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Esquimaux Indians.

crown, like the tonsure of a monk. Many of the females and children have pleasing countenances, even after the strictness of the European standard. The old, however, are often exceedingly ugly. The Esquimaux are of the same origin with the Greenlanders, but between them and the Indians, there is a wide difference in disposition, manners, and customs. 1. Dress. The dress, like that of most rude people, without foreign intercourse, is of skins, and has little variety of form. The garments are so full as to disguise the figure, and make the wearer appear shorter than he really is. The jacket, which is close all round, comes to the hips, and the sleeves reach to the wrist. The women's jacket has a hood, a long flap behind, and a shorter one before, reaching half way to the knee. The jackets of the men have also a hood, and a short flap behind, which is buttoned up in hunting seal. In the hood the women often carry a child, and, as they must bend forward to counteract the weight, their stature seems diminished. The whole dress is so loose, that it resembles meal-bags inflated with wind. The children wear fur caps with the ears and noses of the animal, so that, at a distance, they look like the cubs of bears, foxes, &c. In the winter, every one wears in the open air two jackets, with the hair of the under one next to the skin. Two pair of breeches are also worn, reaching to the knee, tied closely round the waist, and overlapped by the jacket. Over the legs and feet there are four or five thick coverings, and no degree of cold can penetrate them. The boots are high, and reach above the breeches. Those of the females are so large as to be grotesque, and make a distorted, ludicrous appearance. In Labrador, the women often carry children in the boots, and elsewhere they use them as pockets. Children have no clothing, but, till three years old, lie naked in their mothers' hoods. All the articles of female dress are prettily ornamented with stripes of different furs, and are very neatly sewed with sinews. Children between 2 and 12 years of age have breeches and boots in one, with braces over the shoulders. All have mittens of fur. Thus clothed, the Esquimaux is a picture of comfort. Of ornaments the most common is a string of teeth (generally of the wolf or fox) worn round the waist; and Captain Parry saw a line of fox's noses attached like a row of buttons to a jacket. No woman is without a tattoo; this is generally on the face and arms, but never, as in Greenland, on the feet. It is made by drawing under the skin a needle, and a thread saturated with lamp-black and oil. Towards the west some tribes have shells and bones thrust through the nose; the under lip is also pierced with two holes for pieces of ivory, as among the Indians of the northwest coast. 2. Manner of Building. The houses of the Esquimaux vary in the different tribes; on the shores that have drift-wood the dwellings are of that material. Generally the summer dwellings are tents of skins supported by a single pole in the middle. The entrance is made by two flaps that overlap each other. But in winter the very monuments of the severity of the climate serve as a defence from its rigor; and for many months in the year the natives live under edifices of snow and ice, which are the warmest and firmest when most required to be warm and firm. Towards spring only, they become subject to dripping, and the inhabitants remove to their tents before the houses become insecure. The snow huts are of a regular circular form, and are in fact domes, as completely arched as those of the Pantheon or St. Peter. They are erected in a short time; slabs about 6 inches in thickness and 2 feet in length, are cut from the hard compact snow, and laid in a circle of from 8 to 15 feet in diameter. Upon these is laid another tier inclining a little inward, and other layers are successively placed, until nothing remains but the key-stone, which is artfully adapted. The inner edges of the blocks are smoothed off with a knife. The height of the dome is often 10 feet. In constructing it, one man stands within to place the materials, which are supplied by another without. A little water for cement is sometimes poured upon the joints, and it instantly becomes solid ice. The door is cut through the southern side, and the entrance is by a covered way 20 or 30 feet long. When there are more families than one living together, several sowhuts are built round a common dome, and communicate with it by doors. The light is admitted


through a window of clear ice, 4 inches in thickness and 2 feet in diameter; this light is very soft and agreeable, like that which passes through ground glass.

