BAAS 1872

Address of Colonel A. Lane Fox, F.G.S., F.S.A. to the Anthropology Department of Section B [Biology]
at the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in 1872 at Brighton

A typical British Association meeting

When the Council of this Association did me the honour of naming me one of the Vice-Presidents for this Section, and the duty of opening the proceedings of this Department was committed to my charge, I had before me two alternatives, which, I suppose, must have suggested themselves to most of those who have occupied the Chair which I so unworthily fill upon the present occasion. I had to consider whether I should prepare a communication upon some special branch of study to which I had devoted my attention, or taking a broader and more general view of anthropological science as a whole, I should endeavour to offer a few remarks which might be useful in clearing the ground for the valuable and interesting papers which will be presented to you in the course of the session.

In partly adopting the latter or more general course, which I may say is the one that is least congenial to me, on account of my conscious inability to deal satisfactorily with so large a subject, and also because I think that in the present state of our knowledge we are better employed in collecting evidence than in generalizing, I have been influenced chiefly by a consideration of the many and great defects which have been acknowledged to exist in our method of proceeding in this department of science - defects which are, I believe, the natural concomitants of the early stage of development through which we are passing, but which we must set our faces seriously to encounter before we can hope that anthropology will be fairly admitted to the brotherhood of established sciences which are recognized under the auspices of this Association.

When towards the conclusion of the last Meeting in Edinburgh one of the ladies present drew attention to the generally unscientific character of the papers which had been read, she, I believe, said no more than was strictly applicable, not only to that particular Meeting, but to upwards of two thirds of the papers which are included under the head of anthropology elsewhere; and here I may observe that if no other benefit were recognized from the participation of the other sex in our discussions, we should find in it a source from which home truths of this nature can emanate without their setting our backs up. In making these remarks I am conscious that I am hafting the lash which may perhaps with some justice be applied to your Chairman on the present occasion. I cannot, however, claim any special exemption, but must share with my brother anthropologists any censure which may be justly due to our shortcomings.

The ladies must not, however, be too severe upon us in this department, but must make allowance for the empiricism which is naturally attendant upon a new study; for the anthropology of to-day bears, I believe, about the same relationship to the anthropology of the future that alchemy and astrology did to the chemistry and astronomy of our own times. We have established none of the landmarks, the classifications, or the nomenclature which in other sciences serve to keep the discussions within bounds, and direct the thoughts of the workers into useful channels. Anthropology is such a vast field of study, it is so impossible for any single mind to comprehend the whole with the precision that is necessary for scientific purposes, that it demands more than any other the subdivisions that are recognized in the sister sciences, but which at the present time are absent in ours. Hence the random range of our discussions; each speaker naturally wanders into the path that is most familiar to him, and there is no sufficient discipline to bring him back into the line of march.

Moreover, in dealing with anthropological subjects we are met with difficulties arising from their closeness relatively to ourselves. The same impediment which in the eye of the law incapacitates a man from judging or even from giving an impartial evidence in his own case meets us at every turn. It is comparatively easy to generalize when dealing with external nature; but when the materials on which we have to work are drawn from the reservoir of human thoughts and actions, we cannot disengage ourselves sufficiently to take a comprehensive view of the subjects we are studying. I presume that even the ablest amongst us must labour under a sense of incapacity in dealing with anthropological speculations. We may be said to stand in the position of molecules of paint upon the surface of a picture striving to catch the artist's design. Is it surprising there should be confusion of tongues in such a Babel as we are building?

Since, then, our anthropological field of vision is so extremely limited, it behoves us all the more in this branch of study to concern ourselves with the arrangement of our subdivisions, in order that they may bear an harmonious relation to each other, and whilst giving full vent to individual thought and action, and limiting the sphere of inquiry in each branch to such matters as may fall within the easy grasp of finite minds, they may at the same time be rendered subordinate to those great general objects which it is the intention of anthropological science to serve; for it cannot be proclaimed too often that in this country and in this Association we have not adopted the term anthropology out of deference to any particular dogmas or sets of opinions, or out of regard for any particular party or society, but because that term appears to be etymologically the most accurate for embracing the whole of those many studies which are included in the science of man. As one of those who for some years past have taken part in those practical measures which have been as yet only partially and feebly instrumental in promoting the union of the anthropological sciences, it occurs to me that the present occasion may be a fitting one for expressing some of the views which have suggested themselves to me in the course of my experience whilst so engaged. I propose, therefore, after considering briefly the existing phases of one or two of the more important questions with which anthropology has to deal, and saying a few words on the relative value of certain classes of evidence, to speak of the anomalies and misadjustments in what may be called the machinery of anthropological science, defects in the existing constitution of some of the societies which either are or ought to be included amongst the branches of our great subject. In the remarks which I shall offer upon this subject it is not my wish that any undue weight should attach to the particular suggestions which I may be called upon to make as in any way emanating from this chair. My object is rather to draw the attention of anthropologists to the urgent necessity which exists for better organization than to propound any particular schemes of my own; indeed, so rapidly do our views change in the infancy of a science, that I should be sorry to bind myself over to accept many of my own opinions in a couple of years hence; for there is, perhaps, no branch of study to which we may more truly apply the dictum of Faraday, that "the only man who ought really to be looked upon as contemptible is the man whose ideas are not in a constant state of transition."

Amongst the questions which anthropology has to deal with, that of the descent of man has been so elaborately treated, and at the same time popularized by Mr Darwin, that it would be serving no useful purpose were I to allude to any of the arguments on which he has based his belief in the unbroken continuity of man's development from the lower forms of life. Nor is it necessary for one to discuss the question of the monogenesis or polygenesis of man. On this subject also Mr Darwin has shown how unlikely it is that races so closely resembling each other, both physically and mentally, and interbreeding as they invariably do, should on the theory of development have originated independently in different localities. Neither are we now, I think, in a position to doubt that civilization has been gradually and progressively developed, and that a very extended, though not by any means uniform period of growth, must have elapsed before we could arrive at the high stage of culture which we now enjoy. The arguments of our sectional President, Sir John Lubbock, on this subject may, I think, be accepted generally as those of the best exponent of these views in our own time; such was the opinion, as we learn from various authorities, that was held by most of the ancient authors, and it tallies in all respects with the phenomena of progress now observable in the world around us, or which have been recorded in history. Indeed it almost appears probable that had it not been for certain dogmas inculcated in our youth, and from the influence of which in biasing our judgment it is difficult to disengage ourselves in after years, we should never for a moment have thought it possible that civilization could have arisen through any other causes than those by which we actually see it developing in our own times.

... [Lane Fox discusses the psychical powers of humans and animals] Be that as it may, there is, I believe, nothing in the constitution of our own minds which can lead us to doubt that the progress of our first parents must have been extremely slow, or that the slight improvement observable in the implements of the neolithic over those of the palaeolithic age did actually correspond to the continuous progression of human culture during enormous periods of time.

