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Title: Narrative of a Voyage to Hudson's Bay in His Majesty's Ship Rosamond

Date of first publication: 1817

Author: Edward Chappell, 1792-1861

Date first posted: Jan. 25, 2017

Date last updated: Jan. 25, 2017

Faded Page eBook #20170130

This eBook was produced by: Andrew Sly, Stephen Hutcheson & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

Narrative of a Voyage to Hudson’s Bay in His Majesty’s Ship Rosamond

of the
from the
Great Lake Winnepeg to the Gull Lake.
Shewing the different
Portages, Falls, and Rapids;
Master in the Royal Navy
N.B. The figures denote the number of feet in each fall of the River.
High-Resolution Map



Ὑμεῖς δ’, ὦ Μοῦσαι, σχολιὰς ἐνέποιτε χελεύθους.

DIONYSII PERIEGESIS. v. 63. Ozon. 1697.

By H. Watts, Crown Court, Temple Bar.


Facsimile edition reprinted
© Copyright 1970.

Originally printed in 1817
for J. Mawman,
Ludgate Street, London, England



&c. &c. &c.






Towards the close of the year 1814, a young naval officer, Lieutenant Chappell, of his Majesty’s ship Rosamond, who had recently returned, for the second time, from an expedition to the North-eastern coast of America, brought to Cambridge a collection of the dresses, weapons, &c. of the Indians inhabiting Hudson’s Bay[1]; requesting that I would present these curiosities to the Public Library of the University. This Collection so much resembled another which the Russian Commodore Billings brought to Petersburg from the North-western shores of the same continent, and part of which iv Professor Pallas had given to me in the Crimea, that, being desirous to learn whether the same customs and language might not be observed over the whole of North America, between the parallels 50° and 70° of north latitude, I proposed to Lieutenant Chappell a series of questions concerning the natives of the North-eastern coast; desiring to have an answer to each of them, in writing, founded upon his own personal observations. In consequence of this application, I was entrusted with a perusal of the following Journal. It was written by himself, during his last expedition: and having since prevailed upon him to make it public, it is a duty incumbent upon me to vouch for its authenticity, and to make known some particulars respecting its author, which may perhaps give an additional interest to his Narrative. The Letters, indeed, which have accompanied his communications with regard to his late voyage, v are strongly tinged with the “infandum jubes renovare dolorem;” because, to the ardent spirit of a British seaman, no service can be more depressing than that which, during war, banishes him from the career of glory, to a station where no proof of skill or of intrepidity, no enterprise of fatigue or of danger, is ever attended with honour or reward[2]. Lieutenant Chappell was twice ordered upon this station; after exploits in the navy, which, at a very early period of his life, obtained for him the rank he now holds.

In 1805, he assisted in cutting out the Spanish privateer-schooner, Isabella La Demos, from under the batteries of a small vi bay in South America[3]. In 1806, after witnessing the battle of St. Domingo, he was with the boats which burned the Imperiale of 120 guns, and the Diomede of eighty guns. In the latter end of the same year, his ship, the King’s Fisher, having towed Lord Cochrane’s frigate from under the batteries of L’Isle d’Aix, near Rochfort, assisted in the capture of Le President of forty-four guns. In 1808, he was at the capture of the Danish islands, St. Thomas and St. Croix, in the West Indies. In 1808, or 1809, he was in the Intrepid of sixty-four guns, when she engaged two French frigates, and was very severely handled. Afterwards, he was at the capture of the Saints, and of vii the Island of Martinico, when he was employed on the shore, in fighting the breaching batteries. In 1810, he commanded a gun-boat during the siege of Cadiz. The conduct of the gun-boats upon this occasion requires no comment: it was then that he received a severe wound in the thigh, and was made Lieutenant. In 1812, he assisted in landing the Expedition, under General Maitland, in Murcia. In 1813, he was employed in protecting the fisheries upon the coast of Labrador. In 1814, he made the voyage to Hudson’s Bay, whereof the following pages contain his unaltered Narrative. In 1815, being First Lieutenant of his Majesty’s ship Leven, he was employed in assisting the Chiefs of La Vendee, and in reinstating the Prince Tremouille in the Captain-generalship of the Department de Cotes d’Or.

Such have been the services of this viii meritorious officer, now only twenty-five years of age; but, owing to the termination of the war, dismissed, with many other of his gallant comrades, from the active duties in which they were engaged. These circumstances, as it must be obvious, are by no means querulously introduced: nor is the following Narrative made public with the slightest intention of reproaching the Admiralty with the hard lot to which one of its naval heroes was exposed, in being twice employed in such a service:—it is a lot that must fall somewhere; and the present Publication will shew, that the person upon whom it devolved is able to give a satisfactory account of the manner in which this part of his duty was performed.


University Library, Cambridge,

April 7, 1817.



Map of the Great Nelson River, from the Great Lake Winnepeg to the Gull Lake; shewing the different Portages, Falls, and Rapids: by Mr. William Hillier, Master in the Royal Navy facing Title-page.
View of the Rosamond passing to windward of an Iceberg P. 1
Cape Saddle Back, north 7 or 8 miles: with two remarkable Icebergs off the low point 55
Male Esquimaux, in his Canoe ib.
An Esquimaux Hut 75
Sledge drawn by Dogs, used by European Traders at Hudson’s Bay, and on the Southern Coast of Labrador 106
Bark Canoe of the Cree Indians in Hudson’s Bay ib.
Appearance of the Entrance of Prince of Wales’s Sound, bearing S. W. ½ W. about nine leagues;—taken August 17, 1814 133
The Rosamond grappled among close Ice ib.
Interior of a Wigwam of the Cree Indians 211

VIEW of the ROSAMOND, passing to windward of an ICEBERG.

&c. &c.

On the 14th day of May, 1814, Captain Campbell received orders to repair, without delay, to Hoseley Bay, on the coast of Suffolk; and there to wait for his final directions from the Admiralty.

The Rosamond, at this time, had been lying about a fortnight at Spithead, perfectly ready for sea; and it was conjectured that America would have been the place of her destination: of course, 2 many among us were big with the hopes of fame, and many with the expectation of fortune. When the above-mentioned orders arrived, however, all chance of our proceeding to the seat of war appeared at an end: yet we consoled ourselves with the reflection, that we should doubtless be employed on the coast of Norway; as the whole of that kingdom had been declared in a state of blockade, in consequence of the Norwegians refusing to accede to the Treaty of Keil, by which their country was to be annexed for ever to the dominion of Sweden. Accordingly, we sailed from Spithead.

May 15th.—We had light winds all this day. As we passed out of Spithead, through St. Helen’s, we observed His Majesty’s ship Adamant, and an East-India ship, going in. About nine in the evening: we passed close to the Owers Light.


May 16th.—In the forenoon, fine calm weather, we came to an anchor in sight of Brighton, to wait the change of tide: saw His Majesty’s ship Hope at anchor in the Roads. In the afternoon, got under weigh: observed His Majesty’s brig Tigress standing down Channel. Towards nightfall, we weathered the promontory of Beachy Head, and passed in view of Hastings, where the famous battle was fought between King Harold and William the Conqueror.

May 17th.—At two in the morning, anchored in sight of Dungeness Light-house. At seven A.M. weighed, with a foul wind, and beat towards the South Foreland. Came in sight of the coast of France: observed a large pillar, or monument, on the hills above Boulogne, said to have been erected by Buonaparte. In the afternoon, anchored off the town of Folkestone. 4 Towards evening, weighed again; and, after night-fall, anchored in Dover Roads.

May 18th.—In the morning we had a fine view of Dover Castle, the majestic South Foreland, &c. Got under weigh, and stood across the Channel;—observed many vessels passing between France and England. Saw the spires of Calais. Beat up at the back of the Goodwin Sands;—observed a three-decked ship in the Downs, hoisting the flag of his Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence, under a general salute of cannon from all the shipping. Towards evening, anchored in sight of Margate; but after night-fall, got under weigh again.

May 19th.—In the morning, anchored again, near a shoal called the Galloper. In the forenoon, weighed. Towards evening, passed Orford-Ness Light-houses, and 5 anchored in Hoseley Bay. An officer was immediately sent on shore, to bring on board the final orders. The boat was nearly overturned in landing, in consequence of the heavy surf on all parts of this coast: however, the officer returned about midnight, and delivered the orders to the Captain. Nothing could exceed the consternation and astonishment of every person on board, to find we were directed to proceed, almost immediately, for Hudson’s Bay!—Had we been ordered to the North Pole, there could not have been more long faces among us. Down fell, at once, all the aërial castles which we had been so long building; and nothing remained, but the dismal prospect of a tedious voyage, amidst icy seas, and shores covered with eternal snows.

May 20th.—A boat was this day despatched to Harwich, from which place we 6 were about ten miles distant, to get on board what few naval stores were wanted to complete us for the voyage. Harwich is a small town, with narrow streets, not paved: there are some pleasant walks in the environs. The harbour is a good one, with sufficient depth of water for a frigate. The place is well fortified towards the sea, and has a small naval arsenal. A guard-ship is generally stationed at this port, during war.

May 21st.—In the morning, His Majesty’s ship Unicorn passed us, under an immense press of sail, with a Royal standard flying at her mast-head, which we saluted with twenty-one guns.

May 22d.—Towards the evening of this day, our Captain received orders to proceed to the Nore, in order to procure pilots to conduct the ship safe to the Orkneys. We had 7 also another motive in visiting the Nore at this time, which I may, perhaps, be excused relating, although it have no immediate connexion with the voyage that we were about to undertake. Previous to our sailing from Spithead, a shipwright belonging to the dock-yard had been accidentally killed, by our having fired a signal-gun without taking out the shot. Unfortunately, the poor man’s wife, at the moment of his death, was pregnant of her tenth child. A subscription was instantly opened for her, on board our ship, and £.60 was the next day paid into her hands. I have since been informed, that the different ships at Spithead followed our example, as did also the workmen of the Dock-yard; and a handsome sum was collected in the whole. No blame could be attributed to any person; but, to prevent the possibility of such an imputation, it was thought necessary that the gunner should be tried by a court-martial; 8 and it was to assemble this court, that we were now ordered to proceed to the Nore[4].

May 23d.—In the morning, we weighed, with a strong breeze in our favour; and at noon anchored at the Great Nore;—observed a Russian Vice-admiral, with a squadron belonging to that nation, at anchor there also. We remained at this place, waiting the arrival of the Hudson’s-Bay traders, until the 30th; when the two ships arrived; accompanied by a brig belonging to the Moravian Missionary Society, bound for the coast of Labrador, whither she was to proceed under our protection, or at least as far as our courses lay together. It is a rule with the Hudson’s-Bay Company, to make their ships always break ground 9 on the 29th of May; although, sometimes, they do not leave the river Thames before June. The same day on which the Hudson’s-Bay ships arrived at the Nore, we were joined by a new Captain (Stopford); our former one (Campbell) not wishing, for many reasons, to go the voyage. His loss was most sincerely regretted by all of us: however, our new Commander proved himself, during the whole time we sailed together, to be one of the most exemplary captains in His Majesty’s navy. We continued getting our stores on board until—

June 4th.—Early this day, we weighed anchor. Being the birth-day of our venerable King, all the English and Russian ships of war were dressed with flags, and made a very gay appearance.

June 5th.—We anchored twice this day, to wait the change of tide: at first, off the 10 Gunfleet Sand; and towards evening we brought up, off Harwich.

June 6th.—In the morning, weighed, and beat up into Hoseley Bay;—found lying there His Majesty’s ship Bristol. Towards evening, sent the purser on shore, to procure fresh beef.

June 7th.—The boat returned in the morning, with the purser in sad distress; eight men having deserted from the boat, from an antipathy to the voyage.

June 8th.—A party of soldiers, and an officer, were sent to look for the deserters; but in the evening they returned, unsuccessful.

June 9th.—In the afternoon, weighed with our convoy, and beat towards Yarmouth. In the evening, anchored off Aldborough.


June 10th.—In the morning, we again weighed. At noon, anchored at Yarmouth; and sent a boat on shore, to procure beef and vegetables for the ship’s company; as this was the last place we touched at, in England. Yarmouth is a large straggling place; consisting of one or two good streets, and many narrow lanes; with open spaces here and there, like squares. The church has a most beautiful spire. The town does not contain any magnificent buildings: here is, however, a very fine market-place; and an agreeable promenade, under the shade of two rows of trees, running along the quay on the banks of the river Wensum, on the N. W. side of the town. All the soil around the town is barren; which accounts for the waste of room in the buildings, as land is of little or no value. I know not any place in Great Britain which has finer bathing conveniences. In the evening, we again weighed; and at night-fall 12 passed by Haseborough and Cromer Light-houses.

June 11th.—In the morning, we saw the Spurn Light-house; and towards noon, we passed by Flamborough Head, in Yorkshire. Towards evening, we had a fine view of Scarborough.

June 12th.—A beautiful day, running with a fair wind and smooth sea. In the evening, saw the blue tops of the Cheviot Hills.

June 13th.—A fine fair breeze. Towards noon, passed the Buchan Ness, and had a good view of Peterhead. Towards evening the wind increased to a gale;—hove-to, until morning.

June 14th.—In the morning, passed the Pentland Frith, in which the tide is like a whirlpool; and, after having run by Long-Hope 13 Harbour, we anchored at Stromness, in the Island of Pomona, the principal of the Orkneys; immediately opposite to which is the Isle of Hoy, having on it a remarkable high mountain, in shape very like the Rock of Gibraltar. Immediately on our arrival, the two Hudson’s-Bay ships fired seven guns each, to give notice to the inhabitants of their arrival. The visits of the North-west men, as the Hudson’s-Bay ships are denominated, creates a sort of annual mart, or fair, in the Orkneys; as it is from hence that they derive all the necessary supplies of poultry, beef, vegetables, and even men, to fit them for so long a voyage:—consequently, the Orkney people listen with anxiety for this salute of cannon, which announces the arrival of the N. W. ships; as almost every person in the island is, in some way or other, interested in their coming.


June 15th.—We were employed in watering the ship; and found it difficult to procure a sufficient quantity, owing to a great drought which had lately prevailed.

The town of Stromness is an irregular assemblage of dirty huts, with here and there a decent house. There is scarcely any thing deserving the name of a street in the place, although it is said to contain a population of two thousand souls. A few years ago it did not contain above one third of that number. The harbour is small, but very secure: it is defended from the sea by an island called The Holmes; and there is a good summer roadstead outside the island, called the Back of the Holmes. Firewood cannot be procured in the Orkneys, where there are no trees; but Newcastle coal is always remarkably cheap. About six miles from Stromness is a large lake, 15 called Stonehouse Loch, in consequence of some high flat stones which stand by the side of it, something similar in appearance to Stonehenge, on Salisbury Plain: they bear no inscription, and seem to have been set on their ends in the same state as when taken from the quarry[5]:—the view given of them in Barrie’s Description of the Orkney Islands is perfectly correct. The quantities of grouse, partridge, plover, snipe, &c. in the Orkneys, is astonishing: neither foxes nor hares are to be found; but rabbits are very numerous. There are some spots of good land in the valleys; but in such a bad state of cultivation, from idleness and want of manure, that at least five weeds are produced to one blade of corn. Wheat is not grown in any of the 16 islands; the produce consisting, principally, in barley and oats. But the chief export of the Orkneys is kelp, ashes obtained by the burning of sea-weed[6], with which all the shores abound: this proves a most valuable acquisition to those gentlemen whose estates border on the sea; as it sells, on an average, at £.11 a ton; and is collected, at low water, without much difficulty. The kelp estates produce triennial harvests; and when this commodity is gathered, it is sent either to Newcastle, to Dumbarton, or to Leith; great quantities being required for the use of the glass-houses established in those towns. The number of tame geese reared in these islands is really surprising: they wander about the barren hills in flocks, like sheep; and the owners give 17 themselves little or no trouble about them, until they are wanted for sale, or for their own consumption.

June 16th.—I accompanied some of the officers on a shooting party. This circumstance is merely mentioned to introduce a description of the farm-houses; as we visited many of them during our excursion. The delineation of one will answer for all: and surely there never was a scene better fitted for the pencil of a Morland! In one corner stood a calf; in another, a sheep and its lambkin; in the next, walled in with loose stones, a piece of sail-cloth served as a bed for the family; and the fourth corner, as also the sides and roof of the building, were garnished with decayed farming implements. The centre of the habitation was occupied by a turf fire, before which some oaten cakes were roasting; and, in the middle of the roof, a large 18 square hole was cut, to allow the smoke to escape. By the side of the fire, in a large and remarkably high rush chair, sat an old woman, with a spinning-wheel before her, endeavouring to still the cries of a very dirty infant that lay in her lap. There was also another apartment to the hut, for the accommodation of the cows, of which they had a considerable number. The two rooms were not even divided by a door from each other, and the bare earth was the only flooring of either.

During this day we were still employed in getting water on board, although it is rather difficult to be procured.

June 17th.—Our carpenters were busily employed in affixing ring-bolts to the rudder; from which strong iron chains were brought in at the quarter ports of the ship, in order to secure the rudder against 19 the shocks of the drift ice; as we were well aware that we should have to force our way through large quantities of it, in passing Hudson’s Straits: and we afterwards found this to have been a most necessary precaution. We likewise borrowed from the Hudson’s-Bay ships the necessary store of ice-anchors, ice-axes, and ice-poles; neither of those articles having been supplied by the Admiralty, probably from not knowing that they would be requisite.

June 18th.—During the whole of the time that we remained at Orkney after this day, we were busily employed in getting all kinds of necessaries on board.

June 29th.—We sailed from Orkney, at 8 A.M. with the two Hudson’s-Bay ships, and the Moravian Missionary brig, in company. Towards evening it blew a fresh breeze, 20 and the wind veered round against us. At sunset we had a distant view of the Caithness Hills and the Isle of Shetland.

June 30th.—There being a very heavy sea, with rain at times, during this day, we did not perceive any alteration in the climate. The wind still proving foul, we continued to stand to the northward. In the evening, after some very violent squalls and heavy showers of rain, the wind suddenly veered to the N. W. and reduced us to close-reefed topsails, blowing very hard. During the night we stood to the S. W.

July 1st.—In the early part of the day the gale abated by degrees, and towards evening we had fine sunny weather. Wind still in the N. W. quarter; consequently we have made way to the S. W. since yesterday, about 67 miles. Latitude at noon this day, 59°. 10′. N.


July 2d.—In the morning, we saw the Lewis Islands; and the wind chopping round to S. W. we tacked, and stood off shore to the N. W. At noon, as the wind continued to blow steady in the S. S. W., we steered W. N. W. Many Solan geese flying about: these are nearly the size of a tame goose, but the neck much shorter, and the wings longer, tipped with black; all the rest of their plumage being perfectly white. At night-fall, the weather misty, but not cold.

On taking our last departure from the land this morning, it is necessary to observe, that, in my narrative of the voyage, I shall merely state, on each day, the course and distance run by the ship in the preceding day, without making a dull account of latitude, longitude, bearings and distances, allowances for lee-way, currents, &c. &c.; as all this farrago of nautical calculation, however necessary it may be to 22 mariners, cannot fail to tire out the patience of a general reader; and the object of this publication, is not so much to point out the track of the Rosamond, in her voyage to Hudson’s Bay, as to describe the manners and customs of the different tribes inhabiting the shores of that immense gulf.

July 3d.—Course run, W. by N. 66 miles. Thick, foggy weather. During the morning we frequently lost sight of our convoy, but saw them again on its clearing up. Light winds from the S. W. Ship standing to the north. Observed great quantities of a peculiar kind of sea-weed, in the shape of stars. Numberless sea-birds round the ship, particularly Solan geese.

July 4th.—Course run, W. by S. ½ S. 79 miles. In the middle of the night we had a fair wind, which held during the day, accompanied by a thick fog; ship going generally about 23 five miles an hour. Perhaps it is deserving notice, that, since our departure from Orkney, we never had a night so dark as not to be able to read and write.

July 5th.—Course run, W. by N. ¼ N. 101 miles. During the night, lost our fair wind, and got a westerly breeze, with sunny weather. Towards noon, the wind again veered to the S. W. This day we obtained an observation of the sun, for the first time since our leaving Orkney, and found ourselves in latitude 59°. 8′. N. We saw neither Solan geese nor sea-weed.

July 6th.—Course run, W. by S. ½ S. 90 miles. A fair wind all day, variable from N. E. to S. E., ship steering W. N. W. at about four miles an hour. Noticed the air to be getting much colder, probably occasioned by the 24 wind shifting to the N. E. The sea-birds and weed appeared now to have taken their final leave of us; which certainly agrees with the great Cook’s opinion, that when met with in vast numbers, they are a certain indication of the proximity of land. In the evening, we saw a large finner or two. Ship going about seven miles an hour.

July 7th.—Course run, W. ¾ S. 121 miles. In the middle of the night, we lost our fair wind. Early in the morning, saw a strange vessel to windward, and made all sail after her: continued in pursuit the whole day, with light winds, varying from North to East. Every person on board was highly elated with the thoughts of a prize. All notion of the strange vessel’s being a friend was scouted; and it was carried nem. con. that she could be no other than a rich American from Archangel, homeward bound.


July 8th.—Course, W. by N. ¼ N. 79 miles. At one A.M. spoke the vessel that we were in pursuit of. She was a light brig from Copenhagen, bound to Davis’ Straits, where the Danes have some settlements. Early in the morning we rejoined our convoy, and shortly afterwards perceived another brig to windward: we immediately made all sail in pursuit of her, but soon relinquished the chase, as we were apprehensive it might lead us too far from our convoy. Wind about N. by W. Ship standing to the westward. No birds to be seen, excepting one or two solitary sea-gulls, which are to be met with at any distance from the land.

July 9th.—Course run, S. W. ¾ W. 107 miles. A gloomy day. Wind blowing fresh from the North. Towards evening, the wind abated; and it fell calm, which continued through the night.


July 10th.—Course run, S. W. by W. ¾ W. 36 miles. At 2 A.M. the ship was so surrounded by myriads of porpoises, that it appeared as if they had some intention of taking us by storm. It is an opinion of the sailors, that those fish generally precede a smart gale, and make towards the point whence the wind will arise. These swarms were proceeding in a North-east direction. During the fore-part of the day we had light variable winds from the southward; and at noon were taken aback, with a stiff gale from the N. N. W.: it continued to blow hard in squalls.

July 11th.—Course run, S. W. 32 miles. During this day, the wind blew a pleasant breeze from the N. W. At 10 A.M. we put about ship, and stood to the North. It is worthy of remark, that the sky had been so continually overcast, since we quitted 27 the Orkneys, that we had been only able to procure the meridian altitude of the sun twice. Thus we had been twelve days already on our voyage, with only two good observations. It ought also to be mentioned, that we found ourselves much retarded by the bad sailing of the North-west ships; but the Moravian brig sailed very well.

July 12th.—Course run, N. W. by W. 62 miles. It blew strong all night; but we had a fine day; and towards noon, the wind shifted round, and blew fair at South. We got a peep at the sun this day, and found we were in latitude 57°. 15′. N.

July 13th.—Course run, W. ½ N. 76 miles. In the morning, the wind changed to N. by E. and blew a moderate breeze. After night-fall we had a faint appearance of the Aurora Borealis, in the shape of a 28 rainbow, which rendered it peculiarly interesting.

July 14th.—Course run, S. W. by S. 71 miles. At 9 A.M. we tacked about; and the wind coming fair, we steered N. W. by N. Our ship this forenoon was completely surrounded by innumerable flights of sea-gulls. I should imagine that they had been attracted hither by some unusual assemblage of fish, as they were all busily employed in attacks on the finny tribe.

July 15th.—Course run, W. by N. 106 miles. This morning we were going five miles an hour, with a fair breeze and thick weather. It is to be observed, that, with a wind from the South-east or East, we have always had a fog; and I have also noticed this to be the case as far to the southward as the Banks of Newfoundland; although I am utterly incapable to account for it satisfactorily.


Since our departure from Stromness, the variation of the compass had been gradually increasing. We this day allowed for a difference of four points westerly, between the magnetic and the true needle; whereas at Orkney there is only a difference of two points and a half, or 28 degrees. Thus it continued increasing until we arrived within about 300 miles of the settlements in Hudson’s Bay; when it decreases much more suddenly; falling away, in that short distance, to half a point, or five degrees, West—this being the ascertained variation at York Factory. I should think that no subject could exhibit to an inquisitive mind a more astonishing matter of inquiry, than the singular phenomenon which I have just noticed. Can any thing be more surprising, than that the variation should increase but eighteen degrees, in a run of upwards of 2000 miles to the westward; and that it should then begin to turn; and, in the short run of 30 300 miles on the same course, that it should suddenly decrease 41 degrees? An officer belonging to one of the Hudson’s-Bay ships attempted to account for this astonishing attraction of the needle, by supposing the contiguity of metallic mountains; but he could state no facts in support of his hypothesis: and, although the interior of the N. W. part of America has doubtless been explored, and is even actually colonized, owing to the enterprising spirit of a Selkirk, yet I cannot learn that any metallic mountains have been discovered, with a sufficient profusion of ore to cause such an aberration in the compass, and at so great a distance[7].

Our latitude this day was 56°. 35′. N.; longitude 38°. W. Towards noon, our fair 31 breeze died away, and we had light winds from the westward: in the evening, we exercised the men with the great guns, in firing at a cask in the water.

July 16th.—Course run, N. W. ¼ N. 35 miles. Light winds and vexatious calms all this day. We now considered ourselves to be distant from the entrance of Hudson’s Straits about 840 miles. I know not what reason could have induced the first discoverers of the northern regions to give such intimidating names to all the most conspicuous capes, promontories, bays, creeks, &c.; unless they were originally bestowed with a view of preventing others from visiting those countries; and at the same time to enhance the public opinion of their own courage:—for instance, we passed, in our voyage to Hudson’s Bay, Capes Resolution, Comfort, Farewell, Discord, and Desolation; also, Icy 32 and Bear Coves, and the Islands of God’s Mercies.

The ship was now continually surrounded by a species of sea-gull, which, on the water, looked very much like wild-ducks. Those birds appear to be spread in great multitudes quite across the mouth of Davis’ Straits, from Cape Farewell in Greenland to the coast of Labrador.

July 17th.—Course run, W. by N. ¼ N. 20 miles. The light variable winds still continued through this day.

Towards evening we were highly entertained with a combat between a whale and two or three of that species of fish called Finners. The fury with which they engage is surprising. The whale, slowly lifting up 33 his enormous tail, lets it suddenly fall on his opponents with a most tremendous crash; thereby throwing up foam to an amazing height. Although the Finners have incomparably the advantage in agility, yet in size and strength they fall but little short of the smaller whales. The Finners derive their name from an immense fin, which they use with great effect in their attacks on the whale. Sometimes they lift up this enormous fin, and let it fall upon their antagonist, in the manner of a thresher’s flail; at other times, they run their whole body perpendicularly out of the water, exhibiting a beautiful view of their snow-white bellies. In this position they have the singular power of turning round; and thus they contrive to fall sideways on the whale, with a shock that may be heard at a considerable distance.

The sea was this day covered with an 34 oily appearance; and some old Greenland fishermen, who were on board the ship, gave a marvellous account of its being occasioned by the sperm of the whale.

July 18th.—Course run W. ¾ N. 65 miles. Early in the morning we had a fine breeze from the N. E. Latitude at noon, by an observation of the sun, 57°. 24′. N.; longitude, by our account, 41°. 17′. W. According to some charts, we considered ourselves this day to be in the longitude of Cape Farewell in Greenland. Nothing can exceed the uncertainty that prevails, in almost every chart and book of navigation, respecting the longitude of the Cape in question. In proof of this, I shall quote an extract from the accompanying Memoir to Mr. Purdy’s Chart of the Atlantic:—“Both the Requisite Tables, and Connaissance de Tems, state the latitude of Cape Farewell at 59°. 38′. N., and longitude, per 35 chronometer, at 42°. 42′. W.; but the Danish charts place the Cape two degrees more to the West. We know not which is right, or if either; and have, doubtingly, placed it in 43°. 40′. W. as a mean between the two. This is a point on which further information is particularly required. The old books and charts place it from 44°. 30′. to 44°. 45′. W.