A bank of ice or snow is raised nearly around the whole apartment, and this is the foundation of the beds and fire-places. For the beds this bank is covered with stones, paddles, blades of whalebone, and twigs; over these are spread so many skins that the beds are both warm and dry. The only fire used in this severe climate, is that of a lamp to each family. The lamp is a shallow stone vessel with a wick of dry moss disposed round the edge. The length of this is 18 inches, and when it is all lighted, produces a brilliant light without smoke or scent. It is fed by the drippings of a piece of blubber suspended over it. Around the lamp is suspended a frame which is covered with garments to be dried, for whenever an Esquimaux comes in he takes off his outward jacket and mittens, brushes off the snow, and hangs them by the lamp. The only vessel for cooking is a stone pan, which is suspended over the lamp, and the principal dishes for food are a wooden tray, a cup of the horn of the musk ox, and a vessel made of skins, laced tightly over a frame.

3. Food. The Esquimaux is more solicitous for the quantity than for the quality of food. Generally speaking, he eats whatever he can get, though he is the better pleased with offals. He subsists almost entirely on animal food, as fish, the flesh of the seal, walrus, whale deer, reindeer, and musk ox. His supplies are often interrupted by accident, and this makes his life one of alternate gluttony and fasting. In general the Esquimaux prefer to have their food cooked, though they often eat it raw. The nature of their food is oily, yet they never use oil itself as a diet, nor are their flesh or garments covered with oil like those of the Greenlanders. At meals, the mistress of the house takes with her fingers a large lump of meat, and gives it to her husband, who places no small piece of it between his teeth, cuts it off in that position with a sudden jerk of the knife, and then passes the meat and the knife to his neighbor. To a stranger this seems to be a perilous operation, especially for young children, yet accidents seldom occur. As these people have no means of preserving provisions, they often suffer the extremity of famine. They are not, however, improvident, for they waste nothing, that is to say, there is nothing that they do not eat, yet the quantity consumed is so enormous that they require great supplies. Captain Parry has known them after a long fast to eat diligently for 3 hours, and the quantity consumed was in proportion to the time; he says, that he speaks "within bounds," in stating that a little girl got through 8 pounds of solids," in a day, and he mentions, that a lad consumed in 20 hours the following things, and did not think the quantity extraordinary. Sea horse flesh frozen, 4 pounds and 4 ounces; do. do. boiled, 4 pounds and 4 ounces; head pound 12 ounces; besides this he swallowed one pint and a half of rich gravy soup, 3 wine glasses of raw spirits, 1 tumbler of strong grog, and 1 gallon 1 pint of water. All the Esquimaux drink large quantities of water, and in winter it is one of the chief employments of the women to melt the clear ice for water.

4. Diseases. The most common maladies are consumption, rheumatism, and opthalmia. The means of cure are very limited. They use a kind of spectacles of bone to shade the eyes, in which they look through a narrow orifice.

5. Traveling. As the Esquimaux have neither crops nor permanent houses, to bind them

Esquimaux Dog.

to one spot, their life is in some degree migratory, and their facilities for traveling are considerable. They possess a valuable race of dogs, similar to that of the English shepherd's dog, but more muscular and broad.

Parry also saw another race of dogs, in size and form so much resembling the wolf that it was not easy to distinguish between them. The dogs are trained to draw the rude sledges that the Esquimaux are able to construct, which are about 2 feet wide and 5 feet long. The runners are sometimes made of the right and left jaw-bone of a whale; but generally of pieces of wood and bone lashed together, with the interstices stuffed with moss, and the whole secured by a coating of ice, held together by the severity of the climate.


The runner is shod with a plate of hard bone, and over this, water is poured to form another coating of ice, and this is renewed as often as it is worn off. The climate is such, that this is an effectual method of shoeing for more than 6 months in 12. The dogs are harnessed by a collar and a single trace, running over their backs. They are not tied to each other, but each one is attached separately to the sledge and at unequal distances, some at 20 feet and others at less than half that distance. The most docile dog is the leader, and his is the longest trace. The dogs do not all draw in the same direction, as the traces of some of them form an angle of 40° with the course of the sledge. The traces often become entangled, especially when a dog passes from one side to the other to avoid the whip. The dog that is struck draws back for an instant, then turns upon his next neighbor, and he upon his, so that a blow upon one seldom fails to produce a general snarling among all. A good leader is very attentive to the words of the conductor, and looks back over his shoulder with great earnestness to catch the word of command. The command to stop is expressed by the same words as in English, wo or woa; though this order, like all others, depends for execution on the ability of the driver to enforce it. In going homewards, he has no other way to stop the dogs, than by digging with his heels into the ground. Ten dogs make a full team, and will draw a sledge 12 miles an hour, and 9 of them have drawn 1,611 pounds a mile in 9 minutes. Three dogs drew Captain Lyon on a sledge weighing 100 pounds, a mile in 6 minutes. On a good surface, 6 or 7 dogs will perform in a day a journey of 60 miles, with nearly 1,000 weight to draw. When there is no snow, the dogs are made to carry burdens in a kind of panniers, and one of them will travel thus with 25 pounds. They have all names, which they answer to readily, and they are more attached to their masters than gratitude alone would require, for they are never caressed, and they suffer much hard usage.

