Early Modes of Navigation

This was a paper read at the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland on December 22, 1874, and first published in the journal of that Institute (vol. iv (1875), pp. 399-43). It was then annotated by Henry Balfour and republished in the 1906 ‘Evolution of Culture’. As the 1906 edition says: '(N.B.— This paper was not furnished by tbe author with either plates or references. The former have been supplied, so far as possible… for illustrations, reference should be made to the section on Navigation in the Pitt-Rivers [sic] Museum, Oxford. Ed.)’

This is the original 1875 version as published in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute. Note that the 'titles' given in capitals are in the original set in normal font, but positioned in the margins to the side of the main text, as markers. Other titles given in italics are included in the main text.

In the paper which I had the honour of reading to this Institute at Bethnal Green [that is, the paper on Principles of Classification, also available here], I spoke of the general principles by which I was guided in the course of inquiries, of which the present paper forms a section. I need not, therefore, now refer to them further than to say that the materials for this paper were collected whilst writing a note to my catalogue raisonné relating to the case of models of early forms of ships.

In inquiries of this nature it is always necessary to guard against the tendency to form theories in the first instance, and go in search of evidence to support them afterwards. On the other hand, in dealing with so vast a subject as Anthropology, including all art, all culture, and all races of mankind, it is next to impossible to adhere strictly to the opposite of this, and collect the data first, to the exclusion of all idea of the purpose they are to be put to in the sequel, because all is fish that comes into the anthropological basket, and no such basket could possibly be big enough to contain a millionth part of the materials necessary for conducting an inquiry on this principle. Some guide is absolutely necessary to the student in selecting his facts. The course which I have pursued, in regard to the material arts, is to endeavour to establish the sequence of ideas. When the links of connexion are found close together, then the sequence may be considered to be established. When they occur only at a distance, then they are brought together with such qualifications as the nature of the case demands. Other members of this Institute have followed the same course in relation to other branches of culture, the object being to lay the foundation of a true anthropological classification, without seeking either to support a dogma or establish a paradox. This is, I believe, the requirement of our time, and the necessary preliminary to the introduction of a science of Anthropology.

Whilst, however, deprecating the influence of forgone conclusions, there are certain principles already established by science which we cannot afford to disregard, even at the outset of inquiries of this nature. It would be sheer moonshine, in the present state of knowledge, to study Anthropology on any other basis than the basis of development; nor must we, in studying development, fail to distinguish between racial development and the development of culture. The affinity of certain races for particular phases of culture, owing to the hereditary transmission of faculties, constitutes an important element of inquiry to be weighed in the balance with other things, just as the farmer weighs in the balance of probabilities the nature of the soil in which his turnips are growing; but when particular branches of culture do run in the same channel with the distribution of particular races, this is always a coincidence to be investigated and explained, each by the light of its own history. It would be just as reasonable to assume with the ancients, that the knowledge of every art was originally inculcated by the gods, as to assume that particular arts and particular ideas arise spontaneously and as a necessary consequence of the possession of particular pigments beneath the skin.

Nobody doubts that there must be affinities and interdependencies between the race and the crop of ideas that is grown upon it; but the law, ex nihilo nihil fit, is as true of ideas as it is of races, and in the relations between them it is as true and has the same value, neither more nor less, as the statement that potatoes do spring out of the ground where no potatoes have been sown. To study culture is, therefore, to trace the history of its development, as well as the qualities of the people amongst whom it flourishes. In doing this it is not sufficient to deal with generalities, as, for example, to ascertain that one people employ bark canoes, whilst another use rafts. It is necessary to consider the details of construction, because it is by means of these details that we are sometimes able to determine whether the idea has been of home growth or derived from without. The difficulty is to obtain the necessary details for the purpose. Travellers do not give them, as a rule, especially modern travellers. The older books are more valuable, both because they deal with nations in a more primitive condition, and also because they are more detailed; books were fewer, and men took more pains with them; now the traveller writes for a circulating-library, and for the unthinking portion of mankind, who will not be bothered with details. I have been careful to give the dates to the authors quoted. But we must endeavour to remedy this evil before it is too late. The Notes and Queries on Anthropology [1], published by the Committee of the British Association, are drawn up with this object. It is to be hoped that they will receive attention, but I fear not much, for the reasons already mentioned; the supply will be equal to the demand. As long as we have a large Geographical Society and a small Anthropological Society, so long travellers will bring home accurate geographical details, abundance of information about the flow of water all over the world, but the flow of human races and human ideas will receive little attention. With these preliminary remarks I pass on to the subject of my paper.

Modes of Navigation.

[DIVISION OF THE SUBJECT] Following out the principle adopted in Parts 1 and 2 of my Catalogue, of employing the constructive arts of existing savages as survivals to represent successive stages in the development of the same arts in prehistoric times, it may be advisable, in order to study the history of each part of a canoe or primitive sailing vessel, to divide the subject under seven heads, as follows: viz.—(1) Solid trunks or dug-out canoes, developing into (2) Vessels on which the planks are laced or sewn together, and these developing into such as are pinned with plugs of wood, and ultimately nailed with iron, or copper; (3) Bark canoes; (4) Vessels of skins and wicker-work; (5) Rafts, developing into (6) Outrigger canoes, and ultimately into vessels of broader beam, to which may be added (7) rudders, sails, and contrivances which gave rise to parts of a more advanced description of vessel, such as the oculus, aplustre, forecastle, and poop.

1. Solid Trunks and Dug-out Canoes. [SOLID TRUNKS AND DUG-OUT CANOES] It requires but little imagination to conceive an idea of the process by which a wooden support in the water forced itself upon the notice of mankind. [ORIGINS] The great floods to which the valleys of many large rivers are subject, more especially those which have their sources in tropical regions, sometimes devastate the whole country within miles of their banks, and by their suddenness frequently overtake and carry down numbers of both men and animals, together with large quantities of timber which had grown upon the sides of the valleys. The remembrances of such deluges are preserved in the traditions of many savage races, and there can be little doubt that it was by this means that the human race first learnt to make use of floating timber as a support for the body. The wide distribution of the word signifying ship—Latin navis; Greek [not transcribed]; Sanskrit nau; Celtic nao; Assam nao, Port Jackson, Australia, nao—attests the antiquity of the term. In Bible history the same term has been employed to personify the tradition of the first shipbuilder, Noah.

It is even said, though with what truth I am not aware, that the American grey squirrel (Sciurus migratorius), which migrates in large numbers, crossing large rivers, has been known to embark on a piece of floating timber, and paddle itself across (Wilson, "Prehistoric Man").

[N. AMERICA. LOG OF WOOD] The North American Indians frequently cross rivers by clasping the left arm and leg round the trunk of a tree, and swimming with the right (Steinitz, "History of the Ship").

[POINTED LOG N.W. AUSTRALIA] The next stage in the development of the canoe would consist in pointing the ends, so as to afford less resistance to the water. In this stage we find it represented on the NW. coast of Australia. Gregory, in the year 1861, says that his ship was visited on this coast by two natives, who had paddled off "on logs of wood shaped like canoes, not hollowed, but very buoyant, about 7 feet long, and 1 foot thick, which they propelled with their hands only, their legs resting on a little rail made of small sticks driven in on each side". Mr. T. Baines, also, in a letter quoted by the Rev. J. G. Wood, in his "Natural History of Man", speaks of some canoes which he saw in North Australia as being "mere logs of wood, capable of carrying a couple of men". [DUG-OUT, WEST AUSTRALIA] Others used on the north coast are dug out, but as these are provided with an outrigger, they have probably been derived from New Guinea. The canoes used by the Australians on the rivers consist either of a bundle of rushes bound together and pointed at the ends, or else they are formed of bark in a very simple manner; but on the south-east coast, near Cape Howe, Captain Cook, in his first voyage, found numbers of canoes in use by the natives on the seashore. [EXCAVATION BY FIRE] These he described as being very like the smaller sort used in New Zealand, which were hollowed out by means of fire. One of these was of a size to be carried on the shoulders of four men.

It has been thought that the use of hollowed canoes may have arisen from observing the effect of a split reed or bamboo upon the water. The nautilus is also said to have given the first idea of a ship to man; and Pliny, Diodorus, and Strabo have stated that large tortoise-shells were used by primitive races of mankind ("Pictorial Bible" Isaiah). It has also been supposed that the natural decay of trees may have first suggested the employment of hollow trees for canoes, but such trees are not easily removed entire. It is difficult to conceive how so great an advance in the art of shipbuilding was first introduced, but there can be no doubt that the agent first employed for this purpose was fire.

[PROBABLE ORIGIN] I have noticed when travelling in Bulgaria that the gipsies and others who roam over that country usually select the foot of a dry tree to light their cooking fire; the dry wood of the tree, combined with the sticks collected at the foot of it, makes a good blaze, and the tree throws forward the heat like a fire-place. Successive parties camping on the same ground, attracted thither by the vicinity of water, use the same fireplaces, and the result is that the trees by degrees become hollowed out for some distance from the foot, the hollow part formed by the fire serving the purpose of a semi-cylindrical chimney. Such a tree, torn up by the roots, or cut off below the part excavated by the fire, would form a very serviceable canoe, the parts not excavated by the fire being sound and hard. The Andaman islanders use a tree in this manner as an oven, the fire being kept constantly burning in the hollow formed by the flames.

[N. AMERICA] One of the best accounts of the process of digging out a canoe by means of fire is that described by Kalm, on the Delaware river, in 1747. He says "When the Indians intend to fell a tree, for want of proper instruments they employ fire; they set fire to a quantity of wood at the roots of the tree, and in order that the fire might not reach further up than they would have it, they fasten some rags to a pole, dip them in water, and keep continually washing the tree a little above the fire until the lower part is burnt nearly through; it is then pulled down. When they intend to hollow a tree for a canoe, they lay dry branches along the stem of the tree as far as it must be hollowed out, set them on fire, and replace them by others. While these parts are burning, they keep pouring water on those parts that are not to be burnt at the sides and ends. When the interior is sufficiently burnt out, they take their stone hatchets and shells and scoop out the burnt wood. These canoes are usually 30 or 40 feet long". In the account of one of the expeditions sent out by Raleigh in 1584 a similar description is given of the process adopted by the Indians of Virginia, except that, instead of sticks, resin is laid on to the parts to be excavated and set fire to; canoes capable of holding twenty persons were formed in this manner.

[GUIANA, WEST INDIES] The Waraus of Guiana employ fire for excavating their canoes; and when Columbus discovered the Island of Guanahani or San Salvador, in the West Indies, he found [fire] employed for this purpose by the natives, who called their boats "canoe", a term which has ever since been employed by Europeans to express this most primitive class of vessel.

[ANDAMAN ISLES.] Dr. Mouat says that, in Blair's time, the Andaman islanders excavated their canoes by the agency of fire; but it is not employed for that purpose now, the whole operation being performed by hand. [BIRMAH] Simes, in 1800, speaks of the Birmese war-boats, which were excavated partly by fire and partly by cutting. Nos, 1276 and 1277 of my collection are models of these boats. [NEW CALEDONIA] In New Caledonia, Turner, in 1845, says that the natives felled their trees by means of a slow fire at the foot, taking three or four days to do it. In excavating a canoe, he says, they kindle a fire over the part to be burnt out, and keep dropping water over the sides and ends, so as to confine the fire to the required spot, the burnt wood being afterwards scraped out with stone tools. [NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA] The New Zealanders, and probably the Australians also, employ fire for this purpose (Cook). [W. AFRICA] The canoes of the Krumen in West Africa are also excavated by means of fire.

