FAMILY COMMUNITIES AMONG THE SOUTHERN SLAVS.
Although the Slavs probably settled in Europe at an earlier period than the Germans, they have yet preserved the institutions and customs of a primitive age for a greater length of time than the latter people. On their first appearance in history, they are described as a nation living chiefly on the produce of their herds, of gentle though brave disposition, and remarkably fond of music. They had not, that is, yet emerged from the pastoral system, although they had in part renounced a nomadic life. The land belonged to the gminathe German gemeinde, or communewhich effected annually in its general assembly (vietza) the partition of the soil among all the members of the clan. The yearly possession was allotted to the patriarchal families in quantities proportional to the number of individuals composing them. Each family was governed by a chief, or gospodar, whom it elected for itself.(1)
The feature which the old Slav historian, Nestor, especially praises in them, is the force of family sentiment, which, be tells us, was the basis of society. He adds that it was preeminently the national virtue. He who broke away from family ties was regarded as a criminal who had violated the most sacred laws of nature. The individual could exercise no rights except as member of the family. The family was in fact the elementary social unit, and in its bosom reigned community without confusion; omnia erant eis communia, says an old chronicle.
The ancient national poems, whose discovery at Königinhof in Bohemia has given the great impulse to the Tchek literary movement, enable us to grasp this ancient family constitution. In the poem called Libusin Sud, or the Judgment of Libusa, two brothers, Staglav and Hrudos, quarrel about an inheritance, and this appears so monstrous that the Moldau mourns and a swallow laments over it on the heights of the Visegrad. The queen Libusa pronounces judgment: "Brothers, sons of Klen," she says, "descendants of an ancient family which came into this blessed country in the train of Tchek, after crossing three rivers, you should agree as brothers on the subject of your inheritance, and you shall hold it in common according to the sacred traditions of our ancient law. The father of the family governs the house, the men till the ground, the women make the garments. If the head of the house dies, all the children retain the property in common and choose a new chief, who on great days presides in the council with the other fathers of families."
In Poland, in Bohemia, and even among the Slavonians of Carinthia and Carniola, these family communities disappeared ia the middle ages under the influence of the civil law, which; dating from an epoch when private property was established in all its rigour, was destined gradually to undermine the ancient communism, by means of the adverse decisions of the jurists. The southern Slays escaped the influence of the civil law, by reason of the perpetual wars which devastated their territory, and more especially in consequence of the Turkish invasion. Beaten, isolated, and thrown back on themselves, their only thought was the religious preservation of their traditional institutions, and of their local autonomy. This is the cause of their family communities surviving to our own times, without being subjected to the influence either of the Roman law, or of that of feudalism. At the present day they still form the basis of agrarian organization among all the southern Slays, from the banks of the Danube to beyond the Balkans. In Slavonia, in Croatia, in Servian Voivodia, in the Military Confines, in Servia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Dalmatia, Herzegovina and Montenegro, the ancient institution presents itself with identical characteristics. In Bosnia the Mohammedan beys themselves often live in community even in cities, as at Serajevo.
Except in the towns, and in the very restricted portion of the Dalmatian littoral, where owing to Venetian influence the Roman law has found its way, the vicissitudes of history, which have subjected one half of the Slav empire of Douchan to the Turks and the other half to Hungary, and the difference of political institutions consequent upon this division, have wrought no harm to rural customs, which have continued to exist in obscurity, without attracting the attention of the conquerors. It is only recently that the system of family communities has been regulated by law, as for example in Servia. Otherwise it only exists by virtue of custom; but everywhere its principles are the same, because the national traditions are similar. As M. Utiesenovitch remarks, the queen Libusa might erect her throne of justice in every part of the Southern Slav district, and pronounce, amid the applause of the village chiefs, the same judgment as in days gone by on the slope of Visegrad, in the legendary dispute between the brothers Staglav and Hrudos.
