Howitt to Fison 12 December 1879

Page 3 of 3

Transcription - Page 2

all the works to which I can get access and to extract everything
noteworthy. I think this will certainly bring us into collision
with our friend Sir John. In looking over his "Origin of civilization"
When I was in the Omeo library the other day I noted a statement to
which I at once took exception. My mind was much exercised
therewith on the way down here and the result has been a
note to "Lamby's case" a rough draft of which I enclose for your
information. I shall have to consult his last edition before I use
it in order to see whether he has modified his remarkable
statement. I also enclose for your perusal and community
a note on the "Degradation" and "Progression" theories of man's
primitive condition. It is a rough draft and I must look up
authorities for the "Law of Nature" - the "condition of man in a state of nature"
Rousseau +c but they will not I think alter the statement I make.

I am still trying to gather data and I have hopes
of at last being able to tap the Coopers Creek reservoir
I have written to correspondents as to the umbilicus
Also as to the use of the curious wooden instrument during
the ceremonies of initiation. So far as I know at present
it is exactly like what we used as boys to call a
"Bull roarer" - a piece of flat wood say 6 x 2 inches
with notches at the sides and attached to a cord. When
swung round by the cord it makes a roaring noise
It was and is used by the Australian aborigines in
several places to my knowledge during the ceremonies
to warn off women and other uninitiated persons
Do your Fijians and other islanders know of it.
I shall write as soon as I have anything
further to say. Mean while although I am up
to my neck in work I shall still find time
to keep an eye upon our Ethnological - I beg pardon
Anthropological work.
Yours faithfully
A W Howitt

The Rev Lorimer Fison

Page 3 of 3

Document Details

Letter From
Letter To
Holding Institution St Mark's Theological College
Collection Name
Registration Number tip70-10-33-30
Physical Description