[BENDING BY FIRE] A further improvement in the development of the dug-out canoe consists in bending the sides into the required form after it has been dug out. This process of fire-bending has already been described in parts I and II of my Catalogue, when speaking of the methods employed by the Esquimaux and Australians in straightening their wooden spears and arrow-shafts. [NORTH-WEST AMERICA] The application of this process to canoe-building by the Ahts of the north-west coast of North America is thus described by Mr. Wood in his "Natural History of Man". The canoe is carved out of a solid trunk of cedar (Thuja gigantea). It is hollowed out, not by fire, but by hand, and by means of an adze formed of a large mussel-shell; the trunk is split lengthwise by wedges. All is done by the eye. When it is roughly hollowed it is filled with water, and red-hot stones put in until it boils. This is continued until the wood is quite soft, and then a number of cross-pieces are driven into the interior, so as to force the canoe into its proper shape, which it ever afterwards retains. While the canoe is still soft and pliant, several slight cross-pieces are inserted, so as to counteract any tendency towards warping. The outside of the vessel is then hardened by fire, so as to enable it to resist the attacks of insects, and also to prevent it cracking when exposed to the sun. The inside is then painted some bright colour, and the outside is usually black and highly polished. This is produced by rubbing it with oil after the fire has done its work. Lastly, a pattern is painted on its bow. There is no keel to the boat. The red pattern of the painting is obtained by a preparation of annato. For boring holes the Ahts use a drill formed by a bone of a bird fixed in a wooden handle.

[BIRMAH] A precisely similar process to this is employed in the formation of the Birmese dug-out canoes, and has thus been described to me by Capt. O'Callaghan, who witnessed the process during the Birmese War in 1852: "A trunk of a tree of suitable length, though much less in diameter than the intended width of the boat, is cut into the usual form, and hollowed out. It is then filled with water, and fires are lit, a short distance from it, along its sides. The water gradually swells the inside, while the fire contracts the outside, till the width is greatly increased. The effect thus produced is rendered permanent by thwarts being placed so as to prevent the canoe from contracting in width as it dries; the depth of the boat is increased by a plank at each side, reaching as far as the ends of the hollowed part. Canoes generally show traces of the fire and water treatment just described, the inner surface being soft and full of superficial cracks, while the outer is hard and close".

It is probable that this mode of bending canoes has been discovered during the process of cooking, in which red-hot stones are used in many countries to boil the water in vessels of skin or wood, in which the meat is cooked. No. 1256 of my collection is a model of an Aht canoe, painted as here described. No. 1257 is a full-sized canoe from this region, made out of a single trunk; it is not painted, so that the grain of the wood can be seen.

[DISTRIBUTION] The distribution of the dug-out canoe appears to be almost universal. It is especially used in southern and equatorial regions. Leaving Australia, we find it employed with the outrigger, which will be described hereafter (pp. 218-9), [POLYNESIAN AND ASIATIC ISLES.] in many parts of the Polynesian and Asiatic islands, including New Guinea, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and the Sandwich Islands. It was not used by the natives of Tasmania, who employed a float consisting of a bundle of bark and rushes, which will be described in another place. Wilkes speaks of it in Samoa, at Manilla, and the Sooloo Archipelago. De Guignes in 1796 and De Morgan in 1609 saw them in the Philippines, where they are called pangues, some carrying from two to three and others from twelve to fifteen persons. They are (or were) also used in the Pelew, Nicobar, and Andaman Isles. [BAY OF BENGAL] In the India Museum there is a model of one from Assam, used as a mail boat, and called dak nao. [SOUTHERN ASIA] In Birmah, Symes, in 1800, describes the war-boats of the Irrawaddy as 80 to 100 feet long, but seldom exceeding 8 feet in width, and this only by additions to the sides; carrying fifty to sixty rowers, who use short oars that work on a spindle, and who row instead of paddling. Captain O'Callaghan, however, informs me that they sometimes use paddles (Nos. 1276 and 1277). They are made of one piece of the teak tree. The king had five hundred of these vessels of war. They are easily upset, but the rowers are taught to avoid being struck on the broadside; they draw only 3 feet of water. On the Menan, in Siam, Turpin, in 1771, says that the king's ballons are made of a single tree, and will contain 150 rowers; the two ends are very much elevated, and the rowers sit cross-legged, by which they lose a great deal of power. The river vessels in Cochin China are also described as being of the same long, narrow kind. [PERSIA] At Eerhabad, in Persia, Pietro della Valle, in 1614, describes the canoes as being flat-bottomed, hollow trees, carrying ten to twelve persons.

[AFRICA] In Africa, Duarte Barbosa, in 1514, saw the Moors at Zuama make use of boats, almadias, hollowed out of a single trunk, to bring clothes and other merchandise from Angos. Livingstone says the canoes of the Bayeye of South Africa are hollow trees, made for use and not for speed. If formed of a crooked stem they become crooked vessels, conforming to the line of the timber. On the Benuwé, at its junction with the [Yola], Barth, for the first time in his travels southward, saw what he describes as rude little shells hollowed out of a single tree; they measured 25 to 30 feet in length, 1 to 1 1/2 foot in height, and 16 inches in width; one of them, he says, was quite crooked. On the White Nile, in Unyoro, Grant says that the largest canoe carried a ton and a half, and was hollowed out of a trunk. On the Kitangule, west of Lake Victoria Nyanza, near Karague, he describes the canoes as being hollowed out of a log of timber 15 feet long and the breadth of an easy-chair. These kind of canoes are also used by the Makoba east of Lake Ngami, by the Apingi and Camma, and the Krumen of the West African coast; of which last, No. 1272 of my collection is a model.

[SOUTH AMERICA] In South America the Patagonians use no canoes, but in the northern parts of the continent dug-out canoes are common. One described by Condamine, in 1743, was from 42 to 44 feet long, and only 3 feet wide. [WEST INDIES] They are also used in Guiana, and Professor Wilson says that the dug-out canoe is used throughout the West 'Indian Archipelago. According to Bartram, who is quoted by Schoolcraft, the large canoes formed out of the trunks of cypress trees, which descended the rivers of Florida, crossed the Gulf, and extended their navigation to the Bahama Isles, and even as far as Cuba, carrying twenty to thirty warriors. [NORTH AMERICA] Kalm, in 1747, gives some details respecting their construction on the Delaware river already referred to, and says that the materials chiefly employed in North America are the red juniper, red cedar, white cedar, chestnut, white oak, and tulip tree. Canoes of red and white cedar are the best, because lighter, and they will last as much as twenty years, whereas the white oak barely lasts above six years. In Canada these dug-outs were made of the white fir. The process of construction on the west coast of North America has been already described.

[EUROPE. SWISS LAKES] In Europe Pliny mentions the use of canoes hollowed out of a single tree by the Germans. Amongst the ancient Swiss lake-dwellers at Robenhausen, associated with objects of the stone age, a dug-out canoe, or Einbaum, made of a single trunk 12 feet long and 2 1/2 wide, was discovered (Keller, "Lake Dwellings"). [IRELAND] In Ireland, Sir William Wilde says that amongst the ancient Irish dug-out canoes were of three kinds. One was small, trough-shaped, and square at the ends, having a projection at either end to carry it by; the paddlers sat flat at the bottom and paddled, there being no rowlocks to the boat. A second kind was 20 feet in length and 2 in breadth, flat-bottomed, with round prow and square stern, strengthened by thwarts carved out of the solid and running across the boat, two near the stem and one near the stern. The prow was turned up; one of these was discovered in a bog on the coast of Wexford, 12 feet beneath the surface. The third sort was sharp at both ends, 21 feet long, 12 inches broad, and 8 inches deep, and flat-bottomed. These canoes are often found in the neighbourhood of the crannoges, or ancient lake-habitations of the country, and were used to communicate with the land; also in the beds of the Boyne and Bann. Ware says, that dug-out canoes were used in some of the Irish rivers in his time, and to this day I have seen paddles used on the Blackwater, in the south of Ireland. [SCOTLAND] Professor Wilson says that several dug-out canoes have been found in the ancient river-deposits of the Clyde, and also in the neighbourhood of Falkirk. In one of those discovered in the Clyde deposits, at a depth of 25 feet from the surface, a stone almond-shaped celt was found. Others have been found in the ancient river-deposits of Sussex and elsewhere, in positions which show that the rivers must probably have formed arms of the sea, at the time they were sunk.

2. Vessels in which the Planks are Stitched to each Other. [STITCHED PLANKS] All vessels of the dug-out class are necessarily long and narrow, and very liable to upset; the width being limited by the size of the tree, extension can only be given to them by increasing their length. In order to give greater height and width to these boats, planks are sometimes added at the sides and stitched on to the body of the canoe by means of strings or cords, composed frequently of the bark or leaves of the tree of which the body is made. In proportion as these laced-on gunwales were found to answer the purpose of increasing the stability of the vessel, their number was increased; two such planks were added instead of one, and as the joint between the planks was by this means brought beneath the water line, means were taken to caulk the seams with leaves, pitch, resin, and other substances. Gradually the number of side planks increased and the solid hull diminished, until, ultimately, it dwindled into a bottom-board, or keel, at the bottom of the boat, serving as a centre-piece on which the sides of the vessel were built. Still the vessel was without ribs or framework; ledges on the sides were carved out of the solid substance of each plank, by means of which they were fastened to the ledges of the adjoining plank, and the two contiguous ledges served as ribs to strengthen the boat; finally, a framework of vertical ribs was added to the interior and fastened to the planks by cords. Ultimately the stitching was replaced by wooden pins, and the side planks pinned to each other and to the ribs; and these wooden pins in their turn were supplanted by iron nails.

[NEW ZEALAND] In different countries we find representations of the canoe in all these several stages of development. Of the first stage, in which side planks were added to the body of the dug-out canoe, to heighten it, the New Zealand canoe, No. 1259 of my collection, is an example. Capt. Cook describes this as solid, the largest containing from thirty men upwards. One measured 70 feet in length, 6 in width, and 4 deep. Each of the side pieces was formed of an entire plank, about 12 inches wide, and about an inch and a half thick, laced on to the hollow trunk of the tree by flaxen cords, and united to the plank on the opposite side by thwarts across the boat. These canoes have names given to them like European vessels.

[AFRICA] On the Benuwé, in Central Africa, Barth describes a vessel in this same early stage of departure from the original dug-out trunk. It consisted of "two very large trunks joined together with cordage, just like the stitching of a shirt, and without pitching, the holes being merely stuffed with grass. It was not water-tight, but had the advantage," he says, "over the dug-out canoes used on the same river, in not breaking if it came upon a rock, being, to a certain degree, pliable. It was 35 feet long, and 26 inches wide in the middle." No. 1258 of my collection is a model of one of these. [BIRMAH] The single plank added to the side of the Birmese dug-out canoe has been already noticed. Although my informant does not tell me that these side planks are sewn on, I have no doubt, judging by analogy, that this either is or was formerly the case.