We will now examine more closely this curious institution, which, in these countries, impresses on property in land so different a form from that which it has assumed with us in the West. The social unit, the civil corporation, which owns the land, is the family community, that is to say, the group of descendants from a common ancestor, dwelling in the same house or in the same inclosure, labouring in common and enjoying in common the produce of agricultural labour. This community is called by the Germans Hauskommunion, and by the Slavs themselves druzina, druztvo, or zadruga, words which have much the same meaning as "association." The head of the family is called gospodar, starchina, or domatchin. He is elected by the members of the community, and has to transact the business of the community. He buys and sells the produce in the name of the association, in the same way as the manager of a joint-stock company. He regulates the work to be done, but acts in concert with those subject to him, who are always summoned to deliberate on resolutions to be formed, whenever the subject is an important one. There is, in fact, a free parliamentary government in miniature. The chief represents the community in its transactions with any third party, and in its relations with the state. He settles all disputes which arise within the family circle, and is the guardian of all infants. The gospodar has the executive power, while the united associates exercise the legislative power. The authority of the head of the family is far less despotic than in the Russian family. The spirit of independence here, too, is much more pronounced. The gospodar, who attempted to act without the advice of his associates, would be an object of detestation, and would not even be tolerated. In Bulgaria every inhabitant has the right of veto on important questions. When the head of the family feels himself growing old he usually resigns his office, agreeably to the Servian proverb: ko radi, onaj valja, da sudi, "he who toils should govern." His successor is not always the oldest member of the group; but is that one of his brothers who seems most capable of managing the common interests. The elders are respected, and their experience secures a ready hearing for their advice; but they do not enjoy the almost sacred prestige which surrounds them in Russia. The wife of the gospodar, or some other woman, chosen from the family group, the domatchica, regulates the household and takes care of its domestic interests. She directs the education of the young and chants the national poems to them in the evenings. Her place at table is by the side of the gospodar. She is consulted in all marriages, and is respected by all.
The dwelling of a family community consists of a considerable number of buildings, often constructed entirely of wood, especially in Servia and Croatia, where the oak is still abundant. Within an inclosure surrounded by a strong hedge or a palisade, and generally in the middle of a lawn planted with fruit-trees, rises the principal dwelling-house, occupied by the gospodar and his children, and occasionally by another couple with their offspring. In this house is the large room, where the family take their meals in common, and meet at night for the evening.(2) In buildings adjoining these are rooms for the other members of the family. In Servia the starshina's house is distinguished by a very high and pointed roof covered with wooden tiles. It is carefully whitewashed, and contains, besides the common hail, from two to four sleeping-rooms. The other couples have small dwellings constructed less carefully on piles, at some distance from the ground, like the barns in the Valais. Sometimes young couples make themselves a separate home within the inclosure, without, however, leaving the association. On one side are stalls for the cattle, barns, sheds, and a drying-room for maize, which together make a considerable block of buildings, or farmstead, reminding one very much of the large chalets of Simmenthal, in Switzerland, with their numerous dependencies. Each community consists of from ten to twenty persons. Some are found numbering as many as fifty or sixty; but these are exceptional. In Herzegovina there are generally from twenty to five-and-twenty persons. The larger the family the more fully is the blessing of heaven supposed to rest upon it. Distress, they tell you, never comes, except when communities are dissolved. "The isolated family has more pain than joy," says the proverb. Nevertheless, the communities are never sufficiently numerous to constitute a village. There are villages where all the inhabitants bear the same name, but yet they form several zadrugas.
The population, hitherto, has not increased very rapidly. New generations replace those which pass away, and so the composition of a family community remains nearly constant. In those which I have visited in Croatia and in the Military Confines, I have generally found three generations collected under the same roofthe grandparents reposing after their toil, the sons devoted to labour, one of them discharging the functions of gospodar, and finally the young children of different ages. When a family becomes too numerous, it divides, and two communities are formed. The difficulty of finding a dwelling, the merging of individual advantage in the well-being of the association, and the living in common, are all obstacles to early marriages. Many young men go to service in the towns, join the army, or devote themselves to liberal professions. They retain, however, the right of resuming their place under the common roof, so long as they are not definitely settled elsewhere. The young women on marrying pass into their husband's family. Sometimes, but very rarely, when the number of working hands is short, the daughter's husband is received into the family. In this case he enters the community, and acquires the same rights in it as the others.