Nothing can be a more serious inconvenience to mariners than this uncertainty respecting the latitude and longitude of places; and it is scarcely to be credited, that so little pains have been taken to ascertain the longitude of Greenland’s southernmost extremity.

We experienced sharp cold this day, and ascribed it to the winds having blown over the mountains of Greenland, on their way towards us. As the next three days 36 furnished no remarks worthy an insertion in this narrative, I shall barely notice the course and distance run by the ship on each day; and the reader may thus pass on to the 22d.

July 19th.—Course run S. W. by W. ¾ W. 60 miles.

July 20th.—Course run W. by N. ¼ N. 68 miles.

July 21st.—Course run W. 67 miles.

July 22d.—Course run N. W. ½ N. 47 miles. As an indication of our drawing near to some land, we this morning picked up a broken tree, about eighteen feet long, of the yellow pine species. Although we could not have been less than three hundred miles from the nearest land, it certainly had not been long in the water. After 37 night-fall, we were gratified with a most brilliant display of the Aurora Borealis.

July 23d.—Course run, N. N. W. ¾ W. 23 miles. Early in the morning we saw five Greenland ships, returning to England from the whale-fishery; and shortly afterwards we perceived two ships of war, in the N. W. quarter. At noon we spoke with His Majesty’s ships the Victorious and Horatio. They had been to Davis’ Straits, for the purpose of protecting the whale-fishery; and the former vessel exhibited a melancholy proof of the ill effects likely to result from the extreme state of ignorance in which our best navigators are placed, relative to the exact situation of the Northern lands. The Victorious had struck on a rock, in latitude 66°. 21′. N., longitude 53°. 47′. W.; entirely owing to the coast of Greenland having been laid down four degrees wrong in the 38 Admiralty Charts. The consequences likely to result from the loss of a seventy-four-gun ship, in such a situation, may be easily imagined; allowing every man to have been safely conveyed on board the Horatio. The frigate must herself have been short of provisions at the moment; and in what possible way could the captain have provided for the subsistence of nearly six hundred people in addition to his own ship’s company, in a part of the world where he could not have formed the most distant hope of receiving a supply?—Fortunately, they were not destined to experience the horrors of so dreadful a situation; the Victorious was got off the rock again, without much difficulty: yet that her danger had been imminent cannot be doubted, as she was obliged to get a topsail under her bottom; and at the time when we met with her, there were some apprehensions that she might not reach England in safety; the 39 leak being so bad, that the crew were compelled to labour incessantly at the pumps. The Horatio of course remained with her until she reached a British port.

After all that has been said respecting the erroneous state of even the Admiralty Charts for the Northern Seas, yet I do not imagine that the smallest imputation of neglect can be charged to Government upon that account. It has never yet been thought an object of sufficient national importance, to warrant an expenditure of the public money towards defraying the great expense that must necessarily be incurred in surveying thoroughly those frozen coasts which border upon Davis’ and Hudson’s Straits. The Greenland mariners are notorious for paying so little regard to the situation of the places they visit, that they are incapable of giving any correct information: and the officers of the Hudson’s-Bay 40 ships have a motive in concealing the knowledge which they actually possess: this I shall notice more fully hereafter.

July 24th.—Course run, N. W. ½ W. 34 miles. This morning some slight indication appeared of a lasting fair wind. The fine mild weather that had prevailed for the last fortnight was far from affording satisfaction to the commanders of the Hudson’s-Bay ships; as they prognosticated much more difficulty in getting through Hudson’s Straits, the natural consequence of so much calm weather. It would have pleased them better to have encountered a few gales of wind, even if they had proved foul; as it requires strong winds to carry the drift ice out of the Straits, which is very likely otherwise to choke the passage. Entering Hudson’s Straits, it is a necessary precaution to keep close in with the northern shore; 41 as the currents out of Hudson’s and Davis’ Straits meet on the south side of the entrance, and carry the ice with great velocity to the southward, along the coast of Labrador. We had seen, lately, a number of the kind of birds called, by the sailors, Boatswains: they are so numerous to the southward of the Tropic of Cancer, that they are called Tropic Birds. I cannot say whether they are accustomed to seat themselves upon the water or not; because our visitors flew at a great height over the ship, and we could plainly hear their melancholy screams by night as well as by day. Some amongst them have long feathers, like spikes, projecting from their tails; whilst others in the same flock, and evidently of the same species, are without them: perhaps these remarkable feathers may serve as distinguishing marks between the sexes. At noon this day we were in latitude 58°. 35′. N. longitude 49°. 10′. W. In the afternoon, 42 the Moravian Missionary brig asked, and obtained permission, to part company: she then quitted us, and steered more away to the westward. During the stay of our ship at the Orkneys, I had visited the brig in question, and had there met with an old German Missionary; from whom I learned, that the difficulty of first getting on terms of intimacy with the Esquimaux was almost insurmountable. This Missionary had himself been one of the first who succeeded in so dangerous an object, which could only be accomplished by placing an entire confidence in this wild race of people: he therefore remained alone with them, conforming to their loathsome habits, and mildly endeavouring to gain an ascendancy over their minds. It was a considerable time before he dared to attack those established customs which, to him, appeared most exceptionable. Habit had sanctioned polygamy amongst them; although the nature 43 of their climate, and the difficulty of procuring sustenance, had confined that privilege almost exclusively to their Chiefs. Passion was allowed to be pleaded successfully, in extenuation of murder. It was, therefore, with a trembling, but a resigned heart, that the Missionary first ventured to point out those practices as offences against the Great Spirit. “The Almighty,” said the good Moravian, “assisted my humble efforts, and my endeavours were crowned with success.” I shall also quote his own words as to the result:—“On the bleak and rocky coast of Labrador, a temple is now erected to the worship of God, in which the wild Esquimaux raises his voice in songs of praise to the Most High. Thirty years of my life have been dedicated to this employment; and I am now on my return, to finish my days amongst the flock which has been so manifestly entrusted to my care.”


The Missionary shewed me a Testament, Creed, and Lord’s Prayer, in the Esquimaux tongue: but it will be easily imagined that many deficiencies must have arisen in the first instance; consequently, whenever the Esquimaux were at a loss for words to express any new idea, or the name of any article that they had not before seen, the Missionary supplied them with a corresponding German expression; as the German language, of all others, is most easily pronounced by an Esquimaux.

An English frigate had been on a cruize in Davis’ Straits; and returning thence, along the coast of Labrador, she put into a little bay, for the purpose of procuring a supply of wood and water. The affrighted Esquimaux flew to their beloved Missionary, and pointed out the strange vessel as the cause of their fear: they were, however, soon pacified, and returned quietly to their 45 occupations. Nothing, then, could equal the astonishment of the officers, on landing; when, instead of a wild race of savages, prepared to oppose them, they found a small village, inhabited by an inoffensive people, peaceably employed in their daily duties; and the little children going quietly to school, with books under their arms. Their surprise, however, must have been greatly increased, when they were given to understand, that all this had been accomplished by one man, zealously actuated by a wish of serving his God, in the services he had rendered to these poor Indians[8].


July 25th.—Course run, W. by N. 35 miles. Light variable winds from the southward. We were this morning visited by an officer from one of the Hudson’s-Bay ships; an intelligent man, who had thirty times performed the same voyage. It was his opinion, that the sharp cold, which we had experienced on the 18th of this month, must have been occasioned by the vicinity of ice; and we should doubtless have met with it on that day, had we not fortunately tacked about in time to avoid it. Our latitude at noon, this day, was 58°. 46′. N., and longitude 50°. 16′. W. Towards nightfall, the wind freshened to a fine steady breeze from S. S. W.; and we could plainly discern a bright appearance in the sky, towards the North; this was believed by every person on board to be a certain indication of ice in that direction.


July 26th.—Course run W. by N. 128 miles.—A fine fair breeze all this day; the ship going about seven miles an hour. In the forenoon, we took on board the chief-mate of the Prince of Wales, (one of the Hudson’s-Bay ships,) to act as pilot, or rather to instruct us in the management of our ship, amongst the ice in the Straits. He immediately advised us to raise our anchors, lest the shocks of the heavier masses of ice should break the stocks: we also rove smaller braces to all the yards, that we might be able to manœuvre the ship with the greater facility. At noon, we were in latitude, by account, 50°. 11′. N., and longitude 54°. 20′. W. We now kept our course more to the northward, to prevent the possibility of our falling in with the ice to the southward; as there are always large quantities drifting out of Hudson’s Straits, along the coast of Labrador. Ships do well, therefore, to keep to the northward, until they reach the latitude of Cape 48 Resolution; and when that is attained, they may haul in N. W. and keep close in to the North shore; thus making a semicircle round the ice: but they should be particularly cautious not to keep too much to the North, until they reach the longitude of 54° W. and are consequently quite clear of the coast of Greenland.

July 27th.—Course run N. W. by W. 182 miles. As we were now getting well to the northward, the air began to feel quite frigid; and the wind drawing round to the East, we hauled up North. Latitude, at noon, was 60°. 54′. N. Longitude, 59°. 19′. Our distance from Cape Resolution we computed to be about 171 miles. In the afternoon we saw the first iceberg, which was an immense mountain of solid ice, in the shape of an English barn[9].


Towards evening, we passed another iceberg. It had a complete chain of floating fragments on the lee-side of it, through which we butted our way. We continued to run in for the land, all night, with a fair wind, although it was a very thick fog, and there were numberless icebergs in all directions; indeed, it appeared to me almost miraculous, how we escaped being dashed upon some of them.

July 28th.—The thick fog still continued, until 9 A.M. when it suddenly cleared up, and we saw the island of Cape Resolution, bearing E. N. E. about eighteen miles distant. We had been long wishing to get into the Straits; and now that object was accomplished, we as sincerely wished ourselves back again into the ocean. The prospect on every side was of the most gloomy nature: the black and craggy mountains on shore were only visible towards their bases; 50 their summits being covered with eternal snows, and the aspect of the countless icebergs, on all sides of us, truly terrific. The strong southerly current continually setting out from all the Northern seas has been hypothetically explained, by supposing that Nature thus supplies the deficiency of water occasioned by the evaporation caused by the heat of the sun between the Tropics. It is not my intention to discuss this philosophical question: suffice it to say, that I can bear testimony to the existence of such a current in all the Northern seas, and along the Coast of Labrador and Newfoundland, facing the Atlantic; and the effect caused by the continual flowing of the waters towards the South, is attended with the most beneficial effects; as the Northern seas are consequently cleared of the vast accumulation of ice, which would otherwise infallibly block them up, and render all navigation 51 impracticable. We had taken care to get into the latitude of Lake Resolution, before we bore away to make the land; and although, in running in for the Cape, we still continued to steer a point to the northward of our true course, yet, after all, the southerly current proved so strong, as to set us to the southward of our land-fall: and on our making the Cape, it was eighteen miles to the northward of us.

During the remainder of the day, we were endeavouring, with light winds from the N. E. to get in with the north shore; and towards evening we saw much field ice towards the south. As the setting sun had a different appearance to what it generally exhibits in England, perhaps it may be thought worthy of notice. Although it glittered to the eye, and threw a golden tint on the water, yet it produced no rays, and might be viewed, for any length of time, 52 without paining the sight by its refulgence. So far was it from bestowing warmth, that the air appeared more intensely cold than it had been during the whole of the preceding day. The clouds, in parallel lines immediately above the descending luminary, exhibited, in the most beautiful manner, all the varieties of the rainbow; the dusky red and deep blue being the most predominant colours. If to all this we add the dazzling reflection which glittered from the snow-capp’d summits of the rugged mountains, and the shining fantastic forms of the floating icebergs in the Straits, the prospect will easily be imagined to have excited in our minds those feelings, which induce the mariner, as well as the poet,

“To look, through Nature, up to Nature’s God!”

At midnight we passed an immense iceberg, which roared like a thunder storm; occasioned, perhaps, by some cavity in its 53 side, through which the sea was bursting. It was nearly a calm; and the surface of the sea was quite smooth at the moment, attended with that gentle undulating swell which is always prevalent in deep waters.

July 29th.—In the morning we were obliged to tack about, in order to avoid a large assemblage of drifting masses, termed by the old seamen a patch of ice: the seals were leaping about in all directions, and some few sea-calves were seen. The thermometer in the Captain’s cabin, with a rousing fire, stood at 43°. At noon we were plying to windward off Savage Island, which is the next land to the west of Cape Resolution Island, on the north shore. Savage Isle, lying very low, has not so much snow upon it, in general, as the other parts of the coast hereabouts. The next land to the westward of it is called Terra Nivea; owing to its having some 54 mountains, about thirty miles from the sea, entirely covered with snow. During the remaining part of this day we continued our course up the Straits, but with the weather almost calm.

July 30th.—We were entirely surrounded this day with a patch of broken ice, and it extended as far as the eye could reach. The sun shining bright over the calm surface of the sea, called forcibly to my mind a description I had once read of the Ruins of Palmyra, in the Syrian Desert; the scattered fragments of ice bearing a strong resemblance to the ruins of temples, statues, columns, &c. spread in confusion over a vast plain.

Cape Saddle Back north 7 or 8 miles: with two remarkable Icebergs off the low Point.

Male Esquimaux in his Canoe.


July 31st.—Early in the morning of this day we reached a remarkable cape, called Saddle Back, from the resemblance that it bears to a saddle: and as we were immediately visited by the Esquimaux, I must, for a time, quit the ship and her proceedings, to describe the appearance, manners, and customs of this singular race, who inhabit the shores of Hudson’s and Davis’ Straits, the northern part of Hudson’s Bay, and both sides of the vast peninsula of Labrador. Upon the first intelligence of the approach of the natives, I immediately jumped out of bed, and ran upon deck; where, on my arrival, the most discordant shouts and cries assailed my ears. Alongside the ship were paddling a large assemblage of canoes, of the most curious construction: these were built of a wooden frame-work of the lightest materials, covered with oiled sealskin, with the hair scraped off; the skin being sewed over the frame with the most astonishing exactness, and as tight as parchment upon the head of a drum. But the most surprising peculiarity of the canoes was, their being twenty-two feet long, and only 56 two feet wide. There was but one opening in the centre, sufficiently large to admit the entrance of a man; and out of this hole projected the body of the Esquimaux, visible only from the ribs upwards. The paddle is held in the hand, by the middle; and it has a blade at each end, curiously veneered, at the edges, with slips of a sea-unicorn’s horn. On the top of the canoe were fastened strips of sea-horses’ hide, to confine the lance and harpoon; and behind the Esquimaux were large lumps of whale blubber, for the purposes of barter. These canoes are only capable of containing one person, for any useful purpose; the slightest inclination of the body, on either side, will inevitably overturn them; yet in these frail barks will the Esquimaux smile at the roughest sea; and in smooth water they can, with ease, travel seven miles an hour[10].


Whilst I was still busily employed in making my remarks on the canoes of the male Indians, a large open boat arrived, containing about twenty women, besides many children. This last boat was steered by a very old man, with a paddle: he was the only male adult amongst them. The women pulled with oars, having a very broad wash at the extremity; and they cheerfully kept time to the tune of a song, in which they all joined. The boat was built of the same materials as the canoes; that is to say, a frame-work covered with oiled seal-skins; but differed, in being shaped more after the European boats; also, in having a square sail made of seal-skins, with the hair taken off; and owing to this difference, the Hudson’s-Bay traders have distinguished these boats by the name of Lug Boats; although they never attempt to use the sail, except with a fair wind. It is difficult to give an adequate 58 idea of the delight expressed by these poor creatures, on reaching the ships: they jumped, shouted, danced, and sang, to express their joy. And here it should be observed, that the arrival of the ships is considered by the Esquimaux as a sort of annual fair; their little manufactures of dresses, spears, &c. are reserved for the expected jubilee; and when, after long watching, they at last catch a glimpse of the approaching vessels, their exultation knows no bounds.

The male Esquimaux have rather a prepossessing physiognomy, but with very high cheek-bones, broad foreheads, and small eyes, rather farther apart than those of an European: the corners of their eyelids are drawn together so close, that none of the white is to be seen; their mouths are wide, and their teeth white and regular: the complexion is a dusky yellow, but some of the 59 young women have a little colour bursting through this dark tint: the noses of the men are rather flattened, but those of the women are sometimes even prominent. The males are, generally speaking, between five feet five inches and five feet eight inches high; bony, and broad shouldered; but do not appear to possess much muscular strength. The flesh of all the Esquimaux feels soft and flabby, which may be attributed to the nature of their food. But the most surprising peculiarity of this people is the smallness of their hands and feet; which is not occasioned, as in China, by compression, nor by any other artificial means, as their boots and gloves are made large, and of soft seals’-skin. To their continual employment in canoes on the water, and to the sitting posture they are thus obliged to preserve, perhaps their diminutive feet might be ascribed: but when we reflect on the laborious life they must necessarily 60 lead, and yet find that their hands are equally small with their feet, it will naturally lead us to the conclusion, that the same intense cold which restricts vegetation to the forms of creeping shrubs has also its effect upon the growth of mankind, preventing the extremities from attaining their due proportion.

The chin, cheek-bones, and forehead, among the women, are tattooed; and this operation is performed among the Esquimaux by pricking through the skin with some sharp instrument, and rubbing ashes into the wound: as the marks are not deep, their appearance is not disagreeable. I imagine that the tattooing does not take place until the female arrives at the age of puberty, because the youngest girls were without any such marks. None of the men undergo the operation; but they have a few straggling hairs on the chin and upper lip, while the 61 women carefully remove them from every part of the body, excepting the head, where they have a lock on each temple, neatly braided, and bound with a thong of hide. On the back of the head, the hair is turned up, much after the fashion of the English ladies. I hope the latter will not be offended at the comparison.

After having gone so far in a description of their persons, perhaps their diet ought not to be overlooked; because it has been before noticed, that the relaxed state of their flesh, and the sallow hue of their complexions, may in a great measure be ascribed to the nature of their food. As they seem to devour every thing raw, it has been conjectured that they are unacquainted with the use of fire; but this is not true. I observed, near one of their huts, a circle of loose stones, containing the ashes of a recently extinguished fire, and a stone 62 kettle standing upon it[11]: also, in a hut, I saw a pan of vegetables, resembling spinach, which had been boiled into the consistency of paste[12]. Yet, after all, it is no less certain that an Esquimaux prefers all flesh raw. In proof of this it may be mentioned, that the Commander of the Eddystone, a Hudson’s-Bay ship, having shot a sea-gull, an Indian made signs that he wished for the bird: immediately on receiving it, he sucked away the blood that flowed from its mouth; then, hastily plucking off the feathers, he instantly dispatched the body, entrails, &c. with the most surprising voracity. The knowledge which the Esquimaux possess of the use of fire, is observable in the ingenuity with which they transform iron nails, hoops, &c. into heads for their arrows, 63 spears, and harpoons. May not their fondness for raw flesh have arisen from the scarcity of fuel? There was not a bit of wood to be found on that part of the coast where I landed.

We made many attempts to induce the natives to partake of our food. At breakfast, we placed an Esquimaux at table, and offered him every species of food that the ship could afford. He tasted every thing; but, with a broad laugh, he was sure to eject whatsoever he tasted, over our plates and upon the table-cloth. The only thing they could be induced to swallow was a piece of hog’s lard; and of this they all partook with avidity. Above all, they appeared to have the greatest aversion from sugar and salt.

In their dealings, they manifested a strange mixture of honesty and fraud. At one moment I observed an Esquimaux 64 striving, with all his might, to convey into a sailor’s hands the article for which he had already received his equivalent; and, in ten minutes afterwards, I detected the same man in an endeavour to cut the hinder buttons from my own coat. They value metals more than any other article of barter, and iron most of all. As a specimen of the relative articles of traffic, I shall briefly insert the prices which I paid for some little curiosities[13]; viz.

A seal’s-skin hooded frock, quite new, for a knife.
A seal’s-skin pair of breeches needle.
Seal’s-skin boots saw.
A pair of wooden spectacles, or rather shades, used by the Esquimaux to defend their eyes against the dazzling reflection of the sun from the ice one bullet.
A pair of white feather gloves two buttons.
A fishing lance or spear file.

They have a strange custom of licking with their tongue every thing that comes into their possession, either by barter or otherwise; and they evidently do not consider an article as their property until it has undergone this operation. By way of experiment, I gave to a young girl half a dozen iron nails: she immediately jumped, and shouted, to express her gratitude; and then licking each nail separately, she put them into her boot, that being the depository of all riches among the female Esquimaux, who are entirely unacquainted with the use of pockets. I could easily perceive that each man had a wife; but polygamy did not appear to exist amongst them; perhaps more on account of their poverty, and the difficulty of supporting a plurality of wives, than from any idea they may entertain of the impropriety of the practice itself. Several of the natives brought their wives on board the ship, and, in return for a tin spoon or pot, 66 compelled them, nothing loath, to receive our salutations. Nay, one man plainly intimated, that if I wished to hold any private conversation with his lady, he should have no objection to her visiting my cabin, provided I rewarded him with an axe. Many of the women had very pleasing features; but they were so disfigured with dirt, and their persons smelt so strongly of the seal oil, that it required a stout heart to salute even the prettiest of them.

On board the ship, they were exceedingly curious in viewing every thing: but however astonished or delighted they might appear in the first sight of any novelty, yet ten minutes was the utmost limit of their admiration. The pigs, cats, and fowls, attracted their attention in so remarkable a manner, as to indicate a certainty of their not having seen any such animals before. A sailor threw them all into the most violent 67 fit of jumping and shouting, by walking upon his hands along the deck. But nothing seemed to fix their attention so much as Captain Stopford’s amputated arm[14]: they satisfied themselves, by feeling the stump, that the arm was actually deficient, and then appeared to wonder how it could have been lost: but when I made signs to them that it had been severed by a saw, to the credit of their feelings, I must state, that commiseration was depicted on every countenance. We did not perceive an instance, either of man, woman, or child, amongst them, who was in any way crippled or deformed.


After breakfast, it was proposed that we should go on shore, and a party accordingly made: we were all well armed, as a precaution against treachery; because this people have been particularly accused of a disposition that way,—whether with or without reason, it is impossible for me positively to say. An Esquimaux, who had bartered his very last covering away for some bauble, went with us, as a sort of pilot. On our way to the shore, we met two of the large women’s boats; each steered, as usual, by an old man. They expressed great joy at meeting with us, by singing, shouting, and clapping their hands; and instead of proceeding on toward the ships, they turned their boats, and followed us to the shore. The coast appears to be completely fringed with small rocky islands, and these no doubt form a shelter to many good harbours; but the shores of Hudson’s Straits have never been thoroughly examined, although a small 69 vessel might accomplish the task in two summers, with ease: indeed, a voyage for this purpose would, if well conducted, turn out advantageously, in a mercantile point of view; for although the Hudson’s-Bay Company’s ships do not procure much oil or whalebone from the Esquimaux, it is because they have but little intercourse with this people, and perhaps with only one particular tribe: yet it might be very profitable to any merchant to send a small strong brig into Hudson’s Straits, early in the month of June, so as to reach Cape Saddle-Back before the Company’s ships arrive. The Hudson’s-Bay Company would not wish to interrupt so laudable an attempt towards opening a free intercourse with the wild Esquimaux in those seas; because the profits they derive from the traffic in question are comparatively trifling, when put in competition with the other more important objects of their annual voyage. A vessel intended for this employ should 70 not remain later than the beginning of October in the Straits; and she ought to be well provided with saws, iron lances, harpoons, files, open knives, kettles, spoons, hatchets, and a few beads and looking-glasses. By coasting along both sides of the Straits, and as far to the southward of Cape Diggs or Cape Smith, she might doubtless gather thirty or forty tons of good oil, besides whalebone and a few skins. But the Master of a vessel, during such an expedition, should be particularly cautious in not trusting a boat on shore, unless well armed; and by no means ought he to admit more than two or three Esquimaux at the same time into his vessel, however friendly they might appear to be.

But to return to our party, whom I left pulling in for the shore, under the guidance of the naked Esquimaux, who continued pointing for us to proceed still farther to 71 the west, where some natives, from the bottom of a creek, waved their hands for us to approach. A sort of expostulation took place between these people and our conductor, by which it seemed, that the former did not wish us to proceed any farther to the west. We therefore landed, but walked about some time without observing any habitations; although, from the deers’ bones and ashes which lay scattered about the hills, it was evident that a party had not long quitted the spot. From appearances upon the hills, we had reason to suppose that rabbits must be abundant; and we were gradually receding from the sea shore in search of them, when our guide stopped short, and would not be prevailed upon, by any entreaties, to accompany us farther. We could not guess the cause of this extra-ordinary conduct; but not wishing to give any offence to the natives, we turned about, and descended again to our boats. On our 72 way to the beach, we were joined by some young girls, to whom we had been, perhaps, rather pointedly attentive on board the ships: they continued to pester us with the continual whine of this people, repeating incessantly the word “Pillitay! pillitay! pillitay!” signifying “Give us something:” and having now stripped us of every thing, by their solicitations, they only seemed to have acquired an incitement to make new demands. It is generally the case with all barbarous nations, that the receiving of a gift appears to them to confer a right to levy fresh contributions: therefore, in all dealings with savages, it is adviseable to teach them that something will be expected in return for every present bestowed; and the equivalent should be strenuously insisted upon, let it be of ever so trifling a nature. A departure from this rule may, indeed, be necessary in the first opening of a communication with a strange 73 people; but, even then, the presents ought only to be bestowed on the principal chieftains, priests, and women.

As we were upon the point of re-embarking, one of our party offered to a young girl, who stood on the beach, a pinch of snuff; shewing her, at the same time, how it was to be used. She imitated her instructor with great exactness, giving a hearty sniff; but it was attended with rather a violent effect; a torrent of blood instantly gushing from her nose. Entertaining some apprehensions lest the natives should imagine that we had been guilty of a premeditated injury to the poor girl, we all made a point of taking snuff before her: this had the desired effect, in convincing them that no serious evil was to be apprehended; and the young woman went, at my request, to wash her nose in a neighbouring pool. Unfortunately, the cold water produced a contrary effect to what was 74 intended; the blood again streaming from her nose: yet so far was this mild creature from being offended, that she smilingly held forth her hand to me, with the old exclamation of “Pillitay! (Give).” I cut two brass buttons from my coat, and gave them to her; and with this atonement she was quite satisfied. The fact is, as we afterwards discovered, that bleeding at the nose is a most common incident among the Esquimaux; and it is certain to follow the least exertion. Possibly this may also be occasioned by the quantities of raw flesh they devour daily.

Perhaps some readers may deem an incident like the foregoing of too trifling a description to merit a recital; but the manners, dispositions, and customs of a wild people may be better judged of from a simple relation of the most trivial circumstances, than from any inferences which the narrator himself 75 might presume to draw from them: therefore I would run the chance of being thought jejune, or even tedious, rather than incur the greater risk of misleading others by my own weak conclusions.


Embarking again, we pulled along shore, towards the west, among barren rocky islands, until we at last got sight of some huts on an eminence at the bottom of a creek; and putting ashore, we examined them minutely. They are more properly tents than huts, because they are erected much after the fashion of a marquee: a triangle supports the tent at one end, and two poles, fastened at the top, at the other: over all is thrown a covering of seals’-skins sewed together, the hair being scraped off: they are 76 equally impervious to air or water, and the light is much the same as in the interior of an European linen tent. At the lower end of their dwellings is a flap of seal’s-skin, left loose, to answer the purpose of a door; and when this is thrown back, a person must stoop low to enter. If a whole family happen to be absent from their home at the same time, the only security for their property, during the time they are away, consists in a few loose stones piled against the flap of seal-skin which covers the entrance to the tent: and although they be not rigidly honest towards strangers, yet the Esquimaux appear to have a great respect for each other’s property. At the top of their huts is a piece of wood, in an horizontal position, for the purpose of supporting slips of the sea-horse’s hide to dry in the sun; and of this hide they form a sort of rope, possessing uncommon strength, and useful to them in a variety of ways.