[SOUTH AMERICA] The Waraus of Guiana are the chief canoe-builders of this part of South America, and to them other tribes resort from considerable distances. Their canoe is hollowed out of a trunk of a tree, and forced into its proper shape partly by means of fire and partly by wedges, upon a similar system to that described in speaking of the Ahts of North America and the Birmese; the largest have the sides made higher by a narrow plank of soft wood, which is laced upon the gunwale, and the seam caulked. This canoe is alike at both ends, the stem and stern being pointed, curved, and rising out of the water; there is no keel, and it draws but a few inches of water. This appears to be the most advanced stage to which the built-up canoe has arrived on either continent of America, with the exception of Tierra del Fuego, where Commodore Byron, in 1765, saw canoes in the Straits of Magellan made of planks sewn together with thongs of raw hide; these vessels are considerably raised at the bow and stern, and the larger ones are 15 feet in length by 1 yard wide. They have also been described by more recent travellers. Under what conditions have these miserable Fuegians been led to the employment of a more complex class of vessel than their more advanced congeners of the north ?

[AFRICA] In order to trace the further development of the canoe in this direction, we must return to Africa and the South Seas. On the island of Zanzibar, Barbosa, in 1514, says that the inhabitants of this island, and also Penda and Manfia, who are Arabs, trade with the mainland by means of "small vessels very loosely and badly made, without decks, and with a single mast; all their planks are sewn together with cords of reed or matting, and the sails are of palmmats". On the river Yeou, near Lake Tchad, in Central Africa, Denham and Clapperton saw canoes 'formed of planks, rudely shaped with a small hatchet, and strongly fastened together by cords passed through holes bored in them, and a wisp of straw between, which the people say effectually keeps out the water; they have high poops like the Grecian boats, and would hold twenty or thirty persons '. On the Logon, south-east of Lake Tchad, Barth says the boats are built ‘in the same manner as those of the Budduma, except that the planks consist of stronger wood, mostly Birgem, and generally of larger size, whilst those of the Budduma consist of the frailest material, viz. Fogo. In both, the joints of the planks are provided with holes, through which ropes are passed, overlaid with bands of reed tightly fastened upon them by smaller ropes, which are again passed through small holes stuffed with grass’. On the Victoria Nyanza, in East Central Africa, Grant speaks of "a canoe of five planks sewn together, and having four cross-bars or seats. The bow and stern are pointed, standing for a yard over the water, with a broad central plank from stem to stern, rounded outside (the vestige of the dug-out trunk), and answering for a keel."

Thus far we have found the planks of the vessels spoken of, merely fastened by cords passed through holes in the planks, and stuffed with grass or some other material, and the accounts speak of their being rarely water-tight. Such a mode of constructing canoes might serve well enough for river navigation, but would be unserviceable for sea craft. Necessity is the mother of invention, and accordingly we must seek for a further development of the system of water-tight stitching, amongst those races in a somewhat similar condition of culture, which inhabit the islands of the Pacific and the borders of the ocean between it and the continent of Africa.

The majority of those vessels now to be described are furnished with the outrigger; but as the distribution of this contrivance will be traced subsequently, it will not be necessary to describe it in speaking of the stitched plank-work.

[POLYNESIAN ISLES] In the Friendly Isles Captain Cook, in 1773, says "the canoes are built of several pieces sewed together with bandage in so neat a manner that on the outside it is difficult to see the joints. All the fastenings are on the inside, and pass through kants or ridges, which are wrought on the edges and ends of the several boards which compose the vessel." At Otaheite he speaks of the same process, and says that the chief parts are formed separately without either saw, plane, or other tool. La Perouse gives an illustration of an outrigger canoe from Easter Island, the sides of which are formed of drift-wood sewn together in this manner. At Wytoohee, one of the Paumotu, or Low Archipelago, Wilkes, in 1838, says that the canoes are formed of strips of cocoa-nut tree sewed together. Speaking of those of Samoa, he describes the process more fully. "The planks are fastened together with sennit; the pieces are of no regular size or shape. On the inside edge of each plank is a ledge or projection, which serves to attach the sennit, and connect and bind it closely to the adjoining one. It is surprising," he says, "to see the labour bestowed on uniting so many small pieces together, when large and good planks might be obtained. Before the pieces are joined, the gum from the husk of the bread-fruit tree is used to cement them close, and prevent leakage. These canoes retain their form much more truly than one would have imagined; I saw few whose original model had been impaired by service. On the outside the pieces are so closely fitted as frequently to require close examination before the seams can be detected. The perfection of workmanship is astonishing to those who see the tools with which it is effected. They consist now of nothing more than a piece of iron tied to a stick, and used as an adze; this, with a gimlet, is all they have, and before they obtained their iron tools, they used adzes made of hard stone and fish-bone." The construction of the Fiji canoe, called drua, is described by Williams in great detail. A keel or bottom board is laid in two or three pieces, carefully scarfed together. From this the sides are built up, without ribs, in a number of pieces varying from three to twenty feet. The edges of these pieces are fastened by ledges, tied together in the manner already described. A white pitch from the bread-fruit tree, prepared with an extract from the coco-nut kernel, is spread uniformly on both edges, and a fine strip of masi laid between. The binding of sennit with which the boards, or vanos, as they are called, are stitched together is made tighter by small wooden wedges inserted between the binding and the wood, in opposite directions. The ribs seen in the interior of these canoes are not used to bring the planks into shape, but are the last things inserted, and are for uniting the deck more firmly with the body of the canoe. The carpenters in Fiji constitute a distinct class, and have chiefs of their own. The Tongan canoes were inferior to those of Fiji in Captain Cook's time, but they have since adopted Fiji patterns. The Tongans are better sailors than the Fijians. Wilkes describes a similar method of building vessels in the Kingsmill Islands, but with varieties in the details of construction. ‘Each canoe has six or eight timbers in its construction; they are well modelled, built in frames, and have much sheer. The boards are cut from the coco-nut tree, from a few inches to six or eight feet long, and vary from five to seven inches in width. These are arranged as the planking of a vessel, and very neatly put together, being sewed with sennit. For the purpose of making them water-tight they use a slip of pandanus leaf, inserted as our coopers do in plugging a cask. They have evinced much ingenuity,' he says, ‘in attaching the uprights to the flat timbers.’ It is difficult, without the aid of drawings, to understand exactly the peculiarities of this variety of construction, but he says they are secured so as to have all the motion of a double joint, which gives them ease, and comparative security in a seaway.

[ASIATIC ISLES] Turning now to the Malay Archipelago, Wallace speaks of a Malay prahau in which he sailed from Macassar to New Guinea, a distance of 1,000 miles, and says that similar but smaller vessels had not a single nail in them. The largest of these, he says, are from Macassar, and the Bugi countries of the Celebes and Boutong. Smaller ones sail from Ternate, Pidore, East Ceram, and Garam. The majority of these, he says, have stitched planks. No. 1268 of my collection is a model of a vessel employed in those seas. Wallace says that the inhabitants of Ké Island, west of New Guinea, are the best boat-builders in the archipelago, and several villages are constantly employed at the work. The planks here, as in the Polynesian Islands, are all cut out of the solid wood, with a series of projecting ledges on their edges in the inside. But here we find an advance upon the Polynesian system, for the ledges of the planks are pegged to each other with wooden pegs. The planks, however, are still fastened to the ribs by means of rattans. The principles of construction are the same as in those of the Polynesian Islands, and the main support of the vessel still consists in the planks and their ledges, the ribs being a subsequent addition; for he says that after the first year the rattan-tied ribs are generally taken out and replaced by new ones, fitted to the planks and nailed, and the vessel then becomes equal to those of the best European workmanship. This constitutes a remarkable example of the persistency with which ancient customs are retained, when we find each vessel systematically constructed, in the first instance, upon the old system, and the improvement introduced in after years. I wonder whether any parallel to this could be found in a British arsenal. The psychical aspect of the proceeding seems not altogether un-English.

[SOUTHERN ASIA] Extending our researches northward, we find that Dampier, in 1686, mentions, in the Bashee Islands, the use of vessels in which the planks are fastened with wooden pins. On the Menan, in Siam, Turpin, in 1771, speaks of long, narrow boats, "in the construction of which neither nails nor iron are employed, the parts being fastened together with roots and twigs which withstand the destructive action of the water. They have the precaution", he says, "to insert between the planks a light, porous wood, which swells by being wet, and prevents the water from penetrating into the vessel. When they have not this wood, they rub the chinks, by which the water enters, with clay". In the India Museum there is a model of a very early form of vessel from Birmah, described as a trading vessel. The bottom is dug out, and the sides formed of planks laced together. A large stone is employed for an anchor. Here we see that an inferior description of craft has survived, upon the rivers, in the midst of a higher civilization which has produced a superior class of vessel upon the seas.

[INDIA] Turning westward, we have the surf-boat of Madras, called massoola, which, on account of its elasticity, is still used on the seashore. Its parts are stitched together in the manner represented in the model, No. 1267 of my collection. On the Malabar coast the ships of the Pardesy, who consisted of Arabs, Persians, and others who have settled in the kingdom of Malabar, are described by Barbosa in 1514. "They build ships," he says, "of 200 tons, which have keels like the Portuguese, but have no nails. They sew their planks with neat cords, very well pitched, and the timber very good. Ten or twelve of these ships, laden with goods, sail every year in February for the Bed Sea, some for Aden and some for Jeddah, the port of Mecca, where they sell their merchandise to others, who transmit it to Cairo, and thence to Alexandria. The ships return to Calicut between August and October of the same year. The earliest description we have of these vessels in this part of the world, in historic times, is in the account of the travels of two Mahomedans in the ninth century. In these travels it is related that there were people in the Gulf of Oman who cross over to the islands that produce coco-nuts, taking with them their tools, and make ships out of it. With the bark they make the cordage to sew the planks together, and of the leaves they make sails; and having thus completed the vessel, they load it with coco-nuts and set sail." Marco Polo, at the commencement of the fourteenth century, confirms this, and says, speaking of the ships at Ormuz, in the Persian Gulf, "that they do not use nails, but wooden pins, and fasten them with threads made of the Indian nut. These threads endure the force of the water, and are not easily corrupted thereby. These ships have one mast, one sail, and one beam, and are covered with but one deck. They are not caulked with pitch, but with the oil and fat of fishes. When they cross to India they lose many ships, because the sea is very tempestuous, and they are not strengthened with iron." In the Red Sea, Father Lobo, in 1622, describes the vessels called gelves, which, he says, are made almost entirely of the coco-nut tree. The trunk is sawn into planks, the planks are sewn together with thread which is spun from the bark, and the sails are made of the leaves stitched together. They are more convenient, he says, than other vessels, because they will not split if thrown upon banks or against rocks.