Now, if it is true that during the countless ages included in the palaeolithic and neolithic periods (which we know to have been marked by great geological changes, by the union and separation of great continents, by great changes in climate, and by the migration of various classes of fauna into distant parts of the earth) the progress of mankind was as slow and gradual as we are warranted in supposing it to have been by the relics which have been left us, considering how short the period of history during which the rapid development of civilization has taken place is in comparison with the long periods of time of which we have been speaking, and that progress is always advancing at a rapidly increasing ratio, we need find no difficulty in supposing that where savages are now found in the employment of implements corresponding to those of the neolithic age, they present us with fairly correct pictures of neolithic culture, being really in point of time only a little behind us in the race of improvement. It is reasonable also to suppose that the use of such tools by savages, and the culture associated with them, was also, like that of our neolithic parents, inherited from lower conditions of life, and that, being slow and continuous, it was sufficiently stable to enable us to trace connexions between people in the same stage now widely separated, and between them and our own neolithic ancestors.

The most remarkable analogies are in reality found to exist between races in the same condition of progress; and it is to the study of these analogies, with the view of ascertaining their causes and histories, that the attention of anthropologists has of late been especially drawn; and on this subject I propose to make a few observations.

There are two ways in which it has been attempted to account for these analogous coincidences; one by the hypothesis of inheritance, to which I have already referred; the other by the view of the independent origin of culture in distant centres, assimilated in consequence to the similitude of the conditions under which it arose. It is said that the wants of man being identical, and the means of supplying those wants by external nature being alike, like causes would produce like effects in many cases. There can be little doubt that many remarkable analogies have arisen in this manner, especially amongst the very variable myths, customs, religions and even language of savage races, and that it would be dangerous to assume connexion to have existed except in cases where a continuous distribution of like arts can be traced. On the other hand, we should commit a grave error if we were to assume the hypothesis of independent origin, because no connexion is found to exist at the present time; for we are as yet almost entirely ignorant of the archaeology of savage and barbarous races. It is but fifteen years since we began to study the prehistoric archaeology of our own race, which has already carried us so far on the road towards connecting us with savages; and can we say what further connexions may be brought to light when the river-drifts of such rivers as the Niger or the Amazons come to be studied? Nor can it fairly be said that the wants of mankind are alike in all cases; for if we adopt the principle of evolution, it is evident that the wants of man must have varied in each successive stage of progress, diminished culture being associated with reduced wants, thus carrying us back to a condition of man in which, being analogous to the brutes, he could scarcely be said to have any wants at all of an intellectual or progressive character.

It would be an error to apply either of these principles exclusively to the interpretation of the phenomena of civilization. In considering the origin of species, we are under the necessity of allying ourselves either on the side of the monogenists or that of the polygenists, but in speaking of the origin of culture, both principles may be, and undoubtedly are, applicable. There is, in fact, no royal road to knowledge on this subject by the application of general principles; the history of each art, custom, or institution must be diligently worked out by itself, availing ourselves of the clue afforded by race as only the most probable channel of communication and development. We may be certain, however, that in all cases culture was continuously and slowly developed. Wherever we find an art or institution in an advanced or a conventionalized state, we may be certain that it did not originate and was not invented in that condition, but was the result of slow growth; and if the evidence of such growth is wanting in the locality, or amongst the people with whom it exists, it is rational to look for it elsewhere. Where, on the other hand, the arts are in a low stage of development, closely allied to each other in their objects, forms, or appliances, and largely dependent on the unaltered productions of nature, we may assume that they are indigenous.

There is but one existing race the habits of which are sufficiently well known, which can be said to present in any great degree the characteristics of a primaeval people, and that is the Australians. As I have elsewhere noticed, all the weapons and tools of the Australians, whatever the uses to which they are applied, are closely allied to each other in form. The spear, the club, the malga, the boomerang, and the heileman, or rudimentary shield, all pass into each other by subvarieties and connecting links, and all consist of the but slightly modified natural forms of the stems of trees and other natural productions. The Australian in his arts corresponds the most closely of any people now living to those of the palaeolithic age. His stone axe is sometimes held in the hand when used, and, like the palaeolithic man, he has not yet conceived the idea of boring a hole through it for the insertion of a handle. In some cases he cannot without instruction even understand the use of such a hole when he sees it in the axes of European manufacture. A most remarkable instance of this was brought to my notice no long ago by Mr Grimaldi, who found on the site of a deserted native camping-ground a European axe having a hole for the handle, which the natives, unable to conceive the use of this part, had filled up with gum, and hafted by means of a withy bent round the outside of the hole, in accordance with their traditional custom. Through the kindness of the owner, I have here exhibited a drawing of this most instructive specimen of the primaeval arts of the Australians. In the temporary museum established here during the meeting of the Association, you will see a case containing knives of stone, glass, and iron, all of exactly the same form, and hafted, if one may use such a term for the attempt to form a handle, precisely in the same manner, showing with what tenacity these people retain their ancient forms, even after they have been supplied with European materials.

Now it has been shown in some cases; and here I especially refer to the account lately published by Mrs Millet, of the Native School established, under conditions only partially favourable to its success, in the interior of Western Australia. [Footnote: Australian Parsonage, or the Settlers and the Savage, by Mrs E. Millet, chap. vii] The Australians are found in some cases to be not only capable, but even quick in receiving instruction. It is evident, therefore, that we should be wrong if we were to attribute the extraordinary retardation of culture on the Australian continent to racial incapacity alone, racial incapacity is one item, but not the only item to be considered in studying the development of culture.

The earliest inhabitants of the globe, as they spread themselves over the earth, would carry with them the rudiments of culture which they possessed, and we should naturally expect to find that the most primitive arts were, in the first instance, the most widely disseminated. Amongst the primaeval weapons of the Australians I have traced the boomerang and the rudimentary parrying shield (which latter is especially a primitive implement) to the Dravidian races of the Indian peninsula and to the ancient Egyptians; and although this is not a circumstance to be relied upon by itself, it is worthy of careful attention in connexion with the circumstances that these races have all been traced by Prof. Huxley to the Australoid stock, and that a connexion between the Australian and Dravidian languages has been stated to exist by Mr Morris, the Rev. R. Caldwell, Dr Bleek, and others. [Footnote: Journal of the Anthropological Institute, No. 1, vol. I July 1871) And here I must ask for one moment to repeat the reply which I have elsewhere given to the objection which has been made to my including these weapons under the same class, viz. "that the Dravidian boomerang does not return like the Australian weapon." The return flight is not a matter of such primary importance as to constitute a generic difference, if I may use the expression: the utility of the return flight has been greatly exaggerated; it is owing simply to the comparative thinness and lightness of the Australian weapon. All who have witnessed its employment by the natives concur in saying that it has a random range in its return flight. Any one who will take the trouble to practise with the different forms of this weapon will perceive that the essential principle of the boomerang (call it by whatever name you please) consists in its bent and flat form, by means of which it can be thrown with a rotary movement, thereby increasing the range and flatness of the trajectory. I have practised with the boomerangs of different nations. I made a facsimile of the Egyptian boomerang in the British Museum, and practised with it for some time upon Wormwood Scrubs, and found that in time I could increase the range from fifty to one hundred paces, which is much further than I could throw an ordinary stick of the same size with accuracy. I also succeeded in at last obtaining a return flight, so that the weapon, after flying seventy paces forward, returned to within seven paces of the position in which I was standing. This settles the question of the identity of the Egyptian boomerang; in fact it flies better than many Australian boomerangs; for they vary considerably in size, weight, and form, and many will not return when thrown. The efficacy of the boomerang consists entirely in the rotation, by means of which it sails up to a bird upon the wing and knocks it down with its rotating arms; very few of them have any twist in their construction. The stories about hitting an object with accuracy behind the thrower are nursery tales; but a boomerang when thrown over a river or a swamp will return and be saved. In tracing the connexion between the arts of a people it is as necessary to study the principles of construction, as in tracing the connexion of languages or any other of the productions of the human intellect. To deny the affinity of the Australian and the Dravidian boomerang on account of the absence of a return flight would be the same as denying the affinity of two languages whose grammatical construction was the same because of their differing materially in their vocabularies.