In many instances, every married couple obtains the private enjoyment, for the year, of a small field, the produce of which is exclusively their property. In this they sow hemp or flax, which is spun by the wife, and furnishes sufficient cloth for the wants of the pair and their children. The women also spin the wool of their sheep on a hanging spindle, which they can turn as they walk about and watch their cattle. From this the white or brown woollen stuffs, almost exclusively worn by the southern Slavs, are woven. The white garments of the women, embroidered with needlework of the brightest hues, in patterns which recall the East, have a charming effect. Each family thus produces almost all that its limited and simple wants demand. It sells a few cattle, especially pigs, and buys certain manufactured articles. The fruits of agricultural labour are consumed in common, or divided equally among the married couples; but the produce of each man's industrial labour belongs to him individually. Each individual member can thus make himself a small peculium; and can even be sole owner of a cow or a few sheep, which go to pasture with the common flock. Hence, private property does exist: but it is not applied to the soil, which remains the common property of the family association.
The average extent of the patrimony of each community is from 25 to 30 jochs,(3) divided into a great number of parcels, ordinarily the result of periodical partition, long since given up. The stock on such a farm consists of several couples of draught-beastsoven or horsesfrom four to eight cows, from fifteen to twenty young beasts, twenty sheep and pigs, and a great quantity of poultry, the chief article of food. The produce of its lands and flocks is almost always sufficient to supply the wants of the community. The aged and infirm are supported by the care of their children, so that pauperism, and even, saving rare exceptions, accidental distress, are unknown. When the harvest is very plentiful, the surplus is sold by the gospodar, who gives an account of the use to which he puts the money so received. Individual members or couples purchase themselves fancy articles or finery, which they are allowed to retain, with the produce of their private industry, or of their private plot. In certain districts the women take the management alternately, each for eight days, of the different household duties, consisting of cooking and baking, milking the cows, making the butter, and feeding the poultry. The manager for the time being is called redusa, which signifies "she whose turn has come."
Communities dwelling in the same village are always ready to lend one another assistance. When a pressing work has to be executed, several families join together, and the task is completed with general animation. There is a kind of holiday. In the evening, popular songs are sung to the sound of the guzla, and there are dances on the sward under the tall oaks. The Southern Slavs delight in singing, and rejoicings are frequent among them: their life being to all appearance a happy one. Their lot is secure, and they have fewer cares than Western nations, who strive in vain to satisfy wants which become every day more numerous and more refined. In their primitive form of society, where there is no inheritance, and no purchase or sale of lands, the desire of growing rich or of changing one's lot hardly exists. Every one finds in the family group the means of living as his ancestors have lived, and asks no more. The rules of succession, which give rise to so much strife between relations, the greedy desire of the peasant stinting himself in everything to increase his property, the anxiety of the proletarian uncertain of to-morrow's wage, the alarms of the farmer who fears the raising of his rent, the ambition to rise to a higher position, so frequent in the present ageall these sources of agitation, which elsewhere trouble men's minds, are here unknown. Existence flows along peaceably and uniformly. Men's condition and the organization of society are not changed, there is nothing which can be called progress. No effort to secure a better or different position is attempted, for the mere reason that the possibility of changing the traditional order which exists is not conceived of.
In the juridical point of view, each family community forms a civil person, which can hold property and be party to a suit. The immoveable property belonging to it forms an indivisible patrimony. When a member dies, there is no succession, except in respect of moveables; his children are entitled to a share in the produce of the soil, not by virtue of any hereditary right, but by reason of their own personal right. It is not as representatives of the deceased, but as labouring with the others to turn the common property to account, that they claim a share in the enjoyment of its produce.(4) No one can dispose of any portion of the soil by gift or will, inasmuch as no one is actual owner, but only exercises a species of usufruct. It is only in the case, where all the members of the family but one are dead, that the last survivor can dispose of the property at his pleasure.