[EGYPT] We have now arrived in the region which is usually regarded as the cradle of Western civilization, certainly the land in which Western culture first began to put forth its strong shoots; and we must expect to find that the art of shipbuilding advanced in the same ratio as other trades. But, unlike the Phoenicians, the Egyptians confined their navigation chiefly to the Nile, and had an abhorrence of Typhon, as they termed the sea, because it swallowed up the great river, which, being the chief source of their prosperity, they regarded as a god.

Here it may be desirable to digress for one moment from the chain of continuity which we have been following, in order to say a few words about the most primitive form of vessel used on the Nile, viz. that mentioned by Isaiah (xviii. 2) as being of Ethiopian origin, the vessel of bulrushes to which the mother of Moses entrusted her infant progeny. What the coco-nut tree was to the navigators on the eastern seas, the papyrus was to the Egyptians, and from it every part of the vessel—rope, planks, masts, and sails—was constructed. Adverting to the earliest and simplest of these papyrus vessels, the common use for a bundle of faggots, for such it was, is not, perhaps, one of those coincidences which, viewed by the light of modern culture, we should select as evidence of connexion between distant lands. And yet there are peculiarities of form which make the bulrush float of the Egyptians worthy of comparison with those used in the rivers of Australia.

[AUSTRALIA] The Australian float, as represented by a model in the British Museum, consisted of a bundle of bark and rushes, pointed and elevated at the ends, and bound round with girdles of the same material. [TASMANIA] The only vessel, according to Mr. Calder, used in Tasmania, on the west coast, is thus described by him in the "Journal of the Anthropological Institute", iii. 22. "It was of considerable size, and something like a whale-boat, that is, sharp-sterned, but a solid structure, and the natives, in their aquatic adventures, sat on the top of it. It was generally made by the buoyant and soft, velvety bark of the swamp tea-tree (Melaluca sp.), and consisted of a multitude of small strips bound together." [CALIFORNIA] Professor Wilson says that the Californian canoe consists of a mere rude float, made of rushes, "in the form of a lashed-up hammock." [EGYPT] A wood-cut in Sir Gardner Wilkinson's Ancient Egypt, No. 399 of his work, represents three persons making one of these papyrus floats. It is the baris, or Memphite bark, bound together with papyrus, spoken of by Lucan, and it is of precisely similar form to those above described, elevated and pointed at the ends, and the men are in the act of binding it round with girdles. This is the kind of boat in which Plutarch describes Isis going in search of the body of Osiris through the fenny country; a bark made of papyrus. Pliny attributes the origin of shipbuilding to these vessels - "Naves primum repertas in Egypto in Nilo ex papyro" (Lib. viii cap. 56) and speaks of their crossing the sea and visiting the Island of Taprobane (Ceylon, Sir G. Wilkinson); but it seems probable that he must refer to a more advanced form of vessel than the mere bulrush float.

The racial connexion between the Australians and the Egyptians, first put forward by Professor Huxley, has hardly met with general acceptance as yet; but, startling as it at first sight appeared, the more we look into the evidence bearing upon it, the less improbable, to say the least, it becomes, when viewed by the light of comparative culture. I have already shown, in another place,[2] how closely some of the Australian weapons correspond to some of those still used on the Upper Nile, and the remarkable resemblance here pointed out in a class of vessels which might well have been used in passing short distances from island to island of the now submerged fragments of land that are supposed to have formerly existed in parts of the southern hemisphere, is, at least, worthy of attention amongst other evidence of the same kind that may be collected, although I fully admit that it is not of a character to stand alone. I will not exceed my province by attempting to defend the theory of the Australioid origin of the Egyptians on physical grounds, preferring to leave the defence of that theory in the hands of its author, who is so well able to support his own views; but I may take this opportunity of commenting' on some remarks made by Professor Owen in his valuable paper, published in the last number of our Journal, on the psychical evidence of connexion between them and the black races of the southern hemisphere. Adverting to the fresco painting, in the British Museum, of the ancient Egyptian fowler, who holds in his hand a stick, which he is in the act of throwing at a flock of birds, I am inclined to agree with Professor Owen in thinking there is nothing in its shape to denote that it is a boomerang. Other figures, however, in Rosellini's "Egyptian Monuments", show the resemblance more clearly, and if these are not enough, the specimen of the weapon itself in the glass case in the Egyptian room of the British Museum proves the identity of the weapon beyond possibility of doubt. I have elsewhere stated at length, [3] that having made several facsimiles of this weapon from careful measurements, so as to obtain the exact size, form, and weight of the original, for the purpose of experiment, I found that it possessed all the properties of the Australian boomerang, rising in the air, and returning in some cases to within a few paces of the position from which it was thrown. In fact, it was easier to obtain the return flight from this weapon than from many varieties of the Australian boomerang, with which I experimented at the same time.

But supposing the ancient Egyptian to be "convicted of the boomerang", says the learned professor, "common sense repudiates the notion of the necessity of inheritance in relation to such operations." Against this I would urge, that the application of the general quality of common sense to the determination of questions of psychical connexion, between races so far removed from us, as the Australians or the predecessors of the earliest Egyptian kings, is inconsistent with all that we know of the phenomena of mental evolution in man, seeing that there must necessarily be many stages of disparity between them and any intelligent member of the Anthropological Institute to whose common sense this appeal was made.

If the common sense of the nineteenth century does not repudiate the fact that the steam engine, the electric telegraph, vaccination, free trade, and a thousand other contrivances for the benefit of our race, have sprung from special centres, and have been inherited, or otherwise received, by the highly cultivated races to which they have spread in modern times, neither would the common sense of the Australian or prehistoric Egyptian, after its kind, bar the likelihood of such contrivances as the boomerang, the parrying-shield, or the ‘baris' having been handed from one savage people to another in a similar manner. Wherever two or three concurrent chains of connexion, whether of race, language, or the arts, can be traced along the same channel, such evidence is admissible, and is indeed frequently the only evidence available in dealing with prehistoric times.

The peculiar elevated ends of the papyrus floats are almost identical in form, but not in structure, with those now used in parts of India, especially on the Ganges; and the word junk is said to be related to juncus, a bulrush. Somewhat similar rafts, but flat, turned up in front but not behind, and called tankwa, are described by Lieut. Prideaux as being still used on Lake Tsana, in Soudan, and they are also used by the Shillooks, who make them of a wood as light as cork, called ambads [Anemone mirahilis). A paper by Mr. John Hogg, in the "Magazine of Natural History" (1829), to which my attention has been kindly drawn by Mr. John Jeremiah, contains some useful information on the subject of Egyptian papyrus vessels. Denon describes and figures a very primitive float of this sort, consisting of a bundle of straw or stalks, pointed and turned up in front, and says that the inhabitants of the Upper Nile go up and down the river upon it astride, the legs serving for oars; they use also a short double-bladed paddle. It is worthy of notice that the only other localities, that I am aware of, in which this double paddle is used, are the Sooloo Archipelago and among the Esquimaux. Belzoni also describes the same kind of vessel. Mr. Hogg, in his paper, gives several illustrations of improved forms of these solid papyrus floats, derived from a mosaic pavement discovered in the Temple of Fortune at Praeneste. From these it seems that they were bound round with thongs, pointed, and turned up and over at both ends. But Bruce, in 1790, describes more particularly the class of vessel used in Abyssinia in his time, called tankwa, or, as he writes it, tancoa, and says that it corresponds exactly to the description of Pliny [Nat. Hist., Lib xiii. 2). His description appears possibly to indicate that there was a separate line of development of hollow vessels derived from the flat raft. "A piece of acacia tree was put in the bottom to serve as a keel, to which plants were joined, being first sewed together, then gathered up at the ends and stern, and the ends of the plant tied fast there". (On Lake Tsana they are only turned up in front: see above). Bezzoni [sic] describes a similar kind of vessel on Lake Moeris, which seems clearly to be hollow. "The outer shell or hulk was composed of rough pieces of wood, scarcely joined, and fastened by four other pieces wrapped together by four more across, which formed the deck; no tar, no pitch, either inside or out, and the only preventive against the water coming in was a kind of weed which had settled in the joints of the wood." The only other locality, that I know of, in which similar vessels to these are used, is Formosa, a description of which is given by Mr. J. Thomson F.R.G.S. ("The Straits of Malacca, Indo-China, and China", London), for the sight of which I am indebted to Mr. L. Distant. He says: "We went ashore in a catamaran, a sort of raft made of poles of the largest species of bamboo. These poles are bent by fire, so as to impart a hollow shape to the raft, and are lashed together with rattan. There is not a nail used in the whole contrivance."

But the boats "woven of the papyrus", mentioned by Pliny, certainly refer to something more complex than the papyrus bundle above described. Lucan describes them as being sewn with bands of papyrus, and Herodotus describes them more fully. This passage has been variously translated by different authors, but the version given by Sir Gardner Wilkinson is as follows: "they cut planks measuring about two cubits, and having arranged them like bricks, they build the boat in the following manner: they fasten the planks round firm long pegs, and, after this, stretch over the surface a series of girths, but without any ribs, and the whole is bound within by bands of papyrus." The exact meaning of this is obscure; but I would suggest, that as the "fastening within" clearly shows it was not a solid structure, the more reasonable interpretation of it is by supposing that the planks, arranged in brick fashion, were fastened on the inside by cords, in the manner practised in the South Sea Islands and elsewhere. What the long pins were is uncertain; but as Sir Gardner Wilkinson says that the models found in the tombs show that ribs were used at a time probably subsequent to this, these pins may have been rudimentary ribs of some kind, and they also may have been "bound within" to the planks in the same manner. It seems not unlikely that these boats may have also been bound round on the outside to give them additional strength, after the manner of the papyrus floats above described.[4] With this vessel, which was called baris, they used a sort of anchor, consisting of a stone with a hole in it, similar to one on a Birmese vessel, of which a model is in the India Museum.

The larger class of Egyptian vessels were of superior build, the planks being fastened with wooden pins and nails, and their construction somewhat similar to those still used on the Nile.

[AREA OF WESTERN CIVILISATION] Returning now to the link of the chain to which we have appended this digression, and carrying our inquiries further northward into the area of Western civilization, it is to be expected that we should lose all trace of this primitive mode of ship-building. The earliest vessels recorded in classical history were fastened with nails. In Homer's description of the vessel built by Odysseus, both nails and ribs were employed, and it had a round or a flat bottom (Smith's Dic.). [BOAT OF THE NYDAM MOSS] No trace of any earlier form of ship has been discovered in Europe, until we come to the neighbourhood of the North Sea. Here, in the Nydam Moss, in Slesvic, in 1863, was discovered a large boat, seventy-seven feet long, ten feet ten inches broad in the middle, flat at the bottom, but higher and sharper at both ends, having a prow at both ends, like those described by Tacitus as having been built by the Suiones, who inhabited this country and Sweden in ancient times. This vessel, from its associated remains, has been attributed to the third century. The bottom consisted of a broad plank, about two feet broad in the middle, but diminishing in width towards each end. A small keel, eight inches broad and one deep, was carved on the under side of the plank, which corresponds to the bottom plank, which, in Africa and the Polynesian Islands, we have shown to be the vestige of the dug-out trunk. On to this bottom plank, five side planks, running the whole length of the vessel, were built, but they differed from those previously described in over-lapping, being clinker-built, and attached to each other, not by strings or wooden pins, but by large iron bolts. The planks, however, resembled those of the southern hemisphere, in having clamps or ledges carved out of the solid on the inside; these ledges were perforated, and their position corresponded to rows of vertical ribs, to which, like the vessels at Ké Island, and elsewhere in the Pacific, they were tied by means of cords passing through corresponding holes in the ribs. Each rib was carved out of one piece, and, like those of Ké Island in the Asiatic Archipelago, could easily have been taken out and replaced by others after the vessel was completed. In short, the vessel represented the particular stage of development which may be described as plank-nailed and rib-tied, or which might be characterized as having removable ribs; differing in this respect from the more advanced system of modern times, in which the ribs, together with the keel, form a framework to which the planks are afterwards bent and fastened.