Implements characteristic of the neolithic stage of culture have been found in all parts of the world, and the identity of their forms in regions remote from one another has attracted the notice of archaeologists. By degrees some of the most primitive weapons would be superseded by others, and the improved forms would be rapidly disseminated. Community of goods, which is characteristic of a primitive state of society, woud be a means of disseminating these improvements far more rapidly than afterwards, when the idea of personal property has been introduced, and before trade has been established. It has been found that in Western Australia, where no individual is able long to retain any thing as his own, and where members of another tribe are supposed to have a special claim on the possessions of an individual, this custom has been the means of conveying articles of European manufacture far inland into districts where the white man is unknown. We have also proof, in the migration of the Malays into Madagascar and the spread of the Polynesian race over the Pacific Ocean, that oceanic boundaries are not sufficient to prevent intercommunication between distant countries, and that intercourse between people in a comparatively low state of culture must frequently have taken place in prehistoric times. The earliest improvements would thus in time become the most widely disseminated and therefore the most difficult to trace by their distribution at the present time.

Amongst the earliest improvements upon the primitive arts of man would be the substitution of the throwing-stick by the bow as a means of accelerating the flight and force of the javelin. So decided an advance in the employment of missile force would lead to the discontinuance of the throwing-stick for ordinary purposes wherever the bow was introduced. The throwing-stick is now found only in distant and unconnected regions, viz. in Australia, amongst the Esquimaux and the Purus Purus Indians of South America, and it has been assumed, on account of the isolated positions in which it is found, that it must be indigenous. On the other hand, the use of the bow is almost universal; and it has equally been assumed, on account of its world-wide distribution, that it must be indigenous in different localities, and not derived from a common centre. Geographical distribution, however, although affording the best evidence obtainable, cannot be relied upon with certainty in the case of so early an invention as the bow appears to have been. I cannot concur in thinking that we have any sure evidence that the bow originated in different places; on the contrary, what evidence we have appears to me to be a contrary tendency.

In tropical and temperate regions the elastic properties of wood and its applicability to the purposes of offence would force itself upon the notice of the aboriginal man as he pushed his way through the underwood of the primaeval forest. He would perceive that by tying his lance to the end of an elastic stem, and by a simple contrivance for retaining it in a bent position until the proper time arrived for releasing the spring, it might be made to pierce other animals as they passed through the wood; hence the spring-lance or trap, which we find widely distributed in parts of Africa and Southern Asia, and which in later years has been carried by the negroes into South America. By degrees he would see that,  with the addition of a string, the trap might be made to project the lance with great force and accuracy; and the power thus afforded of wounding a wild animal or an enemy at a distance would at once commend it to his adoption. Where suitable spring wood existed, the construction of the bow was simple enough; but when the use of this weapon penetrated into northern climes, where an arctic flora did not supply wood of sufficient elasticity for the purpose, it would become necessary to supplement the stiff pine-wood or bone with some suitable material. It would be found that the sinews of animals fastened along the back would supply the elasticity that was wanting. By this means he would be led to the use of the composite bow, which is the bow peculiar to the northern hemisphere. A comparison of the modern Persian composite bow with those figured on the Greek vases proves that this was the form of bow used by the Scythians and others in ancient times. In Lapland we find the same form. It was carried by the northern immigrants into India, but it is not indigenous in that country. By the Tartars it was introduced into China. We find it also on the east coast of Siberia. Across Behring Strait it reappears amongst the Esquimaux in its most primitive form; but the returns at the ends prove it to be unmistakably the same weapon as the Tartar bow. It is found also in British Columbia, and down the west coast of America as far as California.

Here, then, we have the continuous distribution across two entire continents of a particular class of bow, of a more complex form than the southern bow, and one, therefore, which is not likely to have been adopted except by a people to whom the simpler but equally effective form was known, but who did not possess the material necessary for its construction. It would not, perhaps, require a very wide stretch of imagination to suppose that this class of bow may have originated at a time when an arctic flora similar to that existing amongst the Esquimaux may have been more widely distributed in the northern hemisphere than at present, and its advantages for employment on horseback would be a cause for retaining it. Be that as it may, we have proof that this composite bow is of great antiquity, and that it has been carried by intruding races into distant countries. May not the use of the simpler and earlier bow have been spread in the same manner? It may have been, but we cannot say that it was. The resemblance between the South American bows and arrows and those from New Guinea are so close that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish them. Even the ornamentation upon them is much alike and it is well know to all Prehistorians that the arrow-heads found on the American continent present all the four types of leaf-shaped, lozenge-shaped, triangular, and barbed, that are found in Europe.

As by degrees the use of the bow spread over the world, that of the throwing-stick would tend to disappear. We have some grounds for supposing that the latter instrument was formerly in use in the Pelew Islands; and Mr Franks has found it amongst some Mexican relics probably preserved in a tomb. May it not also have existed formerly in other localities where it has not been preserved in tombs, and where no trace of it now exists? If this were the case, where should we now expect to find it retained? In such localities as the Arctic seas, where lack of suitable materials still renders the construction of the bow a work of great difficulty, as is shown by the manner in which several pieces of hard bone as sometimes fastened together to form one, or in Australia, where the knowledge of the use of the bow has never penetrated.

Closely connected with the bow, the harpoon may be instanced as an example of early origin and wide distribution. The harpoon is found in some of the French caves, amongst the earliest bone relics of human workmanship that have been brought to light. Its present distribution is almost universal, being found in Australia, North and South Africa, North and South America and in all regions where its use has not been superseded by more suitable contrivances.

In proportion as our investigations are carried into the higher phases of civilization, we find our areas of distribution more limited, and of more and more value to us is tracing the continuity of culture; and when we come to the distribution of the metallurgic arts, we find them defined by marked geographical boundaries which are not the boundaries of the great primaeval races of mankind.

