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id we have never heard it denied, that this singular people, now spread over the islands of Hudson's Bay, Labrador, and Greenand, came originally from Asia, along the shores of America sordering on the hyperborean sea, we shall find that the original kaijac in use among them was not made of wood, but of fishes' bone, and covered with seal skins.* How these people lost an Implement of such importance to those who never leave the seashore, and derive their food and raiment in a great measure from that element, appears to us a question not only of curious but of laborious research. The fact of their having no canoes,' says Captain Sabine, 'is a very extraordinary one; it is difficult to conceive that, if they had known their value, and had ever possessed the art of making them, that it should have been lost: there is no deficiency of materials: they have as many skins as they can wish for, and although no wood, yet they have bone, which will answer nearly as well for the frame-work; at least the ingenuity of savage life would soon make it answer with accommodation 1; nor is their situation less favourable for the employment of canoes
many other of the Esquimaux settlements. We know from Mackenzie and Hearne that, on the northern coast of America, canoes of the same ingenious and peculiar construction as those on the coast of Greenland, of Labrador, and the islands of Hudson's Bay are in use How curious then,' as the officer above mentioned observes, to have found an intermediate link without them ! May not these northern Esquimaux be the descendants of a party from the South, who, having lost their kaijacs and umiaks, were cut off from all hope of returning, and therefore settled in this retired corner? Having lost the objects themselves, (as a wooden canoe could not last for ever,) and having no wood to replace them, (the use of bone, it should be observed, had been discontinued by the Southern Greenland and Labrador Esquimaux,) it may be conceived that, in the course of time, a people destitute of any recorded language would lose the words by which they were expressed.
In addition to the seal and the sea-unicorn, these people take in traps various kinds of land animals, as deer and foxes, for food and raiment, and in times of scarcity they kill their dogs for food. They make no scruple to eat the raw flesh of any
animal. One of the visitors, Captain Ross says, who had a bag full of little awks, took out one in our presence, and devoured it raw; but on being asked if this was a common practice, they informed us they only eat them in this state when they had no convenience
We learn from Cook's Third Voyage, that about Norton Sound they are still so made. † Journal of Science, &c.
for cookery.' A species of moss ( polytricum juniperinum), sis or eight inches long, grows luxuriantly and in great abundance; this, when dried and soaked in blubber, gives not only a good light, but also a comfortable fire for their culinary purposes. They obtain tire, Captain Ross says, 'from iron and stone. This laconic description is not very intelligible, and the question is a very curious one. The southern Greenlanders produce tire, like most savages, by the rapid whirling and friction of two pieces of wood; but these “ Arctic Highlanders' have nothing thicker than the 'stunted stem of beath,' (more probably dwarf willow,) half a dozen of which tied together make a small handle to the whips, used for driving their dogs. Saccheous, we learn, said that they produced tire by the friction of two tish bones. Their winter huts were understood to be built of stone, and a great part of them were below the surface of the ground. A lamp, being a hollow stone filled with blubber, into which the moss is immersed as a wick, burns in them during the whole of the winter. Their dress cousists of skins made tight to the body, and sewed together with great neatness. Their bedding also consists of skins.
These northern Esquimaux, judging from their portraits, are -more ugly than their southern neighbours, and very like to some of the natives of the Aleutian islands, the Kamstchatkadales, the Koriaks and the Tschutski. Captain Ross says, “ The habits of these people appear to be filthy in the extreme; their faces, hands and bodies are covered with oil and dirt, and they look as if they had never washed themselves since they were born.' Poor and comfortless as they might be thought, however, nove of them were willing to leave their country; they seemed most happy and contented, their clothing was in very good condition, and very suitable to the climate, and by their account they had plenty of provisions,'-but what will appear much more strange, we are assured that “they seemed to have no diseases among them, nor could it be learned that they died of any complaints peculiar to this or any other country,' of course there was nothing to do for the doctors, and if they could only contrive to parry off old age, they might live--we know not how long.
The average stature of those who were seen was rather more than five feet; their faces were broad, round as the full moon, chubby and somewhat flattened, with the Tartar high cheek bones and small eyes; their hair was black, straight and coarse. Their dress was in all respects similar to that worn by the southera Greenlanders, and it was understood that the dress of the females (of whom none were seen) differed very little from that of the men. The materials were the skins of seals, dogs, foxes, and the cubs of bears; and the furry side was worn outwards.-But we must
leave this secluded tribe, referring our readers to the volumes of Crantz and Egede, whose descriptions of the southern Greenlanders are equally applicable to Captain Ross's · Arctic Highlanders.'