With respect to the interior of their habitations, it is a general custom to appropriate the lower end or entrance of the tent to answer the purpose of a larder, where all their delicacies are displayed; such as, deer’s flesh, oil, and whale blubber. The upper end of the tent, under the triangle, was thickly carpeted with skins of different animals, particularly the deer, and it is set apart for their resting and sleeping place. I noticed, that whenever I entered a tent, which had not been previously visited by any of our party, the owner of it ran forward, with great precipitation, to conceal something under the skins at the farther end of the tent. Curiosity prompted me to inquire into this mysterious conduct; and, on removing the skins, I discovered his bow and arrows, in a sort of seal-skin quiver. The owner stood quite tranquil during my search, and he did not appear angry when the arms were produced; but 78 when I offered him a knife, with the usual expression, “Chymo (barter),” he smiled, as I thought, rather suspiciously; and taking the quiver gently out of my hand, he replaced it under the skins; at the same time, offering me an unfinished bow, without a string, in exchange for the knife. As often as I continued to point to the quiver, and make signs that I wished to purchase the set complete, he seemed to feel confused, and endeavoured instantly to draw off my attention from the subject. I tried at each tent, with no better success; and it struck me, from appearances, that the Esquimaux have some superstitious veneration for their bows and arrows: but their hiding them may be intended as a compliment to their visitors, or an assurance of their security whilst under that roof. None of the canoes that visited us, during our stay in Hudson’s Straits, had either bow or arrows on board; consequently, 79 they are only used by the Esquimaux in their wars, and not for the purpose of killing birds or fishes. After having said this respecting their singular attachment to their weapons, perhaps it will be expected that those articles are curiously manufactured and ornamented: but the bow is merely made of two pieces of plain wood, firmly corded together, and rarely strengthened at the back with thongs of the sea-horse’s hide; the string is formed of two slips of hide or dried gut; the arrows are headed, either with iron, sea-horse’s teeth, sea-unicorn’s horn, or, in some few instances, with stone[15]; and the whole fabrication of the bow and arrows does not surpass the workmanship of an English school-boy.


In one of their tents, I saw a female far advanced in pregnancy; she was sitting upon the ground, closely wrapt in skins as high as her hips; and during the whole of my stay, she never attempted to rise. It may now be proper to relate an anecdote of a very interesting nature; which I received upon such indisputable authority, that it will not admit of a doubt, as to its veracity.

The land to the northward of Churchill Factory, in Hudson’s Bay, is inhabited by Esquimaux, who, contrary to the general customs of this people, employ themselves in hunting. They carry their furs annually to Churchill Factory, for the purpose of traffic. In one of their periodical visits, a young woman was seen amongst them, having a sickly infant in her arms, respecting whose health she appeared to be particularly solicitous; and 81 as some of the domesticated Indian women in the factory, belonging to the nation of Cree Indians, partly understood the Esquimaux tongue, the young woman explained to them, that, as the infant was her first-born child, if it should unfortunately die, her husband would undoubtedly put her to death. The infant expired shortly after this explanation took place; and some Europeans visiting the Esquimaux encampment a day or two afterwards, made inquiries respecting the unhappy mother; when the Indians silently pointed to the spot where the poor victim was interred!

This circumstance has given rise to an assertion, that if a first-born child die before it reaches a particular age, the mother is certain of being immolated, for a supposed want of attention to her infant. I had no means of ascertaining this singular custom myself; but I have before observed, that there did not appear either 82 sickly or deformed child or adult amongst them.

Their fire-places, as before stated, are outside the tents; and they have no need of any in the interior, as the seal-skins that cover them are like parchment oiled, and will not admit the wind, nor give egress to the breath; therefore their habitations are not only warm, but at mid-day, when I visited them, they were oppressively hot. With respect to their winter residence, I can say little or nothing. Most people suppose that they live in caves, by lamp-light; but the Abbé Raynal, who mentions the Esquimaux in his History of the East and West Indies, is of a different opinion. As the Abbé is both correct and incorrect, in many points of which I had a good opportunity to judge, perhaps it may not be amiss to give an extract from the part of his work relating to the Esquimaux Indians.


“This sterility of Nature extends itself to every thing. The human race are few in number, and scarce any of its individuals above four feet high. Their heads bear the same enormous proportion to their bodies as those of children: the smallness of their feet makes them awkward and tottering in their gait: small hands, and a round mouth, which in Europe are reckoned a beauty, seem almost a deformity in these people; because we see nothing here but the effects of a weak organization, and of a cold that contracts and restrains the springs of growth, and is fatal to the progress of animal as well as vegetable life. Besides all this, their men, although they have neither hair nor beard, have the appearance of being old, even in their youth: this is partly occasioned by the formation of their lower lip, which is thick, fleshy, and projecting beyond the upper. Such are the Esquimaux, who inhabit not only 84 the coast of Labrador, from whence they have taken their name, but also all that tract of land which extends from the point of Bellisle to the most northern part of America.

The inhabitants of Hudson’s-Bay have, like the Greenlanders, a flat face, with short, but not flattened noses; the pupil of their eyes yellow, and the iris black. Their women have marks of deformity peculiar to their sex; amongst others, very long and flabby breasts. This deformity, which is not natural, arises from their custom of giving suck to their children until they are five or six years old. They frequently carry their children on their shoulders, who pull their mothers’ breasts with their hands, and almost suspend themselves by them.

“It is not true, that there are races of Esquimaux entirely black, as has been 85 supposed, and afterwards pretended to be accounted for; neither do they live under ground. How should they dig into a soil, which the cold renders harder than stone? How is it possible they should live in caverns, where they would be infallibly drowned by the first melting of the snows? What, however, is certain, and almost equally surprising, is, that these people spend the winter under huts, run up in haste, and made of flints joined together by cements of ice, where they live without any other fire, but that of a lamp hung up in the middle of the shed, for the purpose of dressing their game, and the fish they feed upon. The heat of their blood and of their breath, added to the vapour arising from this small flame, is sufficient to make their huts as hot as stoves.

“The Esquimaux dwell constantly near 86 the sea, from whence they are supplied with all their provisions. Both their constitutions and complexions partake of the quality of their food. The flesh of the seal, which is their food, and the oil of the whale, which is their drink, give them an olive complexion, a strong smell of fish, an oily and tenacious sweat, and sometimes a sort of scaly leprosy. This last is probably the reason why the mothers have the same custom as the bears of licking their young ones.

“This nation, weak and degraded by nature, is, notwithstanding, most intrepid on a sea that is constantly dangerous. In boats, made and sewed together like so many borachio’s, but at the same time so well closed that it is impossible for the water to penetrate them, they follow the shoals of herrings through the whole 87 of their polar emigrations, and attack the whales and seals at the peril of their lives.

“One stroke of a whale’s tail is sufficient to drown a hundred of these assailants; and the seal is armed with teeth, to devour those he cannot drown: but the hunger of the Esquimaux is superior to the rage of these monsters. They have an inordinate thirst for the oil of the whale, which is necessary to preserve the heat in their stomachs, and defend them from the severity of the cold. Indeed, men, whales, birds, and all the quadrupeds and fishes of the North, are supplied by nature with a degree of fat, which prevents the muscles from freezing, and the blood from coagulating. Every thing in these Arctic regions is either oily or gummy, and even the trees are resinous.


“The Esquimaux are, notwithstanding, subject to two fatal disorders; the scurvy, and loss of sight. The continuation of snows upon the ground, joined to the reverberation of the rays of the sun on the ice, dazzle their eyes in such a manner, that they are almost constantly obliged to wear shades of two pieces of very thin wood, through which small apertures for the light have been bored with fish-bones. Doomed to six months’ night, they never see the sun but obliquely; and then it seems rather to blind them, than to give them light. Sight, the most delightful blessing of nature, is a fatal gift to them, and they are generally deprived of it when young. A still more cruel evil, which is the scurvy, consumes them by slow degrees: it insinuates itself into their blood, and changes, thickens, and impoverishes the whole mass. The fogs of the sea, which 89 they inspire; the dense and inelastic air they breathe in their huts, which are shut up from all communication with the external air; the constant and tedious inactivity of their winters; a mode of life alternately roving and sedentary; every thing, in short, tends to increase this dreadful malady, which in a little time becomes contagious, and, spreading itself through their abodes, is transmitted by cohabitation, and perhaps likewise by the means of generation.

“Notwithstanding these inconveniences, the Esquimaux is so passionately attached to his country, that no inhabitant of the most-favoured spot under Heaven quits it with greater reluctance, than he does his frozen deserts. The difficulty he finds in breathing in a softer and cooler climate may possibly be the reason of this attachment. The sky of Amsterdam, 90 Copenhagen, and London, though constantly obscured by thick and fetid vapours, is too clear for an Esquimaux. Perhaps, too, there may be something in the change of life and manners more contrary to the health of savages than the climate: it is not impossible but that the indulgences of an European may be poison to an Esquimaux.—Such are the inhabitants of a country discovered, in 1610, by Henry Hudson!”

Although many parts of the foregoing extract are strictly descriptive of the Esquimaux, yet it is very evident that the Abbé Raynal has undertaken to describe a people whom he never saw: consequently, nothing can be more absurd than those remarks which, it may be observed, I have particularized: and I shall now notice them, in the order in which they occur.


In the first place, the Abbé says, that “scarce any of the individuals are above four feet high!” It has been before noticed, that, of all those whom we saw, a fair average standard might determine their height to be between five feet five inches, and five feet eight inches: moreover, we even saw some of the females five feet seven inches high. In the next place, he observes: “Their heads bear the same enormous proportion to their bodies as those of children.” This, again, is about as fabulous as those old stories of a race having been discovered with two heads. There is certainly nothing peculiar about the heads of the Esquimaux, to distinguish them from the Europeans; unless, indeed, we except the enormous quantity of thick, coarse, straight, black hair, which covers them: and this last fact will bear rather hard upon the next marvellous remark of the Abbé’s, in which he asserts that they have neither hair nor beard! The 92 amazing coarseness of their hair, which generally is as thick as a mat on their heads, is, of all others, the most likely characteristic to strike the attention of a stranger: they have also a straggling beard upon the chin and upper lip; although, certainly, it must be admitted that the beard never grows thick or bushy.

The aged appearance of the Esquimaux is, as he says, owing to the formation of their lower lip!—Being able to adduce, if necessary, the testimony of a hundred witnesses to prove the truth of my assertions, I shall content myself with simply stating, that there is no such projection of the lower lip as the Abbé has described. He states that the Esquimaux have taken their name from the coast of Labrador; but Esquimaux, or Skimaux, is an expression, in the language of the Cree and other inland Indians, 93 signifying “eaters of raw flesh!” and they have bestowed this appellation on the maritime Indians, in contempt; as there has always been a most deadly hatred between them.

Then again, with a bold dash of his pen, the Abbé peoples the whole of Hudson’s Bay with Esquimaux: whereas, in fact, they occupy but a very small proportion of it, when compared with the vast extent of territory inhabited by the different tribes of Hunting Indians, the inveterate enemies of the Esquimaux. The northern and unexplored parts of the Bay, and the western shore of Labrador, from Cape Diggs to the southward, are alone inhabited by the latter; whilst the whole of the western and southern shores are peopled by the former.

I know not what could have induced 94 him, also, to describe the Esquimaux as having “the pupil of their eyes yellow, and the iris black:” this is not true; but I suppose that such a supposition may have arisen from that peculiar contraction of the eyelids which has already been noticed in the foregoing part of this Narrative.

It is not less absurd to affirm, that “the seal is armed with teeth, to devour those he cannot drown,” than to say, that the hare is armed with teeth, to devour those dogs from which she cannot escape;—the former being almost as timid an animal as the latter; and there cannot be much danger from the rage of that monster, who coolly suffers a man to strike him a blow over the nose, which puts an almost immediate end to his existence.

I believe Raynal to be very correct in his remarks on the prevalent diseases of the 95 Esquimaux; but he goes too far, in asserting that “they are generally deprived of sight when young.” Sore eyes, indeed, are common amongst them; but there were many old men without this complaint, and few of the women were troubled with it. “Such,” he concludes, “are the inhabitants of a country discovered, in 1610, by Henry Hudson.”—However, if curiosity should lead any person hereafter to visit the shores of Labrador, in the hopes of meeting with a race of people four feet in height, with enormous heads without any hair on them, and yellow eye-balls, he will be grievously disappointed: and so far are they from being that miserable degraded race which the Abbé describes them to be, that they are really possessed of industry, ingenuity, and courage; and certainly as far superior to the disgusting Hottentot, as an European is superior to that race of men.


After having ventured to correct these errors of the Abbé, it would be injustice if I did not bear testimony to the authenticity of his description in other respects. The scaly leprosy, which he mentions, is common amongst them: we at first believed it to be the small-pox, to which it bears a great resemblance; but, from an attentive inspection being made by Mr. Arnot, our surgeon, he was of opinion, that the latter disease had not as yet reached them, or that, if it had, it must have been in its mildest form. Almost all the men are afflicted with ophthalmia, and wear the wooden shades which the Abbé has described; but, as I before mentioned, few of the women labour under this disease. The pendant breasts of the latter have certainly a disgusting appearance; yet it is so common amongst them, that one of the young girls shewed me, with conscious pride, that her breasts had 97 not as yet been thus relaxed; intimating, that she differed from the other dusky damsels in this respect, and was therefore to be considered as an object of greater admiration. From which it is evident, that they consider long breasts as a deformity, even among themselves.

With respect to their winter habitations, it is more probable that the Abbé is correct, than that those persons are so, who entertain the notion of their residing in caverns; but it is not certain that the Esquimaux live in a state of total inactivity during the winter: they must, doubtless, leave their retreats daily, in search of food: and that they do not depend on the water for all their supplies, is very evident, from the number of deer-skins which may be observed in every habitation.

It is now pretty well ascertained that the 98 tribes of Esquimaux, inhabiting the northern shores of Hudson’s Straits, migrate, in the fall of the year, towards the south; for the double purpose of taking up their winter quarters, and of procuring fuel and game amongst the pine-tree forests of Labrador. The northern shore of Hudson’s Straits is, from end to end, a barren rock; having no mark of vegetation, except here and there a tuft or two of wild sorrel, or scurvy-grass: consequently, the wooden frame-work of the canoes, the poles for their summer-tents, and the handles of their fishing-spears, can only be procured by the Esquimaux during their annual migrations to the coast of Labrador. Add to this, that, on our visit to their tents, we observed five or six large boats, hauled up on the shore, and completely laden with all sorts of furs and necessaries, as if preparatory to a speedy removal of the whole tribe into winter quarters.


I should not have been led into so long a digression, had it not been from a wish to correct the very erroneous statements, of even the most eminent authors, respecting this singular race. That those authors have derived their descriptions from the confused accounts of other writers, is evident, by the gross mistakes they have fallen into. It is indeed probable, that, of those who have written upon this subject, no one ever personally visited the Esquimaux: neither is it a surprising thing that they have not done this, because the Esquimaux have always been represented hostile to strangers, prone to treachery, and exceedingly disgusting in their persons.

To return, then, to our party.—We continued roving for some time amongst the habitations of the Esquimaux; and could not help admiring the various ways in 100 which they contrive to render the seal useful: indeed, this creature may be said to supply them with food, light, clothes, houses, beds, boats, and casks. The blubber of the seal is either eaten, or converted into oil for the winter lamps; the skin, with the hair on, is made into frocks, breeches, boots, and stockings; and with the hair scraped off, and well oiled, the skin serves also for a covering to their houses and boats: numbers of them, heaped together with the skins of bears and deer, constitute their beds: lastly, after having carefully skinned a seal, the females sew the hide neatly up; then fill it with wind, like a bladder, and dry it in the sun; and, after this preparation, it fully answers all the purposes of a cask, for containing oil, or any other liquid for which it may be required; in the same manner as the mountaineers of Spain and Portugal carry their wine in the skins of animals.


The Esquimaux have various methods of killing the seal; but the most common is, by spearing him with a long lance, which they discharge from a throwing stick, exactly in the same manner as described by Cook to be in use among the natives of Otaheite. The seal, when once struck, becomes an easy prey: a large bladder, affixed to the dart, effectually prevents his sinking; and a heavy log of wood, also fastened to the dart, acts as a drag, to prevent his swimming away with any velocity. They have also a manner of passing the handle of the lance through the centre of a sort of tambourine; which, in this case, is substituted for the drag: of course, the seal is soon exhausted, with the efforts he is compelled to make, in pulling this machine against the water; and a blow on the nose, from his pursuers, soon puts a period to his existence.


After leaving their huts, we stood on the top of a hill, with the whole of the remaining population of the place around us:—I say, the remaining population; because many of the natives were still trafficking on board the ships. From their numbers, I should think that either several families must reside in one tent, or that there were other hamlets along the shore, at a short distance, from whence we had visitors; as the assemblage on the hill with us consisted of ten men, twenty women, and fourteen children; and yet there were only nine finished tents, and four or five in the frame.

Nothing, as before observed, can be more troublesome than the continual solicitations of these people for gifts; men, women, and children, tormented us incessantly with “Pillitay! pillitay! pillitay!” It became therefore, at last, absolutely necessary, in 103 our own defence, to invent some means of diverting their attention from these importunities. Accordingly, one of our party, who was well acquainted with the manners of the Indians in Hudson’s Bay, began a song in the language of the Cree tribe. The Esquimaux gaped with great astonishment and evident pleasure, preserving the most profound silence, until he gave a loud shout, as a finale; when they sat up an universal shouting and jumping, and it appeared as if they were half beside themselves with delight: yet we were certain that they understood nothing of the sense of the song. We thought this a good opportunity to petition them for a similar favour: our signs were instantly comprehended, and a ring immediately formed, consisting entirely of women, with the exception of an old man, whom we recognised to have seen before, as steersman of one of the large women’s boats. 104 This old man began the song; walking, at the same time, in a circle; followed by the women, with their backs to each other. At a certain turn in the air, the women all raised their voices; I shall not say in a chorus, as it appeared more like a continuation of the song. After a short time, the women suffered their voices to die gradually away, in the most plaintive manner; and the old man again resumed the song alone, until a similar turn again brought in the women’s voices. This alternation lasted a considerable time; during which they still continued to walk round in a circle, and all the while bestowed the most friendly smiles upon us. Meantime, the men stood scattered outside the ring; and whenever the old man resumed his song, they jumped, shouted, and laughed, in the most extravagant manner. One of the men at last kissed two of the females, making plain signs for 105 us to take the same liberty, in rotation, with the whole circle; at the same time uttering, repeatedly, the exclamation, “Coo-nee!” We, however, pretended not to comprehend his meaning, as we were not at all desirous of so indiscriminate a salutation. I noticed one of the women earnestly making the same gesticulations, and crying out “Coo-nee!” also; but as we did not comply, they soon after finished the song. We adopted their own method of jumping and shouting, to express our satisfaction; at which they seemed particularly well pleased.

Preparing now to leave this interesting spot, we descended to the sea, followed by the whole of the natives: and as I turned about to observe if there were any thing belonging to their tents which had before escaped our notice, my eyes rested upon a 106 group of about a dozen huge dogs, around a piece of whale blubber. It is really surprising what numbers of these animals the Esquimaux uselessly support during summer; but they are amply repaid by the benefits derived from them in the winter; as the dogs are then employed to drag the sledge of their owners, after the manner of the reindeer in Lapland. In Newfoundland, and in its environs, large dogs are also used, for the purpose of transporting fire-wood, and other articles, over the snow: and I have been assured, by a respectable merchant, who resides occasionally at Lance-a-Loup Bay on the southern coast of Labrador, that he has travelled one hundred miles in twenty-four hours, in a sledge drawn by ten brace of dogs: they are not accustomed to reins, but two well-trained dogs are placed foremost, and the whole are then managed by a singular kind of whip, the use of which it is difficult to acquire, as the handle is but three feet long, and the lash fifteen.[16]

Sledge drawn by Dogs.
used by European Traders at Hudson’s Bay, and on the Southern Coast of Labrador

Engraved by J. Smith & Clements Inc. Strand
Bark Canoe of the Cree Indians in Hudsons Bay.
London Published by J. Mawman 13th May 1817


After giving away amongst the natives all the metals we possessed, even to the buttons of our coats, we embarked; and resting upon our oars, at a trifling distance from the shore, we gave them three hearty cheers. This was merely intended by us as an experiment; but the effect produced by it surpassed in interest any thing that we had yet seen amongst this people.

The echoes of our huzzas had scarce subsided, before the three young girls, who had attended us the whole day, stepped down to the edge of the water; having each of them previously drawn on a pair of gloves made of white feathers. They first 108 held out their arms, in an horizontal position, with the fingers extended; then waved them to and fro, with an undulating motion; and, at last, suddenly sunk them towards the earth. Again, recommencing for a short time the waving of their hands, they finished this affecting ceremony by extending both arms, to their full extent, towards the right side, pointing their snow-white gloves towards the sky. They continued to repeat the same motions without the least variation, until we began to pull away from the shore; when they ceased entirely, and retired into the crowd of natives, who had stood behind the three girls during the foregoing exhibition, and, in profound silence, appeared to be watching every motion. Never had we seen a more interesting spectacle: the young Esquimaux kept the most exact time with each other, and accompanied their gestures by the most graceful motion of 109 their heads; their eyes bespeaking, at the same time, the most tender solicitude for our safety. It is not a trifling matter that can agitate, even for a moment, the rough feelings of a seaman; yet the crews of our boats sat, during this scene, in mute astonishment, with their mouths wide open; and at last, with the utmost reluctance, we tore ourselves away.

Unlike the generality of savage nations, this people did not exhibit any dances peculiar to themselves: the only instance that we observed, to prove they have an idea of dancing, was on board the ship; here a young girl threw one leg out, and then another, alternately, for some time; when, stopping suddenly, she shut her eyes, and, holding her head down, fell to moaning and howling, as if in great pain: next followed a convulsive gurgling in the throat, and deep-drawn sighs; then 110 gradually opening her eyes, and relaxing her features into a smile, she repeated the whole over again.

It is a curious fact, that the inland or hunting tribes of Indians in Hudson’s Bay believe the Esquimaux to be a nation of sorcerers. Should the season prove a bad one in procuring their furs, they say that the Esquimaux have enchanted the game; and they then set off to the northward, to punish them accordingly. Whenever they discover the tents of the supposed magicians, they remain lurking about the place until a favourable opportunity offers; when, raising the dreadful war-whoop, they rush on to the attack with inconceivable fury. Every individual of the vanquished is instantly massacred, whether they make resistance, or implore for mercy. The animosity between them is hereditary, bloody, and implacable.


When Mr. Hearne travelled to the N. W. in search of the long-sought passage to the Southern Ocean, he was escorted by a party of Cree Indians, and was himself an eye-witness of the massacre of an Esquimaux tribe; although he used his most earnest entreaties with his conductors, to spare an innocent-looking young girl who had supplicated his protection: the Indians frowned furiously upon him; and asking, with haughty contempt, if he wanted an Esquimaux wife, they speared her to death on the spot[17].

It is rather remarkable, that the habitations of the Esquimaux had never before been visited by the officers of the Hudson’s-Bay ships, although they had often landed in the Straits: but this may be explained in two ways. In the first place, the 112 Esquimaux are evidently anxious to conceal their places of abode; secondly, the commanders of the Hudson’s-Bay ships have directions from the Company not to go on shore amongst the Esquimaux themselves, nor to send their boats; and they have orders also to be continually on their guard, in all communications with this people. Possibly these orders have been issued since the horrid termination of an attempt to establish a permanent white whale fishery at Richmond; and probably that circumstance may have given rise to the regulation. I shall relate the dreadful story in the sequel, when I reach that part of my Narrative where it will be necessary to give a short description of the factories in Hudson’s Bay: it would be considered as too long a digression to insert it at present. We had the good fortune, therefore, to be the first Europeans who, for the last forty years, have visited the 113 habitations of the Esquimaux. I have thus been enabled to describe them fully, from my own observations. And there is another point upon which I am able to speak positively, although the circumstance did not fall under my own inspection: I allude to the manner of disposing of their dead.

His Majesty’s ship Brazen, Captain Stirling, in the year 1813, convoyed the Hudson’s-Bay ships into the Bay. Captain Stirling and some of his officers landed in the Straits, but could not find any habitations of the natives: however, in wandering about the hills, they discovered an object of no less curiosity; namely, the dead body of an Esquimaux: it was closely wrapt in skins, and laid in a sort of gully between two rocks, as if intended to be defended from the cold winds of the ocean: by the side of the corpse lay the bow and arrows, spears, and harpoon of the deceased; together with a tin pot, 114 containing a few beads and three or four English halfpence: the last articles had evidently been procured by the deceased in traffic with the Company’s ships.

The reason of the body having been laid on the surface of the earth, is in consequence of the impossibility of penetrating the flinty rock, of which the whole coast is composed; and the custom of depositing his arms by the side of the corpse of a deceased Indian, is common to many barbarous nations.[18]


As it may be expected that something should be said respecting the government and religion of the Esquimaux, I shall briefly state, that they did not appear to me to trouble their heads with either. They certainly paid great respect to the old man who sang to us the song before mentioned; but it does not necessarily follow that he was either a prince or a priest. It is probable that they venerated him more on account of his age, than from any civil or ecclesiastical authority with which he was invested. But the Esquimaux, and all other nations around Hudson’s Bay, have a notion of a superior spirit, whom they concur in styling Manéto, or Good Spirit. It is not known whether the Esquimaux have any idea of an Evil Being; but the Cree Indians imagine that there is a great number of that species, whose sole delight consists in tormenting mankind[19].


With respect to the language of the Esquimaux, I have been able to collect a few specimens: and I shall insert, against each word, in what part of the coast each expression was ascertained to be in use, and the authority from whence I derived my information.

Words. Signification. Where used. Authority.
Chymo Barter. On the shores of Hudson’s Straits. Ascertained by myself.
Pillitay Give me something.
We-we A white goose.
Wau-ve An egg.
Muck Mhameek A knife.
Kippy Swau, beck A saw.
Muck-tu A deer.
Twau-ve Go away—begone.
Tuck-tu Seal blubber.
Kiack Canoe. Churchill, and in Hudson’s Straits. Ascertained by one of the most respectable Traders belonging to Churchill Factory.
Omiack A ship.
Kannau weet ameg A dart.
Ye meck Water.
Hennelay A woman.
Aunay Far off.
Cob-loo-nak An Englishman. Churchill Factory.
Mai Good.
Nagga Mai Not good.
Karrack Wood.
Peo-me-wonga I would have. By the Natives of the Missionary Settlement. By the German Missionary before mentioned.
Ak-ka-karor mapock It shall have payment.

Having given a short account of the Esquimaux, their manners, and customs, I may now proceed with my Journal as before; and content myself with making a few cursory remarks, as we sail along.

August 1st.—The whole of this day we continued off Saddle Back[20]; as the Hudson’s-Bay ships had some arrangements to make, previous to their final separation, which always takes place off Mansfield Island, at the entrance of Hudson’s Bay. Towards evening, we began to ply to windward, with a fresh breeze at west. Thermometer 40° in the shade.

August 2d.—Beating to windward with a strong breeze, in the afternoon we hove-to off Icy Cove, about a mile to the westward of two remarkable hills, called the 118 Virgin’s Paps, which last lay nine leagues to the westward of Saddle Back. On firing a gun and hoisting our colours, we were immediately visited by another party of Esquimaux: there was no difference whatever in their appearance from those we had seen before. One of our officers purchased a canoe of a native, for which he paid a kettle, a lance, a saw, and a spoon. Our curiosity was considerably excited, to observe in what manner this man would contrive to reach the shore; and we really entertained serious apprehensions for his safety, when we perceived him stretch himself out upon his belly on another canoe, at the back of the man who used the paddle. He was in this dangerous position conveyed to land, not daring to lift his head, through fear of destroying the equilibrium of the canoe; which did not swim two inches above the surface of the sea.


After night-fall, we were compelled to tack ship about, to avoid a large patch of floating ice.

August 3d.—We continued plying to windward all this day; and in the evening we had reached Upper Savage Island. It lays about twenty-three leagues to the west of Saddle Back, in an opening which has never been explored. Thermometer 32° in the sun.