If we draw a line across the globe from Behring Strait in a south-westerly direction through Wallace's line, leaving Australia on the east, and take for our period the date of the first discovery of America, we shall find that (putting aside the metallurgic culture of Mexico and Peru, which, it may be observed, is grouped around a single centre) this line separates the area of stone culture on the east from the area of metallurgic culture on the west; but it passes straight through the primaeval racial boundaries. Turning to the ethnological map of the world, we find in the southern hemisphere the black races of man occupying a continuous area, extending from Australia on the east to Africa on the west; of these, the eastern portion are in the area of stone culture, whilst the western have long become acquainted with the use of metals. Or if we divide these black races, as Prof. Huxley has divided them, into Australoid and Negroid stocks, including amongst the latter the Negritos, we find equally that with each of these primaeval stocks the eastern half are in the stone area, while the western are acquainted with the use of metals. In the northern hemisphere we also find the great Mongoloid stock, which includes the inhabitants of northern and eastern Asia and the two continents of America, divided by our line in two portions, of which the eastern are in the stone area, while the western have made considerable advance in metallurgic culture. Here, then, we see that the distribution of the metallurgic art had, at the time we speak of, spread over three continents, and been brought to a stand by great oceanic boundaries, beyond which it had not penetrated, unless, indeed, it had been carried by some vessel to the coast of Peru.

If we now take what we may call the metallurgic area more in detail, and endeavour to trace the distribution of the implements of the bronze period, we find that the same class of weapons and tools extends over a continuous area, including the whole of the northern, western, and central parts of Europe, as far as Siberia on the east; these implements, including palstaves, leaf-shaped swords, and socket celts, with the moulds for casting them, are of a character to prove that the diffusion of the bronze culture throughout this area must have been connected and continuous. In Egypt, Assyria, India, and China we have also bronze; but the forms of the implements do not, as a rule, correspond to those of the area above mentioned: our knowledge of the bronze weapons of India and China is, however, extremely limited as yet. I have elsewhere given my reasons for believing that the knowledge of the use of iron in Africa must have been derived from a common centre; not only is the mode of working it the same throughout that continent and in India, but the forms of the weapons fabricated in this metal, and especially the corrugated blades, are the same in every part, and appear to have been copied and retained through habit wherever the use of iron has penetrated. I have lately traced this peculiar form of blade in several parts of the Indian peninsula and Burmah, and I have no doubt it will eventually be found further to the north, so as to connect the area of its distribution continuously with those of the same identical construction that are found in the Saxon and Frankish graves.

The distribution of megalithic monuments extends in a continuous belt, as has been repeatedly shown, from western Europe to eastern and southern India; and however little disposed some of us may be to agree with Mr Ferguson [1] as to the age to which he refers these monuments, for my part I concur with him in thinking that their distribution denotes intercommunication on the part of the constructors of them. The art of enamelling, which was known to the Celts and Romans, as well as to the Chinese, will, I have no doubt, be shown hereafter to have been derived from the east, or at least to have spread from a single source. It is worthy of notice that the present distribution of filigree work, which is closely connected with enamelling, and which may be regarded as a survival of that antique art, is now found to be practised in a continuous belt from China on the east to Spain on the west; and with the exception of some rough Scandinavian work of the same character, it is not, I believe, found out of this channel. This, indeed, appears to have been the high road of communication in non-historic times, and indicates the route through which many of the so-called early European discoveries may have been derived.

I have thus briefly alluded to the distribution of some of the arts associated with early culture, with the view to showing that as our knowledge increases we may expect to be able to trace many connexions that we are now ignorant of, and that we should be careful how we too readily assume, in accordance with the theory which appears popular among anthropologists at the present time, that coincidences in the culture of people in distant regions must invariably have originated independently because no evidence of communication is observable at the present time. Owing, perhaps, to a praiseworthy desire to refute the arguments of Archbishop Whately [2] and others, who have erroneously, as I think, assumed that because no race of existing savages has been known to elevate itself in the scale of civilization, therefore the first steps in culture must have resulted from supernatural revelation, we have now had a run upon the theory of what may be called the spontaneous generation of culture; and the pages of travel have been ransacked to find examples of independent origin and progress in the arts and customs of savage tribes. Owing to this cause, we have, I think, lost sight in a great measure of the important fact which history reveals to us, that, account for it as we may (and it is one of the great problems of Anthropology to account for it if we can), the civilization of the world has always advanced by means of a leading shoot; and though constantly shifting its area, it has within historic times invariably grouped itself round a single centre, from which the arts have been disseminated into distant lands or handed down to posterity. In all cases a continuous development must be traced before the problem of origin can be considered solved; the development may have been slow or it may have been rapid, but the sequence of ideas must have been continuous, and until that sequence is established our knowledge is at fault. As with the distribution of plants, certain soils are favourable to the growth of certain plants, but we do not on that account assume them to be spontaneous offspring of the soil, so certain arts and phases of culture may flourish among certain races or under certain conditions of life. But it is as certain that each art, custom, and institution had its history of natural growth; it is that each seed which sprouts in the soil once fell from a parent stem. The human intellect is the soil in which the arts and sciences may be said to grow; and this is the only condition of things compatible with the existence of minds capable of adapting external nature, but possessing no power of originality.

If I am right in supposing that it is one of the primary objects of Anthropological Science to trace out the history and sources of human culture, a consideration of the relative value of the various classes of evidence on which we rely for this purpose will be admitted to be a question of no slight importance in connexion with our subject. We must distinguish between those branches of study which we are apt to look upon as intrinsically the highest, and on that account the most attractive, and those which are of most value as evidence of man in a low condition of culture. To the religions, myths, institutions, and language of a people we are naturally drawn, as affording the best indications of their mental endowments; but it is evident that these carry us no further back in time than the historic period; and however necessary to be studied as branches of our science, they fail to afford us any direct evidence of those vast ages during which our species appears to have gradually taken upon itself the characteristics of humanity: every age has, however, left us the relics of its material arts, which, when studied comprehensively in connexion with the geological record, may be taken as evidence of mental development from the earliest period of time. Nor is it in point of time alone, but also by reason of their stability, that the material arts afford us the surest evidence on which to reconstruct our social edifice. The tendency to constant variation within narrow limits is a psychical characteristic of the uncultivated man; but the material arts are not subject to those comparatively abrupt changes to which, prior to the introduction of writing, all branches of culture are liable which are dependent for their transmissions on the memory, and which are communicated by word of mouth.

... [a section on languages is omitted] Mr Tylor also, in his interesting and valuable work on primitive culture, has stated his inability, by means of myths and religions, to trace in the majority of cases the connexion between early races; and this circumstance, fairly and rationally as he has placed it before us in all his writings, has, I venture to think, led many to rely mainly on this class of evidence to incline too strongly towards the hypothesis of independent origin (more so at least than I should be disposed to do), and to make insufficient allowance for the rapidly recurring changes produced by the imperfect transmission of ideas, through the operation of which all trace of the channels of communication would be rapidly obliterated, and those myths which, from being best suited to the mental condition of the people, had survived in distant countries would present the appearance of spontaneous and independent origin. In all this class of anthropological evidence Mr Tylor has shown that the invention of writing and other concomitants of improved culture have been the means of introducing an element of stability and permanence, so that we are presented with the phenomena of progress in the direction of unity and simplicity as opposed to diversity and complexity. On the other hand, the language of the arts may be said to have been a written language from the time of the first appearance of man upon the earth; less liable to variation in transmission, the links of connexion between lower and higher forms have been preserved and handed down to us from the remotest period of time, and by testifying to the comparatively steady and continuous development which has taken place, encourage us to hope that by diligently prosecuting our studies into this department of anthropology, every relic of prehistoric ages may eventually be made to mark its own place in sequence, if not in time.