The ships came so near the land in doubling the northern point of Prmce Regent's Bay, as Captain Ross has named it, that parties from both ships went on shore in search of natives, and to collect specimens of natural history. They observed, with considerable surprize, large tracts of snow on the sides of the hills and in the vallies deeply tinged with some red colouring matter. A considerable quantity of this snow was collected, and appeared, when in the buckets, like so much raspberry ice-cream. When dissolved, the liquor looked not unlike muddy port wine; when allowed to settle, the sediment appeared through a microscope to be composed of deep-red globules. It was brought to England in a liquid state, and also dried. On examination at home, a considerable difference of opinion took place between the chemists and the physiologists, as to the nature of the substance which coloured the snow on so great an extent of surface, the former considering it to be of animal, the latter of vegetable origin. Mr. Brande was the first to analyze it, and, having detected uric acid, he pronounced it at once to be the excrement of birds. It appeared, though Mr. Brande was not aware of the circumstance, that the neighbouring rocks and cliffs were resorted to as the common breeding places of the little awk (alca alle), whose numbers were so great as literally sometimes to darken the air. Many circumstances respecting this bird lent a plausibility to the conjecture: it had long been known, and was noticed by Sir Everard Home, that it was furnished with a kind of sack under the root of its tongue, for the purpose, it was supposed, of economizing its food; this was fully corroborated by Mr. Fisher, the assistant surgeon, who found in the sacks of all those which he esamined a great number of those minute red shrimps with which the Arctic seas abound. Captain
it was at once determined that it could not be the dung of birds ;' but this, it would appear, is incorrect, as well as his remark that the snow was penetrated even down to the rock in many places to a depth of ten or twelve feet, by the colouring matter; for the modest and sensible narrative of the voyage just published, (which, though without a name, we have reason to believe is the journal of Mr. Fisher,) says, “It is worthy of remark, that this colouring matter, be it what it may, does not penetrate more than un inch or two beneath the surface of the show; and, had it not been that a similar substance appears to have been observed on the snow on the Alps and Pyrenees, where there could not be any of the rotges (awks) which are so numerous
here, I should have been inclined to think that the red or colouring matter alluded to is the excrement of these birds. What renders this conjecture probable is, that we found great numbers of them seated in the rocks, precisely over where the red snow lay.'* It had also been ascertained many years ago,
from some experiments by Mr. Hatchet, that the red colouring matter which prevails in the ova of the whole family of lobsters, shrimps, &c. was of so fixed and permanent a nature as to resist every chemical application, and to be heightened by most of them; of this indestructible property the act of boiling affords a familiar example. It was not unreasonable therefore to conclude, that the colouring matter of the snow was animal, more especially as it was found, on examination through the microscope, to be composed of small globules, like those of the blood, from the 1,000dth to the 3,000dth part of an inch in diameter; that it had a fetid animal smell; and that the colour was not altered, or rather was heightened, by the application of acids and alkalis. The general opinion, however, among the officers of the Expedition was in favour of its vegetable origin; one of the gentlemen who collected it says that it had very much the taste of beet-root; another thought it tasted of the mushroom.
Doctor Wollaston, after examining it very minutely, both by the microscope and chemical tests, has given an opinion that it is a vegetable product, though many difficulties occurred in coming to this decision. His first conception was that the colouring matter might be the spawn of a minute species of shrimp, known to abound in those seas, and which might be devoured by the myriads of water-fowl and voided with their dung; but no exuviæ of those animals were discovered among it. The globules, by destructive distillation, yielded a fetid oil, accompanied with ammonia, which might also have led to the supposition that they were of animal origin; but it is known that the seeds of various plants and the leaves of fuci give out this product. The great difference in the dimensions of the globules, as well as their diminutive size, seemed to militate against their being the seed of any particular plant; besides, what species of plant, in a region covered with snow, and in a latitude of 769, could tinge eight or ten miles of surface to the depth of two inches? The cellular substance, however, to whiet the globules adhered, burnt away to a white ash, and was decidedly vegetable. When the globules were highly magnified, they appeared internally subdivided into about eight or ten cells. On the whole, the description seemed
* Voyage of Discovery made in 1818 to the Arctic Regions.
+ They were afterwards fouud mo to be cellular : the appearance was the effect of an optical deception.
to accord so accurately with the capsules which contain the dusty seed of the puff-ball (lycoperdon) as to afford, in combination with other circumstances, an apparent explanation of the cause of this curious phenomenon.
At the foot of those projecting points of hills, on which the tinged snow generally appeared, was a level belt of land, covered in several spots with thick coarse grass, eight or nine inches in length: and Mr. Fisher says that such portions of it as were not covered with grass presented a beautiful surface of soft-tufted moss, which the natives use as wicks to their lamps.” This moss, as we have already noticed, is a species of polytricum, which is well known to throw out from its capsules a fine elastic coloured powder, that has been mistaken by some writers for its seed; and in fact it has been asserted that the plant has been raised by sowing it. It seems, however, that in this high latitude the family of mosses do not arrive at that perfect state of vegetation necessary, in general, for the propagation of the species; but that they multiply and continue the race by pullulation or throwing out shoots from the roots or stems. Should this be considered as a valid objection against the pollen of the moss being the cause of the colouring matter, the observations of Dr. Wollaston may still lead to a less objectionable solution of the difficulty. As it would seem that every animal has some minuter animal quartered upon it, so every plant may be supposed to have its parasite, generally one of that numerous family of fungi, which are the wolves and tygers of the vegetable world. A minute examination of the luxuriant moss in question would perhaps discover a fungus attached to its fibres, just as the lycoperdon or uredo, (we are not quite sure which) fixing on wheat, occasions the disease well known by the name of smut: no, one, we presume, will doubt that, if it were possible for a field of wheat, tainted with this disease, to grow out of a surface of snow, that surface would be as strongly tinged with the black duşt of the smut as the snow on the coast of Greenland was tinged with red. The roots of the moss in question, we understand, were of deep scarlet, and their juices might perhaps give a colour to the parasite plant. To this moss then may, directly or indirectly, be attributed the crimson cliffs' so outrageously (not to say ridiculously) exaggerated in the print given by Captain Ross. If it be objected that fungi have not been known to attack the mosses, they at least fix upon grass, , and the coarse grass appears to have been nearly as abundant as the polytricum. Mr. Browne, whose opinions are always entitled to respect as the first philosophical botanist in this kingdom, probably in Europe, conjectures that it may be derived from