August 4th.—Towards the evening of this day we had a fair wind, the ship butting her way through immense quantities of ice. Passed by a bluff cape, called Point Look-out. This cape is eight leagues to the west of Upper Savage Island. We saw a number of Esquimaux following us among the windings of the loose ice. These poor creatures laboured hard to overtake us, hallooing and shouting “Chymo!” but we were 120 now exceedingly anxious to get forward, and therefore could not wait for them; at which their disappointment must have been great.

August 5th.—This morning forcing our way with difficulty through the ocean of ice that surrounded us; at length, being enveloped in a thick fog, and the wind dying away, we lashed our ship to a large piece of ice; and firing three guns as a signal for our convoy to do the same, we were astonished at the effect produced by the cannon, The explosion issued like thunder over the ice; then appeared to roll rumbling back towards the ship; bellowing forth again in tremendous peals. The echo died away in distant reverberation.

Shortly afterwards, we imagined that we could distinguish the sound of voices through the fog: we immediately beat the 121 drum, to point out our situation; and, in a few minutes, we plainly heard the shouting of the Esquimaux: they soon came alongside the ship, with the usual expressions of delight. It is really surprising that this people should venture so far from the land, in such frail barks, through a mass of ice which is enough to daunt an European, even in a stout-built ship.

The fog clearing away, we cast the ship loose, and endeavoured to force our way forward among the ice; until, from its increasing consolidation, we were again obliged to lash to a large piece of it. This operation is called grappling; and it is performed by running the vessel alongside of the piece of ice to which it is intended to make her fast: two men then leap on the ice: the one runs, with a sort of pickaxe, to dig a hole in it, using the precaution to stand with his back to the ship; and the 122 other man follows the first, with a serpent-like iron on his back, having a strong rope affixed to one end of it: this serpent (or ice-anchor, as it is termed) is hooked into the hole on the ice, and the rope is fastened on board the ship. Other ice-anchors and ropes are then hooked to different parts of the piece of ice; and the number of ropes is varied according to the state of the weather. In a gale of wind, we had generally five anchors a-head; and with a moderate breeze, not more than two. The whole manœuvre of grappling is generally accomplished in five minutes; and although the ship be lashed to windward of a clump of ice, yet the action of the wind on a vessel’s masts, yards, &c. turns the ice round, and she will consequently soon be under the lee of it, with water as smooth as a mill-pond.

We were employed this evening in filling 123 our casks from a pool of snow-water on the ice; and our people were highly diverted with running upon it, leaping, playing at foot-ball, and shooting at seals. At length, four of the seamen were so imprudent as to venture on a sort of peninsula which projected from the main body of the ice; when the isthmus instantly gave way, leaving them adrift on a small piece that was barely sufficient to sustain their weight. It was long after night-fall, and with the utmost exertion and difficulty, that we succeeded in getting them safe on board again, by the help of a boat.

August 6th.—In the middle of the night, the prospect from the ship was one of the most awful and sublime that I ever remember having witnessed, during a life spent entirely upon the ocean: and I regret that no language of mine can give an adequate idea of the grandeur of the scene. 124 As far as the eye could reach, a vast alabaster pavement overspread the surface of the sea, whose dark blue waters could only be seen at intervals, where parts of the pavement appeared to have been convulsively torn up, and heaped upon each other in ruined fragments. The snow-white surface of this immense plain formed a most striking contrast to the deep black clouds of a stormy night; through which, uninterrupted flashes of forky lightning succeeded each other with great rapidity, as if intending, by their fiery glare, to shew to us the horrors of our situation, and then to magnify them by leaving us in utter darkness. Add to this, the reiterated peals of thunder that burst forth, in a thousand roaring echoes, over the surrounding ice; also the heavy plashing of the rain, which poured down in torrents; the distant growling of affrighted bears, the screams of sea-birds, and the loud whistling of the wind;—the whole forming a 125 midnight prospect which I would have gone any distance to see; but having once beheld, never wish to witness again.

In the morning, we were surprised by the appearance of two Esquimaux, who had contrived to reach the ship, although we were at least seven leagues from the land, and the ice closely hemming us round on all sides: the Indians had effected their passage by dragging their canoes over the different fields of ice which obstructed their progress. At 4 A.M. we got under sail; as there appeared a possibility of our pushing through, the ice having loosened a little; however, we looked in vain for an opening. The ship running fast, with a fair breeze, struck violently upon a large field, and the shock fairly lifted up her bows. We continued butting through until 8 A.M. when we grappled to a large field of ice, as an impenetrable mass now 126 presented itself on all sides of us: the wind shifted into the N. W. and blew a heavy gale, accompanied by drifts of snow and sleet. We lay in this position all night, closely hemmed in, with five ice-anchors a-head. An inspection being made by the carpenter, he found that the heavy shocks which the ship had received this day had started the ceiling about her bows, and also twelve or fourteen of the trunnels.

August 7th.—During the whole of this day, we continued closely wedged in by the ice. It blew a hard gale from the west, attended by a heavy fall of snow and sleet. The loose ice was incessantly varying its position: at one time, we were so closely hemmed in as to be hardly able to discern any water; then, suddenly, the ice would again open to a considerable distance. This is easily accounted for; as the light pieces of ice drift much faster before the wind 127 than the heavier masses, which are deeper in the water: it will naturally occur, therefore, that the three ships would alter their position, according to the size of the clump to which they were fastened. The Eddystone was three miles to the east of us last night; and at sunset this evening, she was as far to the west; yet that ship was still grappled to the same piece of ice as before; and, from the coagulated mass which surrounded us, one would have been led to conclude that the relative distance from each other could not have been so easily altered: but it varies according to the depth and solidity of the ice to which the ships are affixed.

August 8th.—In the forenoon, the snow ceased to fall, and we had a finer day. Latitude, by an observation at noon, 62°. 54′. N. The ice loosened considerably in the course of the day, but not sufficiently for us to 128 get under sail. At night-fall, we lost sight of the Eddystone, to the west.

August 9th.—The day had just began to dawn, when an animal was observed swimming near the ship: we at first conjectured it to be a seal, and accordingly sent a quarter-master over the ice, to knock it on the head, if it attempted to get upon it; but the man was fain to make a rapid retreat, when he discovered the form of a prodigious bear emerging from the water. This enormous creature came close to the ship’s head; and had I been armed with a pistol only, it would have been easy to have dispatched him; but during the time we were all bustling for a musquet, the bear marched up the field of ice. Mr. Wells, a young midshipman, and myself, instantly pursued him, by different routes; but the grey of the twilight was favourable to him; and his hide being but a shade or two 129 deeper than the ice itself, he escaped unseen. We afterwards traced his footsteps to the edge of the ice, opposite the spot where he landed, and he must therefore have replunged into the sea from that place. I mention this circumstance to shew in what manner these animals contrive to procure subsistence: they swim, during the night, in the quiet manner now described; and drawing close to a piece of ice, they immediately smell if there be any seals upon the top of it; in which case they ascend gently on the opposite side, and suddenly springing upon the sleeping seal, they instantly tear it in pieces.—As this proved to be a fine day, we drew our seamen out upon the ice, and exercised them by firing at a target. Towards evening the ice began to loosen considerably.

August 10th.—A fine day; but the ice still close. Wind remains at N. W. During 130 the last twenty-four hours, the Eddystone again appeared in sight; and towards evening, she again neared us considerably. We believed this to be owing to her having got into a southerly current. Our latitude this day was 62°. 50′. N.; and at night-fall the thermometer stood at 28°.

August 11th.—At 4 A.M. ungrappled, and got under sail, with a fair wind, running a zig-zag course amongst the ice; the ship, at intervals, striking excessively hard. Towards evening, we again grappled to a piece of ice; and, upon inspection, we found several more trunnels started, and the ship much shaken, by her repeated blows. The Admiralty must certainly have been deceived by the Hudson’s-Bay Company, respecting a Voyage to Hudson’s Bay; or they certainly would never have sent a ship of war to perform it, without previously strengthening her for the 131 occasion. It is exceedingly dangerous for any ship to attempt a passage through the sea of ice in Hudson’s Straits, unless her bows be doubled with oak-plank and heavy blocks of wood, bolted to each side of her cutwater; as the floating masses of ice may be considered so many rocks of crystal.

This day, in a vacancy between the ice, we saw the first regular whale. On his second rising to blow, I discharged a load of small shot into his back; at which, however, he did not even seem to feel the least annoyance, though we saw him no more.

August 12th.—At day-light, ungrappled, with a light wind at south; but, to our great mortification, we were again obliged to anchor, at noon, to a field of ice about half a mile long; and both the other ships made fast to the same piece, so that we could 132 walk across the ice to visit each other. Our people were immediately set to work; and in three hours’ time, we had filled fifty-six casks with snow-water, from a large pond on the ice. We had Charles’ Island in sight, bearing W. N. W. about nine leagues distant. This small island is on the southern shore of the Straits, in the narrowest part; the channel there not being above twenty miles broad. Charles’ Island lies about twenty-one leagues to the west of Lady Lake’s Inlet; and hence the ships leave the northern shore, and steer for the south end of Salisbury Island, lying off Cape Diggs, at the western extremity of Hudson’s Straits.

The ice continuing very close all around us, we were compelled to remain in this situation, without ungrappling, for five days; in which nothing occurred worthy of notice.

Appearance of the Entrance of Prince of Wales’s Sound, bearing S.W.½W. about nine leagues.—taken August 17, 1814.

The Rosamond grappled among close Ice.


August 17th.—In the morning, we were opposite a deep inlet, called Prince of Wales’s Sound, on the southern shore of the Straits, which has never been explored. All this coast, as well as the northern shore, is fringed with islands; the principal of which are called King George, Prince of Wales, Maiden’s Paps, and Mannil’s Islands; and they doubtless afford shelter to many fine harbours.

August 18th.—We did not grapple during the night, but hove to, for about two hours, whilst it continued dark; and at day-light we again bore up, and continued running through loose ice. Towards noon it fell nearly calm: we observed seven large seals, basking on a piece of ice; but as soon as we approached them in a boat, they rolled into the water, and disappeared. We were visited by two Esquimaux in the afternoon: they had nothing remarkable about 134 them, except that their mustachios were rather more bushy than those we had seen before. In the evening it fell quite calm, and we grappled.

August 19th.—During the night, the other ships had fallen considerably to the eastward; but the wind coming round to the south-west, we ungrappled, and waited for their coming up. Queen Anne’s Foreland, a high cape on the north shore, bore E. N. E. nine leagues; and although at so great distance, we were visited by three canoes of Esquimaux, bringing their usual commodities for traffic. Our latitude this day was observed to be 63°. 38′. N.; longitude, 72°. 45′. W. We grappled again in the evening, and lay so until—

August 21st.—At 2 A.M. was presented one of those awful appearances which are so common in these hyperborean regions. 135 The water, for some distance around the ship, had, for a time, been partially cleared of the ice; when, on a sudden, a noise was heard like very distant thunder, and the crackling of falling beams in some immense conflagration. The loose ice, which had appeared so distant before, now approached on all sides with an unusual rapidity; the pieces driving one over another in their course, and seeming to menace the destruction of our ship. In ten minutes we were completely hemmed in, on all sides; and a person might travel for miles over a space which had just before been an expanse of water. The ice must have been forced together by some extraordinary meeting of the currents, as there was but a slight breeze at the moment.

At noon, the wind became fair: we ungrappled, and steered through loose weighty ice until 8 P.M. when a thick fog came on, 136 and we again grappled for the night. About 10 P.M. the deep darkness of the sky was suddenly changed to a bright twilight; and having continued so for about five minutes, it again relapsed into its former gloom. This singular appearance was occasioned by a streamer of the aurora borealis bursting through the thick fog which surrounded us.—Thermometer 29°.

During our stay in Hudson’s Bay, and upon our voyage home from thence, our nights were constantly illuminated by the most vivid and brilliant coruscations of the aurora borealis. Its appearance was very different from that which I have seen in more southern latitudes; resembling continual jets of meteoric fire from the northern part of the horizon, which, after darting upwards in long streamers towards the zenith, suddenly collapsed, and receded; falling back, in zig-zag, serpentine lines, with 137 diminished splendour; and ultimately dying away, and vanishing from the sight; being succeeded by other jets, as beautiful as the first. The Cree Indians inhabiting Hudson’s Bay, and indeed the European traders there, maintain, that, in the serene stillness of their severe winters, a soft rushing noise constantly accompanies these coruscations, like that which is occasioned by the quick waving of a fan, or of a winnow. The same remarkable circumstance is mentioned by Hearne, who bears positive testimony to the fact. “I can positively affirm,” says he[21], “that in still nights I have frequently heard the northern lights make a rustling and crackling noise, like the waving of a large flag in a fresh gale of wind. This is not peculiar to the place of which I am now writing (the Athapusco Lake), as I have heard the same noise very plain 138 at Churchill River: and, in all probability, it is only for want of attention that it has not been heard in every part of the northern hemisphere, where these lights have been known to shine with any considerable degree of lustre.”

August 22d.—Early in the morning we again ungrappled. The reader of this Journal may easily conceive that, by this time, our impatience was at its height, as we had now been nearly a month incessantly occupied in endeavouring to push our ship through the never-ending drifts of ice in Hudson’s Straits. I shall not, therefore, attempt to describe the joy of every person on board, when at 8 A.M. we emerged into an open sea, and, the wind blowing tolerably fresh, at ten we passed by Charles’ Island. At noon, we had lost sight of both land and ice; and we now sailed forwards at a great rate, with both our ships in 139 company. Towards night-fall, we passed by a low level island, called Salisbury Island, which lies at the entrance of Hudson’s Bay.

August 23d.—In the morning, passed to the southward of Nottingham, a long rocky island, lying north of Cape Diggs. I know not if Salisbury and Nottingham Islands are inhabited by the Esquimaux; but it is natural to suppose that this people visit them occasionally, during their periodical voyages. At 8 A.M. we were off Cape Walsingham, which is only remarkable for its being the north-west promontory of Labrador, and having a string of small islands running from it towards the sea.

In the afternoon, the Eddystone parted company; as that ship was bound for Moose Factory, at the southernmost extremity of the bay; whilst we intended to proceed with the Prince of Wales to York Factory, on the 140 western side. And now, having brought the ship safely through these formidable Straits, and conducted her into the immense gulf of Hudson’s Bay, we will leave her for a while to pursue her voyage, and take an excursion round the Bay, in order to give some short description of its factories, inhabitants, &c.

Amongst the many adventurous naval enterprises which reflect such lustre upon the last years of Queen Elizabeth, and the beginning of the reign of James the First, none, perhaps, can surpass, in intrepidity and perseverance, the voyages of Henry Hudson; undertaken for the express purpose of effecting a north-west passage to the Pacific Ocean. All that I have been able to collect respecting this brave but unfortunate man is, that he sailed in the year 1610, and discovered the Straits which now bear his name. He boldly pushed his 141 way through them; and finding that, after a length of six hundred miles, he emerged into an open sea, his heart beat high with exultation on having, as he doubtless imagined, succeeded in discovering that famous passage for which so many had sought in vain[22]. Sailing forward, therefore, four hundred miles towards the west, his disappointment was great, at finding himself suddenly stopped, in the midst of his career, by an unknown coast, extending (as has since been ascertained) from 51° to 63° N. latitude. However, the spirit of Hudson was not easily checked; and, astonishing as it may appear, he determined on remaining the whole winter on this dreary coast, so that he might be able to prosecute his voyage early in the ensuing spring. After suffering innumerable hardships, this daring adventurer sailed, early in the next year, towards the north, in search of the much-wished-for 142 outlet to the Pacific; but his crew, not feeling the same enthusiasm which animated their leader, and greatly fearing lest his ardent thirst for discovery might expose them to the horrors of another winter, or, what was still worse, to the chance of perishing amidst the terrific mountains of ice with which they saw themselves to be surrounded, they accordingly proceeded from murmurs to open mutiny; and having turned the heroic Hudson adrift in a small boat, together with the few who adhered to his fortune, they basely left their leader to perish, and sailed away for England, where they arrived in safety. As for the unhappy Captain, I grieve to add, that he was never afterwards heard of: neither have we the poor consolation of knowing that his murderers met with the punishment due to their inhuman crime. There can be no doubt that Hudson’s Bay would have remained much longer unexplored, had it not so happened that the 143 winter preceding the year in which the discovery was made must have been remarkably mild; consequently, Hudson could not have met with many obstacles in passing through the Straits;—no seaman would have endeavoured to penetrate farther, if he had found them so completely blocked up with ice as to impede a ship’s progress, even with the advantage of a favourable wind attending her;—and that this was the case with us, will appear evident, from a perusal of the preceding part of this Journal.

The Hudson’s-Bay Company’s charter is said to confirm to that body the whole and sole right of trading with the Indians, within the limits of Hudson’s Straits; and they have no less than six factories established at the mouths of as many different rivers, which empty themselves into the Bay. The northernmost of these factories is called Churchill: it stands on the 144 west side of the Bay, in latitude 58°. 50′. N.; longitude, 93°. 4′. W. The port is tolerably good, and ships of any size may anchor in it. At the entrance is a danger, called Cape Mary’s Rock; but it is easily to be avoided. On entering Churchill River, ships pass between two points of land. One of them forms a sort of peninsula; and it has a large strong fort of stone upon it, the erection of which is said to have cost the Hudson’s-Bay Company 30,000l.: it was formerly mounted with twenty 32-pound guns. The opposite Cape (Mary) has also a small battery, which formerly had six guns on it; yet, with the most culpable pusillanimity, did the traveller Hearne (who acted as chief at that time) yield this strong position to the French Admiral La Perouse, without so much as attempting a defence; who, in the year 1782, spiked the cannon, and destroyed the factory. Since that time, the fortifications of Churchill have been suffered to remain 145 in their present dilapidated state; and, as a trifling security against any sudden invasion in future, the new factory was erected at a short distance higher up the river. It is matter of surprise, that the Company do not repair the large stone fort, which is made uncommonly strong, both by nature and by art. As it stands upon the extremity of a peninsula, a body of men passing the isthmus to attack it by land, would be completely exposed to the enfilading fire of the fort. It would be difficult also for an enemy to force the gates, because there is a small half-moon battery built on that side, expressly for their defence. Besides, there are dwelling-houses in the interior of the fort, sufficiently large for the reception of the whole factory.

The shore about Churchill River is high and rocky, producing only a very few insignificant trees and shrubs. Farther north, towards the country of the Esquimaux, this 146 small vestige of vegetation dwindles away even to a simple bush or two, and these are only to be found at a considerable distance from each other.

Proceeding southward, towards a more genial country, we arrive at York Factory, standing upon low swampy ground, completely covered with wood: its latitude is 57°. 2′. N.; longitude 92°. 40′. W. This place was also visited by the French in 1782, who burnt the factory, and destroyed a small battery at the entrance of Hayes’ River. But Perouse was grievously disappointed in the chief object of his voyage: and as it is so intimately connected with the subject on which I am writing, perhaps it will not be thought improper to describe the disappointment which the French suffered in the expedition; particularly as the fitting-out of the squadron must have cost the French nation much money; and their 147 burning a few miserable mart-houses in Hudson’s Bay could only injure individuals, and most probably was not felt at all by the public.

Perouse entered Hudson’s Bay in 1782, having under his command a line-of-battle ship and two large frigates. With this force he of course insured the capture of the annual ships, together with their rich cargo of furs, oil, &c.; and as the escape of the three ships does high honour to the skill and intrepidity of their commanders, it is well worthy of notice. The ship which was bound to Churchill, was commanded by Captain Christopher; and the French admiral fell in with her at sea, just previous to her arrival at that place. A frigate was immediately dispatched in pursuit; but the night drawing on apace, Captain Christopher resolved on a bold manœuvre, which he accordingly carried into execution with 148 great success. Perceiving that the Frenchman was ignorant of the coast, and, by his following the English ship, that he was determined to govern his own vessel by her motions,—whereby he hoped to avoid all danger, and in the end secure his prize,—Captain Christopher sent his men aloft, and furled his sails, pretending to come to an anchor. The enemy immediately conjectured that it would be dangerous for him to proceed farther; therefore he directly brought his frigate to anchor in reality. Captain Christopher rejoiced that his deception had so far succeeded to his wishes; and he made sail to sea with the greatest dispatch. Night coming on, and the Frenchman being a long time in getting up his anchor, the Englishman was soon out of sight, and escaped in safety to the northward. Fired with this disappointment, Perouse burnt the factory; and proceeded to York, to secure the other ship, then lying 149 at that place, under the command of Captain Fowler. As there was not depth of water sufficient for his ships to enter York, he anchored in Nelson River, and made every disposition for an attack upon the ship and factory by the dawn of the next day; but, to his utter mortification, he found in the morning that the bird had taken wing;—for Captain Fowler had perceived three large ships at anchor in Nelson River the evening before, and, wisely conjecturing that they could have no good intentions towards him, put to sea during the night. Perouse dispatched a fast-sailing frigate in search of him, which soon had sight of the runaway; but Captain Fowler finding the Frenchman to have much superiority in point of speed, tacked about, and stood in for the land to the south of York, hoping thereby to entice the Frenchman into shallow water: the enemy, however, discovering his design, and fearing lest, 150 in further pursuit, he might incur the risk of shipwreck, put off to sea; and Captain Fowler pursued his voyage to England in safety. The season was too far advanced to attempt any other exploit; and having therefore burnt the factory at York, Perouse returned to Europe; highly chagrined, no doubt, at being thus foiled by a pair of English sailors, and at having failed of success in the principal aim of his expedition. As there are many shoals and dangerous rocks in James’ Bay[23], he did not think fit to send a ship to destroy the southern settlements: and to the credit of this unfortunate navigator, I must state, that he publickly averred, if he had been aware of the factories being the property of individuals, he would assuredly have quitted them without molestation. It is remarkable that the Bay ship (as she is called) got safe to Moose 151 Factory, and returned to England, without being at all aware how very narrowly she must have escaped falling into the hands of the enemy.

The next factory to the south of York is called Severn; but the shore at this place runs off much too shoal to allow a ship to approach the coast; therefore a schooner of about eighty tons is employed to take the furs to York, and to bring back the necessary supplies. This is also the case with Albany, the next factory towards the south; except that the latter place sends its furs, &c. to Moose, instead of York Factory.

At the very bottom or southernmost part of Hudson’s Bay, which is styled James’s Bay, we arrive at Moose Factory; standing, like all the rest, on a river, bearing the same name. This place has a good anchorage, and the climate is 152 milder than in any of the other factories. It is annually visited by a ship from England; as at Moose the furs are collected together from the lesser mart-houses of Albany, East Main, and Richmond, for the purpose of being shipped off to Europe. We must now proceed round the bottom of the Bay;—and the next settlement is at East Main River, nearly opposite to the western shore of Labrador. The factory was established at this place for the purpose of trading with the natives of that vast peninsula; but their internal mart-houses verge generally towards the south, and the marten skins from this factory are said to be the finest in quality of any which are received from Hudson’s Bay. The inhabitants around this settlement are a roving race of people, styled, by the Europeans, Mountain Indians, to distinguish them from the Esquimaux, who inhabit the sea-coast to the northward.


At some distance to the north of East Main is a bight, called Richmond Bay: here is a house belonging to the Company, but not a permanent establishment; as the people who arrive from East-Main Factory in the spring, return again to that place in the fall of the year, to remain for the winter. The annual voyages to Richmond are undertaken for the purpose of procuring oil, as there is a good white-whale fishery in this Bay. The white whale[24] is not much larger than a first-rate porpoise; neither does it yield any whalebone fit for use: but the oil is nearly equal in value to that of the seal; and it was sold in England, in the year 1813, at fifty-six pounds a ton. The fish itself is perfectly white.

There is also a small whale fishery at Churchill Factory, but it is not very productive: perhaps it would be more advantageous 154 for the Company if they were to convert the remains of it into a new fishing establishment in some more efficient situation.

I have now reached that part of my Journal which I before alluded to, as being the most proper place to introduce the account of the disastrous termination of two attempts made by the Hudson’s-Bay Company to settle a permanent white-whale fishery at Richmond Bay.

When first the Europeans went to settle at Richmond, the Esquimaux, who reside about this part, kept them in a continual state of alarm all the winter, by lurking about the woods, in their sledges drawn by dogs. At length an English boy was missing from the settlement; and, after some difficulty, two Esquimaux were seized, and confined in separate apartments. In order 155 to recover the absent youth, the settlers made use of a stratagem. A musket was discharged in a remote apartment; and the settlers entering the room in which one of the Esquimaux was confined, they informed him, by signs, that his comrade had been put to death, for decoying away the boy; and they gave him to understand, at the same time, that he must prepare to undergo the same fate, unless he would faithfully pledge himself to restore the absentee. The Esquimaux naturally promised every thing; and on being set at liberty, he made the best of his way into the woods, and, of course, was never afterwards heard of. They kept the other native for some time a prisoner: at length, he tried to effect his escape, by boldly seizing the sentinel’s firelock at night, but the piece accidentally going off, he was so terrified at the report, that they easily replaced him in confinement: yet either the loss of liberty, a 156 supposition that his countryman had been murdered, or that he was himself reserved for some cruel death, deprived the poor wretch of reason. As he became exceedingly troublesome, the settlers held a conference as to the most eligible mode of getting rid of him; and it being deemed good policy to deter the natives from similar offences, by making an example, they accordingly shot the poor maniac in cold blood, without having given themselves the trouble to ascertain whether he were really guilty or innocent.

Possessing only the plain leading facts of this affair[25], it is not easy to determine how far existing circumstances might have justified such an act of severity towards an ignorant being, who was also, perhaps, 157 totally innocent. The reasons ought certainly to have been weighty which induced them to put the poor man to death; and I hope they will be able hereafter to reconcile the deed to God and to their own consciences.

After this time, Richmond was abandoned as a permanent establishment; and they fell into the present method of visiting this place only during the fishing season, and returning to pass the winter at East-Main Factory. Captain Turner, however, represented to the Hudson’s-Bay Company, that, in his opinion, want of perseverance was alone necessary to render Richmond a safe and permanent settlement; and that, by having people on the spot, ready to begin fishing early in the spring of the year, much greater profit would necessarily accrue to the Company. Accordingly, he received directions to take thither seven people, who 158 were to remain at Richmond during the whole winter. In the spring of the succeeding year, the northern or Hunting Indians, who had visited Richmond in pursuit of game, came, as usual, to barter their furs at East-Main Factory; at the same time bringing the dreadful intelligence that the seven unfortunate Europeans had been murdered by the Esquimaux. The bodies of some of the settlers were afterwards found; although it be by no means certain that they were killed by the Esquimaux: such, however, is a fair presumption, as this people had before displayed a hostile disposition in the case of the boy; and the place was rifled of all the metal, of which the Esquimaux are known to be remarkably fond: add to this, that the northern Indians had long been accustomed to trade yearly at East Main, and no instance had ever been known of their behaving with treachery towards the Europeans.


On the other hand, we must allow, that the Hunting Indians and the Esquimaux live in a state of constant enmity, and, consequently, that their evil reports of each other should be cautiously received. It is also certain, that the northern Indians are as partial to spirituous liquors as the Esquimaux are to metals. Three bloody shirts, belonging to the murdered settlers, were found in the tent of a northern Indian, which he alleged to have taken from the bodies of the slain, after the Esquimaux had quitted them. Upon the whole, it remains uncertain whether the settlers at Richmond perished by the hands of the Esquimaux, or by those of the northern Indians: for my own part, I should be inclined to the former opinion. This catastrophe has effectually put a stop to any further attempts towards establishing a permanent settlement at Richmond Bay.


The following anecdote of Mr. Darby, the father of the celebrated Mrs. Mary Robinson, will shew that the Esquimaux are of a treacherous disposition, and extremely averse from any settlements being made on their coasts.