If any one leaves the common dwelling to settle definitely elsewhere, he loses all his rights. On her marriage, a young woman receives a dowry proportional to the resources of the family, but cannot claim any part of the patrimonial property. This property is, like the majorat,(5) the solid basis on which the continuance of the family rests; it cannot, therefore, be diminished or divided. The widow continues to be supported, but in return she gives her labour. If she remarries, she leaves the community, and has only a right to dowry. The member who has contributed most to increase the wealth of the zadruga, may claim a greater share of the common property in case of his leaving it.
In certain districts of the southern Slavs the customs regulating the family communities have received a legal consecration. The law of May 7, 1850, which regulates the civil organization of the Military Confines, completely adopted the principles of the national institution. There is, however, one point which is peculiar to the Military Confines, the obligation to carry arms imposed on all those who have a right to an undivided part of the soil as members of the communities. This is exactly the basis of the feudal system. The soil belongs to men alone, because they only obtain a grant of it on the condition of military service. In the Slav countries subject to Hungary, Croatia and Slavonia, the civil law paid no regard to national customs respecting these communities. In Servia, on the contrary, the code gave them the force of law, but not in all cases without admitting certain principles, borrowed from the Roman law, which, had they been enforced, must inevitably have led to the destruction of the institution. Thus, by art. 515, a member of the community may hypothecate his undivided share in the common property as guarantee for a debt contracted by him personally, and the creditor may pay himself out of this portion. This article is diametrically opposed to traditional custom and to the preceding articles of the same code, which ensure the indivisibility of the patrimonial domain.(6)
In Bosnia, Bulgaria and Montenegro, the national custom has not been regulated by law, but their populations have only shewn themselves the more attached to it, the more the severity of the oppression, to which they were exposed, increased. Men instinctively associate together to resist whatever threatens their existence. The family group was far more capable of defending itself against the severity of Turkish rule than were isolated individuals. Accordingly, it is in this part of the southern Slav district that family communities are best preserved, and still form the basis of social order.
In Dalmatia, Venice had taken advantage of this agrarian organization to establish in the rural districts a militia for the purpose of repelling Turkish invasion. When France occupied the Illyrian coast, after the treaty of Vienna in 1809, the principles of the civil code were introduced into the country, and the legality of the system of communities no longer recognized. They continued to exist nevertheless, and in the interior of the country have lasted to the present day, although beyond the protection of the law, so deeply has the custom thrust its roots into the national modes of thought. In the neighbourhood of the towns the more varied life has weakened the ancient family sentiment. Many communities have been dissolved, their property divided and sold, and their members have degenerated into mere tenants or proletarians. Yet, even in the towns, great and wealthy families can be named, who still live under the associated system of the zadruga. The Vidolitch family, for instance, in the island of Lussin Piccolo, consists of more than fifty members, who carry on a large business and shipping trade. It is a curious example of the ancient agricultural community transplanted into an entirely different sphere.
In the Slav provinces of Hungary, about l848, a spirit of liberty and insubordination seized on the whole population, and led to the dissolution of many communities. The young couples wished to live by themselves independently, and demanded partition, to which there was no legal obstacle. The common patrimony was cut up, and a class of small cultivators sprang cap, whose condition from the first was one of much misery. Neither the wealth nor the population of the country was sufficient to allow of the success of the small intensive culture of Lombardy or Flanders. Austria had a crisis to overcome; taxes were suddenly nearly doubled, and the young and active labourers carried off as recruits. Many of these small independent cultivators were obliged to sell their parcel of soil, and to work for wages as day-labourers. To put an end to the subdivision, which it was feared would ruin the soil, it was enacted that in case of partition the farm should belong to `the eldest; and at the same time a minimum was fixed beyond which no one could divide the parcels of arable land. The construction of railways, the ever-growing extension of commercial relations, the new ideas which find their way into the country districts; in fine, all the influences of Western civilization, help to destroy the family communities of Croatia, Slavonia, and Voivodia. In the Confines they continue to exist, because the law has made them the basis of military organization; and also to the south of the Danube, because in these remote regions they are in harmony with the sentiments and ideas of the patriarchal epoch, which still survive there in all their vigour.