This mode of fastening the ribs to ledges carved out of the planking, Mr. Engelhardt, to whom we are indebted for the accurate drawings and description of this vessel,[5] remarks, is a most surprising fact, considering that the people who constructed the boat are proved by the associated remains to have been not only familiar with the use of iron, but to have been able to produce damascened sword-blades. But this fact, which, taken by itself, has been justly described as surprising, analogy leads us to account for, by supposing these particular parts of the vessel to have been survivals from a universally prevalent primitive mode of fastening, the nearest southern representative of which, at the present time, is to be found in the Red Sea and adjoining oceans. Nor can there be any reason to doubt, I think, that this mode of constructing vessels may have been used in the intervening countries, which have been the scene of the rise of Western civilization since the earliest times, but which have now lost all trace of the most primitive phases of the art of ship-building.

[NORTHLAND BOAT] Mr. Engelhardt, however, traces a connexion between this ancient vessel, found in the Nydam Moss, and the Northland boats now used on the coast of Norway and the Shetland Isles, the peculiar rowlocks of which, and also the clincher-nails by which the sides are fastened, correspond very closely to those of the Nydam boat. [FINLAND AND LAPLAND] Here also, and in Finland and Lapland, we find survivals of a still earlier mode of ship-building, corresponding to the more primitive plank-stitched vessels, before described, in so many places in the southern hemisphere. Regnard, in 1681, describes the Finland boats as being twelve feet long and three broad. "They are made of fir, and fastened together with the sinew of the reindeer; this makes them," he says, "so light that one man can carry one on his shoulders others are fastened together with thread made of hemp, rubbed with glue, and their cords are of birch bark or the root of the fir." Outhier, in 1736, confirms this account of the manner in which they are sewn together, and says that it renders them very flexible, and suitable for passing cataracts, on account of their lightness, and because they do not break when they are cast against a rock. The Lapland sledge called pulea is also described by Regnard as being of the same construction—boat-shaped, and the parts sewn together with the sinew of the reindeer, without a single nail. I have not as yet been able to trace this mode of fastening vessels continuously in Russia; but Bell, in 1719, says that the long, flat-bottomed barks used on the Volga for carrying salt have not a single iron nail in their whole fabric; and Atkinson describes vessels on the Tchoussowaia which are built without nails, but these are fastened with wooden pins.

3. Bark canoes.

[BARK CANOES, AUSTRALIA] The use of bark for canoes might have been suggested by the hollowed trunk; but, on the other hand, we find this material employed in Australia, where the hollowed trunk is not in general use. Bark is employed for a variety of purposes, such as clothing, materials for huts, and so forth. Some of the Australian shields are constructed of the bark of trees. The simplest form of canoe in Australia consists, as already mentioned, of a mere bundle of reeds and bark pointed at the ends. It is possible that the use of large pieces of bark in this manner may have suggested the employment of the bark alone. Belzoni mentions crossing to the island of Elephantine, on the Nile, in a ferry-boat which was made of branches of palm trees, fastened together with cords, and covered on the outside with a mat pitched all over. The solid papyrus boats represented on the pavement at Praeneste, before mentioned, have evidently some other substance on the outside of them; and Bruce imagines that the junks of the Red Sea were of papyrus, covered with leather. [6] The outer covering would prevent the water from soaking into the bundle of sticks, and thus rendering it less buoyant. Bark, if used in the same manner, would serve a like purpose, and thus suggest its use for canoe-building. Otherwise I am unable to conceive any way in which bark canoes can have originated, except by imitation of the dug-out canoe.

For crossing rivers, the Australian savage simply goes to the nearest stringy-bark tree, chops a circle round the tree at the foot, and another seven or eight feet higher, makes a longitudinal cut on each side, and strips off bark enough by this means to make two canoes. If he is only going to cross the river by himself, he simply ties the bark together at the ends, paddles across, and abandons the piece of bark on the other side, knowing that he can easily provide another. If it is to carry another besides himself, he stops up the tied ends with clay; but if it is to be permanently employed, he sews up the ends more carefully, and keeps it in shape by cross-pieces, thereby producing a vessel which closely resembles the bark canoe of North America ("Nat. Hist. of Man" Wood). I have not been able to trace the use of the bark canoe further north than Australia on this side of the world, probably owing to its being ill adapted for sea navigation; nor do I find representatives of it in any part of Europe or Africa, although bark is extensively used, in the Polynesian Islands and elsewhere, for other purposes.

It is the two continents of America which must be regarded as the home of the bark canoe.

[SOUTH AMERICA] The Fuegian canoe has been described by Wilkes, Pritchard, and others. It is sewn with shreds of whalebone, sealskin, and twigs, and supported by a number of stretchers lashed to the gunwale; the joints are stopped with rushes, and, without, smeared with resin. In Guiana the canoe is made of the bark of the purple-heart tree, stripped off and tied together at the ends. The ends are stopped with clay, as with the Australians. This mode of caulking is not very effectual, however, and the water is sure to come in sooner or later.

The nature of the material does not admit of much variety in the construction; suffice it to say that it is in general use in North America, up to the Esquimaux frontier. Its value in these regions consists in the facility with which it is taken out of the water and carried over the numerous rapids that prevail in the North American rivers. The Algonquins were famous for the construction of them. Some carry only two people, but the canot de maitre was thirty-six feet in length, and required fourteen paddlers. Kalm, in 1747, gives a detailed account of the construction of them on the Hudson river, and Lahontan, in 1684, gives an equally detailed description of those used in Canada. The bark is peeled off the tree by means of hot water. They are very fragile, and every day some hole in the bottom has to be stopped with gum.

Mr. T. G. B. Lloyd, in an excellent paper descriptive of the Beothucs of Newfoundland, published in the last number of the journal, has described the remarkable bark canoe of these people. Its form is different from any other canoe of this or any other region that I have heard of, the line of the gunwale rising in the middle, as well as at the ends, and the vessel being V-shaped in section, with a straight wooden keel at the bottom. Its form is so singular, that the only idea of continuity which I can set up for it is, that it must have been copied from some European child's paper boat, capable, by a single additional fold, of being converted into a cocked hat; the central pyramidal portion of the paper boat having given the form to the pyramidal sides of the Beothuc vessel. If this be rejected, then its history has yet to be told, for no native tribe ever employed such a peculiar form unless by inheritance.

Nos. 1248 and 1249 of my collection are South American bark canoes; Nos. 1250 to 1252 are bark canoes from North America.

[WICKER SKIN CANOES] 4. Canoes of Wicker and Skin. As we approach the Arctic regions, the dug-out and bark canoes are replaced by canoes of skin and wicker. As we have already seen, in the case of the bow, and other arts of savages, vegetable materials supply the wants of man in southern and equatorial regions, whilst animal materials supply their place in the north.

The origin of skin coverings has been already suggested when speaking of bark canoes. The accidental dropping of a skin bottle into the water might suggest the use of such vessels as' a means of recovering the harpoon, which, as I have already shown elsewhere, was almost universally used for fishing in the earliest stages of culture. The Esquimaux lives with the harpoon and its attached bladder almost continually by his side. [ESQUIMAUX] The Esquimaux kayak, Nos. 1253 and 1254 of my collection, in which he traverses the ocean, although admirable in its workmanship, and, like all the works of the Esquimaux, ingenious in construction, is in principle nothing more than a large, pointed bladder, similar to that which is lashed to the harpoon at its side; the man in this case occupying the opening which, in the bladder, is filled by the wooden pin that serves for a cork.

This is, I believe, a very primitive form of vessel, although there can be no doubt that many links in the history of its development have been lost. Unlike the dug-out canoe, such a fragile contrivance as the wicker canoe perishes quickly, and no direct evidence of its ancestry can be traced at the present time. It is only by means of survivals that we can build up the past history of its development; and these are, for the most part, wanting.

[INFLATED SKINS] The skin of an animal, flayed off the body with but one incision, served, as I have elsewhere shown, a variety of purposes: from it the bellows was derived, the bagpipes, water-vessels, and pouches of various kinds; and, filled with air, it served the purpose of a float. [INDIA] Steinitz, in his "History of the Ship", gives an illustration of an inflated ox skin, which in India is used to cross rivers; the owner riding upon the back of the animal and paddling with his hands, as if it had been a living ox.

[ASSYRIA] In the Assyrian sculptures there are numerous illustrations representing men floating upon skins of this kind, which they clasp with the left hand, like the tree trunks, already mentioned, that are used by the American Indians, and swim with the right. [MESOPOTAMIA] Layard says this manner of crossing rivers is still practised in Mesopotamia. He also describes the raft, composed of a number of such floats, made of the skins of sheep flayed off with as few incisions as possible; a square framework of poplar beams is placed over a number of these, and tied together with osier and other twigs. The mouths of the sheep-skins are placed upwards, so that they can be opened and refilled by the raft-men. On these rafts the merchandise is floated down the river to Bagdad; the materials are then disposed of and the skins packed on mules, to return for another voyage. [EGYPT] On the Nile similar rafts are used, the skins being supplanted by earthen pots, which, like the skins on the Euphrates, serve only a temporary purpose, and after the voyage down the river are disposed of in the bazaars.

[MOROCCO] This mode of floating upon skins I should conjecture to be of northern origin, and to be practised chiefly by nomadic races but we find it employed on the Morbeya, in Morocco, by the Moors, who no doubt had it from the East. It is thus described by Lempriere, in 1789. A raft is formed of eight sheep-skins filled with air, and tied together with small cords; a few slender poles are laid over them, to which they are fastened, and that is the only means used at Buluane to convey travellers, with their baggage, over the river. As soon as the raft is loaded, a man strips, jumps into the water, and swims with one hand, whilst he pulls the raft after him with the other; another swims and pushes behind. [SOUTH AMERICA] This reminds us of the custom of the Gran Chaco Indians of South America, who, in crossing rivers, use a square boat or tub of bull's hide, called pelota. It is attached by a rope to the tail of a horse, which swims in front; or the rope is taken in the mouth of an expert swimmer.