Mr. Darby had long fostered in his mind a scheme of establishing a whale fishery upon the coast of Labrador, and of civilizing the Esquimaux Indians, in order to employ them in the extensive undertaking. Hazardous and wild as this plan appeared to his wife and to his friends, Mr. Darby persevered in his resolution to prosecute it; and actually obtained the approbation and encouragement of some of the leading men at that time in power, who promoted his designs. To facilitate the execution of his plan, he deemed it necessary to reside at least two years in 161 America. His wife felt an invincible antipathy for the sea, and, of course, heard his determination with horror. The pleadings of affection, of reason, and of prudence, were alike ineffectual, and he sailed for America.

The issue of this rash enterprise proved quite as unfortunate as it was predicted. Mr. Darby had embarked in it his whole fortune; and it failed. The noble patrons of his plan deceived him in their assurances of marine protection, and the island of promise became a scene of desolation. “The Indians rose in a body, burnt his settlement, murdered many of his people, and turned the product of their toil adrift on the merciless ocean.”—This great misfortune was followed by other commercial losses; and the family of this too enterprising man were, in consequence, 162 reduced from a state of affluence and luxury to a very different condition[26].

Having now described the whole of the Factories established upon the sea-coast of Hudson’s Bay, it will be necessary to say something of the interior: this is so far from being unknown, that a man may with safety travel from Hudson’s Bay to Quebec, in Canada, by land. The Hudson’s-Bay Company have many small factories, or rather mart-houses, dispersed in all directions, for upwards of one thousand miles in the interior; to which the Indians bring furs, feathers, quills, &c. in exchange for cloths, blankets, ammunition, fowling-pieces, trinkets, &c. The furs thus collected are sent down the rivers, in large boats, to the factories on the sea-coast, whence they are shipped off for Europe, as before described. 163 There is great jealousy existing between the Hudson’s-Bay traders and the Canadian Company, styled the North-West Adventurers, respecting the traffic in peltry with the Indians. As the mart-houses of the two parties meet inland, each uses all the means in its power to induce the natives to barter furs with themselves, in preference to their opponents: nay, to such a pitch have they carried their mutual animosity, that it is not long since a man in the Company’s employ actually killed a Canadian trader, in a dispute relative to the purchase of some furs from the Indians; for which offence the culprit was tried at Montreal: and as it appeared that the Canadian had given him sufficient provocation, the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter.

The Indians have not failed to observe this competition, so impolitic on both parts, and they profit by it accordingly.


Each factory and mart-house has its Chief, appointed by the Company; and there is also a northern and southern Superintendant, who is directed to visit all the places of note within his district, at least once in the year. The northern department comprises Churchill, York, and Severn factories, on the coast; and the southern embraces Albany, Moose, East Main, and Richmond. To determine the interior limits of each, an imaginary line of demarcation is drawn east and west from Hudson’s Bay to the Stony Mountains.

With respect to the inhabitants of this vast desert I shall say but little, as Sir Alexander McKenzie has given a very full description of the various tribes by which it is peopled[27]. The most populous of all, perhaps, are the Cree Indians: they appear 165 to me to be the same race described by the before-mentioned author, under the name of Knisteneaux. They occupy the country from Churchill nearly as far south as Moose, and are found scattered almost as far to the west as the Stony Mountains; but their numbers have been much diminished of late, owing to the small-pox. When this dreadful malady first reached this country, as the Indians were not aware of any remedy by which they could counteract its violence, they were accustomed to leave the person afflicted in the midst of a wood, with a sufficient stock of food for two or three days’ subsistence; and when this scanty provision was expended, the unhappy victim must have necessarily perished with hunger. The banks of the rivers, for a time, exhibited a most loathsome spectacle, of bodies which had thus fallen a sacrifice to this disorder.


Besides the Cree or Knisteneaux Indians, there are innumerable tribes spread over the interior of this vast country; the principal of which are, the Copper, Dog-ribbed, and Hare-foot Indians, towards the north; the Swees, Bongees, Slave, and Stone Indians, towards the west; likewise a variety of tribes inhabiting the southern country around Moose, such as the Mistassins, and others. The different tribes have frequently wars with each other; and they appear to agree unanimously in one respect only, that is to say, in universal and eternal hatred of the Esquimaux. However, it fortunately happens, from the contrariety of their modes of life, that their parties seldom come into contact with each other, and consequently the battles between them are very rare.

It remains now to speak of one of the most enterprising speculations, perhaps, ever 167 undertaken by a single person; namely, the attempt lately made by Lord Selkirk to establish a colony upon the banks of the Red River, in a situation nearly equidistant from York Factory and Lake Superior, and in the latitude of 50° N.[28]

His Lordship holds this land by a grant of 12,000 square acres from the Hudson’s-Bay Company. The first settlers left Sligo in the year 1811; and arriving in Hudson’s Bay, they past the winter of that year at York Factory. In the spring of 1812, they proceeded to their destination, under the command of a Captain McDonald, formerly belonging to a veteran corps in Canada: but this gentleman seems deficient in the essential art of conciliating those who are placed under his government: however, 168 the situation of the colony is undoubtedly good, and the soil so fertile as to produce every thing almost spontaneously. The winters, indeed, are more severe than in places upon the same parallel of latitude in Europe, but much milder than at Moose, or any of the factories in Hudson’s Bay; and yet even at Moose they produce barley, if it be a fine year; and Orkney oats every year, by sowing them a short distance from the sea-beach. Still, it is extremely doubtful if ever his Lordship’s descendants will derive much benefit from their father’s mighty speculations; unless, indeed, he could prevail upon his tenants to grant him a sort of tithe from their produce, in lieu of rent. With this corn he could supply the Hudson’s-Bay settlements, which would save the Company a considerable expense, and they might repay his Lordship in the current coin of the realm.


The Prince of Wales took out many women and settlers for the colony, as also a Mr. White, to act as surgeon. Lord Selkirk has agreed with this gentleman, to give him a yearly stipend of 100l. together with a grant of five hundred acres of land, and a labourer four days in the week for its cultivation.

It is difficult to imagine what were his Lordship’s intentions with respect to the colony at Red River. Allowing the luxuriance of the soil to answer his fullest expectations, by what possible means could the produce be conveyed to an adequate market, so as to repay the expenses of its carriage? The communication between the colony and York Factory is kept up by boats, through the great Lake Winnepeg; a little to the southward of which runs the Asnaboyne or Red River: yet the channels of the different rivers are so full of falls, 170 rapids, portages and carrying-places, that the labour of conveying the boats is immense, and consequently quite unfit for the purposes of commerce, except it be in furs, and in such light merchandize.

It was for some time believed that a large opening to the northward of Richmond, and near to Cape Smith, was an inlet to some large inland sea; but, in the year 1786, Mr. Davison, an officer in one of the Company’s ships, was sent in a schooner to explore the same. The following extract contains the description of his progress, as expressed by himself. “On entering the bight, and perceiving no land a-head, we sat down to a bottle of wine, and drank success to the new discovery: however, we were soon chagrined by the appearance of some low islands stretching across the opening; and shortly afterwards, coming to an anchor under one of them, we 171 climbed to the top of it, and, to our great mortification, we perceived that the supposed sea was nothing more than a deep gulf, terminated at the bottom by thick clusters of islands, among which the sea ran winding in romantic mazes. Here we found the Esquimaux, who bartered away their dresses, &c. with great avidity, for any sort of metal.”—Notwithstanding this clear statement, there are experienced men who still suppose that an inland sea does exist; and for these reasons:—1st. There is a continual current setting to the east from Cape Henrietta Maria, towards the supposed opening; 2dly, The bay ship, in her voyage to Moose, has frequently observed a large glut of loose ice off Cape Henrietta Maria, which, before her return, has entirely disappeared; and whither could it have drifted with a strong easterly current, unless some opening had admitted its escape from the bay?—These 172 are the reasons for and against the existence of the supposed sea; but it is to be regretted, that the Company do not make a decisive attempt to ascertain the fact.

It will now be necessary to return to the proceedings of the ship.

August 24th.—Course run S. W. by W. ¼W. 34 miles. In the morning, past to the northward of Mansfield, a very long, low, level island, lying about seventeen leagues to the westward of Cape Diggs. Its extent from north to south is said to be full sixty miles. As it abounds with marshes and ponds of fresh water, it may be considered as the grand nursery of those innumerable flocks of wild geese and ducks which afterwards line the shores of Hudson’s Bay: however, it is but seldom visited; and the ships generally avoid going too near to it, in consequence of some 173 shoals that lay around the shore. Towards evening, we steered away W. S. W. by compass.

August 25th.—Course run S. S. W. ¾ W. 101 miles. As there is generally a glut of ice floating about the centre of Hudson’s Bay, a ship, on leaving Mansfield Island, and having a northerly wind, ought to steer for Cape Churchill, until they reach within sixty leagues of the land, when they may alter the course, and steer for York direct. It is necessary to make this angle, to avoid the body of ice in question. Another thing worthy of remark is, that if a ship steer in for Cape Churchill until she have forty fathoms water, she may be certain of being in latitude of the Cape: and when she reaches within five or six leagues of the land, she will have eighteen fathoms water. But a navigator must be cautious to make allowance for the southerly 174 current, which sets continually along the western coast of Hudson’s Bay.

August 26th.—Course run S. W. ¼ S. 56 miles. The wind this day to the S. S. W. Our latitude at noon was 60°. 11′. N. ship still standing to the westward. It has been already noticed, that the officers of the Hudson’s-Bay ships have a motive in concealing from the public the knowledge which they actually possess relative to the navigation of the Northern Seas; and I pledged myself to explain that motive at a proper opportunity. I cannot undertake this unpleasant task at a more apposite time than the present, when it may serve to enliven the dulness of a few nautical remarks, which I think it necessary to insert into this part of my Journal.

In the first place, it is proper to state, that this illiberal concealment has its 175 origin in the Company themselves, who (as I am told by their own officers) have issued the strictest and most peremptory commands to the people in their employment, “that they take especial care to conceal all papers, and every other document, which may tend to throw light upon the Company’s fur-trade.”—It is probable that the Company had no other motive in issuing these directions, than to keep themselves and their gains shrowded in a profound silence; as it appears that, above all other things, they wish their trading concerns not to become a topic of general conversation in the mother-country. Actuated by such principles, the officers of the Hudson’s-Bay ships conceive it to be their duty to conceal likewise all those remarks which their experience has taught them to make upon the navigation of the Northern Seas: consequently, nothing can be more incorrect than the Chart supplied by the 176 Admiralty for the guidance of a man-of-war in Hudson’s Straits: it absolutely bears no resemblance to the channel of which it is intended to be an exact delineation. During the time we continued in Hudson’s Straits, the Rosamond was entirely piloted by a chart belonging to the chief mate of the Prince of Wales, and one of his own making; yet he was so jealous of his performance, that he was highly offended at our Master’s having endeavoured to take a copy of it; and from thenceforward kept his charts carefully locked up. When I questioned him, with some freedom, on this mysterious conduct, the selfish motive stood at once confessed: he feared lest, from others attaining the same knowledge as himself, they might be induced to enter into the service of the Company, and thereby possibly supplant him in his situation. And such I found to be the motives which induced the majority of these experienced 177 seamen to keep their truly valuable information concealed within their own bosoms. After the foregoing statement, it will be unnecessary to explain my reasons for inserting the very few nautical observations which I was enabled to collect.

August 27th.—Course run, W. S. W. ¼ W. 87 miles.

We continued running all this day across the bay, with a fine leading wind. Our latitude at noon was 59°. 40′. N.

August 28th.—Course run W. S. W. 74 miles.

At noon this day we sounded, and found that we were in eighty fathoms water. About sun-set we observed a large body of ice to windward; our latitude at this time 58°. 56′. N.; and longitude, by chronometer, 89°. 50′. W. It is about this spot that the 178 Hudson’s-Bay ships generally calculate on seeing ice, allowing they meet with it at all.

August 29th.—Course run S. by W. ¼ W. 68 miles.

At 1 A.M. we sounded in sixty-seven fathoms water. At four in the morning, the wind suddenly increased to a violent gale, which died away again at sunset. Our latitude at noon was 58°. 6′. N.; longitude, 90° W. Towards night-fall we sounded in forty-two fathoms, with a muddy bottom; and at the same time we caught an owl and a hawk, which we considered as sure signs of the vicinity of land.

August 30th.—As we were now running in to make the land, I shall insert a Table of the Soundings, taken from the depth of water, which we ascertained last night at sun-set.


Table of Soundings ascertained on the 30th of August, while standing in for the Land to the Southward of York Factory.

Hours. Ship’s Course, by Compass. Distance run since last Soundings. Depth of Water. Bottom.
4 A.M. S. S. W. 20 Miles 25 Fathoms Mud
5h 0m Ditto 4 Ditto 21 Ditto Ditto
5.30 Ditto 5 Ditto 15 Ditto Ditto
6.0 Ditto 5 Ditto 14 Ditto Ditto
6.30 Ditto 5 Ditto 19 Ditto Ditto & sand
7.0 Ditto 6 Ditto 12 Ditto Sand & pebbles
Note.—At seven o’clock in the morning we saw the trees a-head, the land itself being too low to be seen. The land probably about seven leagues distant.
7.30 S. by W. 5 Ditto 9½ Ditto Ditto
7.50 Ditto 2 Ditto 7 Ditto Ditto

As we continued beating to windward, in various soundings, all the forenoon, I shall not mark them down, but proceed to 1 P.M. when Cape Tottenham bore S. by E. five leagues distant.


Table of Soundings ascertained on the 30th of August, while standing in for the Land to the Southward of York Factory;—continued from the preceding page.

Hours. Ship’s Course, by Compass. Distance run since last Soundings. Depth of Water. Bottom.
1 P.M. We had —— 13 Fathoms Rocky and gravelly, which denotes the Cape bearing S. by E.
2h. 0m. W. N. W. 4½ Miles 14 Ditto Rocky.
3.— Ditto 6 Ditto 23 Ditto Ditto
5.— S. S. E. 5 Ditto 26 Ditto Brown sand.
6.— Ditto 5 Ditto 17 Ditto Mud, shells, and stones.
7.30 Southward & Westward 7½ Ditto 8 Ditto Mud.
9.— Ditto 7 Ditto 11 Ditto Ditto
9.30 Ditto 2 Ditto 11 Ditto Sand.
10.— Ditto 2 Ditto 11½ Ditto Ditto
10.30 Ditto 2 Ditto 12 Ditto Fine sand.
11.— Ditto 2 Ditto 12 Ditto Very fine sand.
11.30 Ditto 2 Ditto 14 Ditto Gravelly sand, and black specks.
12.— Ditto 2 Ditto 14½ Ditto Very fine sand.

Table of Soundings ascertained on the 31st of August, while standing in for the Land to the Southward of York Factory.

Hours. Ship’s Course, by Compass. Distance run since last Soundings. Depth of Water. Bottom.
12h. 30m. A.M. Southward & Westward 2 Miles 14 Fathoms Grey sand with black specks.
1.— Ditto 3 Ditto 15 Ditto Ditto
1.30 S. W. ½ W. 3 Ditto 15½ Ditto Oozy
2.— S. W. 3 Ditto 15½ Ditto Mud
2.30 Ditto 2 Ditto 16½ Ditto Ditto
3.— Ditto 2 Ditto 14½ Ditto Oozy
3.30 Ditto 2 Ditto 12 Ditto Brown sand, black specks, & broken shells.
4.— Ditto 2 Ditto 7½ Ditto Sand
4.30 Standing in for York Flats 7½ Ditto Ditto
5.— Ditto 3 Ditto 7¾ Ditto Hard ground.
6.— Ditto 6 Ditto 7 Ditto Ditto
7.— Ditto 6 Ditto 8½ Ditto Ditto
8.— Ditto 7 Ditto 8½ Ditto Soft ground.

At eight in the morning, it will be observed, we were in 8½ fathoms water, on 182 York Flats; and we therefore came to an anchor, with the beacon, at the mouth of York River, bearing S. W. by compass; the land being distant about ten miles, although it could barely be discerned in a blue line above the horizon. Thus, it may be observed, we had been sixty-three days on our voyage; and that it may be compared with other voyages to Hudson’s Bay, I have annexed to this Journal a Schedule[29] of those performed by the Company’s ships since the year 1788; although I have not been able to obtain the dates of their departures from the Orkneys.

By the Sounding Table which I have inserted, it is evident that the depth of water abreast of York River, and off Cape Tottenham, to the southward, is uncommonly regular; and it may therefore be fairly concluded, that, although the western coast of 183 the Bay be very low land, yet there is no great danger in making it.

It is not expected that ships during their return to Europe will ever meet with loose ice[30]: therefore, as soon as our ship anchored on York Flats, we undid all the preparations which had been made for manœuvring whilst amongst the ice; such as, re-stowing our anchors, and putting below ice-ropes, ice-anchors, ice-axes, &c.; and we rejoiced in being rid of them.

The factory was about twenty miles distant from the anchorage of the ship, but not visible. At 10 A.M. I went, therefore, from the ship, to report our arrival to the Governor. We were met at some distance from the ship by a large boat from the factory. It appeared that they 184 had noticed the arrival of the ship; and mistaking her for the Prince of Wales, the boat was immediately despatched for letters, parcels, news, &c. &c. Finding their mistake[31], the boat returned with us to the factory, which we reached about nine at night. On landing, we were hailed by a sentinel; and a guard of honour was drawn out to receive us, with a pair of Highland bagpipes in front. The guard was composed of the traders, boatmen, and others, belonging to the factory: and through the gloom of the night I discerned the Governor and his officers, standing in a group to receive us. After the necessary business of introduction was over, we walked up to a large wooden building, surrounded by a double row of wooden palisades; and here we were regaled with venison steaks and buffalo tongue.


Sept. 1st.—At 2 A.M. the tide answering for our return, we quitted the factory, and reached the vessel again about 8 A.M.

Whilst we were at York Fort, we received information that the factory at Churchill had been burnt to the ground, in the month of November, 1813. The miseries which the people of that place suffered during the remainder of the winter were very great. As there were seventy-three chests of gunpowder in the warehouse at the time the conflagration took place, their whole attention was occupied in removing away the powder to prevent an explosion; and by the most strenuous exertions they succeeded in this undertaking; but the time lost prevented their being able to save a mouthful of provisions, or a single utensil, from the flames. An old out-house that had escaped destruction, and a 186 few tents which they erected of rein-deer skins, served them as habitations during the remainder of the winter; and, as if Providence had taken especial care to provide for their necessities, partridges abounded to a greater degree than had been known for many years before. Of course, these birds proved a seasonable supply to the sufferers; particularly as the partridges are so very tame, that they suffer themselves to be driven into nets, by which means large quantities are taken at one time.

A family in England would be justly esteemed objects of great pity, if they were burnt out of their home in the midst of winter, although many friendly habitations might be humanely opened for their reception. What then, comparatively speaking, must have been the situation of the Churchill people—driven out by the flames 187 in the middle of a November night, on the shores of a frozen ocean, with the thermometer 78° below the freezing point, without any shelter save that of a decayed out-house, no bedding, no cooking utensils, no immediate nourishment, and no final prospect of relief, except from a reliance on the adventitious aid of their fowling-pieces! Such a night must surely be allowed to have had its share of horrors. But heroic strength of mind is the characteristic of the European traders to Hudson’s Bay; and this alone enabled the people of Churchill to escape all the evils attendant on such a calamity.

Towards the evening of this day, the Prince of Wales came to an anchor near us.

Sept. 2d.—In the morning we weighed anchor, and ran into the mouth of the river, otherwise called Five-fathom Hole. 188 It is a very contracted anchorage, and at high water there is not more than three fathoms’ water on the bar. In running in from York Flats, the large beacon must be kept bearing S. W. by W. by compass. To moor the ship, one anchor must be laid up the stream, and another down it; and the width of swinging room at low water does not much exceed four times a ship’s length; having a dry muddy flat on the N. W. and a shoal to the S. E. The water is perfectly fresh, and fit for use, at the last quarter ebb, and first quarter of the flood-tide.

As we lay at this anchorage until the 28th instant, I shall not notice each day separately, but proceed to make such remarks as occurred during our stay; contenting myself with briefly stating, that the Prince of Wales was employed during the time in stowing away her cargo, &c.


The whole of the north-west part of the continent of America is so completely intersected with rivers and lakes, that Mackenzie went the greater part of his journeys by water. York Factory is situated on the bank of a river, which has sometimes been called York River; although it appears that the majority agree in giving it the name of Hayes’ River: but it undergoes many appellations in its course from the Echemamis to the sea. I shall therefore endeavour to describe the river, by tracing a journey from York Factory to Lake Winnepeg, a distance of about five hundred miles: but the fur-traders of Hudson’s-Bay are so well accustomed to the route, that two men in a slight bark canoe will undertake it without the slightest hesitation.

On leaving York Factory, the boats proceed against the stream, without meeting any obstruction, up Hayes’ River, Steel 190 River, and forty miles of Hill River; when they arrive at the first carrying-place, called Rock Portage. The obstructions from henceforward begin to augment; and at every portage, the boat, with her whole cargo, must be carried over land; which is rendered sometimes extremely difficult, by the ground being either rough or swampy.

After passing Rock Portage, the stream is contracted; and there are a number of portages intervening, before the boats can arrive at a broad part of the stream, called Swampy Lake, which contains a number of small islands; and it may be considered as a short half-way to Lake Winnepeg. Leaving Swampy Lake, the stream is again contracted into a narrow slip, called Jack River, in which are four portages. On crossing these, they enter a broader part, intersected by innumerable small islands. This space is styled the Knee Lake, and is sixty miles 191 in length. One of the small islands in the centre of Knee Lake contains so great a quantity of iron ore, as to cause the compass to spin round with uncommon velocity. At the upper end of the lake the stream gradually lessens into another slip, called Trout River, and here are four more portages: then gently extending its boundaries, the river opens on a wide expanse, called Holey Lake, from some deep holes in the bottom of it, and the great inequality of the soundings throughout. At the eastern extremity of this lake stands Oxford House, the first trading port to be met with after leaving the factory. Owing to the richness of the soil, and the geniality of the climate, this place produces a number of excellent vegetables[32].

Proceeding onwards, the boats leave the 192 main body of Holey Lake to the left hand: the stream then suddenly narrows; and after passing four more carrying-places, the last of which is called Hill’s Portage, there is a clear space, until a sudden serpentine bend in the river forms the White-fall. The current now begins to be very weak; and a little farther on, they enter a narrow part with still water. This spot is the highest part of the land between Lake Winnepeg and Hudson’s Bay; and Hayes’ River may, perhaps, be said to take its rise about seven miles to the southward of it, in a small lake called Winnepegosis. The boats now meet with a singular rock, which, from some curious Indian paintings once found there, has since been called the Painted Stone. Over this rock the boat must be dragged, and again launched on the opposite side, into a long, narrow, boggy slip of water, called the Echemamis. After emerging from this strait, the current of the river begins to 193 operate in favour of the boats; and this proves that the Echemamis is a small river, taking its rise in the morasses about the Painted Stone, and having no connection with the river which leads from the Painted Stone towards the sea. The Echemamis is, however, lost at a short distance from its source; as after the boats pass Hairy Lake, the stream falls into the Sea River; and there is a portage at their junction, called the Sea River carrying-place. The Sea River is a branch of the great Nelson River, separated from the main stream at the Play-green Lake, and rejoining it by a creek that opens near Hairy Lake.

The boats go against the current up the Sea River; and passing the little Cross Lake and Pike River, they reach Winnepeg, through the Play-green Lake. This last is a wide body of water, covered with islands; 194 and may properly be said to be merely a part of Nelson River, which holds its course from the Stony Mountains to Hudson’s Bay. The rough course from York Factory to Lake Winnepeg is about south-west; but the Nelson River makes a great angle between Winnepeg and the sea; as it first runs off N. N. E.; and then takes its course, due E. N. E. to Hudson’s Bay, where it empties itself by the side of Hayes’ River[33].

The labour of getting the boats up these rivers is amazingly great: their crews encamp on the banks every night; and they generally land also to cook their meals, except when they are compelled to subsist on pemmican, a sort of dried, husky compound, composed of pounded venison and 195 deer’s fat mixed together. This species of food is extremely nutritious: it requires no cooking, and is sometimes rendered more palatable by the addition of berries.

There are many kinds of wood growing on the banks of the rivers, and indeed the whole of the interior near the sea is covered with it: but in the country about Lake Winnepeg there are very few trees, and the inhabitants are therefore compelled to use the dung of the buffalo for fuel. Both buffaloes and horses abound in the open country. The woods on the coast are principally composed of dwarf poplars, larches, and all the varieties of the pine species.

Having thus described the communication by water between Lake Winnepeg and York Factory, I shall conclude with a statement of the respective distances.

Distance from York Factory to the top of Hayes’ River 50
Thence to the upper end of Steel River 35
To Rock Portage 35
To Swampy Lake 35
Length of Ditto 9
Length of Jack River 9
Knee Lake 60
Trout River 12
Holey Lake 30
To White-fall 45
Painted Stone 15
Along the Echemamis to Hairy Lake 35
Length of Ditto 4
Play-green Lake 35

It must be allowed, that the above is a mere rough statement of an old trader, who had been accustomed to traversing the route for nearly twenty years.

Nelson River is a much more noble stream than Hayes’ River, with respect to its navigation, extending about twenty miles from the sea; but from thenceforward it 197 becomes so full of obstructions, from portages, falls, and rapids, that the Company have been compelled to establish their factory upon, and give a decided preference to, Hayes’ River, although they have an establishment or two for trade on the former. The Nelson River takes its rise, according to McKenzie, in the Stony Mountains; and empties itself into Hudson’s Bay, at the same place as Hayes’ River. It is only divided from the latter, at the mouth, by a very low cape, called Point of Marsh, upon which an exceeding high wooden beacon has been erected by the Company, to enable their ships to distinguish the mouth of the river. The continual washing of the waters on either side of the Point of Marsh has enabled the sea to encroach a great deal on the land, and thereby created many dangerous shoals in the mouths of the rivers: the navigation has, by these means, been rendered extremely contracted and difficult. 198 The breaking up of the rivers in the spring tends also, in a great measure, to increase these evils: for, in the first place, the ice being driven towards the sea with an amazing velocity, it carries every thing forcibly away, and causes a general ruin upon the banks, by cutting down large bodies of earth, and hurling trees and rocks from their places. In the second place, it frequently happens that immense stones lying at the bottom of the rivers become fixed into the ice during the winter, and the freshes, in the spring, consequently bear them away towards the sea; but the ice not being able to sustain their ponderous weight for any length of time, it naturally occurs, that those masses become disengaged, and are deposited at the mouths of the rivers, where they not only incommode the passages, but likewise injure the ships’ cables by their friction.


On the second day after our coming, an Indian Chief arrived at the factory from Lake Winnepeg, and some of our officers brought him on board. He staid with us two days; and as he was the Chief of one of those tribes who still maintain a great part of their primeval manners, untainted by European civilization, a full description of him may not be thought unentertaining.

This man had been brought from Lord Selkirk’s colony, at Red River, to York Factory, by Captain McDonald, the chief of the colony. As far as I could collect, his tribe are properly called the Sotees, or people who go up and down the falls of rivers. But they have been styled Bongees by the British, from their being addicted to mendacity; and as they are always crying out “Bongee!” which, in their tongue, signifies “a little,” perhaps, too, the colonists may 200 have thought the appellation peculiarly adapted to the Sotees, as they are but a weak tribe in point of numbers.

The Chief in question was about five feet eight inches high, and, to all appearance, about thirty years of age. It seems that he had some claims to the territory on which Lord Selkirk’s colony now stands; but he had sold his birth-right “for a mess of pottage.” Therefore, to keep him in good humour with the infant establishment, he had been brought down on a visit to York Factory, where it was intended that he should receive an accumulation of honours. A coat of coarse blue cloth, tawdrily ornamented with tarnished lace, and adorned with shoulder-knots; a round hat, with a red ostrich feather in front; a very coarse white shirt, with frill and ruffles; a pair of red stockings, yellow garters, and black shoes, were presented to him immediately 201 upon his arrival. If we add to all this finery, his native ornaments, such as a neck-band of wampum or bead-work[34], a long string of beads suspended by his hair from each temple, and a number of large metal links of the coarsest workmanship, dangling from either ear, his appearance will naturally be imagined to have bordered upon the grotesque. His thighs were entirely naked, as he could not be prevailed upon to fetter them with breeches; and the cartilage of his nose had been perforated.