The greater stability of the material arts as compared with the fluctuations in the language of a people in a state of primaeval savagery is well shown by a consideration of the weapons of the Australians and the names by which they are known in the several parts of that continent. As I have already mentioned, these people, by the simplicity of their arts, afford us the only living examples of what we may presume to have been the characteristics of a primitive people. Their weapons, respecting the distribution of which we have more accurate information than we have of their vocabularies, are the same throughout the continent; the shield, the throwing-stick, the spear, the boomerang, and their other weapons differ only in being thicker, broader, flatter, or longer in different localities; but whether seen on the east or the west coast each of these classes of weapons is easily recognized by its form and uses. On the other hand, amongst the innumerable languages and dialects spoken by these people, it would appear that almost every tribe has a different name for the same weapon. ... [Lane Fox gives examples of different names for parrying shields, throwing stick, boomerang] Between the majority of these names it will be seen that it is impossible to trace the faintest resemblance of sound. Yet no one, it is presumed, would be so irrational as to suppose that so peculiar a weapon as the boomerang, for example, could have been invented independently in as many different localities as there are different names for it; nor is it reasonable to suppose that such extremely simple weapons as those in use by the Australians should have spread from a common centre, subsequently to the establishment of various languages as they are now spoken. The weapons of the Australians, as I have shown in my paper on Primitive Warfare, published in the 'Journal of the Royal United Services Institution,' are all traceable, like the languages, to primitive forms, which are the natural forms of stumps and stems of trees; like the languages they have also varied and diverged; but whilst the names for them have changed so completely as to present no signs whatever of connexion in the different tribes, the weapons themselves have varied so slightly as to be recognized at a glance in all parts of the Continent. Even in modern times, since the introduction of writing has given permanence to the languages and ideas of the people amongst whom it has been introduced, we find instances of the comparative stability of the material emblems and forms of things in the retention of pagan emblems in our own religions and those of other countries, and notably the employment of fire and water in our religious ceremonies, which have survived with so much vitality as to be living sources of controversy amongst parties, one and all of whom would utterly repudiate the ideas with which these emblems were associated at their birth.

If, then, it is evident that much of the history of our prehistoric ancestors has been for ever lost to us, we may console ourselves with the reflection that in their tools and weapons and other relics of their material arts the most reliable source of evidence as to their intellectual condition has continued to our time. As to the myths, religions, superstitions, and language with which they were associated, we may content ourselves by devoutly thanking Providence that they have not been preserved. As it is, anthropological studies are said to have their fair share in the creation of lunatics; and we can easily believe that no sane intellect would have survived the attempt to unravel such a complex and tangled web of difficulty as the study of these subjects would have presented to our minds.

Two other examples, with your permission, I would give for the purpose of illustrating the principle of variation and continuity as applied to the customs and arts of savage races, and the relative superiority of material evidence in tracing the changes effected by these means. The customs associated with the practice of human sacrifice among the Konds of India have received prominent notice of late years, owing to the steps which have been taken by the Government to put them down. From the reports presented to the Government of India by various officers, we learn that these customs vary considerably in minor points in different localities. Amongst those who have written on the ethnology of India, there is no one from whose accurate and scientific observation of the habits of the aborigines we have derived more valuable information than Sir Walter Elliot.[3] From him we learn that similar customs prevail in every village in Southern India. The village customs, however, differ from the Kond rites in this important particular,which we can easily understand is the reason why the resemblance between them has never been noticed by former writers namely, that the practice of human sacrifice has been abandoned, and a buffalo is substituted for a human victim; in the mode of sacrificing and disposing of the flesh and other matters connected with the rites, we see that these village customs are in reality the modern representations of the more ancient Kond sacrifices, and that whilst an immense step has been made in the civilization of the people by the abandonment of the barbarous practice of human sacrifice, the parallel to which is probably seen in the account of Abraham's sacrifice in the Old Testament, the continuity has been kept up  by the preservation of some of the minor customs which are associated with the more ancient rites. Now Sir Walter Elliot tells us that these modified village sacrifices, like the older human sacrifices, vary in the details of every village of Southern India. I need hardly say how much the value and accuracy of these studies would be promoted if we could obtain detailed accounts of the varieties of these customs as they are now practised in the several villages, with the causes of variation in each case; we should by this means obtain an insight into the process of development of these customs as they are now seen actually on the move at the present time. Hereafter, in all probability, as they continue to vary by the omission of some portions of the ceremonies and the substitution of others, some one village, more advanced and more powerful than its neighbours, in the natural course of things will obtain the ascendancy, and will impose its peculiar and greatly modified version of these rites upon the neighbouring villages, by which means the links of connexion will be completely lost. I believe the time is at hand when we shall make as much ado over a variety of custom or form of implement as naturalists now do over a new moth or a beetle, and then anthropology will become a science.

My next illustration is taken from the ornamental paddles of the New-Irelanders, one of the Papuan group of islands adjoining the one in which Bishop Patteson was lately murdered. In none of the productions of savage art is the tendency to continued variations within narrow limits more strongly shown than in these ornamental patterns. Whilst the form of a club or paddle appears to remain unchanged for many generations, the form of ornament upon it will be subject to variations, which, however, are not the less found to be continuous and connected when a sufficient number of specimens are collected, so as to enable their history to be traced. The continuous looped coil and its varieties, and its ultimate development into the continuous fret pattern, may be traced in its migrations through distant regions. Sometimes a particular variety of these patterns will establish itself in a tribe or a nation, and whilst subject to an infinity of subvarieties, it will be found to be repeated over and over again in all the weapons and implements belonging to this tribe. The ornamentation employed by the tribes on the N.W. coast of America consists entirely of the representation of a bird's head, the eyes and beak of which have been subject to such variations in copying as completely to have lost all trace of the original design. The New-Irelanders ornament their paddles with the figure of a man painted in red and black, carved upon the face of the blade. Fig. 2 is a good example of this conventionalized mode of representing the human figure in full; fig. 11 is another ornament upon the paddle of the same people; and between these two figures it would not at first sight appear possible that any connexion could be traced.