I have not traced the distribution of these rafts of inflated skins as continuously as, I have no doubt, they might be traced amongst nomadic and pastoral races, moving with their flocks and herds, the skins of which would be employed in this way nor have I been able to trace the connexion which, I have no doubt, existed between the inflated skin and the open ‘curragh’ of wicker covered with skins. [SKIN AND WICKER BOATS] Where one is found, the other is often found with it. Herodotus describes the boats used by the people who came down the river to Babylon, [EUPHRATES] and says they are constructed in Armenia, and in the parts above Assyria, [HERODOTUS] thereby connecting them with the north. "The ribs of these vessels," he says, "are formed of willow boughs and branches, and covered externally with skin. They are round, like a shield, there being no distinction between head and stern. They line the bottom with reeds and straw, and taking on board merchandise, chiefly palm wine, float down the stream. The boats have two oars, one to each man: one pulls and the other pushes. They are of different dimensions, some having a single ass on board and others several. On their arrival at Babylon the boatmen dispose of their goods, and offer for sale the ribs and straw; they then load the asses with the skins, and return with them to Armenia, where they construct new boats"—just as is [BAGHDAD] now done with the inflated skins of the rafts at Baghdad.

[SASSANIAN SCULPTURES] In the Pictorial Bible an illustration is given from the Sassanian sculptures at Takht-i-Bostan of several of these round vessels, probably of wicker, covered with skins. In one of these the principal figure carries a composite bow, which, as I have elsewhere shown, is of northern origin. [NIMROUD] Mr. Layard discovered in Nimroud a sculpture in which one of these boats is represented. It is round, like those described by Herodotus; back and stern alike; carrying two people, one of whom pulls and the other pushes; and in the same sculpture are represented men swimming on the inflated sheep-skins. [BAGHDAD] He says that these same round vessels are still used at Baghdad, built of boughs and timber covered with skins, over which bitumen is smeared to render it more water-tight. [Hamilton] also speaks of the same vessels (of reeds and bitumen) on the Euphrates, at the commencement of the eighteenth century.

[INDIA] On the Cavery, in Mysore, Buchanan, in 1800, describes ferry-boats that are called donies, which are circular baskets covered with leather; but whether these vessels, like the composite bow used in the same region, can be traced to a northern origin I have not the means of determining, nor have I as yet sufficient materials to enable me to ascertain whether such vessels are employed in the north of Asia at the present time. What the inflated skin is to these circular vessels, the kayak is to the baidar of the Esquimaux. Throughout the whole region occupied by this race, these two kinds of vessels are used, differing only in minute varieties of detail in the different localities. [ESQUIMAUX] According to Dr. King, whose valuable paper, "On the Industrial Arts of the Esquimaux," was published in the first volume of the "Journal of the Ethnological Society" (1848), the varieties of the kayak in the different localities consist merely in the elevation and shape of the rim of the hole in which the man sits. [PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND] In Prince William Sound, on the NW. coast, the kayak is frequently built with two or three holes to contain two or three men. The bow has two beaks, one of which turns up, according to Captain Cook, like the head of a violin, as represented in No. 1254 of my collection. [ALEUTIAN ISLES] This is also used in the Aleutian Isles. The meaning of this double beak I have not been able to ascertain. The baidar used on this coast has also a double beak, as represented in No. 1255 of my collection.

[BEHRING STRAITS] In the British Museum there is a kayak with a single opening, from Behring Straits, which differs but little from another in the same museum from [GREENLAND] Greenland; the kayak of Greenland has a knob of ivory at each end to protect the sharp point. The baidar is used at [OCHOTSK AND KAMTSCHATKA] Ochotsk and Kamtschatka, on the Asiatic coast, and all along the northern coast of America, eastward from Behring Strait. Models of both baidar and kayak are in the British Museum, from Kotzebue Sound. [KOTZEBUE SOUND] [FROBISHER STRAITS] In Frobisher Strait, Frobisher, in 1577, says the boats are of two kinds of leather stretched on frames, the greater sort open, and carrying sixteen or twenty people (the baidar), and the lesser, to carry one many covered over, except in one place where the man sits (the kayak). [HUDSON'S STRAITS] In Hudson's Straits and Greenland, where the larger vessels are called oomiak, they are flat-sided and flat-bottomed, about three feet high, and nearly square at the bow and stern, whereas this sort on the north-west coast is sometimes pointed at bow and stern. [GREENLAND] Kerguelen, in 1767, mentions both kinds in Greenland; and Kalm, in 1747, speaks of both, though not from personal observation, on the coast of Labrador. [LABRADOR] The Esquimaux canoe has been known to have drifted from Greenland across the north of Scotland, and has been picked up, with the man still alive in it, on the coast of Aberdeen (Wilson).

[BRITAIN] In Britain the coracle of osier, covered with skin, is mentioned by Caesar, and in Britain, Gaul, and Italy by Lucan (A.D. 39-65). [SCOTLAND] In Scotland, Bellenden, in the sixteenth century, speaks of the currock of wands, covered with bulls' hide, as being in use in the sixteenth century, and its representative is still used in the west of Ireland. [IRELAND] Sir William Wilde says that, under the name of curragh, it is still made of leather, stretched over a wooden frame, on the Boyne, and in Arran, on the west coast, of light timber, covered with painted canvas, which has superseded the use of leather. I have seen these vessels at Dingle, on the south-west coast, where they go by the name of nevog; they are there 23 feet in length by 4 in width, and 1 ft. 9 inches deep, made of laths, and covered with painted canvas; they are used, from Valentia, along the west coast as far as Galway. In the south they are larger than in the north, where they are called curraghs, and a single man can carry one on his back, as the ancient Briton did his coracle. Their continuance is caused by their cheapness, costing only £6 when new. Here also they were, until recently, constructed of leather. They have a small triangular sail, and, like the most ancient forms of vessels, they are guided, when sailing, by means of oars, one on each side.

[RAFTS] 5. Rafts. The trunks of trees, united by mutual attraction, as they floated down the stream, would suggest the idea of a raft. [AUSTRALIA] The women of Australia use rafts made of layers of reeds, from which they dive to obtain mussel-shells. [NEW GUINEA] In New Guinea the catamaran, or small raft formed of three planks lashed together with rattan, is the commonest vessel used. Others are larger, containing ten or twelve persons, and consist of three logs lashed together in five places, the centre log being the longest, and projecting at both ends.

[MADRAS. GANGES. MANILLA. PERU] This is exactly like the catamaran used on the coast of Madras, a model of one of which is in the Indian Museum; they are also used on the Ganges, and in the Asiatic isles. At Manilla they are known by the name of saraboas; but the perfection of raft navigation is on the coast of Peru. Ulloa, in 1735, describes the balzas used on the Guayaquil, in Ecuador, and on the coast as far south as Paita. They are called by the Indians of the Guayaquil jungadas, and by the Darien Indians puero. They are made of a wood so light that a boy can easily carry a log 1 foot in diameter and 3 or 4 yards long. They are always made of an odd number of beams, like the New Guinea and Indian rafts, the longest and thickest in the centre, and the others lashed on each side. Some are 70 ft. in length and 20 broad. When sailing, they are guided by a system of planks, called guaras, which are shoved down between the beams in different parts of the raft as they are wanted, the breadth of the plank being in the direction of the lines of the timbers. By means of these they are able to sail near the wind, and to luff up, bear away, and tack at pleasure. When a guara is put down in the fore part of the raft, it luffs up, and when in the hinder part, it bears away. This system of steering, he says, the Indians have learnt empirically, "their uncultivated minds never having examined into the rationale of the thing."

It was one of these vessels which Bartolomew Ruiz, pilot of the second expedition for the discovery of Peru, met with; and which so astonished the sailors, who had never before seen any vessel on the coast of America provided with a sail. Condamine speaks of the rafts in 1743, on the Chinchipe, in Peru. [BRAZIL] They are also used on the coast of Brazil, where they are also called jungadas, from which locality there is a model of one in the British Museum, and another in the Christy collection. Professor Wilson thinks it was by means of these vessels, driven off the coast of America westward, that the Polynesian and Malay islands were peopled; and this brings us to the consideration of the peculiar class of vessel which is distributed over a continuous area in the Pacific and adjoining seas, viz. the outrigger canoe, which, I shall endeavour to show, was derived from the raft.

[OUTRIGGER CANOE. PACIFIC OCEAN. DOUBLE LOG RAFT.] The sailing properties of the balza, or any other similar raft, must have been greatly impeded by the resistance offered to the water by the ends of its numerous beams. In order to diminish the resistance, the obvious remedy was to use only two beams, placed parallel to each other at a distance apart, with a platform laid on cross-poles between them.

[TASMANIA] Of this kind we find a vessel used by the Tasmanians, and described by Mr. Bonwick, on the authority of Lieut. Jeffreys. The natives, he says, would select two good stems of trees and place them parallel to each other, but a couple of yards apart cross-pieces of small size were laid on these, and secured to the trees by scraps of tough bark. A stronger cross-timber, of greater thickness, was laid across the centre, and the whole was then covered by wicker-work. Such a float would be thirty feet long, and would hold from six to ten persons (Herbert Spencer, Descriptive Sociology (London, 1874), No. 3, Table V).

[FIJI] In Fiji, Williams describes a kind of vessel called ulatoka, a raised platform, floating on two logs, which must evidently be a vessel of the same description as that used in Tasmania.

From these two logs were derived the double canoe on the one hand, and the canoe with the outrigger on the other.

[LINK] A link between the catamaran and the outrigger canoe is seen in a model in the India Museum, from Madras. [MADRAS] It consists of the usual catamaran, already described, of three beams lashed together, the longest being in the centre, across which are attached, their ends extending on one side, long outrigger poles, to the extremities of which, parallel, and at some distance from the catamaran, is fastened an outrigger log, of smaller size and length, pointed at both ends, and boat-shaped, exactly like those used with the outrigger canoes to be hereafter described. When the art of hollowing out canoes was introduced, then one canoe and one log, or two canoes, were employed, as the case might be. [DEVELOPMENT] This I consider to be a more natural sequence than to suppose the outrigger invented as a means of steadying the dug-out canoe.

[DISTRIBUTION] The outrigger canoe, and its accompanying double canoe, is used over the whole of the Polynesian and Asiatic islands from Easter Island on the east, to Ceylon and the Andamans on the west. Their varieties are also, in some cases, continuous and I will endeavour to trace the distribution of each, commencing with the canoe with the single outrigger. [SINGLE OUTRIGGER]

[POLES ATTACHED DIRECTLY TO OUTRIGGER] Towards the eastern and northern extremities of the Polynesian Islands we find that the canoes have a single outrigger, and that the ends of the outrigger poles are attached directly to the outrigger log, instead of being connected with it by upright supports, as is the case elsewhere. As the outrigger log is on a lower level than the line of the gunwales of the canoe, across which the other ends of the outrigger poles are lashed, they are generally curved downwards to meet the outrigger.

[DISTRIBUTION] This is the form described by La Perouse in Easter Island. It is the same in the drawings of canoes from Marquesas; also in the one, figured by Wilkes, from Wytoohee or Disappointment Isle, in the Low Archipelago; and in the one from Tahiti, Society Isles; also in those of the Sandwich Isles and the Kingsmill Isles; and it reappears again on the extreme west of the group in Ceylon, No. 1265 of my collection.