He appeared a very intelligent man, and was highly delighted with every thing he saw on board the ship. He was not particularly pleased with any of our musical instruments, except the drum. A sky-rocket struck him quite dumb with astonishment; and he afterwards observed to a person who understood his language, “That the 202 Water-Governors[35] must be very powerful, who could thus force the stars to fall from the sky.” Like most Indians, he was a great egotist, and the general tenor of his conversation ran upon his dignity. He observed that he was a Governor, like ourselves; and when the snow became deep on the ground, his tribe were going out, under his command, to make war upon the Swee Tribe; and that after quitting his own territory, he expected to meet his enemy in eight days. He exulted that he had already killed two of the Swee nation with his own hand; and he gave us to understand, that his own tribe always made war on horseback. We presented him with a cutlass, at which he was delighted, waving it above his head, and boasting what wonders he should be able to perform by its assistance. Upon the whole, he was rather a swaggerer; but, 203 perhaps, this was a little excusable; because, according to the character given of him by those Europeans who had heard of his fame, he had acquired an amazing influence amongst many savage tribes, by his courage and wisdom. Indeed, his remaining two days with us, perfectly easy and contented, is a proof that he possessed a good share of the former quality; particularly as we were all utter strangers to him, and he had neither seen the sea nor a ship before in his life: nor did he appear to be at all deficient in the more tender susceptibilities of nature. He had two wives, four sons, and six daughters; and when I presented him with a few spangles and beads, he gave me to understand, that those trifles would be received with great pleasure by his children, on his return to his native country. It surprised us much to observe with what a degree of exactness he copied all our methods of eating, drinking, &c. As we 204 desired to hear him sing, we took advantage of his imitative powers to make him comprehend our wishes: accordingly, the person who sat next to him began first, and the song went regularly round the table, until it reached the Bongee Chief; when, instantly taking the hint, he rose up, and prefaced his ditty with a long speech, which we of course did not comprehend; but, by his gestures, we could perceive that it was evidently intended as an explanation of the subject on which he was about to sing. Then he suddenly struck off into an air that gave us a much higher opinion of the strength than the harmony of his voice. The subject, we could perceive, was an appeal to the Deity (Manito), to protect the ship from all dangers, in her voyage across the waters. We had many other songs from him during the evening: and on a special application, we were favoured with a specimen of the war-whoop, a most 205 discordant howl, produced by striking the hand quick against the mouth, and shouting at the same time. But the most farcical scene of all was the business of getting him into a bed. The purser of the ship undertook the difficult task of chambermaid; but our Indian Chief disencumbered himself of all his finery in a twinkling; and having reduced himself to a state of nature, he rolled head foremost into the bed, placing his feet upon the pillow: this produced great vexation in the mind of his Abigail, who the next night succeeded, with much difficulty, in causing his Indian Highness to lie down like a Christian.

On the evening of the second day, our Indian friend left us, to return back to his native country. He seemed to feel great regret at parting with the Water-Governors; and he gave us all to understand, that if we should hereafter visit his territories, 206 he would insure us a hearty welcome, and a handsome bed-fellow to boot.

Captain Stopford having expressed a wish to observe the manner of killing the reindeer, as practised by the Indians, and a party being accordingly made to ascend the river, we left the factory early in the morning, with a small boat of Captain Stopford’s, and a birch-bark canoe to carry the provisions, tents, &c. We continued to push along shore, against the stream, until 10 A.M. when we rested at a small creek, called Dram-gat, to breakfast. Dram-gat is about seven miles from the factory: it abounds with wild-duck; and receives its name from an old custom of giving the people in the traders’ boats a dram at this spot, previously to proceeding farther on their journey up the river. The tide of the sea ceases to affect the current of the river entirely at the Dram-gat.


We landed upon the bank, kindled a fire, and roasted some venison-steaks after the Indian manner, called by them ponask. Having cut a long skewer of wood, they scrape off the bark, and stick the meat upon its point. The other end of the skewer is then forced into the ground, close to the fire; and by turning it round occasionally, the food is soon sufficiently cooked. I never tasted any thing more savoury than a venison-steak prepared in this manner. After making a hearty meal, we embarked again; and two men taking out a line to the beach, we were thus laboriously dragged along shore. There are many islands and shoals on the south side of the river; whilst the northern shore is, generally speaking, steep. The mouth of Hayes’ River is gradually verging towards the north, in consequence of the perceptible encroachments of the water upon the north bank, and the evident emerging of islands 208 and shoals towards the south side of the river.

As we proceeded up the stream, we met several canoes of Indians, deeply laden with venison for the factory. After receiving from us a small present of tobacco, they continued their course.

At 3 P.M. we had reached a large circular island on the south side of the river, called Rainbow Island. The view from this spot was delightfully picturesque. The northern shore was bounded with high clay banks, covered with dark forests of the spruce-pine tree. Above us, upon the southern banks, five or six remarkable mounds of earth rose majestically from the river. At the termination of a long view upwards, the stream was lost in a sudden bend to the northward; and the vista in that direction was bounded by a noble grove of poplars, 209 that stood on the declivity of the green sloping bank; and their bright yellow colour formed a fine contrast with the sable hue of a frowning forest in the back ground. Directly opposite to the place where we stood, several Indian canoes lay scattered about the shore; and the natives sat regaling themselves, around a blazing fire upon the beach. The river, glittering with the golden tints of the sun, ran smoothly beneath our feet; and a little farther down, foamed, in distant murmurs, over a shoal-bed of pebbles. Whilst we stood contemplating the varied objects in this interesting scene, a flock of wild geese flew screaming past; and a gentleman, who knew the country well, immediately observed, that we should have an “early fall;” thereby intimating that the winter would soon make its appearance. Our admiration of the fine view before us instantly gave way to other sensations; and we could not avoid wishing 210 ourselves speedily out of a country where the transition is so instantaneous, from the most oppressive heat to intense cold; where the ground is bound up in frost eight months of the year; and the miserable inhabitants are tormented to madness by heat and mosquitoes during the remaining four.

Upon leaving Rainbow Island, we approached the spiral mounds of earth before mentioned. Their formation was so regular, that an enthusiastic antiquary might easily have believed them to be antient Indian Tumuli; but upon a close inspection, we plainly perceived that they had been separated from the body of the bank by the ices in the spring; and they had probably assumed a circular form owing to the washing of the great floods which follow the breaking up of the rivers, and melting of the snows, at that season of the year.

Interior of a Wigwam of the Cree Indians
London Published by J. Mawman 16.th May 1817


About 5 P.M. we reached a place called Poplar-fall; and observing an Indian wigwam on the north bank, we crossed the river, and encamped within pistol-shot of it. We had pitched our tent within the wood; and from it we could discern the river, at intervals, through the openings of the trees. Although we were but a short distance from the Indian wigwam, yet the wood was so intricate, that we found it difficult to find our way thither. We, however, paid the natives a visit, and sat familiarly down in the wigwam. It contained one old and two young men, one old and one young woman, and five or six children of both sexes, besides two infants. The wigwam was a circular tent, constructed with three or four poles, lashed together at the top, and covered over with an inferior kind of leather, made of tanned deer-skins. In the midst of the tent was a blazing fire; and in the smoke above, a quantity of deer’s 212 flesh was suspended, after the manner of bacon in England. On the outside of the hut, there were several stages, on which their strips of venison were exposed in the sun to dry, for the winter’s consumption. After sitting a short time with the natives, and inquiring at what part of the river the rein-deer were crossing, we were at length about to depart, when the old Indian presented Captain Stopford with eight deers’ legs, which, when roasted, are considered a great delicacy, on account of the rich marrow they contain. The young woman then gave another of our party a deer’s heart and tongue; and the old squaw, whose aspect was sufficient to give any man a dis-relish to the whole sex, kindly tossed into my lap a head and a brisket. Laden with these presents, we returned to our tents, and dined heartily off a tongue and heart, ponasked. But our kind Indian neighbours had not been so exceedingly munificent 213 without entertaining strong expectations of an adequate remuneration: accordingly, the visit was soon returned by the whole horde; and the old Indian brought a kettle in his hand, which was intended as a gentle hint that he wished for a liquid equivalent. We therefore gave him about a quart of rum, mixed with three quarts of water, and a trifling supply of tobacco. Extraordinary as it may appear, this small donation was amply sufficient to intoxicate every member of the wigwam; and their voices resounded, in song, through the woods, for many hours after we had retired to rest.

Very shortly after the first dawn of day, we were awakened by the old Indian: he came to inform us, that several herd of deer had already crossed the river, and that it was high time we should repair to our stations, to intercept any more which might attempt to follow; as it is an ascertained fact, that 214 these animals, during their periodical journeys, are accustomed to follow each other’s footsteps.

According to the old Indian’s advice, we proceeded about two miles farther up the river, until we reached a place called Twenty-mile Island; so named from its distance from York Factory. Still pursuing the directions of the friendly Indian, we hauled our canoe close to the beach, on the north side of the river; as, at this season of the year, the rein-deer, in pursuance of their northern journey, cross all the rivers from the southward. The Indian proceeded with his canoe higher up the stream, and took his post opposite to the spot from whence he had seen the before-mentioned herds crossing in the morning: he then concealed himself in the high grass, by the side of his canoe; and we also followed his example. After lying 215 thus in ambush for a short time, a small herd, consisting of five deer and a fawn, appeared on the south bank of the river, exactly opposite the old Indian’s canoe. The timid and wary animals stood for some time on the bank of the river, casting an inquisitive glance across the water. We all crouched closer than before, in the grass; and we had soon the satisfaction to see the whole herd leap boldly from the shore. The Indian above us immediately pushed across the stream with his canoe, to intercept the retreat of the deer; and this he was enabled to do unobserved, as he was also a considerable distance above the deer; and the animals neither looked to the right nor to the left, but kept their eyes anxiously fixed on the shore which they were endeavouring to reach. As our lurking-place was about half a mile lower down than the place from whence the deer had taken to the water, and the rapid current of the 216 river naturally drifted them downwards, they would have attempted to land close to us, had not a shoal in the river arrested their progress, upon which they mounted; and by their superior height they immediately discovered us. The deer now stood hesitating what they should do; and so in fact did we: but our Indian co-adjutor having by this time succeeded in gaining the opposite shore, called loudly on us to rise and advance. As soon as we sprang from the grass, the affrighted herd replunged into the river, and attempted to gain the shore which they had quitted; but we pursued them across the stream with such activity, that only one effected its landing, and the remaining four again turned their heads to gain the northern bank. From this moment their deaths were considered inevitable, as the chief skill then lay in continually turning the weary animals from the shore, which we were easily enabled to 217 do, by the superior speed of our canoe. The Indian, meanwhile, followed close behind a large buck, until it approached the bank; when he deliberately speared it in the haunch; and as it emerged from the water, he fired a bullet into its body: yet the animal ran with speed into the wood, and we all naturally concluded it must have escaped;—but the skilful hunter smiled at the idea: “No, no,” said he; “I have it safe:—now for another;” on which, he wheeled about his canoe, and instantly speared to death an amazing fine doe. My gun being loaded with goose-shot only, I discharged it into the rump of the surviving doe, which bled profusely; I also again fired, and struck it on the nose, when my ramrod unfortunately fell overboard: however, we still kept turning the animal from the shore; and having now no weapon in the canoe wherewith we could kill it, I was obliged to halloo for the Indian to bring us a 218 spear; accordingly, he paddled towards the deer with all his might, and, on reaching our canoe, tossed me the spear. Following the native’s example, I made a deep thrust into its haunch, which soon put an end to its existence; and putting a cord over its head, we towed it on shore in triumph.

As the Indian had predicted, he soon found the carcase of the wounded buck, lying about ten yards within the wood. Thus we succeeded in obtaining three out of the original five: and with respect to the other two; one, as above-mentioned, made good its escape in the first instance; and the fawn also landed, whilst we were engaged with the doe.

I have been more particular in relating this expedition, because it will serve as a specimen of the general manner in which the Indians procure their supplies of venison 219 and deer-skins. There have been instances of taking the rein-deer alive, by throwing a rope about the antlers; but this can only be attempted by a boat, as the sudden plunges of the animal, when thus entangled, is very likely to upset a slight bark canoe.

From the continual crossings that we had made athwart the stream, whilst in pursuit of the deer, the current had drifted us down about two miles below our encampment, which we did not regain until towards evening; and our Indian neighbour soon paid us a visit, to talk over the day’s sport. Having received another present of Scutee Wapper[36] (rum) and tobacco, he wished us a good-night; and their songs shortly afterwards began to swell on the air; giving to us a sure indication of the liquor having had its due effect on their senses.


To conclude my account of the rein-deer of Hudson’s Bay, I must observe, that they are evidently the same species with those of Lapland; although the Indians have never attempted to render them in any way useful for domestic purposes: but Lord Selkirk, with his usual perseverance, has procured people from Sweden to train the rein-deer in Hudson’s Bay; although they have not yet been a sufficient time in the country to ascertain the practicability of such a scheme[37].


If the Indians be so fortunate, during their hunting journeys, as to kill a rein-deer in the woods, they eat of it until they literally cannot cram another mouthful. When their meal is finished, they erect a high stage, on which they lay the remainder of the carcase, so as to secure it from the wild beasts; and then cover it with branches of trees, to defend it against the birds of prey. All this trouble is taken, that the food which they are compelled by necessity to 222 leave behind them may be of service to some wandering tribe of hunters like themselves, who may not have been so fortunate as to have met with any deer in their journey.

When, therefore, in traversing the immense plains or forests of the interior, a half-famished Indian descries at a distance one of those charitable stages erected on high for his relief, he hails the cheering sight with the same feelings of delight that is experienced by a tempest-tost and bewildered sailor, when he descries, through the dark clouds of a stormy night, the cheering fire-beacon which denotes the situation of a sheltering port. Whenever an Indian has satisfied his hunger at one of the stages in question, he marks the supporting poles with the character peculiar to his tribe; so that those to whom he is indebted for relief may perceive, on their 223 return, whether their friends have benefitted by their humane intentions. And it is a singular point of honour amongst them, that if, by the characters before mentioned, they should discover that the stage had been erected by an hostile tribe, they will rather suffer the severest pangs of hunger than be obliged to their enemy for relief.

Upon our return to the factory from the deer-hunt, we found much anxiety prevailing respecting the safety of a small schooner, which had sailed hence, on our arrival, to bring the furs from Churchill River, and had not yet returned. There was the more foundation for such apprehensions, as it blew a heavy gale on the day after her departure, and she must consequently have been overtaken by it before she could have possibly reached her destined port. However, it was determined to wait her return until 224 the 28th of September, when prudence dictated our departure, to avoid the risk of a detention for the whole winter. In the mean time, we occupied our time in procuring a stock of fresh provisions against the day of sailing. Accordingly, a party of Indians were despatched in pursuit of game; and in a few days they returned with eleven hundred wild geese, which they had shot in the marshes to the southward of York; and several other parties of the natives poured in a copious supply of venison and wild duck.

Nor were we idle ourselves, as we constantly drew the seine in the mouth of the river; but the supplies of fish thus obtained were exceedingly trifling. Of those we caught, the principal part consisted of mullet, and tittameg, a small delicate fish peculiar to the rivers of Hudson’s Bay.


Before I quit entirely this almost unknown country, I shall insert an extract from an author whose observations will serve materially to illustrate my own[38].

“The animals of Hudson’s Bay are, the moose-deer, stags, rein-deer, bears, wolves, foxes, beavers, otters, lynxes, martens, squirrels, ermines, wild-cats, and hares; of the feathered kind, geese, bustards, ducks, partridges, and all manner of wild fowl: of fish, whales, morses, seals, cod, sea-horses, and sea-unicorns: and in the rivers and fresh waters, pike, perch, carp, and trout. There have been taken in one season, at Nelson River, 90,000 partridges, as large as hens; and 25,000 hares. Every thing changes white in winter; even European animals after being a short time in the country.


“The inhabitants shew great ingenuity in kindling a fire, in clothing themselves, and in preserving their eyes: in other respects, they are very savage[39]. In their shapes and faces they do not resemble the Indians, who live to the south: they are more like the Laplanders and Samoeids of Europe, from whom they are probably descended. Those on the sea-coast are dexterous in managing their kiacks or boats[40]. The other Americans seem to be of a Tartar original.

“In 1670, a Charter was granted to a Company, which does not consist of more than nine or ten persons, for the exclusive 227 trade to this Bay; and they have acted under it ever since, with great benefit to themselves. The fur and peltry trade might be carried on to a much greater extent, were it not entirely in the hands of this exclusive Company; whose interested, not to say inquisitive spirit, has been the subject of long and just complaint. The Company employ four ships, and 130 seamen[41].

“The French destroyed the forts in 1782, valued at 500,000l. The Company export commodities to the amount of 16,000l. and bring home returns to the value of 29,340l. which yield to the revenue 3,734l. This includes the fishing in Hudson’s Bay.

“This commerce, small as it is, affords great profits to the Company, and is 228 advantageous to Great Britain in general; for the commodities we exchange with the Indians, for their skins and furs, are all manufactured in Great Britain; and as the Indians are not very nice in their choice, those things are sent of which we have the greatest plenty, and which, in the mercantile phrase, are drugs with us.——Though the workmanship, too, happens to be, in many respects, so deficient, that no civilized people would take it off our hands, it may nevertheless be admired by the Indians. On the other hand, the skins and furs we bring from Hudson’s Bay enter largely into our manufactures, and afford us materials for a lucrative trade with many nations of Europe. These circumstances tend to prove incontestably the immense benefit that would redound to Great Britain by throwing open the trade to Hudson’s Bay; since, even in its present restrained 229 state, it is so advantageous. The exclusive Company, it is probable, do not find commerce so advantageous now as it was before we got possession of Canada. The only attempt made to trade with Labrador has been directed towards the fishery.

“From the journeys of McKenzie and Hearne, a complete confirmation has arisen, that there can be no northern communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, except at so high a latitude that it must be impeded by perpetual ice.

“The mouth of the Copper-mine River, as ascertained by Mr. Hearne, lies in latitude 72° N.; longitude, 119° W. of Greenwich.”

Since the British have had possession of Canada, a strong competition has arisen 230 between the people of that country and the Hudson’s-Bay traders. It is therefore doubtful whether the opening of a free trade into Hudson’s Bay would be productive of those very advantageous results which Mr. Pinkerton has supposed: the indefatigable Canadians have contrived to carry their mercantile expeditions into almost every part of the N. W. continent of America; and it can be of little political consequence to the mother country, whether the peltry trade is made to pass through Canada or Hudson’s Bay; except, indeed, that the opening of a free intercourse with the Bay might operate as a stimulus upon the Esquimaux, to animate their exertions in the seal and whale fisheries; as they would be then certain of finding an adequate market for their oil, whalebone, and seal-skins.

That nothing serves so effectually to 231 deaden the spirit of mercantile application as an unjust monopoly, is evident, from an old record of the year 1742; which runs thus:—

“When the Indians came to the factory in June 1742, they could get but a pound of gunpowder for four beaver skins, a pound of shot for one beaver, an ell of coarse cloth for fifteen, a blanket for twelve, two fish-hooks or three flints for one, a gun for twenty-five skins, a pistol for ten, a hat with a white lace for seven, an axe for four, a hedging-bill for one, a gallon of brandy for four, a checked shirt for seven; all which was sold at the monstrous profit of 2000 per cent. Notwithstanding which discouragement, the Indians brought down to Port Nelson that season 50,000 beaver skins, and 9000 martens; these beaver skins being worth five or six shillings a pound; whereas 232 those which the English purchase at New York are not worth more than three shillings and sixpence a pound.

“Besides these skins, the Indians, during the same year (1742), brought to the factory, at Churchill, 20,000 beaver skins.”

If the Indians were industrious at a season when their labour was so miserably repaid, they would consequently become, at this moment, much more diligent; because, owing to the competition before noticed, they are certain of meeting with something like an adequate return for their commodities.

To this increased activity of the natives is probably owing the late very visible diminution in the staple article of their commerce, the beaver skins; as it is evident that those animals are becoming much more 233 scarce, in consequence of the perseverance with which their haunts are sought out and invaded.

The 28th of September having at length arrived, and the mercury in Fahrenheit’s thermometer having sunk to 20°, we gave up all hopes of the schooner returning from Churchill; and came to the melancholy conclusion, that she must have perished on her voyage. We therefore weighed anchor from York River, and steered our course towards the north, with an intention of touching, if possible, at the former place, to seek information of the schooner, and to get the furs from that factory; but a brisk gale springing up from the N. W. which was immediately against us, we gave up our design of visiting Churchill, and bore away for Hudson’s Straits. From henceforward we had one continued gale in our favour, until we reached the Orkneys, after 234 an unparalleled quick voyage of nineteen days. In passing through Hudson’s Straits, we could perceive none of the drift-ice or Esquimaux, which were so plentiful in our voyage outwards: the former had been carried away to the ocean, by the prevalence of the southerly currents; and the latter had most probably retired to their winter habitations.

We saw, however, many icebergs of enormous magnitude in the Straits; but, after leaving Cape Resolution, we reached the Orkneys without noticing any more of those dangerous islands[42].

We remained at the Orkneys nineteen days before the other Hudson’s-Bay ship arrived from thence; but she had experienced 235 much bad weather, and made a much longer passage than ourselves.

A few straggling remarks, made during our stay at the Orkneys, will conclude this Journal.

Entering Stromness Harbour, by the Hoy Passage, the view on either hand is extremely awful and sublime. Hoy Head is a tremendous height; and it appears doubly so from a ship sailing near to it, as the western side of this craggy mountain is nearly perpendicular; so much so, indeed, that it obtained the appellation of Hoy Walls. At a particular part of this awful cliff, an immense rent has torn a large fragment from the wall; and this huge disjointed mass is now washed, on all sides, by the most terrific breakers. It stands however erect, repelling all their 236 shocks; and it has assumed so completely the human form, as to be styled the Old Man of Hoy. This gigantic figure may be about five hundred feet high.

If the lowness of the eastern shore gives it a less grand appearance, yet the ledges of sunken rocks, on which many a gallant vessel has perished, together with the horrid breakers roaring mountain high above them, do not fail to inspire a spectator with equal awe and terror.

The Cathedral of St. Magnus, at Kirkwall, is built of a reddish kind of stone, in the shape of a cross; and it looks, at a short distance, much like a brick edifice. It is of very large dimensions; and appears to a stranger in a more imposing light, because it is erected on an eminence. The square tower issuing from the top of the 237 cathedral, in the centre of the cross, was formerly surmounted by a magnificent spire; but being shattered some few years ago, by lightning, a mean brick substitute has since been erected. There is an amazing number of windows; many of which have been lately broken; and there are two in the shape of a rose, exceedingly antique and beautiful.

The doors of this structure are low and arched, surrounded by a curious embroidery of the same red stone as the rest of the building. On entering the main portal, the space not allotted to public worship, the roof is supported by a double row of enormous columns, eight on each side: they are very simple and plain, composed of square stones laid over each other horizontally, and the shafts of the pillars are of the same diameter from their capitals to their bases. Owing to the 238 moisture of the place, a green mould has covered them, and given to the interior a most venerable aspect.

Passing up the centre of the isle between these aged pillars, we arrive at the centre of the cross, where four immense fluted columns support the spire, bells, and clock. A boarded partition then runs across the church; and a scrap of Scripture painted over a door marks out the place of modern worship. The interior of this part is neat, and ornamented with some fine specimens of carved oak, about two hundred years old. Over many of the seats are antique escutcheons of the former Earls of Orkney. The one appertaining to Earl Patrick Stuart, last Earl of Orkney, (who was beheaded,) was quartered with lions and ships, and inscribed thus:



P : S


We had the curiosity to go up to the belfry, by spiral staircases between the outer and inner walls of the cathedral. The number and intricacy of these dark passages was really astonishing; and the darkness of the place inspiring gloomy ideas, we fancied that it was in such dismal recesses that the bigotted monks used formerly to immure their victims. There is one fine bell, and two inferior ones, in the church, and a noble clock by a Scotch mechanist. From the belfry, a small door opens upon a rough ledge about two feet wide: the view from this dizzy height was extremely fine, as the town of Kirkwall, the adjacent islands, and numerous lochs, appear to lie in a panoramic view beneath the feet: but we were truly glad to re-enter the belfry, as the want of security on the ledge quite destroyed the pleasure arising from so fine a prospect.


On leaving the Cathedral of St. Magnus, we stepped aside, between the enormous circular columns before mentioned, to observe the only sepulchral arch of any antique appearance in the place. There was a shield sculptured at the apex, bearing three hearts as a device; from which we conjectured that it must have received the ashes of a Douglas—the heart having been the device of this family ever since the heart of the far-famed Bruce was conveyed, by that king’s desire, to the Holy Land, by an Earl Douglas[43].

This noble cathedral is said to have been built in the year 1200, and is in an excellent state of preservation.

On the right of St. Magnus stand the ruins of the palaces formerly inhabited by 241 the Earls and Bishops of Orkney. The cathedral and palace are within a stone’s throw of each other; but the latter stands on each side of a space which appears to have been the former court-yard of the building. The entrance to this court-yard is by a low arched gateway. The palace of the Earls is in better preservation than the cathedral; and it is to be regretted, that the dilapidations to which it is exposed are suffered to take place.

The corners of the Earl’s palace are laden with immense turrets, which give the building a very heavy appearance. The main portal is a massy low doorway; and the ascent to the great hall is by a fine broad flight of stone steps. Within the hall are two arched fire-places, each sufficiently capacious to roast a whole ox at a time. One of the fire-places is formed beneath an arch constructed in 242 the usual way; but the other is considered as a curiosity in architecture: it is a plane arch, supported by the transverse joining of the stones without the aid of cement. The windows of the hall are high and arched, but without either frame-work or glass.

The Bishop’s palace is now nearly destroyed; and, from the unceasing attacks made upon it, will soon be entirely so.

It is difficult to ascertain the original shape of this venerable structure; there being but two walls now remaining. At the end of one of these walls is a circular tower, of great strength and solidity, which, probably, was intended for the defence of the palace. Although the Earl and the Bishop had their residences so near to each other, yet the temporal and ecclesiastical Chiefs were ever at variance, and their quarrels and intrigues occupy a large portion of the Orkney history.


The town of Kirkwall consists of one long narrow street, which, from its proximity to the sea, and its central situation, was chosen to be the metropolis of the Orkneys many years ago: it is now a royal burgh, and it sends one member to Parliament. The street is generally damp and muddy, and there are very few good-looking houses in it. The house of a gentleman of the name of Baikie has five or six trees growing before it; and these are, I believe, almost the only trees in Orkney; although it be proved, from the number of roots dug up occasionally, that the Orkneys, in former times, were by no means destitute of wood[44].

The town is badly lighted; but, in this respect, it is superior to Stromness; which 244 place cannot boast of a single lamp. When we mentioned this inconvenience, during a conversation with one of the magistrates, he most ingeniously parried the attack, by asserting that the inhabitants were all so sober and good, that they never quitted their houses after dark; consequently the lighting of the town would be attended with unnecessary expense and trouble.

The people of Kirkwall boast much of the Ayr, a public promenade belonging to the town. The Ayr is a natural embankment, projecting like a pier into the sea, and it is washed on both sides by the water. In summer time, the Ayr must prove a very refreshing walk, and an agreeable escape from the filthy street of Kirkwall.

With regard to the people of Orkney, it will be only necessary to add, that a most 245 unbounded hospitality is their leading characteristic; and perhaps an eager curiosity is also an equally prominent trait. When a stranger enters the town of Kirkwall, the intelligence of his arrival flies with the rapidity of wild-fire: the old women, with their knitting apparatus in their hands, stand staring at the doors; and they hardly suffer him to pass, before his ears are assailed by a general inquiry of “D’ye ken wha that chiel is?” This exclamation is repeated by a dozen voices at once, at every door he passes in his route; and he will perhaps feel uneasy in thus becoming an object of scrutiny to the whole population.