The moat eminent men among the southern Slave, such as the Ban Jellatchich, Haulik, Archbishop of Agram, Strossmayer, the eloquent bishop of Diakovàr, and especially M. Utiesenovitch and M. Mate Ivitch,(7) have all boasted of the advantages of the agricultural system of their country. These advantages are real. The system is not opposed to permanent improvements and to the employment of capital, like the village community with periodical partition. Each family has its hereditary patrimony; and is as much interested as the owner in severalty in rendering it productive. Under this system every cultivator has a share in the ownership of the soil. Every one can boast, in the words of the Croatians, that he is domovit and imovit, that is, that he owns his dwelling and his field.
The result of English law has been to take landed property out of the hands of those who cultivate it, and to accumulate it in vast latifundia for the benefit of a small number of families of princely opulence. The object of French law, on the contrary, is to secure the possession of the soil to the greatest number, by means of the equal division of inheritances. But this result is only attained by an excessive subdivision, which often cuts the fields into strips that are almost too small for cultivation, and which is therefore opposed to any sound system of agriculture.. The Servian laws, by maintaining the family community, make every man co-owner of the land which he cultivates, at the same time preserving to the holdings their suitable extent. By means of this association, the advantages of small properties are united with those of agriculture on a large scale. The cultivators may employ the farming implements and distribution of crops customary on large farms, while the produce is divided among the labourers, the same as in countries where the soil is subdivided among a multitude of small owners.
Civil taxes and the accidents of life are much less burdensome to the family community than where each couple has a separate establishment. Should one of its members be summoned to the army, attacked with illness, or temporarily prevented from working, the others perform his task, and the community provides for his wants, the same offices being expected of him should occasion arise. Let the isolated individual, under other systems, fail, from any cause whatever, to win his daily bread, and he and his are at once reduced to live on public charity. Among the Southern Slave, with their zadruga system, no bureau de bienfaisance is required, as on the continent, nor any poor-rate, as with us. Official charity is replaced by family ties and duties. Labour is not a commodity, which, like all others, has to present itself in the market, and submit to the rigorous laws of supply and demand. Very few hands seek employment, for there is hardly any paid labour. Each is co-owner of a portion of the soil, and devotes himself accordingly to the cultivation of his own land. Endemic pauperism, and even accidental distress, is, in consequence, unknown.
The family community also admits of the application of the principle of division of labour to agriculture, which ensures economy alike of time and of work. In three separate families there must be three women to manage household affairs, three men to go to market and buy and sell the produce, and three children to watch the cattle. But if these three families are united in the form of a zadruga, one woman, one man, and one child will suffice, while the others may devote themselves to productive labour. The associates, too, will work more cheerfully and take greater pains than hired farm-servants, for they will be animated by self-interest, inasmuch as they participate, directly in the produce of their labour. This agrarian system has the great advantage of allowing the use of machinery for the advantage not only of one individual but of all. The zadruga occupies a considerable extent of land; it can therefore employ an elaborate system of agriculture as well as a large proprietor, and all benefit by it just as in small holdings.
The union in the same hands of capital. and labour, which we endeavour to attain in the West by means of cooperative societies, exists here in full vigour, with the additional advantage, that the foundation of the society is not mere self-interest, but the affection and confidence created by ties of blood. Co-operative societies hitherto have, with rare exceptions, had but an ephemeral existence; while the family-communities, which are nothing but co-operative societies applied to the cultivation of land, have existed from time immemorial, and are the real basis of economic being in a powerful group of nations full of vigour and promise for the future.
The number of crimes and offences is less among the Southern Slavs than in the other provinces of the Austro-Hungarian empire, a result apparently due to the favourable influence exercised by the rural organization of zadrugas. Two causes contribute to this result. In the first place, nearly every one has sufficient to satisfy his essential wants, and distress, the great source of crime, contributes but a slight contingent to the tables of criminality. In the second place, as each individual lives in the midst of a numerous family, under the eye of his relatives, he is restrained by this involuntary superintendence of those about him; he has, moreover, a dignity to preserve; he has a position and a name, like the nobles of the West, and the proverb "noblesse oblige" is not without its application to him. It is evident that this family life must exercise a healthy moral influence, in that it developes sociability. At night to pass the evening, and in the day for work and for their meals, all the members of the family assemble in the large common room. They converse and interchange ideas; and one or another sings or narrates a legend. Hence there is no occasion for a visit to the wine-shop in search of distraction, as in the case of the individual living alone, who takes this means of escaping the monotony and silence of his hearth.