Ingenious theories might, perhaps be based upon the occurrence of such a figure as that represented in fig. 11 amongst the Papuan Islands, it might be assumed that Mahomedanism had once penetrated that region, and they had adopted the symbol of the crescent, or the advocates of spontaneity would find no difficulty in at once assuming that they had copied the new moon. No one who had not by previous experience been impressed with the continuity pervading all savage ornamentation would dream of connecting two such widely different forms as those represented in these two figures. Those, however, who are familiar with the pictographic changes which marked the origin of the Phoenician and Scandinavian alphabets, or who have studied Mr Evans's work on Ancient British Coins, or the researches of Mr Edward Thomas into the Coins of India, will be prepared for the marvellous transformations to which human and other forms are subjected when they are copied and recopied by the inaccurate and uninstructed eyes of savage imitators. They will remember how the chariot and horses on the Greek coins of Philip of Macedon, in the hands of the Gaulish and British artists, gradually lost, first the body of the chariot, then the body of the charioteer - how the wheels of the chariot became mixed up with the body of the horse, and the head of the driver appeared floating like a cherubim over the horse's ears - and how, on the obverse of the coin, the nose and features of the head gradually disappeared, until nothing but the wreath converted into a cruciform ornament remained to connect it with the original figure of the Greek king. Impressed with the idea of the physical identity of people in the same condition of culture, I determined to collect New-Ireland paddles, and see whether a connexion would be found to exist between the peculiar patterns with which they are ornamented. The result is the series now before you, which I have obtained at different times during the last seven years as they turned up in curiosity-shops or were brought over by travellers from the South Seas; and it must be understood that these particular specimens are not selected to serve my purpose. I have here given the whole of the collection of patterns which have fallen into my hands. Let us see how far they serve to support our views as to variation and continuity now that they are put together. Fig. 1, it will at once be seen, represents both on the handle and on the face of the blade, the head of a Papuan; the large black mass on the head, like a grenadier-cap, is the Papuan head-dress peculiar to these parts; the ears are elongated according to the custom of these people, and pierced with an ear-ornament; the eyes are round black dots, the nose a triangular red mark, and the same colour is spread over the forehead. Fig. 2 represents the full figure of a Papuan sitting; the ears are drawn down towards the hands, the head is somewhat conventionalized, the line of the nose is carried round the eyes in a scroll, and there is a lozenge-shaped pattern on the forehead. Fig. 3 is nearly the same figure represented as sitting sideways, simply by lopping off an arm and a leg on one side. In fig. 4 we have two arms, but no legs, and the head continues much the same as in the two preceding figures. In fig. 5 the whole body is gone, and the scroll-pattern round the eyes is modified in form. In fig. 6 we see a great change in the form of the head, which is much more conventionalized than in the preceding figures; the eyes are reduced to small dots, and are rendered subordinate to the scroll formed by prolongation of the line of the nose; the sides of the face are concave, and conform to the line of the nose; the sides of the face are concave, and conform to the line of the nose; the chin and mouth are enlarged; the head is surmounted by the Papuan head-dress as before; there is a lozenge pattern, as before, on the forehead; the elongated ears are there, but the ear ornament has disappeared; in this face the nose has become the prominent feature, and the other features are subordinate to it. In fig. 7 a still greater change has taken place; the greater part of the face and head are gone. In the last figure we saw that the nose was becoming the prominent feature, here it is nearly the only feature left; the elongated ears are drawn down the sides of the nose; the lozenge-pattern on the forehead still remains; but the lines, which in the previous figures led to the head-dress and to the scroll-pattern, have been turned into a kind of leaf-shaped ornament, resembling what appears to have been the upper lobe of the ear in the previous figures; the eyes are brought down on to the nose. In fig. 8 we have nearly the same figure as the last; the nose is divided in two; the elongated ears are drawn out square with the line of the nose; the lozenge-pattern on the forehead is still preserved. In fig. 9 we see the same figure as in the last example, except that the triangular nose has merged into what, judging by the  previous figures, appears to be the chin, or it may be merely an enlargement of the base of the nose. Fig. 10 represents a further change in this direction; the lozenge-pattern and the ears are now gone, and the leaf-pattern is much reduced; the nose also has almost disappeared into the chin. Lastly, in fig. 11, we come to our Mahomedan emblem, or copy of the new moon. What is it? Who would have believed it was the chin of the human figure? Yet so it is. It is the last vestige of a human face, copied and recopied until all trace of the original has been completely lost. We have here a complete parallel to the transformations observable on the British coins, showing with what close analogy the minds of men in the same condition of culture, though of widely differing races, obey the same laws and are subject to the same causes of variation and continuity in the development of their arts. Now, if we suppose the connecting-links which are exhibited in these figures to represent the connecting-links of myths, customs, religions, or languages, or any other productions of human ingenuity which are not embodied in material forms or committed to writting [sic], it is evident they would have been lost; they would not have turned up in curiosity-shops, or been brought together side by side in an instructive series. The theory of the spontaneous adoption of crescent-shaped patterns, by copying the moon, would have become established as an almost self-evident fact in our minds, and no one could have for a moment have seen reason to doubt it.

In omitting all mention of Psychology and Comparative Anatomy, it must not be supposed that I am unmindful of the services which these studies may be expected to render to our science hereafter. Nor is it unimportant to remember that Anthropology has its practical and humanitarian aspect, and that as our race is more often brought into contact with savages than any other, a knowledge of their habits and modes of thought may be of the utmost value to us in utilizing their labour, as well as in checking those inhuman practices from which they have but too often suffered at our hands. These are branches of the subject into which I have no time to enter on the present occasion. I believe, however, that for some time to come prehistoric archaeology, and the comparative study of the arts of races in different conditions of culture, must continue to hold a prominent place amongst the researches of anthropologists, not on account of the greater importance or interest attached to the investigation of these subjects, but on account of the superior quality of the evidence which these studies afford.