The people of Orkney are naturally grave and sober, with much outward appearance of devotion; yet, at the annual fair which is held at Kirkwall, they suddenly relax into the most unbridled licentiousness: neither are they in general to be 246 admired for the honour or liberality of their dealings, as they delight in making what is called a “gude bargain;” and they feel no hesitation in overcharging a stranger, to accomplish this desirable end.

I shall here conclude this Narrative; merely adding, that the Rosamond and her convoy again sailed from the Orkneys on the 7th of November, and arrived safe at the Nore on the 17th of the same month; when an inspection having been made of the Rosamond’s defects, she was reported to be totally unfit for sea, in consequence of the damage she had sustained amongst the ice of Hudson’s Straits; and she was accordingly put out of commission, and immediately advertised to be sold out of His Majesty’s service.


Appendix (A).

From the Latitude of 59° 00 N.
From the Longitude of 3° to 6° 28°
6° ... 12° 31°
12° ... 16° 32°
16° ... 18° 34°
18° ... 22° 36°
22° ... 26° 38°
26° ... 30° 40°
30° ... 34° 42°
34° ... 39° 44°
39° ... 42° 45°
42° ... 60° 45°
60° ... 63° 47°
63° ... 78° into Lat. 63° N. 48° & 49°
78° ... 81° 62° 40′ 48°
81° 45′ ... — 62° 38′ 46°
82° — ... — 62° 36′ 44°
82° 15′ ... — 62° 34′ 42°
82° 00′ ... — 62° 32′ 40°
82° 45′ ... — 62° 30′ 38°
83° — ... — 62° 25′ 36°
83° 30′ ... — 62° 00′ 33°
85° 00′ ... — 61° 30′ 28°
87° 00′ ... — 60° 45′ 22°
89° — ... — 59° 45′ 19°
91° — ... 92° 59° 00′ 11°
92° — ... 95° 59° 00′
Lat. of Hoy Head 58° 58′ N. Long. 3° 30′ W.
—— of York Factory 57° 2′ N. —— 92° 40′ W.
—— of Cape Churchill 58° 50′ N. —— 93° 4′ W.
—— Where the Ships lay at York 57° 8′ N. —— 92° 30′ W.

Appendix (B).
TABLE of the VOYAGES of the COMPANY’S SHIPS to HUDSON’S BAY, since the Year 1773.

Date. Arrived abreast of Charles. Arrived abreast of Cape Diggs. Arrived abreast of Mansfield Isle. Whither bound. Arrived at Hudson’s Bay.
1773 Did not see it Aug. 12 Did not see it CR Aug. 20
1774 Aug. 6 . . . Aug. 9 MR Sept. 5
1779 Aug. 22 Aug. 24 Aug. 25 MR Sept. 3
1780 Aug. 21 Aug. 25 . . . MR Sept. 4
1783 Sept. 2 Sept. 4 . . . MR Sept. 17
1784 Aug. 21 Aug. 25 Aug. 26 YF Aug. 31
1788 July 31 Aug. 1 . . . MR Aug. 15
1789 Aug. 4 Aug. 7 Aug. 7 YF Aug. 16
1791 Aug. 19 Aug. 21 Aug. 22 CR Aug. 31
1793 July 29 Aug. 2 . . . YF Aug. 11
1794 Aug. 4 Aug. 6 . . . CR Aug. 16
1796 Aug. 1 Aug. 2 . . . MR Aug. 20
1797 July 29 Aug. 4 . . . MR Aug. 28
1798 Aug. 22 Aug. 26 . . . MR Sept. 5
1799 Aug. 19 Aug. 21 . . . MR Aug. 30
1800 . . . Aug. 29 . . . YF Sept. 6
1801 . . . Aug. 6 . . . CR Aug. 16
1802 Aug. 4 Aug. 9 . . . MR Aug. 11
1803 . . . Aug. 4 Aug. 5 MR Aug. 5
1804 July 28 July 30 . . . MR Aug. 5
1805 Aug. 9 Aug. 10 Aug. 11 MR Aug. 16
1806 Aug. 1 Aug. 5 . . . MR Aug. 17
1807 Aug. 22 Aug. 29 Aug. 31 YF Sept. 18
1808 July 20 July 24 . . . MR Aug. 14
1809 Aug. 16 Aug. 20 . . . MR Aug. 30
1810 July 21 July 30 . . . MR Aug. 10
1811 Sept 13 . . . Sept. 16 MR Sept. 26
1812 . . . . . . . . . CR
1813 . . . Aug. 11 . . . CR Aug. 19

Note.—CR signifies Churchill River—MR Mouse River— YF York Factory.


Appendix (C).
In the Year 1811

Shewing the Extreme Heat and Extreme Cold of each Month.

State of the Atmosphere.
Extreme Heat.
At Noon on the 20th, 38 degrees above 0 Rainy.
Extreme Cold.
At 8 A.M. on the 12th, 51 degrees below 0 Clear.
Extreme Heat.
At 8 P.M. on the 24th, 39 degrees above 0 Cloudy.
Extreme Cold.
At 8 A.M. on the 20th, 35 degrees below 0 Clear.
Extreme Heat.
At 8 P.M. on the 17th, 44 degrees above 0 Overcast, Rain.
Extreme Cold.
At 6 A.M. on the 5th, 31 degrees below 0 Clear.
Extreme Heat.
At 8 P.M. on the 14th, 57 degrees above 0 Overcast.
Extreme Cold.
At 6 A.M. on the 3d, 22 degrees below 0 Clear.
Extreme Heat.
At 8 P.M. on the 30th, 65 degrees above 0 Cloudy.
Extreme Cold.
At 5 A.M. on the 10th, 15 degrees above 0 Clear.
Extreme Heat.
At 4 A.M. on the 22d, 85 degrees above 0 Thick fog.
Extreme Cold.
At 5 A.M. on the 1st, 32 degrees above 0 Showers.
Extreme Heat.
At 5 A.M. on the 18th, 85 degrees above 0 Clear.
Extreme Cold.
At 5 A.M. on the 29th, 35 degrees above 0 Cloudy.
Extreme Heat.
At 8 P.M. on the 17th, 80 degrees above 0 Clear.
Extreme Cold.
At 5 A.M. on the 26th, 37 degrees above 0 Clear.
Extreme Heat.
At 5 A.M. on the 6th, 78 degrees above 0 Clear.
Extreme Cold.
At 6 A.M. on the 30th, 18 degrees above 0 Clear.
Extreme Heat.
At 6 A.M. on the 4th, 45 degrees above 0 Clear.
Extreme Cold.
At 6 A.M. on the 21st, 11 degrees below 0 Clear.
Extreme Heat.
At 6 A.M. on the 2d, 37 degrees above 0 Rather overcast.
Extreme Cold.
At 6 A.M. on the 18th, 26 degrees below 0 Overcast.
Extreme Heat.
At 8 P.M. on the 6th, 22 degrees above 0 Clear.
Extreme Cold.
At 6 A.M. on the 23d, 31 degrees below 0 Cloudy.

Appendix (D.)

Date. Course corrected. Distance run. Latitude by Observation. Latitude by Account. Longitude by Account. REMARKS.
Oct. 6. At 6 P.M. we took our departure from Cape Resolution, bearing North by Compass, distant 15 miles.
7. S. E. by E. ¼ E. 62 miles No observation 60°.46′N. 62°.50′W. A very thick misty day, with a tumbling sea.
8. S. E. by E. ¾ E. 90 miles Sun obscured 60. 7 59.48 In the morning the wind shifted to the N. N. E. and blew a heavy gale with a high sea.
9. E. S. E. 187 miles Sun obscured 58.55 54.00 Scudding under a close-reefed main-topsail.
10. E. by S. 154 miles Sun obscured 58.25 49. 6 The wind varying continually, accompanied by heavy hail showers.
11. E. by S. 187 miles Sun obscured 57.54 43.20 A strong wind with a heavy sea. We consider ourselves this day nearly abreast of Cape Farewell.
12. E. ¼ S. 200 miles 57°.46′N. 57. 2 A very heavy gale from the North. Scudding under the goose wings of the foresail.
13. E. ½ N. 229 miles 58. 5 29.52 A tremendous high sea running. Scudding under a main-topsail.
14. E. ½ N. 203 miles 58.17 25.34 Scudding in very fierce squalls. Prince of Wales in company.
15. N. 89° E. 165 miles 58.23 18.24 A fine day. Wind in the N. W. quarter, much more moderate.
16. East 186 miles 58.23 12.24 Weather moderate, with a fine fair breeze.
17. E. ¼ N. 152 miles Sun obscured 58.32 7.38 On a calculation, we lost time, since leaving Cape Resolution, 3 hrs. 49 min.; for which loss we allow 28 miles. This correction makes the longitude 8°.31′ W.
18. At day-light we saw the Butt of the Lewis Islands, having run 70 miles E. ¼ S. since yesterday at noon. Observed the Isles of Barra and Rona.
19. In the morning, made all sail; and at noon we anchored in Stromness Harbour, after the shortest passage from York Fort ever before known. The Prince of Wales accompanied us into the harbour.

Appendix (E).
Brought by His Majesty’s Ship Rosamond in 1814
Presented by LIEUTENANT CHAPPELL to the University Library at Cambridge.

Dress of the Men, made of Seal-skins.

Dress of the Women, with a Hood and Tail, made of the Moose-Deer Skins.

Seal-skin Boots of the Men, water proof.

Boots of the Women.

Gloves of ditto.

Dress of an Esquimaux Child, made of the Skins of Sea Mice.

Pouch of Seal-skin.

Ditto of the Dog-fish, with the Fins remaining, as Ornaments.

Small Box made of Rushes, in which they carry their Trinkets.

A most curious Mask for defending the Eyes from the Snow, with a Place for the Ornaments of their Foreheads.


Barb of a Harpoon, with Sculptured Images of Water-Fowls.

Instrument whereby they hurl their Darts, Arrows, and Harpoons.

Two of their Images; the one representing a Man, and the other a Woman, in the Esquimaux Dress; shewing the first dawning of sculpture, and their inability to represent the human countenance, hands, or feet.

LIST of Articles illustrating the Manners and Customs of the Natives of the North-western Coast of America; brought to Europe by Commodore Billings.

Machines used in casting their Arrows; from the neighbourhood of Cook’s River.

Harpoons of Bone, with Ropes made of the Tendons of Animals.

Ditto of Fossil Ivory, with ditto.

Idols of Wood and Hair, brought to the Coast from the interior of the North-American Continent.

Bone Fish-hooks.

Pouches, worn by the Men for covering the Genitals, made of a Marine Plant.

Head-dresses of the Women, made of the Entrails of Fishes.

Dresses of Men and Women, made of Skins of Moose-Deer.


Bracelets and Fishing-lines made of Fishes’ Entrails.

Thread for Sewing, manufactured of the same materials.

Needle-work of the Women, ditto.

Circular Rattle of the Enchanters or Sorcerers, made of the Beaks of Sea-Hawks.

Bonnet worn by the Men; adorned with long Spikes made of the Beard of the Sea-Lion.

Hatchet for making Canoes; the Handle being of wood, to which, by thongs, a piece of Jade is fastened.

Lancet for Bleeding, made of Pitchstone.

Idols made of the Sea-Mouse, adorned with Porcupine’s Quills.

Work-bags and Needle-cases, made of Fishes’ Entrails; the Needles, of Fishes’ Bones; &c. &c.; from Prince William’s Sound.

Small Boxes, and Pouches for carrying Trinkets, &c.

Fish-hooks, False Worms as Baits, Idols, Ornaments for Bonnets, &c.

Seal-skin Boots.


Appendix (F).
Presented to the Author by a Trader who had resided Thirty Years in that Country.

