the wife appears to be an essential condition of divorce.7
Social ethics, and the growth of law, have decreed that marriage cannot be dissolved by the husband except for certain stipulated reasons; but it seems difficult to find an origin for the life-term marriage among those who acknowledge no such restraints, and who are governed only by their caprices and passions. And yet we may readily find such. The Aztecs always looked on marriage as binding for life. A husband might repudiate even his concubines only for what was considered "just cause;" viz., dirtiness, malevolence, or sterility; but the marriage tie was regarded as sacred.8 So among the Niearaguans, the one offence for which divorce could be legally sought was adultery,' precisely as in the great State of New York today.