The consideration of the value of evidence naturally leads us to the third part of my subject - namely, the mode of collecting it and of digesting it after it has been brought together; and as this is, I believe, the most defective part of our organization, or, to speak more properly, the part of our existing institutions in which our want of organization is most conspicuous, I had intended to have spoken at greater length on this subject; but as I have already trespassed upon your time so long, I am under the necessity of curtailing what I had to say on the subject of organization. If I am wrong, as I have heard it suggested by some anthropologists, in supposing that the greatest difficulties under which we labour are attributable to the absence of reliable evidence, and if we already possess as much information about savages and about prehistoric men as we require, and we have nothing to do but to read the books in our libraries, and write papers calculated to promote discussion and fill journals with interesting controversies and speculations - if, as I gravely heard it asserted not long ago at a public meeting, it would be a pity to explore Stonehenge for fear so remarkable a monument should be divested of that mystery which has always attached to it, owing to our entire ignorance as to its origin and uses,[4] then to those who entertain such views the few remarks I shall venture to offer on this subject must appear not only superfluous but mischievous. But if, on the other hand, I am right in supposing that our existing evidence is lamentably deficient, and in many cases false - that it has been collected by travellers many of whom have had but little knowledge what to look for and observe - and if, this being the state of our knowledge, the evidence which we desire to obtain is now rapidly disappearing from the face of the earth (the Tasmanians have been swept away before we know anything about them; the New-Zealanders and all the Polynesian-Islanders are fast changing their habits; and it is now difficult to find a North-American Indian in a state of unadulterated savagery; whilst at home our prehistoric monuments are broken up and ploughed down day by day in the construction of buildings and railroads), it is evident that a set of societies which provide no organization whatever for promoting exploration at home or abroad can only be regarded as fulfilling very imperfectly the functions which institutions established for the purpose of anthropological investigation might reasonably be expected to serve. Beyond the limits of this Association there is but one Society in this country which has the funds necessary for promoting explorations, and that is the Geographical Society. Every expedition which goes out under the auspices of that Society is necessarily brought in contact with the races inhabiting the districts which are explored; but it can hardly be expected that the Geographical Society should do as much as could be desire in the way of promoting anthropological investigations, as long as Anthropology and Ethnology are excluded from the functions of that Society. A Geographical Society should be regarded as the eyes and ears of an Anthropological Society abroad, in the same way that the Archaeological Societies should fulfil the functions of eyes and ears directed to the past history of man, and the most intimate alliance ought to exist between them. A step in the right direction has lately been taken, at the suggestion of Mr Clements Markham, [5] by the establishment of a joint committee of the Geographical Society and Anthropological Institute, to draw up questions for travellers whom it is proposed to send to the Arctic seas; [6] and this, it is to be hoped, will be the first step towards a more intimate alliance in the future. As to the Archaeological Societies, whose name is legion, and the functions of which are necessarily anthropological in a great degree, they are as a rule the most impotent and unprogressive bodies, living from hand to mouth, with funds barely sufficient to maintain a secretary and to produce a small volume of Transactions annually; without the means of promoting exploration, they are dependent entirely upon the casual communications of members, the substance of which is sometimes repeated over and over again in the different societies. These Archaeological Societies and others (which I do not particularize, because I am anxious that my remarks should not appear to be directed pointedly to any one of them) collectively provide libraries in the proportion of four or five libraries to one or two students who habitually read the books in them. When museums form part of the establishments, they succeed in collecting a stray Chinese umbrella or two, and a stuffed monkey, or a few bronzed implements in a case. Each Society has separate apartments provided at great cost; these are empty at least six days a week, and usually thirteen days in the fortnight, during the short period in which the session is held. One of these societies is in the possession of a magnificent suite of apartments, which are provided at the Government expense, and furnished with rows of tables and benches and a splendid throne for the chairman, in which I have occasionally had the honour to sit. It is to to be hoped that whenever the power of psychic force, or the influence of disembodied spirits in vivifying inanimate bodies, comes to be more generally established amongst anthropologists than it is at present, these chairs and tables may proceed to deliberate and rap out archaeological communications to each other during the weary days and hours that the embodied spirits are absent. Whenever any undertaking of national interest has been set on foot, such as the Bill for the Preservation of Prehistoric Monuments, proposed by Sir John Lubbock, inviting the united interest of these societies to bring it forward, the first inquiry has been as to which of these societies has had the credit of having originated the measure; and if found to be tainted by the support of a rival society, it has been at once repudiated, or only adopted after its success has with great difficulty been secured by other means. If we inquire what useful purpose is served by these divisions of the metropolitan societies, we are told that one is a society, another is an association, and a third is an institute; and yet it does not appear that any one of these societies, associations or institutes perform any special function which cannot equally well be served by the others. They constitute divisions of persons rather than divisions of subjects; instead of promoting division of labour, they serve only to promote repetition of labour; and so ill do any of them answer the expectations of those who devote themselves to the close study of any one branch of archaeology or anthropology, that it has lately become necessary to establish an addition metropolitan society for promoting protohistoric archaeology, under the title of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, embracing subjects which fall mainly with the domain of anthropology. Much as I should feel disposed to condemn the multiplication of societies under existing circumstances, I cannot but think that by promoting the close study of a particular branch, the establishment of this Society is a step in the right direction; and I therefore trust that it may be found to flourish at the expense of those which appear to have no special function to perform. As a prehistoric archaeologist, I can only add my humble testimony to that of others who think that this branch of anthropology is very unsatisfactorily dealt with by the metropolitan societies in which it is discussed. On a recent occasion, when speaking on this subject, I compared the position which prehistoric archaeology now holds in the London societies to that of a poor relation. I might, perhaps, extend the simile further by saying that, like many poor relations, it is also the most agreeable relation, and though duly snubbed in accordance with the orthodox custom in like cases, its services will not be willingly dispensed with, as it furnishes sensational topics for not less than six societies in London at the present time. The discussions, however, are for the most part confined to the most rudimentary branches of the subject, and but little importance attached to details, because the principles are not understood. Quite recently this happy family has been increased by the birth of a fine child, under the title of an Historic Society; and I observe that, by way of specializing the functions of this Society, it commenced life with a paper on Prehistoric Man. But there are no signs of any limitation to this improvident child-bearing;  it is announced that a Psychological Society is confidently expected. No one would be more disposed than myself to welcome psychology as a special branch of study if this family of gutter-children is to go on increasing ad libitum;  but it will be admitted that a Psychological Society of all others is liable to grow up scatterbrained if completely severed from the influence of its more experienced kinsfolk.

But I have said nothing as yet about the country cousins. If the heads of the families are such as I have endeavoured to describe them, what must the country cousins be? I have spoken of the gutter-children of the metropolis; but we must follow the gutters into the sewers before we can form a just estimate of the condition of the local societies; and yet I believe that with a very small amount of organization the local societies are capable of performing the most important functions in regard to at least one branch of our science. It is hardly necessary for me to observe that my remarks apply exclusively to the question of organization, and cannot for a moment be supposed to have any bearing on the abilities of the individual members, amongst whom are included many very able men; but we all know that the best army in the world may be rendered impotent through defective organization. The conditions under which local societies are established are incompatible with a very high standard of efficiency in any special department of science; owing to the very various qualifications of a small body of members, their proceedings must necessarily be miscellaneous; but they are usually supported by local interests, which may be of the utmost value, and are often indispensable in promoting the exploration of local prehistoric antiquities, and they only require the prestige derivable from a national organization to render them efficient in this respect. As it is, local societies have often reason to complain of the metropolitan societies, which draw some of the best correspondence from the counties and give but little in return.

I trust that I have made it apparent that anthropology in its various branches includes some of the most popular and widely disseminated scientific interest of the country, and that the loss of power is enormous; not only is there no means of organized exploration, but the information which is published is either repeated over and over again in the different societies, or it is so scattered as to be beyond the reach of the majority of the students. They labour also under the disadvantage of being supported chiefly by men of small means; for the well-to-do classes in this country do no, as a rule, take any interest in either scientific or anthropological investigations. During the past year a single American has done more in the way of anthropological exploration than the whole of the English societies, institutes and associations together.[7]

I will now briefly state my views as to the remedies for the evils of which I have spoken. I am averse to the principle of amalgamation: the most active members are not always the most enlightened; narrow views are often the most pronounced, and if they become dominant are liable to bring down the standard of an amalgamated society instead of enlarging its sphere of usefulness; besides, this amalgamation necessarily entails a certain loss of income by the loss of double subscriptions.