In these family-communities attachment to ancient traditions is handed down from generation to generation; and they are a powerful element for the preservation of social order. It is well known what extraordinary power the gens imparted to the Roman republic. As Mommsen remarks, the greatness of Rome rose on the solid foundation of its families of peasant proprietors. So long as the soil remains in the hands of family- communities, no social revolution can be apprehended, for there exists no leaven of disorder.
These associations also play a very useful part in the political organization. They are intermediate between individualism and communism, and so serve as an initiation into the practice of local government. The administration of the zadruga resembles that of a commune or joint-stock company in miniature. The gospodar discharges functions similar to those of a manager: he submits a report of his management to the deliberation and discussion of those subject to him. It is like an inchoate parliamentary system, being trained for the practice of public liberty. If the Servians, just emancipated, accommodate them selves so admirably to an almost republican constitution, and a system of government, which many western states would find a difficulty in maintaining, it is due to the Servians having passed, in the bosom of these communities, an apprenticeship in the qualities necessary for independence and self-govern ment. It is surprising, says M. Ivitch, to see the good sense displayed by the Croatian peasants in the public deliberations in which they take part.
Another effect of the common life in the zadruga is to develop certain private virtues, such as affection among relations, mutual support, voluntary submission to discipline, and the habit of acting together for the same object. It has been asserted that the family is a mere method of succession. Undoubtedly the right of succession, which is ordinarily incident on the death of a relation, rouses evil sentiments, which are often placed in relief by the playwright, the novelist, or the artist. In the zadruga there is no succession. Every one having a personal right to a share in the produce, cupidity is never at variance with family affection, and the thought of an inheritance to be received never comes to intrude itself on the grief caused by the death of a father or an uncle. The pursuit of money does not inflame their minds, and there is, consequently, more scope for natural feeling.
I believe I have not exaggerated the merits of these family- communities, or drawn a flattering picture of the patriarchal life passed in them. A visit to the Slav districts lying to the south of the Danube will suffice to disclose the social organization exactly as I have described it. The flourshing appearance of Bulgaria, the best cultivated of all Eastern countries, shews decisively that the system is not antagonistic to good cultivation of the soil. And yet this organization, in spite of its many advantages, is falling to ruin, and disappearing everywhere that it comes into contact with modern ideas.(8) The reason is, that these institutions are suited to the stationary condition of a primitive age; but cannot easily withstand the conditions of a society, in which men are striving to improve their own lot as well as. the political and social organization under which they live. This craving to rise and to continually increase one's means of enjoyment, by which the present age is excited, is incompatible with the existence of family associations, in which the destiny of each is fixed, and can vary but little from that of other men. Once the desire of self-aggrandisement awakened, man can no longer support the yoke of the zadruga, light though it be; he craves for movement, for action, for enterprise, at his own risk and his own peril. So long as disinterestedness, brotherly affection, submission to the family chief, and mutual toleration for the faults of others, preserve their empire, community of life is possible and agreeable even for the women; but, when these sentiments disappear, living together becomes a purgatory, and each couple seeks to possess an independent home, to escape the community. The advantages of the zadruga, whatever they may be, henceforth are out of consideration. To live according to his own will, to work for himself alone, to drink from his own cup, is now the end preeminently sought by every one.
Without faith, religious communities could not survive. So, too, if family feeling is weakened, the zadruga must disappear. I know not whether the nations, who have lived tranquilly under the shelter of these patriarchal institutions, will ever arrive at a happier or more brilliant destiny; but this much appears inevitable, that they will desire, with Adam in Paradise Lost, to enter on a new career, and to taste the charm of independent life, despite its perils and responsibilities. In my opinion, the economist will not see these institutions disappear without regret.