[VARIATION OF HULL] But whilst this peculiarity appears to be constant in the above-mentioned region, the form of the body of the canoe differs in each group of islands. In the Marquesas the bow turns up very much, in the Sandwich Islands only slightly (No. 1264); in Disappointment Isle there is a projecting part before and behind, by which they step into it; in Tahiti they have a similar projection over the stern only, which is used for a similar purpose.

[OUTRIGGER ATTACHED BY UPRIGHTS] To the westward of these, in a group extending over the centre of the region in question, all the outriggers that I have seen described, either by means of models or drawings, have upright supports on the upper side, and on these the outrigger poles rest, so as to be on the level of the line of the gunwales. [DISTRIBUTION] This is the case in Nuie or Savage Island; in Samoa (No. 1262); in the Caroline Isles; in Bowditch Island, one of the Union group; in Tonga and Fiji; in New Guinea; in the Louisiade Archipelago, and in North Australia.

[CYPRAEA OVULA SHELLS] Another peculiarity in this central region deserves notice. The ends of the canoe are covered with a deck extending over about one-third of its length fore and aft, and on this deck there is a row of upright pegs, carved out of the same piece as the deck, and running down the centre of it. Each peg is surmounted by a white Cypraea ovula shell tied on. The origin and meaning of this custom is unknown, but it was probably adopted originally as insignia of the rank of the owner. [DISTRIBUTION] Its distribution is limited to a group of islands lying between about the 10th and 20th parallel of south latitude, and 170° and 180° west longitude. Cook, in 1773, speaks of it in the Friendly Isles; and Wilkes, in 1838, mentions it in Samoa, Fiji, and Bowditch Island. The canoes of the Solomon Isles and other islands are, however, also ornamented with shells in different parts.

[SINGLE OUTRIGGER] The canoe with the single outrigger is also used in [Garret Dennis Island], which is described by Dampier in 1686; in the Ladrones, by Pigafetta, 1519; in the Pelew Islands; in Borneo; in Ceylon; in the Nicobar and Andaman Islands.

In Kingsmill and the Caroline Islands, to the north, the outrigger is somewhat smaller than elsewhere, its length not exceeding one-third o£ the length of the canoe. In the adjoining groups of the Kingsmill and Ladrone Islands we have a variety of this vessel in which the canoe, on the outrigger side, is nearly flat, having a belly only on the opposite side. [FLAT SIDES] This is described by Wilkes in 1838, and Dampier in 1686.

[DOUBLE CANOE] The double canoe represents a variety in which both logs of the double-logged raft have developed into canoes. The two canoes are placed side by side, at a little distance apart, and transverse spars are lashed across the gunwales of both; a platform being built upon the cross spars; No. 1266 of my collection.

[DISTRIBUTION] Double canoes of this kind were used in New Zealand formerly, also in New Caledonia. Mr. Baines mentions it in North Australia, but I am not aware that it is used in New Guinea. Cook speaks of it in the Friendly Isles, Wilkes in Fiji. It was formerly used in Samoa, but Wilkes says it has been discontinued, and the single outrigger only is now used; in Tahiti; in the Low Archipelago, the inhabitants of which group are very expert sailors, steering by the stars, and seldom making any material error; in the Sandwich Isles; also in Ceylon, where it is called a paddy boat; in Birmah and in some of the Indian rivers; at Mosapore, where it goes by the name of langardy and in Cochin, on the southern portion of the Malabar coast, where it is employed as a ferry-boat. It also appears, by a model in the India Museum, that it is used as high up as Patna, on the Ganges.

[LINK] In Fiji we find a connecting link between the double canoe and the canoe with the single outrigger. Here the outrigger consists of a boat, similar in construction to the large one to which it is attached, but smaller, and connected with the platform between them by upright supports.

[SAILING PECULIARITIES] Contrivances for sailing near the wind with the single out-rigger canoe have led to the introduction of several other varieties of this class of vessel. It is necessary that the out-rigger should always be on the windward side. The outrigger acts as a weight on the windward side, to prevent the narrow canoe from being blown over on the opposite side. When it blows very hard, the men run out on to the outrigger, to give it the additional weight of their bodies. Wilkes says that whenever the outrigger gets to the leeward side, there is almost invariably an upset. [SAILING FORE AND AFT] The outrigger probably is pressed too deeply into the water, and meeting with too much resistance, breaks the poles. To meet this difficulty both the canoe and outrigger are, in some parts, made pointed at both ends. When they wish to tack, instead of luffing and coming about, they bear away, until the vessel gets on the opposite quarter, and then, by shifting the sail, they sail away again stern first. [DISTRIBUTION] This system is pursued in Fiji, in parts of New Guinea, and northward, in Kingsmill Islands (Wilkes).

[DOUBLE OUTRIGGER] Another mode of meeting this difficulty consists in having two outriggers, one on each side. [DISTRIBUTION] This is employed in the Louisiade Archipelago (No. 1260), in parts of New Guinea, and to the north, in the Sooloo Archipelago. Yet another method remains to be described. [WEATHER PLATFORMS] In Samoa the canoes are built with bow and stern, and the outrigger is pointed towards the fore part only. As these vessels can only sail one way, the outrigger, in tacking, must necessarily be sometimes on the leeward side; to meet this, they rig out a platform corresponding to the out-rigger platform on the opposite side; this, for distinction's sake, we may term a weather platform. It has no outrigger log, nor does it touch the water, but when the wind blows so heavily as to press the outrigger down on the lee side, they run out on the weather platform, and counterbalance the effect of the wind by their weight. [DISTRIBUTION] This contrivance is used in some parts of New Guinea, where, it may be observed, the varieties of the outrigger canoe are more numerous than in most of the other islands. It is also used in the Solomon Isles, where the weather platform is of the same width as the outrigger platform; and probably in some of the other islands to the north.

Finally we have, in the Asiatic Archipelago, a contrivance which may be said to be derived partly from the double out-rigger, and partly from the weather platform last described. In proportion as the simple dug-out canoe began to be converted into a built-up vessel, and to acquire greater beam, they began to depend less and less on the support of the outrigger. [DOUBLE WEATHER PLATFORM] The double outrigger necessarily presented considerable resistance to the water, but the vessel was still too narrow to sail by itself. A weather platform had, however, been found sufficient to balance the vessel on one side, and the next step was to knock off the outrigger log on the other side, thereby converting the outrigger platform into a weather platform; the two platforms projecting one on each side of the vessel, on the level of the gunwales, without touching the water, and thereby acting on the principle of the balancing-pole of a tight-rope dancer, whilst the resistance to the water was by this means confined to that of the hull of the vessel itself. These double weather-platform boats were also found more convenient in inland waters, in the canals in Manilla, and elsewhere.

[DISTRIBUTION] De Guignes, in 1796, mentions a contrivance of this sort in the Philippines, but from the account, it is not quite clear whether he refers to a double weather platform, or a vessel with an outrigger and a weather platform. He says "The boats at Manilla are very sharply built, and furnished with yards, which serve as balances, on the windward side of which, when the wind blows hard, the sailors place themselves to counterpoise the effect of the wind on the sails. This contrivance does not, however, always ensure safety, for at times the bamboos which form the balance break, in which case the boat founders and the crew are lost." Dampier, however, in 1686, clearly speaks of the double weather platform at Manilla. [MANILLA] He says "The difference between these Manilla boats and those at Guam, in the Ladrones, is that, whereas at Guam there is a little boat, fastened to the outriggers, that lies in the water, the beams or bamboos here are fastened transverse-wise to the outlayers on each side, and touch not the water like boats, but one, three, or four feet above the water, and serve for the canoe-men to sit and row and paddle upon." He says, that "when the vessel reels, the ends of the platform dip into the water, and the vessel rights itself." [BIRMAH] Still further north, at Rangoon, on the Irrawaddy, we find the same contrivance described by Symes in 1795. He says "The boats are long and narrow, sixty feet in length, and not more than twelve in the widest place; they require a good deal of ballast, and would have been in constant danger of upsetting, had they not been provided with outriggers which, composed of thin boards, or oftener of buoyant bamboos, make a platform that extends horizontally six or seven feet on the outside of the boat from stem to stern. Thus secure, he says, the vessel can incline no further than until the platform touches the surface of the water, when she immediately rights on this stage the boatmen ply their oars."

[RESULTS] This constitutes one out of many points of evidence that might be mentioned, serving to show that the arts and culture of the Birmese, and of all this part of Asia, have been derived from the Malay Archipelago more probably than the reverse.

The outrigger canoe itself has never, I believe, been known on the Irrawaddy within the memory of man, but, as already seen, it is used in the Nicobar and Andaman Isles and on the coast to the south.

These outriggers, or balancing platforms, appear gradually to have diminished in size as the vessel increased in beam, and there can be little doubt that the rude stages or balconies outside the gunwales represented in the models of many of the larger vessels used in these seas are the last vestiges of the outrigger. No. 1278 of my collection is an example of this.

[RESULTS] All the various items of evidence which I have collected, and endeavoured to elucidate by means of survivals, whether in relation to modes of navigation or other branches of industry, appear to me to tend towards establishing a gradual development of culture as we advance northward. Although Buddhism and its concomitant civilization may have come from the north, there has been an earlier and prehistoric flow of culture in the opposite direction—northward—from the primaeval and now submerged cradle of the human family in the southern hemi- sphere. This, I venture to think, will establish itself more and more clearly, in proportion as we divest ourselves of the numerous errors which have arisen from our acceptance of the Noachian deluge as a universal catastrophe.

[OCEAN HIGHWAY] As human culture developed northward from the equator toward the 40th parallel of latitude, civilization began to bud out in Egypt, India, and China, and a great highway of nations was established by means of ships along the southern margin of the land, from China to the Red Sea.

[DISTRIBUTION OF OTHER SHIP FORMS] Along this ocean highway may be traced many connexions in ship forms which have survived from the earliest times. [OCULUS] The oculus, which, on the sacred boats of the Egyptians, represented the eye of Osiris guiding the mummy of the departed across the sacred lake, is still seen eastward— in India and China—converted into an ornamental device, whilst westward it lived through the period of the Roman and Grecian biremes and triremes, and has survived to this day on the Maltese rowing-boats and the xebecque of Calabria, or has been converted into a hawser-hole in modern European craft. [RUDDER] The function of the rudder— which in the primitive vessels of the southern world is still performed by the paddlers, whilst paddling with their faces to the prow—was confided, as sails began to be introduced, to the rearmost oars. In some of the Egyptian sculptures the three hindermost rowers on each side are seen steering the vessel with their oars. Ultimately one greatly developed oar on each side of the stern performed this duty; the loom of which was attached to an upright beam on the deck, as is still the case in some parts of India. In some of the larger Malay prahaus there are openings or windows in the stern, considerably below the deck, by which the steersmen have access to two large rudders, one on each side; each rudder being the vestige of a side oar.