Athis, implies what is past, and could not be avoided.
As-tum, Come here.
As-tum-et-tay, On this side of any particular spot.
As-kow-wee, Rotten.
Ap-pah-qua-soon, Tent leather alone.
Ap-pus-swy-uch, Tent-poles.
Ah-chakk, The soul.
As-tum-as-taik, In the sunshine.
Awoos-us-pee, Past such a time.
Astum-us-pee, Prior to such a time.
A-gues-spee, At such a time.
Ath-tha-gusk-cow, Broad.
Ah-to-we-thah, It certainly was so.
Ah-tues-cay, To work, toil, labour, or attend as a servant.
Ah-too-ska-thog-gan, An attendant, or servant.
Asse-che, Also, Besides.
Ke-we-Assas-su-min, You mean to deceive me.
Ah-tah-mah, Very often repeated.
Ke-we-Ath-the-mah-hittin, I mean to be troublesome to you.
As-cow, Sometimes.
Aquay-thakk, or Aqua-thoch, The first time.
Athee-mis-sue, Ill-natured, Hard to please.
Assus-kee, Earth, or mould.
Abby-tow, Half.
Abby-tham-oo-tuch, Middle of a canoe.
An-nis-coo-tah-pan, A knot of any kind of line.
Ah-tie, Fur.
Ah-spee-che, In the meanwhile, whilst.
An-nouch, Just now.
Che-pai-tuck-guow, Blue.
Cow-ish-she-moo, Go to bed.
Ne-we-Cow-ish-e-moon, I want to go to bed.
Cow-wow, Rough.
Chim-mah-sin, Short.
Cat-tah, Conceal it.
Ke-gah-Cah-twah-tin, I will conceal it from you.
Co-ke-oo, Dive.
Cup-pah-she-moo, To bathe.
Cap-pah-she-mow, To boil meat.
Chick-ka-mah, Yes.
Che-powee, Narrow.
Copan-na-sue, A common man,
Cooke-kay, Always.
Cock-ke-thoue, All of them.
Che-che, Finger.
Che-che-coom, Wart.
Che-che-kin, To scratch.
Chah-kiet-tin-now, A hill, Rising ground.
Cas-pow, Brittle.
Chup-pah-shish, Below, Beneath.
Cup-pow-a-thoue, Leaving off paddling at the approach of winter.
Ke-Chim-mah-cah-pow-wis-in, You are short.
Ke-Co-pah-chemoon, You disappoint yourself.
Cos-see-hah, To wipe, To rub out.
Cos-see-quan, A towel.
Cos-sah-higgan, The implement used in rubbing out any thing.
Che-man, Name of a canoe.
Check-a-gam, Close to the shore.
Es-kah, N.B. In recounting a dream, this word is much made use of.
Ethin-artick, A small kind of pine.
Es-skun, Home.
Ethe-e-coke, Striving.
Eth-e-coke-queth-e-mow, Strive.
Eth-the-boak-cow, Wise, Sensible.
Numma-Ethe-boak-cow, Foolish, Not wise.
Ethin-nut-took, In reality.
Ethin-nut-to, Common, The most common kind of any thing.
Ethee-pin-nay, Truly.
Egah-waudge-no-gun, Any thing almost imperceptible.
Egah-pittah, Stop a little.
Esqua, Presently.
Es-pee-hum-moak, Flying high.
Ethin-ne-woo, Living, Still alive.
En-coo-se-queth-e-moon, I think myself a conjurer, or godlike.
Espim-mick, Above.
E-sput-tin-now, Steep; or rising ground.
Es-pum-me-seek, A little above.
Es-qui-an-mek, The end.
Ke-Guy-as-sues-stah-tin, I will hide myself from you.
Gay-tow-woo, Reflection, To reflect.
Gay-tak-tin-e-thick, The whole number.
Gay-te-un, It happened to you.
Gay-te-an, It happened to me.
Guy-tut, You to him.
Guy-tat, He to him.
Guy-tow-wut-oo-punny, You said so to him.
Guy-tow-wat-oo-punny, He said so.
Guy-tack-oo-punny, He said so of him.
Guy-tisk-oo-punny, He said so of you.
Guy-sus-takee, At the same place.
Hay-wee, A word of notice.
Hay-way, Have you found it—inanimate.
Hay-waw, Have you found it—animate.
How-wee-gas-take, Not exposed to the ray of the sun.
Hook-e-moow, A Chief.
Hay-e-tus-see-chick, As many as there are.
Huth-thee-wah-ka-kin, A word of surprise.
I-es-cue, Tired.
I-es-coo-tai-oo, Tired with walking.
I-es-coos-se-man, Tired with paddling.
Iam-me, Talk, or Speak.
Ith-e-cah-pah-low, Run away, Not to be found.
Kit-Ithe-cah-hittan, I have eat or drunk without saving you any, or without asking you to partake.
Is-see-boy-tayoo, To set off by land.
Kiska-tow-a-cow, A high bank.
Ke-shich, The blue sky.
Ke-shi-cow, Day.
Ke-too, Any noise made by an animate being
Ke-too-mah-gun, or Ke-too-mah-gusk, Any noise made by an inanimate object.
Kis-sway-way, Talk loud.
Egah-Kis-sway-way, Don’t talk loud.
Kis-tuck-gah-much, Main land.
Kin-wow, Long.
Ke-che, Equal to you.
Ke-hitch-chu, Any thing grand.
Kin-no-koo-mow, A long lake.
Kis-ki-ow-wow, Deep water.
Kisshe-as-tun, Fast sailing.
Kishee-puthen, Any thing moving fast.
Kisshe-wahk, Nigh at hand.
Kissas-tow, Middling.
Ka-ke-che-moo, Insignificance.
Kis-steth-e-moo, Proud, Haughty, Opinionated.
Ke-Kuck-quay-che-met-tin, I ask you.
Kuck-quay-che-that-hit-took, Strive to excel each other.
Kuck-qua-che-pus-ke-that-hit-took, To support a spirit of emulation.
Koos-coon, To awaken.
Koos-coon-ne-gan, Awaken me.
Kas-ses-cow, The present opportunity.
Kis-tin-natch, Perhaps.
Kis-pin, When (future).
Ke-kah-nah-gun, Plain to be seen.
Ke-too-his-ca, Calling like a goose.
Ke-ke-toon, You did speak.
Kis-scut-tah, Cut it in two, (a stick or piece of wood.)
Kis-scut-ta-higgan, A stump, the remaining part of a tree cut down.
Ke-hoo-tay-oo, To visit.
Ke-hich-coo, Any thing escaping.
Kith-the-pah, Be quick, Make haste.
Kit-tis-kin-now, To let fall.
Ke-mo-he-how, You teaze it.
Ke-ket-te-mah-how, You are cruel to him.
Ne-Kit-te-mah-tin-na-wow, I feel for him.
Kuth-ke-tai-wap-pit, Black eyes.
Ke-kick, Your house or cabin.
Kis-pin-nut-tow, To earn, To come at, To purchase.
Kut-che-wap-pum-mut, Go-pa-she-wug-geet, That you should see it, was the reason we brought it.
Ke-thas-kah-che-moo, To tell falsehood.
Kis-sha-wah-tis-sue, Good-natured.
Ke-wak-tis-sue, Friendless.
Kis-kah-mut-tin-now, Kis-kah-pis-cow, Steep hill.
Ke-satch, Immediately.
Ke-satch-ut-tow-way-win, Debt, or buying before you intend to pay.
Kee-sin-ne-gun, A dressed skin.
Kee-sin-nah, Dress it.
Kis-sis-sah, To warm. To make warm.
Kee-sis-sah, To cook, either by boiling or roasting.
Ky-as-en-equn, Any thing old or worn out.
Kusketh-etum-etah-goos, A person talking impatiently.
Ka-ke-che-moo, Boasting, To boast.
Ke-kas-sis-po-min, You speak ironically.
Ke-Ka-pah-tis-sin, You are not clever or acute.
Ke-they-e-tou, Making a noise like scratching.
Kis-quay-can, A fool.
Manito, God.
Mus-cow-wow, or Mus-cow-wis-sue, Strong.
Ne-Me-thou, I gave it to him.
Ne-Meeth-ick, He gave it to me.
Ne-Meeth-ick-gowin, It was given to me.
Ne-Meeth-ick-wuck, They gave it to me.
Ne-Meeth-thou-uck, I gave it to them.
Ne-Meeth-thee-ammet, He or she gave it to us.
Ne-Meeth-ick-coo-nan, It was given to us by him.
Ke-Meeth-ick, It was given to you.
Ke-Meeth-it-tin, I give it to you, or I gave it to you.
Owee-nah-gah-Me-thisk, Owee-nah-ke-Meeth-ich-coo, Who gave it to you?
Owee-nah-wah-Mee-thut, Who do you design to give it to?
Owee-nah-wah-Mee-thut, Who does he intend to give it to?
Owee-nah-gah-Mee-that, Who did he give it to?
Owee-nah-gah-Mee-thick-coot, Who was it given to?
Owee-na-hah-Mee-thick-coot, Who?
Mee-thick-coot, Any thing given from one person to another.
Mee-thee-coot, Hairy nose.
Mee-this-tow-wan, Beard.
Mee-the-chap, Hairy face.
Mith-coo, Blood.
Mith-coo-sue, or Mith-gwow, Red.
Mah-tow-wee, Poor flesh, Any thing not fat.
Mah-Mah-tow-wee-wick, Ditto, (plural.)
Mee-gee-wap, A tent, when erected.
Mut-too-gaph, Where a tent formerly stood.
Min-nis-tick, An island.
Min-nay-he-wat-tun, Point of land.
Mess-kaik, A plain, or swamp.
Mis-sick-a-mow, A large lake.
Matoon-eth-e-chiggan, The mind.
Musqua, Black bear.
Oo-sow-we-Musqua, Brown ditto.
Missee-musqua, Grizzlier, great bear.
Wah-pisk, White bear.
Minna-hig, Large pine.
Metuse, Poplar.
Mithqua-pim-mook, Red willow.
Mun-na-win, Barren country, not plentiful.
Me-chim-is-skum-my-gon, A country abounding in provision.
Ke-Meth-tho-tho-tow-wow, You use him well.
N’ Ne-mith-too-too-lakk, He uses me well.
Ne-me-tah-tow, I regret the loss without crying.
Ne-mow-wee-cah-tow, I regret the loss with crying.
Missa-gow, To arrive.
Missa-gow-uck, They are arrived, or I arrived.
Missa-gy-ack, We have arrived.
Missa-gy-eg, You arrived (plural.)
Ne-Missa-gan-nau, I and my companions arrived.
Muthch-e-puthue, Any thing moving slowly.
Math-e-puthue, Any thing that does not go well, as a gun that does not throw its shot well.
Mach-wange, At that time.
Mack-was-kah, To overtake.
Mah-that-tun, Bad.
Me-tho-was-sin, Good.
Me-tho-sis-sue, Handsome
Me-tho-nah-gun, Good-looking.
Much-il-nah-gun, Ordinary.
Much-ethe-lah-gun, Disagreeable.
Metho-tah-gun, Agreeable talking.
Ne-Meth-thoot-tow-wow, I dislike talking.
Ne-Much-in-nak-wow, I think it ugly.
Ne-Mith-thoo-now-wow, I think it handsome
My-itch-che, Exactly.
N’ Ne-Mith-thoo-wah-tan, I am happy.
Ne-Mah-mus-kah-tain, I am surprised.
Ma-muh-lah-coo-sue, Proud.
Me-tow-wee, Longing for any thing eatable.
N’me-tow-with-e-moon, I am longing, or I am a longer.
Mun-nus-qua, To make ready with a gun.
Me-tho-mah-qun, Sweet smell.
Me-tho-gow, Fine, Soft, Mossy.
Misse-hen, To occasion a difference between two persons
Ke-Misse-ken, You have injured me in the opinion of such a person.
Muck-coo-sa, To feast.
N’gah-muck-coo-san, I will feast, or I will make a feast.
Mahtin-nah-wayoo, To divide, To share.
Mah-hum, To go before the current.
Mah-kis-cum, To walk from inland to the shore.
Mo-tway-tayoo, or Matway-way, Report of a gun.
Mun-nah-che-tow, To spare, or be frugal.
Mun-nah-che-how, To avoid offending.
Ke-mun-nah-che-hittan, I do not wish to offend you.
Ke-gah-mow-wee-mittan, I shall hurt your feelings.
Moo-schuck, Always.
Mis-cow-wow, To find.
Mus-cow-wow, Hard.
Misshe-way, The whole.
Ne-moo-see-how, I feel it inwardly or outwardly,
Ne-mee-scoo-nau, I feel it with my hand.
Ne-moo-see-tan, I feel its motion.
Mis-ske-shick, Eyes.
Mith-quah-pit, Red eyes.
Mis-kee-shick-cake, The face.
Missah-gow, To arrive by water.
Missa-gow-ma-as-tun, To arrive by sailing as a ship.
Min-a-ho, To provide provender.
In-ne-tah-mina-ho, Applied to a good hunter, signifies he is not deficient in providing for his family.
Nut-to-min-nah-ho, A man in the employ of a hunter.
Mus-hu-kee, Physic.
Mus-cow-wun, A strong mind, A strong opinion.
Ne-Me-tay-win, I am a conjurer.
Ne-Me-tay-with-emoon, I think myself a conjurer.
Ne-Mun-to-win, or Ne-mun-ne-to-win, I am godlike.
Ne-Me-tow-wan, I long for it.
Mah-that-chis-la-hay-oo, Ill-natured, Quarrelsome, Hard-hearted.
Ne-much-ethe-mow, I have a bad opinion of him.
Miss-sa-gy-akk, We arrive by water.
Mis-sa-gy-eg, You arrive by water.
Mis-sa-gow-wuck, They arrive by water.
Mis-sah-gow, To arrive.
Mis-sah-gan, I arrive.
Mis-sah-gan-nan, We arrive.
Ne-Mis-sah-gah-nan, We arrived.
Ne-Mis-sah-gan, I arrived.
Ke-Mis-sah-gan, You arrived.
Gah-Mis-sah-gy-akk, When we arrived.
Gah-Mis-sah-gy-eg, When you arrived.
Mis-sah-gy-akk-ke, When we arrive, (speaking to a person not of the party.)
Mis-sah-gy-akk-coo, When we arrive, (speaking to one of the party.)
Mis-sa-gy-eg-co, When you arrive.
Mis-sah-gy-ahny, When I arrive.
Moos-tus-cum-meek, The ground, The earth.
Moo-cheek, On the ground.
Mah-chis-tun, Breaking up of the river-ice.
Ke-Me-me-shick-ke-tin, You are large.
Ke-Mitho-nah-goo-sin, You are handsome.
Ke-Much-ee-nah-goo-sin, You are ugly.
Ke-Mitho-nah-tin, You appear handsome to me.
Ke-Mitho-nah-k, He thinks you handsome.
Ke-Much-nak-tin, I think you ugly.
Ke-Much-e-hah-k, He thinks you ugly.
Mah-nah-goo-tee, Mind if it is not so.
My-ak-quam, Mind if I do not, (a threat.)
Muchee, Indifferent, Not good, Not pleasing.
Moi-see, Much.
Mis-tay-hay, A great quantity.
Mis-te-sue, Scalded or burnt.
Mes-tin-nah, To expend, Expended.
Mes-tun-mick, The white skin that is between the bark and body of a tree.
Me-sah-hum, To patch, To mend by patching.
Me-sah-higgan, The patch.
May-che-moose, A little.
May-che-how, To extirpate.
Ne-May-hay-pit-chin, To move toward the sea-shore.
Muck-co-to-pay-oo, A stomach that can bear a great quantity of liquor.
Missina-higgan, Writing.
Maith-waith-e-mai-oo, To be very careful of any person.
Minne-quog-gan, A vessel used for drinking, A pot.
Metch-chis-kun, A fishing-wire.
Ne-Meth-oon, Handy, Not aukward.
Mitho-wo-gass, A length of time.
Mah-no-kay, To build a house, To erect a tent.
Ne-that-mis-sue, Weak.
Nip-as-cue, Applied to a great sleeper.
Nippow, He is a-sleep, or Sleep.
Un-too-we-nip-pow, Go to sleep.
Tan-tee-wah-nip-pee-an, Where do you want to sleep?
Tan-ta-gah-nip-pe-an, Where shall I sleep?
Nee-kee-nan, Our dwelling, or tent.
Nut-toot-tow-in, Listen to me.
Nai-ow, A point.
Nai-ah-pisk, Rocky point.
Nuh-pow-wis, A word of surprise.
Nuggy-nah-gun, Land in sight at a great distance.
Nuthin, To the north.
Nah-me-win, To the south.
Na-puck-ka-see-tuck, Silver pine.
Nepisee, Willow.
Nis-sten-ne-gaw-win, A landing-place.
Ke-Nay-cut-teth-emoon, You grieve.
Nuggisk, For a little time.
Nug-gisk-cow-wow, Two walking parties meeting on a journey.
Nuck-ka-wow, To meet by water.
Ne-hee, Right.
Ne-ach-toa-win, Aukward.
N’ Nah-qut-tick, He left me behind.
N’ Ni-hah-tow-wis-scane, It does not fit well, or It fits aukwardly.
N’ Ne-he-scane, It fits me right.
Ne-ha-tow-win-nah-gun, Aukward appearance.
Nip-pue, Dead.
Nip-pee, Water.
Na-Nip-patchick, or Nip-pat-twow, When they were asleep.
Nas-pit-too-tah, To imitate,
Nus-pit-tahk, Likeness.
Nogun, In sight.
Nah-Nah-lay-oo, Trembling, Shivering, Shaking, &c.
Nah-nah-tay-we-nah-gun, Any thing that appears to shake.
Nah-cow-we-nah-gun, Variety.
No-che-chig-gay, To work at any job, &c.
Na-mah, That.
Nut-toom, Tell him to come here.
Num-mum-ne-kee-toon, I did not speak.
Numma-no-che-etwan, I never said so.
Numma-ne-ke-e-twan, Nah-pait, I cannot say it.
Nutha-hum, To go against the current.
Nut-too-tum-wow, To ask for it.
Nut-tah-aes-cum, To walk inland from the sea-shore.
Nee-shoo, Two.
Ne-shoo-stoo-wow, A double shot, killing two at a time.
Nub-but-lay-stow-in, A hut with a back and two sides, open in front.
No-tum-me-hick, I am puzzled or plagued by him.
Nay-pay-catch, Moderate, Not in the extreme either way.
Ne-gan, Going before.
Nay-pay-quan, To break one’s fast.
Nay-pay-kah-hoo-soo, To break one’s fast with the produce of his hunt.
Nut-to-ko-how, To administer physic.
Ne-mutch-che-the-wa-sin, I am disappointed.
Ne-mow-win, Provisions for a journey.
N’ Ne-ne-mah-hick, Goods entrusted to the disposal of another.
No-che-how, To work at.
N’ Gah-no-chi-chiggan, I will employ myself.
No-sin-na-wow, To go after any thing.
No-hak-wow, To go after any thing on the water.
No-at-tick-way, The act of going after deer with a canoe.
Not-attick-way, Hunting deer by land or water.
Ke-Nah-nah-toke-kat-how, You tease it.
Nup-puch-is-sue, Flat, Thin.
Ne-Nut-tay-hay-pitchin, To move inland.
Nis-to-pay-oo, Not having a fill.
N’ Nis-to-pan, I have not had my fill.
Ke-Nus-coo-mittan, I give you my consent.
Ke-Nus-coo-moon, You have given your consent.
No-chim-mick, From the water in the woods.
Nass, or Nah-tah, Fetch it, or Go for it.
Noo-tow-wee, My father.
Nick-gow-wee, My mother.
Noo-tah, Father.
Nic-cah, Mother.
Nis-slais, My elder brother.
Oo-slais, His or her elder brother.
Ne-seem, My younger brother or sister.
Ne-mis, My elder sister.
N’che-waham, My brother.
Ne-che-san, My nearest relation, as brother or sister.
Ne-shisk, My uncle.
No-kum-mis, My father-in-law.
N-to-shisk, My mother-in-law.
Nis-se-coos, My aunt or step-mother.
No-cum, My grandmother.
Ne-moo-soom, My grandfather.
No-sis-sim, My grand-son or grand-daughter.
Nis-tim, My niece.
Kis-gim-mis, My cousin—female.
Ne-tim, My cousin—male.
Nees-tow, My brother-in-law.
N-cha-coose, A relation on the woman’s side only.
N-teet-tow-wow, The relationship between two people whose children are united in marriage.
No-tassuee, Good for nothing.
Ke-Ninne-ke-twan, You are in a hurry.
Oo-ne-gaph, Carrying-place.
Oo-skah-ta-gow, or Oo-shisk, Fur.
Oo-skun, Bone.
Oo-tay-hee, The heart.
Oo-tay, Boiling.
And, See-cah-che-wut-tay-oo, Boiling over.
Oo-mah-moggah, This too, or This also.
Oo-mah, This.
Oo-tahk, Going behind.
Oa-sow-we-quay, Brown face.
Owanah-n’gah-nut-to-mine-nah-hook, Who will hunt for me?
Oo-tah-coo-sin, Evening.
Ow-wee-how, To lend.
Oo-wee-hah-sue, To borrow.
Oo-tee, and Oo-see, Names of a canoe.
Oo-tahk-athuck, O-ask-kah-pus-ke-layoo, Stern of a canoe.
Oo-sken-equm, Any thing new or not much used.
Oo-scooh-tim, A beaver dam.
Oth-this-sah, To cut anything out, as shoes, &c.
Ne-Pah-wah-min, I dream.
Pemee, Fat, melted and prepared.
Pus-coo-na-oo, Fat animal.
Pis-seth-che-hin, Listen to me.
Ke-pay-tow-in, You hear me.
Ke-Pay-tartin, I hear you.
N’ Ne-Pay-tah-soon, I hear myself.
Ke-Pay-tahk, You are heard.
Ke-Pay-tahk-coo-wow, Ke-Pay-tahk-coo-wow-uck, They hear you, (plural.)
Pow-is-stick, A waterfall.
Pe-chow, A long distance by land.
Pe-tahk-ho-gun, A long distance by water.
Pe-tis-quon-my-gow, A long distance by ice.
Pus-quas-qua-ow, A hummock of wood.
Pay-soo-sin, A short distance.
Pim-mith-e-hick-oo-mow, A lake broader than long.
Pah-kahk, A ghost, or skeleton.
Pow-woggan, Morpheus, or the God of Dreams.
Pe-wee-tog-gun, A shooting-place; i.e. a waterfall, practicable for boats to go down.
Parqua-sin, Shoal water.
Parquow, Dry, or little water.
Pim-mah-gam-mah-hummock, Canoes crossing a lake or river obliquely.
N’ Ne-Pee-kis-curtain, I am uneasy.
Pee-kis-kah-tethe-tah-gun, The case is melancholy.
Ke-Pait-twah-tin, I have brought it you.
Ke-Pait-tah-hoo-twah-tin, I have brought it you by water.
Ke-Pait-lah-hoo-tow-in, You have brought me something.
Pemass-sue, To sail.
Pimiss-scow, To paddle.
Peen-me-gun, Crooked-grained wood.
Peemow, Crooked.
Pah-tuce, Afterwards.
N’ Ne-Puk-kis-cah-tam, I am unhappy.
Pis-sin-nah-tis-sue, Mischievous.
Pus-ke-thahk, To excel, He is excelled.
Ne-Pus-ke-thak-gan, I have excelled.
Pay-pay-me-tah-che-moo, To crawl.
Pem-oo-tah, To walk.
Pe-mo-at-tah-muck, To ride.
Pim-me-thow, To fly.
Pepoon, Winter.
Pepurisue, To winter. Also the name of a winter-bird.
N’-Pe-pun-is-sin, I wintered.
Pe-mah-tah-gas-gun, To go on the ice.
Pah-mah-ta-gow, To go into the water—deep.
Pah-coo-pay, To walk ditto—shoal.
Pay-coo-pay, To come up after diving.
Pan-nis-swow, To split meat.
Pus-sah-wow, To split wood, and work it with a hatchet.
N’gah-Pus-sa-higgan, I will go and sit down and split some wood.
Pah-pe-tues-is-se-nah-gun, Variety.
Pus-sah-qua-pue, To shut the eyes.
Pus-pah-pue, To look through, or peep.
Pus-pah-pue-win, A window.
Pun-mis-cah-tayoo, To go to a house any distance in winter.
Puah-pee-tway-tin, Missing fire.
Pwas-tow-we-mah-tway-tayoo, Hanging fire.
Pwas-towe-we, Tedious, Not quick.
Pah-ke-tit-tow, To let fall.
Pay-catch, Slow.
Pet-tah, Thirst.
Pah-too-mah, By-and-bye.
Pah-pue, Laugh.
Pah-pisk, A great laughter.
Pah-pin-nah-ne-woo, Very laughable.
Ke-Pah-pe-pin, You laugh at me.
Ke-Pah-pi-hittan, I laugh at you.
Poo-see, To set off by water.
Pim-mah-hum-moak, Flying towards the sea-shore.
Pemah-tis-sue, Living, Still alive, Longevity.
Pe-mah-tis-se-win, Any thing that promotes life.
Pe-mah-che-how, To bring to life.
Peth-coo-wow, To penetrate.
Puck-queth-qua-sue, To let blood.
Pah-coo-moo, To vomit.
Pah-puthe-tow, To bring up any thing accidentally swallowed.
Pis-se-quah-tis-sue, Mischievous.
Pee-kis-quay, To sing, or make a noise.
Pah-mit-tis-saw-wow, To run after any thing.
Peway-pisk, Iron, Almost all kinds of metal.
Pah-pus-qua-hum, Breaking-up of lake-ice.
Ka-Pah-tis-sue, Dull, Not clever.
Pis-us, To doubt.
Pee-tah, Any thing that frustrates a design.
Pit-tah, Stop.
Pitche-coo, To move about from one place to another.
Ne-Pit-chin, I have moved.
Ne-Pus-cay-wan, I parted.
Ne-Pus-cay-pitchin, To part company, A party taking different routes.
Pus-ca, To part with a companion by ditto.
Pus-cay-tah, To tear with the mouth.
Pah-pow-wah-hah, or Poo-two-wah, Shake it.
Pah-ke-puthee, A swelling.
Pay-nass, or Pach-nass, Come for it.
Qui-usk, Straight, In a direct line.
Ne-Qui-usk-queth-eten, I have fixed my mind, or come to a determination.
Ke-Qui-usk-co-mitten, Candidly.
Qua-pah-kay, or Qua-pah-hah, Dip a drink.
Qua-pah-hum-mow-in, Dip me a drink.
Qua-pah-hum-nah-sue, Dip a drink yourself.
Qua-pah-hum-mow-win-nan, Dip us a drink.
Ques-ke-tai, The other side.
Ke-Qui-ske-queth-e-tin, You have come to a determination.
Sepun, Strong.
Sepen-nay-oo, Strong in health, Not easy killed.
Sow-with-coo-sue, Bloody.
Oo-Sow-wow, Yellow.
Oo-Sow-us-quow, Green.
Ta-na-Sin-ne-cow-take, What is the name of it?
Soo-sow-wow, Smooth.
Sug-goo, Thick, One after another.
Sug-gow, Thicket of woods.
Sack-ka-higgan, A lake.
Ke-we-Sah-wan-ne-how, You do not use him well.
Sem-mahk, At first.
Sack-ke-how, I love.
Sacke-how-e-wah-bah-ne, If I had loved.
Sack-ke-how-wahk-oo-punny, If we had loved, If they had loved.
Sack-ke-hitch-che, If she loves her or him.
Sack-ke-huck-ke, Sack-ke-hisk-kee, If I love her.
Sack-ke-hit-too-uck, They love each other.
Sack-ke-hit-too-nan, Loving each other.
Sack-kee, Love.
Sack-ke-hin, Love me.
Ke-Sack-ke-hitten, I love you.
Ke-Sack-ke-hick, He loves you, or You are loved by him.
Ke-Sack-ke-hick-wuck, They love you.
Ke-Sack-ke-how, You love him.
Ke-Sack-ke-hich-coo-wow, He loves you both.
Ke-Sack-ke-hittan-now-wow, I love you both.
Ke-Sack-ke-hin-now-wow, You both love him.
Ke-wee-Se-gan-nis-qua-pis-sin, You want to pull my hair.
Se-gan-nis-qua-pis, Pull his hair.
See-tap-pah-quan, A tent made with leather.
Soak-ethe-tum, Obstinate.
Sa-sah-gis-sue, Stingy.
Suthe-an, Any kind of coin, A medal.
Suthe-an-ahpish, The metal of which any coin is made.
Soo-Sow-wah-pisk, Any smooth stone.
Sepah, Underneath.
Sepayow, Hollow, like a bridge.
Sa-cooleh, It must be so.
Ke-Sack-cooch-e-hitten, I overpower you.
Sah-puaw-pow-way, Wet through.
Sah-paw-pwow-we-nah-gwun, Any thing that has a wet look.
Sah-puaw-pum-e-nah-gwun, Transparent.
See-coo-win, Spittle.
Soake-sue, Strong wood.
Sag-ga-wow, Narrow.
Tan-na-twe-un, What do you say?
Tan-na-tway-un, What do I say?
Tan-na-twit, What does he or she say?
Tan-natwit-twow or Tanna-twitch-ick, What do they say?
Tibbis-cow, Night.
N’Tit-tah-pah-tain, I dreamed.
Tah-nah-twan-nick, What is the meaning of it?
Ta-bith-e-tah, Tho-theth-e-tah, You direct.
N’Took-e-moam, My chief.
N’Tut-tah-min-na-wow, I overtook or came up with him.
Tah-nah-the-coke, What distance?
Thah-than-nah, To swim.
Thow-we-nah-gun, A long distance, but in sight sometimes.
Ke-took-e-maam-in-now, Our chief.
N’Tas-tah-gat-tis-soon, I think I am not sufficient for the task.
Tho-is-cow, Soft.
Tho-skeg-gan, Soft skin, Well dressed.
Tay-poy, Call.
Tay-pois, Call him.
To-kin, To open.
To-kap-pue, To open the eyes.
Ke-Tah-hah-ee-mow, You adopt him.
Tah-nah-tah-co-mut, In what line of relationship do you hold him?
Tan-na-tah-co-misk, In what line of relationship does he hold you?
Tah-nait-te-gowan, What is my name? or, What am I called?
Tah-nait-te-gow-we-en, Tah-na-sin-ne-cau-soo-yen, What is your name?
Tah-na-sin-ne-caw-swa-an, What is my name?
Tah-na-sin-ne-caw-soot, What is it’s name?
Tah-hutch-e-tow-in-nah, Tools, Utensils.
N’-Tah-but-teth-emow, I think him, or it, useful.
Tow-weg, The middle of a skin.
Ke-Tis-qua-how-uck, You killed a great many.
Ke-Tis-coo-now, You left some.
Tick-cuck, All of them.
Tah-to, The number.
Than-tah-to, Than-a-tus-se-chick, What number?
Tahn-a-tah-tin-e-thick, What number were there?
Tahn-as-takee, or Tan-a-koo-tu, What of that?
Tahn-a-te-theme-un, What do you think of me?
Tahn-a-teshe-tum-mun, What do I think of it?
Tahn-a-teshe-tum-man, What do I think?
Tahn-a-teshe-tum-me-u’onny, Whatever you think or have thought.
Tuck-ke-coom, Phlegm.
Tethe-coom, Nostril.
Tuck-oo-sin, To arrive by land.
Tah-pa-tah-hum-moak, Flying low.
Tabeth-a-way, Real.
Ta-bith-was-sue, Possessed of property.
Tah-ti-sue, The behaviour of a person.
To-is-pis-sue, Good-natured.
Tus-swow, Straight.
Tah-cuoch, Above, Uppermost.
Tus-tow-widge, Middle, Between.
Ke-keppah-Tow-a-gan, Your ears are sloped.
Tah-but-tis-sue, Useful.
Tah-na-tah-but-tis-sue, For what use?
N’-Tah-coo-sin, I am ill.
Ke-Tith-e-wee-cah-pow-wis-tow-wow, You are taller than him.
Ke-Tap-pe-se-si-sin, You are little.
Ke-Tay-ack-quam-ethe-mittan, I have a great opinion of him.
Tay-poo-pay-oo, Satisfied with drinking.
N’-Tay-poo-pan, I am full of liquor.
Tip-pah-hum, To pay, To measure.
Tip-pah-higgan, A measure, A rule.
Ke-Tow-we-hah-soon, You borrow.
Ke-Tul-tow-wan, You trade.
Kit-Tut-tah-mittan, I trade with you.
Ke-Tus-tum-mah-tin, I hinder you.
Ke-Tit-twes-tum-mah-tin, I am your interpreter.
Ta-ow-wedge, A word used by way of confirmation.
Ta-tow-wedge, The middle.
Tow-weidge, Far from the shore.
Us-to-gum-moo, Still water.
Utch-chahk, A star.
Un-ne-mah, That
Un-to-wappun, Make use of your eyes, Look well for him.
Uh-tah-meek, Underneath.
Uh-tah-mus-cum-meek, Under ground.
Us-kee, A country.
Us-kee-ah, Moss
Us-keek-wah, Lead
Us-keek, A kettle.
Us-too-thoo, To build canoes.
Us-tay-boo, Sober.
Us-pah-che-gun, An ingredient or sauce, as gravy to beef.
Us-put-tis-ewin, Payment.
Us-put-tis-sin, Pay me.
Uttow-way, To trade or barter.
Uttah-muck, Inside.
Um-misk, A beaver.
Um-misk-wy-an, A beaver’s skin.
Us-skah-tie, A green fur-skin, or undressed skin.
Up-pwooy, Paddle.
Wah-ha-wun, Weak.
Wappun, Daylight.
Wappas-sue, An early riser, One who rises by daylight.
Wee-kee, What used to be.
Weggee-moggan, Mate, (a person that lives in the same tent.)
Wiggee, Place of abode.
Nis-tais-Weggee-mah-gun, He lives with my elder brother.
Weggee-wow, Their dwelling.
Wethin, Fat in its natural state.
Wee-thin-noo, Fat (as a fat animal), Fat meat.
Wah-thou, A great distance.
Wah-thoue, A hollow or vacuum.
Wappow, Narrow part of a lake, where the two shores almost meet.
Wap-pick-oo-mow, A narrow lake.
Wow-we-ick-oo-mow, A round lake.
Wappusk, A white bear.
Wah-ke-nog-gan, Jumper.
Wus-qui, Birch.
Ke-Wan-nay-too-tow-wow, You do not use him well.
Wah-gow, Crooked.
Wee-lah, Tell it.
Wee-tum-mow, Tell him.
Wee-rup-pow, Ne-Wee-rup-pan, He wants to sleep.
We-thun-e-taggay, Disjointing and cutting up an animal.
We-thun-e-how, To cut up, To disjoint.
Walhow-nah-gun, Any thing seen far off.
Wee-cheg-gun, Stink.
Wo-waudge, Also.
Kee-Wappin, You see.
Wy-ais, Something.
Ke-Wah-co-mow, You call him your relation.
Ke-We-way-a-se-min, You hinted to deceive me.
We-co-to, To feast.
We-co-too-nah-me-woo, Feasting.
Weeth, Name it, Mention its name.
Wee-this-sue, Mention your own name.
Was-cah, Around.
Was-cah-higgan, A house.
Was-keig, The edge of a skin.
We-ug-ge-tow, Not to be frugal, To be wasteful.
Wun-ny-hov, To loose, Lost.
Ne-Wan-eth-etum-mow-mick, He makes me at a loss what to say.
Wan-eth-etum, He is quite at a loss.
Was-tai-ab-bel, Light eyes.
We-the-gre-quay, Dirty face.
Wow-we-ec-quay, Round face.
Wow-we-eg-se-nah-goo-sue, Droll looking.
Wo-we-et-tis-sue, A funny person.
Ke-Wo-we-ase-hittan, I was jesting with you.
N’-Wo-we-etwan, I spoke it in jest.
Wee-kee, Accustomed.
Wutchee, A hill.
Wah-gis-cow, Any thing that bends well.
Ne-Wap-pah-tin, I saw it.
Ne-Wap-puh-tith-ick, It was shown to me.
Was-dis-sue, To appear bright with the reflection of the sun.
Wah-thoue, Hollow, like an empty nut-shell.
Wow-we-ah-sue, The full moon.
Wow-we-a-sue, Round.
Was-cum-mis-sue, Not intoxicated, Sober.
Wus-kitch, Outside.
Wes-kutch, Formerly.
Wee-sin-now, Castorum.
Wee-pus-cow, Burnt wood, lying on the ground.
Wan-nah-scootch, The end, edge, or extremity.
Wenne-peg, The sea called by that name; also a lake.


R. Watts, Printer,
Crown Court, Temple Bar


[1]See Appendix (E).
[2]This duty is considered by all naval officers as the severest trial of health and spirit to which the profession of a seaman is liable: and in proof of this, it will appear, by the following Narrative, that, upon the Rosamond being ordered a second time to this station, her Captain obtained leave to quit his ship, and eight of her crew deserted the first time the boat went to shore, after the order arrived from the Admiralty.
[3]See the narrative of this circumstance, as it appeared, at the time, in the Naval Chronicle and other public journals. Upon this signal instance of British valour in a person so young as to be almost a child in the service, and who had gallantly volunteered to accompany the expedition upon this dangerous enterprise, the Captain of his ship presented Mr. Chappell with the sword of the Spanish Commander, as the prize of his valour.
[4]The Gunner was tried by a Court-martial, during our stay at the Nore; and was sentenced, to be reprimanded, and to receive an admonition to be more cautious in future.
[5]This is one of the most remarkable examples of the Cyclopéan architecture of the Celts which is known to exist; owing to its remote situation with regard to the rest of Europe.
[6]The Fucus Vesiculosus of Linnœus, or Bladder Fucus; called also Sea Oak, and Sea Wrack. The alkaline salt obtained from these ashes is the common carbonate of soda.
[7]For an accurate Table of the different degrees of variation, see Appendix (A).
[8]For any further particulars respecting the Settlements and progress of the Moravians, on the Coast of Labrador and elsewhere, the Reader is referred to a “History of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Indians in North America,” in Three Parts, by George Henry Laskiel; translated from the German, by Christian Ignatius La Trobe, 1794. Also to “The Periodical Accounts of their Missions,” published by the Brethren’s Society, for the furtherance of the Gospel, at No. 10, Nevil’s Court, Fetter Lane, Holborn, London.
[9]See the Vignette to p. 1.
[10]See the rough Sketch of a Canoe, made by the Author on the spot. Plate I.
[11]Mr. Hearne, in his Journey to the Mouth of the Coppermine River, observes, that the Esquimaux, on the sea coast to the northward, used kettles made of lapis ollaris.
[12]It was probably Sea-weed; a kind of food eaten as a stew, or soup, by the natives of the Isle of St. Kilda, in the Hebrides.
[13]A List is contained in the Appendix, of the different articles of Esquimaux manufacture which were presented, by the Author, to the University Library at Cambridge; accompanied, also, by a List of things of a similar nature brought to Russia by Commodore Billings, from the N. W. coast of America.
[14]This gallant officer lost his arm in the attack on Java, by a cannon-ball. The seamen seeing him knocked backwards by the shock, and lying senseless, conjectured that he had been killed outright; but as they were bearing him off the field, the Captain recovered his senses, and feeling the hot beams of a vertical sun striking directly on his face and head (his hat having rolled off when he fell), he immediately exclaimed to one of his men, “Damme, Sir! fetch me my hat.
[15]Some of the arrows brought to England by the Author were barbed flint, and exactly resemble the arrow-heads found in the Tomb of the Athenians in the Plain of Marathon.
[16]See the Plate.
[17]See Hearne’s “Journey to the Northern Ocean,” p. 154, London, 1795.
[18]This practice was common to almost all the antient world; especially to the Celtic and Gothic tribes, as manifested by the antiquities now found in their sepulchres. Possibly, therefore, the Asiatic origin of the Esquimaux may hence be deduced. The same custom also exists among the Greenlanders; who are, in fact, a branch of the Esquimaux. “They like,” says Crantz, “to make the grave in some remote high place, laying a little moss upon the bare ground (for the rock admits of no digging), and spread a skin upon it. . . . . Near the burying spot they deposit the kajak and darts of the deceased, and the tools he daily used.”—See Crantz’s Greenland, vol. I. p. 237. London, 1767.
[19]Moschetos are considered as among the winged agents of the Evil Spirit, by some of the North-American tribes.
[20]See the Sketch of this remarkable Cape, taken on the tops.
[21]Hearne’s Journey to the Northern Ocean, p. 224. Lond. 1795.
[22]See the Voyages of Frobisher, Davies, and others.
[23]This is the denomination of the bottom of Hudson’s Bay to the southward of Cape Henrietta Maria.
[24]The Beluga.
[25]The account of the above transaction was derived from the most indubitable authority.
[26]Memoirs of Mrs. Mary Robinson.
[27]See the account of Expeditions through the North-West Continent of America to the Pacific Ocean.
[28]The infant colony is called by his Lordship, Osna Boia (two Gaelic words signifying Ossian’s Town), from the resemblance between that and the Indian name of Red RiverAsnaboyne.
[29]See Appendix B.
[30]It is astonishing, that, before the return of the ships, the whole of the drift ice in the Straits disappeared.
[31]I should have before mentioned, that the Prince of Wales did not arrive at York Flats until the day after our ship.
[32]As it may be amusing to some people, I have added a few thermometrical observations made at Oxford House, in the year 1811.—See Appendix C.
[33]Instead of tracing the Nelson River from its source to the sea, it will be expedient to annex a map of the river from Lake Winnipeg to the Gull Lake, shewing also the portages, &c.; and this part of the river may be taken as a sample of the whole.
[34]The badge of his dignity among the Indians.
[35]The title by which he distinguished the officers of the ship from the gentlemen of the factory.
[36]A very expressive name given by the Indians to spirituous liquors, signifying Mad-Water.
[37]Whilst this Journal was preparing for the press, the following article appeared in many of the Daily Prints.
“Intelligence has been received, by a late arrival from Canada, of the entire dispersion of the Colony founded by Lord Selkirk, in conjunction with the Hudson’s-Bay Company, on the River Asnaboyne, in the interior of the N. W. Continent of America. Disputes with the Metiffs of the Country, a race of people between Canadians and Indians, inflamed the natural jealousy which the latter have always felt, relative to the agricultural encroachments on their hunting-grounds in the interior, and, we understand, compelled his Lordship’s Governor to abandon the establishment which had been made.”—“About one hundred and forty settlers were conveyed by the Canadian traders to Lake Superior, on their way to Canada; and the remainder are supposed to have gone to Hudson’s Bay, with a view of finding a passage to Great Britain.
“The Governor, Mr. McDonald, and a Sheriff, also appointed by Lord Selkirk (Mr. Spencer), were brought down prisoners to Montreal; the one for having granted, the other for having executed, a warrant, under the authority of which, provisions, the property of Canadian traders, were seized during the preceding winter, for the maintenance of the colonists; and these gentlemen were admitted to bail in the Courts of Lower Canada, to take their trials for this alleged offence.”
Whatever may be the decision of the Judges on this trial, the Metiffs will have succeeded in their malevolent intention, that of destroying all prospect of the Colony ever arriving to a flourishing condition.
[38]See Pinkerton’s Geography.
[39]Here Mr. Pinkerton, although perfectly correct in every other respect, has fallen into the same error as other geographers; namely, in peopling Hudson’s Bay with Esquimaux: whereas, the Cree Indians, who inhabit the Bay, are not savage, take no care of their eyes, and are clothed by the European traders.
[40]Here he plainly alludes to the Esquimaux of Hudson’s Straits; not to the Cree Indians of the Bay.
[41]At present they employ but two ships, and consequently considerably fewer seamen.
[42]For the amusement of persons who are desirous of such information, I have annexed an abstract of the ship’s reckoning from Cape Resolution to the Orkneys. See Appendix D.
[43]See Walter Scott’s Notes on Marmion, a Tale of Flodden Field.
[44]Fossil timber, in a mineralized state, is found in the Orkneys and in the Hebrides. In the island of Skie there was found part of a large tree mineralized by Hornstone; which is now in the possession of the Professor of Mineralogy at Cambridge.
[45]So called by the Canadians.

Transcriber’s Notes

[The end of Narrative of a Voyage to Hudson's Bay in His Majesty's Ship Rosamond by Edward Chappell]