1. For a more detailed account of ancient Slav institutions, consult for Bohemia the excellent history of M. Palacki and his Slawische Alterthümer, Leipsig, 1843;for Russia, Ewers, Aeltestes Recht der Russen, Dorpat, 1826;for Poland, Rossell, Polnische Geschichte, and Mieroslawski, La Commune polonaise du dixième au dix-huitième siècle;and for the Southern Slavs, the exhaustive treatise of M. Utiesenovitch, Die Houskommuniorien der Süd-Slaven, and also the admirable work of M. Bogisitch, Zbornik sedasnjih pravnits obitchaja u jusnits Sievene, Agram, 1874. M. Fedor Demelitch has just published a summary of this excellent treatise, Le Droit coutomier des Slaves méridionaux d'après les recherches de M. V. Bogisitch, Paris, 1877.
2. All who have had a near view of Servian homes have been struck by the fraternal intimacy of their patriarchal life. M. Kanitz, in his admirable work on Servia, describes it as follows: "In the evening the whole family collect in the house of the starshina, near the large common hearth, where a bright wood fire crackles. The men make or repair the implements for their daily toil. The women spin wool or flax for their garments. The children play at the feet of their parents, or ask the grandfather to tell them the history of Castrojan or of Marko Kraljevitch. Then the starshina, or one of the men, takes his guzia, and begins to sing, accompanying his voice with the stringed instrument. The sagas follow with lays of the heroes, and all recount in burning lines the trials of their country and its struggles for independence. Thus the common dwelling becomes an attractive spot to all, which arouses and fosters in each man affection for his family and his country, and in all enthusiasm for the greatness, the prosperity, and the liberty of the Servian nation." Serbien, Leipsig, 1868, p. 81. Who can look on this family life, alike so invigorating to the individual and so salutary to the state, without asking himself, with the German author of La Famille: "Does the economist, in considering the system of common property, take sufficient account of its moral element? Can statistics estimate by ciphers the happiness enjoyed by the family, where the children receive at the grandmother's knees the lessons and the traditions of their ancestors, and where the old men see their youth revive in the animated group of their children and grandchildren?"
3. The Austrian joch is nearly equivalent to one and a half English acres.
4. Art. 628 of the Servian civil code regulates the succession within the zadruga in the following manner: "Relations who have together m the community succeed in preference to those who live outside the zadruga, although the latter may be nearer in blood. The stranger, who has been admitted into the community, prevails against relations outside it. children under age who accompany their mother, when she leaves the community, retain all their rights in it. The same rule holds for all who are detained at a distance by military service, captivity, or any other involuntary hindrance."
5. The Majorat is the immoveable property which is attached to the possession of a title and cannot be alienated, but passes, with the title, from heir to heir, whether natural or adoptive. "Il est contre le système d'égalité dans l'ordre équestre d'y établir des majorats." J. J. Rousseau, Gouv. de Pol. X.
6. By art. 508, "the goods and property of the community belong, not to its
members in severalty, but to all in common."
By art. 510, "none of the members of the family can sell or give in security for a debt any of the property belonging to the community, without the consent
of every man of full age."
"The death of the chief of the family," runs art. 516, "or that of every other member does not alter its position, and in no way modifies the relations, which result from the common possession of the patrimony belonging to all."
"The rights and duties of a member of the community are the same, whatever the degree of relationship, or even if, being a stranger, he has been admitted into the association by the unanimous consent of the family."
7. Utiesenovitch, Die Hauakosmmuniouen der Süd-Slaven; Mate Ivitch, Die Hauskomummionen, Semlin 1874, an interesting work followed by a scheme for the regulation of family communities. See also an article by Prof. Tomaschek in the Zeitsckrift für des priv. und öffent. Recht der Gegemwart, v. II. b. 8; and Bolin-Jacqnemyns, Revue de Droit intern. 8e an. (1876) p. 265, Législation dans La Croatie.
8. Thus in 1889 the Servian minister of interior lamented in the Skuptchina the dissolution of a great number of Zadrugas. In the last few years 1700 have ceased to exist owing to partition. See Kanitz, Serbien, p. 592. In Croatiastrange to saythe diet in which the national party was predominant, recently (1874) voted a law forbidding the formation of new communities.