Throughout the Polynesian Islands the steering is performed with either one or two greatly developed paddles. Both in the rudder of the Egyptian sculptures and in the gubernamdum of the Roman vessels, we see the transition from the large double oar, one on each side, to the single oar at the stern. The ship of Ptolemaeus Philopator had four rudders, each thirty cubits in length (Smith's Dic., s. v. ‘Navis'). The Chinese and Japanese rudder is but a modification of the oar, worked through large holes in the stern of the vessel; which large holes, in the case of the Japanese, owe their preservation to the orders of the Tycoon, who caused them to be retained in all his vessels, in order to prevent his subjects from venturing far to sea. [BUCCINA] The buccina, or shell trumpet, which is used especially on board all canoes in the Pacific, from the coast of Peru to Ceylon, is represented, together with the gubemaculum, in the hands of Tritons in Roman sculptures (Smith's Dic., s. v. ‘Navis '), and the shell form of it was preserved in its metallic representatives.

[SAIL] The sail, in its simplest form, consists of a triangular mat, with bamboos lashed to the two longer sides. In New Guinea and some of the other islands, this sail, which is here seen in its simplest form, is simply put up on deck, with the apex downwards and the broad end up, and kept up by stays fore and aft. When a separate mast was introduced, this sail was hauled up by a halyard attached to one of the bamboos, at the distance of about one-fifth of its length from the broad end, the apex of the bamboo-edged mat being fastened forward by means of a tack. By taking away the lower bamboo the sail became the lateen sail of the Malay pirate proa, the singular resemblance of which to that of the Maltese galley of the eighteenth century (a resemblance shared by all other parts of the two vessels) may be seen by two models placed side by side in the Royal United Service Institution. Professor Wilson observes that the use of the sail appears to be almost unknown on either continent of America, and the surprise of the Spaniards on first seeing one used on board a Peruvian balza arose from this known peculiarity of early American navigation. Lahontan, however, in 1684, says that the Canadian bark canoes, though usually propelled by paddles, sometimes carried a small sail. He does not, however, say whether the knowledge of these has been derived from Europeans. Mr. Lloyd also mentions small sails used with bark canoes in Newfoundland.

[CROW'S NEST] The crows-nest, which in the Egyptian vessels served to contain a slinger or an archer at the top of the mast, and which is also represented in the Assyrian sculptures, was still used for the same purpose in Europe in the fifteenth century, was modified in the sixteenth century, and became the mast-head so well known to midshipmen in our own time. [PROPA AND PUPPIS] The two raised platforms, which in the Egyptian vessels served to contain the man with the fathoming pole in the fore part, and the steersman behind, became the prora and the puppis of the Romans, and the forecastle and poop of modern European vessels. [APLUSTRE] The aplustre, which, in the form of a lotus, ornamented the stern of the Egyptian war-craft, gave the form to the aplustre of the Greeks and Romans, and may still be seen on the stern of the Birmese war-boats at the present time.

[ARGUMENT AND CONCLUSION] All these numerous examples serve to show that where civilization has advanced the forms have been gradually changed; where, on the other hand, it has not advanced, they have remained unchanged. Sir Gardner Wilkinson and others have pointed out the striking resemblance between the boats of the ancient Egyptians and those of modern India. "The form of the stern, the principle and construction of the rudder, the cabins, the square sail, the copper eye on each side of the head, the line of small squares at the side, like false windows, and the shape of the oars of boats used on the Ganges, forcibly call to mind," he says, "those of the Nile, represented in the paintings of the Theban tombs." We have also seen that the inflated sheep-skin still serves to transport the Mesopotamian peasant across the Euphrates, as it did when Nimroud was a thriving city. The skin and wicker tub-shaped vessels still float down the Euphrates with their cargoes to Baghdad, are broken up, and the skins carried up the river again on mules, as they were in the time of Herodotus, upwards of 2,000 years ago. What is there to prevent our believing that the primitive vessels which we have been describing in the southern hemisphere, the representatives of some of which have been discovered in river deposits of the stone age in Europe, may have been in use in the countries in which they are now found, as long, and longer—far longer?

What reason is there to doubt that the rude bark-float of the Australian, the Tasmanian, and the Ethiopian; the catamaran of the Papuan; the dug-out of the New Zealander; the built-up canoe of the Samoan; and the improved ribbed vessel of the Ké islander, are survivals representing successive stages in the development of the art of ship-building, not lapses to ruder methods of construction as the result of degradation; that each stage supplies us with examples of what was at one time the perfection of the art, inconceivable ages ago? Some, as we have seen, especially the more primitive kinds, spread nearly all over the world, whilst others had a more limited area of distribution. Taken together, they enable us to trace back the history of ship-building from the time of the earliest Egyptian sculptures to the commencement of the art.

Nor does the interest of this inquiry confine itself to the development of ship-building. As affecting the means of locomotion, it throws light on the development of other branches of culture in early times. For even if we set aside exceptional instances in which individual canoes have been driven away to—such as the case in which an Esquimaux in great distances his kayak was picked up off the coast of Aberdeen, or that of a Chinese junk having been wrecked on the north-west coast of America, which might or might not have produced permanent results—and confine ourselves to those cases in which the distribution of like forms of vessels proves that there must probably have been frequent communication between shore and shore; and if we further assume, as I propose to do, that the existing means of communication in the Pacific in a great measure represents the amount of intercourse that took place across the sea in prehistoric times, that is to say, in times prior to the earliest Egyptian sculptures, we find no difficulty in accounting, by this means, for the striking similarity observable in the arts and ideas of savages in distant lands; for not only have these vessels been the means of conveying from place to place the material form of implements, such as celts, stone knives, and so forth, which, being imperishable, have been handed down to us unchanged, and the forms of which we know to have spread over large geographic areas; but also each voyage has conveyed a boat-load of ideas, of which no material record remains, in the shape of myths, religions, and superstitions, which have been emptied out upon the seashore, to seek affinity with other chatter that was indigenous to the place.

Thus, by means of intercommunication, no less than by spontaneous development, have been formed those numerous combinations which so greatly puzzle the student of culture at the present time..


Professor T. McK. HUGHES, after mentioning several early historical notices of long voyages made by Phoenicians, Greeks, and others, pointed out that the more advanced form of boat, in which long voyages could be made, would be most widely known; whllst the ruder forms, determined by the requirements and capabilities of different localities, would probably be local. The coracle, for instance, had held its own in Wales from the time of the Romans, from the facility with which it can be made, carried from pool to pool, and used in netting.

Mr T.G.B. LLOYD described a skin canoe which he had had built by the Indians during a trip across the Island of Newfoundland in the fall of the present year. A framework of green spruce and "var" (Balsam fir), bound together with spruce roots, formed the inside of the canoe, around which three shaved skins of the Caribou deer were tightly stretched. The skins were sewn together with sinews taken from the back of a deer. When finished, the canoe was about seventeen feet long and four feet wide amidships, and in shape resembled a "flat" or American "dory," rather than a birch-bark canoe. It was found capable of carrying a load of about 600 or 700 pounds, and proved a serviceable craft for running rapids and navigating the lakes of the interior of the island. The employment of such is confined in Newfoundland to the Micmac Indians, who, during their hunting and furring expeditions, construct them at the waterside, use them during the season, and when done with, remove the skins, which they make use of, if in a sufficiently good state of preservation, for the manufacture of mocassins and babiche for snow-shoes.

Mr. PARK HARRISON said that Colonel Lane Fox had shown conclusively how the outrigger arose, and also clearly defined the area where it was used. It did not, however, appear to him to be equally certain that the improvements in boat-building in the Indian Archipelago had been developed without foreign influence. There was a great mixture of races in the islands, owing, probably, to early commerce. Amongst others, the Arabs, it is known, reached Sumatra and Java several hundred years ago. Vessels formed of planks sewn together with sennit may consequently have been introduced by them, and also into Ceylon and the coasts of India, where they are still found side by side with the canoes and rafts of non-seagoing people. A curious story is related by an Arab writer of the ninth century, that a wreck had been found some time previously at the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea, near the Pillars of Hercules, which, from its construction, led to the conclusion that it must have circumnavigated Africa. A certain amount of Phoenician influence might also have to be taken into account, if, as the written characters in Sumatra seem to indicate, some of that race arrived there.

Mr BLACKMORE and the PRESIDENT also spoke on the paper.

Colonel A. LANE FOX, in reply to some remarks by the President, said that he had considered the possibility of the outrigger having been invented for the purpose of preventing the long, narrow, dug-out canoe from upsetting. That was undoubtedly its object. But viewed as an invention, he thought it was too great a step for savages, and contrary to all analogy of savage progress to suppose that it was introduced suddenly. It was a very clumsy contrivance, and one that would hardly have suggested itself had not their ideas been led up to it by contrivances previously in use. Such a sequence of ideas he found to exist in the varieties of the catamaran or raft, as he had already shown. Nearly all over the world savages used the long, narrow, dug-out canoe, specially liable to upset whenever it was employed; and yet the outrigger was unknown in either continent of America, in Europe, Asia, or Africa. It was confined to the area specified, which was limited by Ceylon on the west and Easter Island on the east. Nor was this all. Within this area there were varieties, and the distribution of these varieties was also continuous. There could be nothing, he thought, in the nature of the trees used which could necessitate the direct attachment of the outrigger to the outrigger poles on the extreme east and west of this area, whilst in the central region it was attached to them by means of upright supports. So also the variety with one flat side; the custom of using a large shell attached to upright pegs upon the deck; the variety with the double outrigger; the weather platform, the double weather platform without outrigger logs, all these have continuous areas of distribution, which could not have been influenced exclusively by the nature of the materials employed, though, of course, no variety could prevail in places where the materials were unsuitable. Besides which, the several varieties showed a connected sequence of ideas which had spread over the region in question, and this, he thought, was sufficient to prove absolutely that a connection of idea had existed. With respect to what had been said about the importance of weighing carefully the dates of the several contrivances referred to in the paper, the question of date was precisely the problem to be solved. We had few, if any, direct data to go upon. We knew that little or no change had taken place between the time of Cook and the time of Wilkes, but this gave us a very short base to work upon. Analogy only served to point out the direction in which evidence had to be looked for. The nature of survivals and root-indicating branches, thanks to the writings of Mr. Tylor and others, was now beginning to be understood. We knew that on the Euphrates the same tub-shaped, wicker, and skin vessels are now used as they were 2,000 years ago, and the forms of Egypt have survived in India. His argument was that the forms of these savage vessels may have survived from a still earlier period. But until geologists give us some clue to the antiquity of man in the southern hemisphere, and the state of his arts, we can have no direct evidence as to the sequence of the forms.


[1] Notes and Queries on Anthropology, for the use of travellers and residents in uncivilised lands, drawn up by a Committee appointed by the British Association for the Advancement of Science Standford, Charing Cross, 1874.

[2] 'Lectures on Primitive Warfare,' in the Journal of the Royal United Services Institution

[3] Address to the Anthropological Department at the Brighton meeting of the British Association, 1872.

[4] Since writing this I have seen the illustration in Sir H. Rawlinson's note to this passage, in which he gives it as his opinion that this is the meaning and use to be ascribed to these pins; and he says that this system is still employed in Egypt, where they raise an extra bulwark above the gunwale. Rawlinson, Herodotus vol. ii. p. 132.

[5] "Denmark in the Early Iron Age", by Conrad Engelhardt 1866.

[6] 'On Vessels of Papyrus,' by John Hogg, Esq., M.A., F.L.S.; "Magazine of Nat. Hist.", vol. ii (1829)

Transcribed by AP, September 2011.

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