If my experience as a member of the council of most of the societies of which I speak does not deceive me, it should be the object of those who have the progress of anthropological studies at heart to induce the metropolitan societies to specialize their functions. The following might then become the titles of the various societies included under the term anthropology; and they would represent not only the natural divisions of the science, but practically the divisions which are most consonant with the organization of the existing societies. Setting history and historic archaeology aside as beyond our province, we should have:- (1) Proto-historic archaeology; I adopt the term proposed by Mr Hyde Clarke for this branch, [8] which practically includes all that comes under the head of Biblical Archaeology at present; (2) Prehistoric Archaeology; (3) Philology; (4) Biology, including Psychology and Comparative Anatomy, in so far as it relates to Man; (5) Descriptive Ethnology, viz. original reports of travellers on the races of man, conducted in association with geographical exploration. Under these heads we should, I believe, include all the various classes of special workers. These should constitute independent, but associated societies - that is to say, the members of one should be privileged to attend the meetings ad take part in the discussions of the others, but not to receive the publications of any but their own society. By this means each would profit by the experience of the other societies, but the funds necessary for the maintenance of each would be secured. As branch sections of anthropology they would be under the control of a general elected council only in so far as would be necessary to prevent their clashing with each other, and for the control of any measures which it might be necessary for the several sections to undertake in concert; under the auspices of the general council might also be held the anthropological meetings devoted to such general subjects as either embraced the whole or were not included in the sections. By this means the standard of anthropological science as a comprehensive study of the science of man in all its branches would be secured, and the possibility of its becoming narrowed under the influences of any dominant party would be obviated. It is hardly necessary to say that the chief advantage of such an arrangement as I suggest would consist in the employment of a single theatre and library for these cognate societies; they would employ a single printer, and the arrangements might include one or more artists, lithographers, and map-drawers, by which a great increase, and at the same time economy,  would be effected in the illustrations. The saving effected by the union of these societies in a single establishment might be applied to conducting explorations, either at home or abroad, in connexion with the Geographical Society. The question of the utilization of apartments is one which commends itself especially to the notice of Government in regard to those societies for which apartments are provided at the public cost. It should be made a sine quâ non that the societies so favoured should fairly represent all the branches of their subject.

As regards the local societies, it has been proposed to republish a selection of their papers under the auspices of this Association. It is to be hoped that some arrangement, such as that proposed by the committee of which Sir Walter Elliot is secretary, may be carried out. I have only one suggestion to make on this point; republication is simply a repetition of cost and labour, if the desired object of bringing the papers together can be accomplished by other means. As to selection, I have no faith in it. If local and metropolitan societies could be induced to adopt a uniform size for their publications, not necessarily a uniform type, the papers relating to the same subjects might be brought together without the cost of reprinting. It would only be necessary to establish a classification of papers under various headings, such as, for example, those which constitute the sections of this Association. The societies might then print additional copies of their papers under each heading, in the same manner that additional copies are now struck off for the use of authors. A single metropolitan society might be recognized as the representative of each branch, and under its auspices the whole of the papers of the local and metropolitan societies relating to its branch might be brought together and printed in a single volume. Time does not allow me to enter into the details of the arrangements which would be necessary to carry out such a measure. I believe the difficulties would not be so great as might at first sight appear, especially as the evils of the existing arrangements are much complained of; but it should be a primary object of any arrangement that may hereafter be made that the independence of the several branches should not be sacrificed unnecessarily; it should be endeavoured to stimulate them and train them into useful channels rather than to bring them too much under central control.

My object in making these remarks has been not so much to bring forward any special recommendation of my own as to ventilate the matter amongst those of the public who taken an interest in these studies, but who are not so intimately connected with the present working of the societies as to have any personal interest in them; and I trust that the importance of the subject will be thought to justify me in having brought it to the notice of the meeting.

It is to be hoped that whenever, as anthropologists, we parade for Dr Livingstone's inspection (without, I trust, adhering too closely to the costume which he has suggested for that occasion)[9], it may be found that if we cannot compete with his friends the anthropophagi in point of bone and muscle [10], in all that relates to organized division of labour and mutual cooperation we may not be found wanting in that superiority to our betters which might naturally be expected from the advanced civilization which we enjoy.

Endnotes [added by transcriber]

[1] Mr Ferguson: Possibly James Fergusson (1808-1886), a Scottish writer on architecture, author of 'Rude Stone Monuments in all Countries', a study of megaliths, published in 1872 (the year of this paper). See here for DNB entry. He argued that Stonehenge was a post-Roman creation.

[2] Archbishop Whately: Richard Whately (1787-1863) Church of Ireland archbishop of Dublin and philosopher. See here for his DNB entry.

[3] Walter Elliot: (1803-1887) East Indian Company civil servant and archaeologist, see here for DNB entry.

[4] This may have been at the BAAS meetings at the end of the 1860s when an investigation of Stonehenge was proposed and discussed. [See Pearce, 2007: Visions of Antiquity page 287]

[5] Clements Markham: (1830-1916) Geographer, see here for his DNB entry.

[6] This is a reference to Notes and Queries, see Petch, 2007 [a] in Bibliography

[7] American anthropologist: probably a reference to Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904), in 1871 he had travelled into central Africa to 'find' David Livingstone, a missionary. This would have been uppermost in Lane Fox's listeners minds as Stanley had only returned to the UK on 1 August 1872 but as the DNB entry for him states, 'His descriptions of his travels at the geographical section of the British Association in Brighton were reported to have been described as ‘sensational stories’ by Francis Galton' this was the very meeting that Lane Fox gave this address. The second option, suggested by Peter Rivière is that the American anthropologist referred to was Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881). 'Morgan was in England in the summers of 1870 and 71; Consanguinity and Affinityhad just been published and had been taken much notice of by Lubbock in his 1872 Presidential address to the Anthropological Institute. Furthermore, in 1871 Morgan met McLennan, Maine, Lubbock et al. Unfortunately we don't know whether he also met E.B. Tylor and Pitt-Rivers but it seems quite probable'. [Peter Rivière, pers. comm.]

[8] Mr Hyde Clarke: (1815-1895) English engineer, philologist and author, he was expelled from the Anthropological Society of London on 22 August 1868 (4 years earlier than this paper) in the wake of allegations of mismanagement of funds. See his wikipedia entry here.

[9] This presumably alludes to some message which Stanley brought to the BAAS meeting from Livingstone, though this is not confirmed just speculation?

[10] Anthropophagi: Man-eaters, presumably a jocular reference to the African 'cannibals' Livingstone was said to be living with.


1. This address seems largely to be an overview of Lane Fox's views of anthropology and archaeology (as we would see them) at this time, the remarks at the end regarding the future shape of learned societies should be seen in the context that the (Royal) Anthropological Institute had been founded the previous year by an amalgamation of the Ethnological and Anthropological Societies of London. Lane Fox had been a member of those two societies and was a founder member, and member of the Council of the Anthropological Institute.

2. Please note that the first illustration on this webpage shows Edward Burnett Tylor demonstrating the 'witches' ladder' at the Oxford meeting of the BAAS. See here for the information about this.

3. Full details: British Association for the Advancement of Science, Transactions of Sections, 1872, from page 157-174 [please note that all the italics are in the original, as stresses presumably, except for those that mark the footnotes which have been added by the transcriber].

4. For contextualising information about 1872 and Lane Fox, see here.

Transcribed by AP, as part of the Rethinking Pitt-Rivers project, October 2010.

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