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Home > Books > Additional Notes on Arrow Release > Part 4
Additional Notes on Arrow Release
Part 4 of 21

In my first memoir I expressed the belief that the different releases characterized different races and that is more or less true. I find that these lines are not hard and fast, however, as I had at first supposed but that here and there savage people the world over practice a release which I associated with the higher races, namely, the Mediterranean. Even the Mongolian release, the most exclusive of them all, is found in Africa in which not only the thumb-ring is used but also an extraordinary device in the form of a yoke of wood grasped in the hand and first described by DR. FELIX VON LUSCHAN. Further reference to his discovery will be made.

In my first paper I tried in vain to find the method of release among the Indians who were common in New England in the early part of the. seventeenth century. I had secured the Penobscot and Micmac release and this was the primary form. In 1865 the Prince Society of Boston reproduced a rare book entitled "Wood's New-England's Prospect," by WILLIAM WOOD, published in London in 1634, copies of which are of great rarity. In the Prince Society reproduction the quaint and original spelling is carefully preserved. WILLIAM WOOD was evidently a gentleman and a scholar, Latin phrases often occur. The author was a keen observer. He notices what few travelers do, the attitude of the hand of the savage in drawing the bow. The following extract describes very clearly that the Indians in New England employed the primary release. "For their shooting they be most desperate marksmen for a point blancke object, and if it may bee possible Cornicum oculos configere they will doe it: such is their celerity and dexterity in Artillerie, that they can smite the swift running Hinde and nimble winked Pigeon without a standing pause or left eyed blinking; they draw their Arrowes between the forefingers and the thumbe; their bowes be quicke, but not very strong, not killing above six or seven score". (p. 97)

I am indebted to DR. S. J. MIXTER for a photograph of a Micmac Indian who illustrated to him the method of drawing the arrow. It shows the typical primary release. (Fig. 6.) The Indian was one of the oldest Micmacs in the Cascapedia settlement in Canada. He told DR. MIXTER that other tribes in Canada used the same method and he knew of no other. These facts I mentioned in my first paper but the figure which was not published at that time is now given.

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