6. Character, Manners, Customs, &c. Our traits of these people are drawn rather from the state in which they live, remote from European settlements; for, in Labrador, they have lost, by means of intercourse with Europeans, many of their original peculiarities. If it is surprising, that, in Iceland, there should exist, not only an intelligent, but a learned people, it is little less strange, that the Esquimaux, living in a climate of almost constant rigor, finding shelter in rude huts of ice, and having no provision or certainty of supply for the coming day, should yet be one of the most cheerful people on earth, more cheerful than even the African, the native of a sunny climate, and of a country producing spontaneously the best fruits of the earth. They are so fond of dancing, that it seems almost their natural gait, and they are always ready to return raillery or mimicry. Captain Parry always found them playful as children; he feared that some of them "would have gone into fits of delight," when they heard their own names introduced into an English song. A slight present would throw the females into convulsions of laughter, that were often succeeded by weeping. The Esquimaux are, far more than the Indians, a social and domestic people. This is apparent in their good treatment to females, and their care and affection for their children. After a season of famine,

when the parents are famishing, the children are always the first supplied with food, and the parents have many of the same endearments and playful ways of amusing their offspring, that are common with us. An Esquimaux never punishes a child, yet the children are almost universally gentle, and well-disposed. In their huts these people are a picture of quiet enjoyment, though neatness is not one of their good qualities. It is a pleasure to them to entertain a stranger, and though they seldom rendered the slightest thanks for a gift, they used to thank the English heartily, for eating with them.

The principle of honesty is not, indeed, always the rule of conduct among them, though in this respect there is much difference among various tribes. Captain Franklin, in his second voyage, was beset by numbers who attempted to take whatever they could lay their hands upon; though those people were said by their countrymen to be a bad tribe. Captain Parry remarked the general dishonesty of the eastern tribes towards the Europeans, but had no evidence that they did not respect the property of each other. Besides, as he remarks, to place a saw, a hatchet, a knife, or a piece of iron, before an Esquimaux, is to offer a temptation as irresistible as gold to an European.

Captain Parry and his associates were as unfavorably impressed with the want of gratitude, as of honesty in the people. They seldom returned thanks for any favor, and the feeling of gratitude seemed to belong to them as little as the expression. A female, named Igliuk, who had so great a share of sagacity, that she was called by the sailors "the wise woman," and upon whom favors had been showered, was yet so deficient in gratitude, that she refused to make a

dress of skins for one of the officers. Captain Parry remarked, that the attention she had received, seemed to have turned her head, and that "Igliuk in April, and Igliuk in February, were very different persons; " he relates, however, among a great number of traits of ingratitude, two of a contrary feeling, that are the more impressive, as they stood alone. A woman had been taken on board the ship for medical aid, where she was treated with great kindness; a short time before her death, which she knew to be near, she grasped the hand of the surgeon, who had been very kind to her, and pressed it to her lips with all the strength she possessed; the husband was much affected by this last act of his wife, and, with many tears, earnestly repeated his own thanks.

Though the Esquimaux are remarkable for affection to their children, they have not in the same degree a respect for parents. To be old, is, with them, to be without the pale of sympathy, or assistance. Old people and widows are often left, as in Greenland, to perish, though orphans are generally protected by adoption. Captain Parry remarked, that envy was a very general failing with this people; they seemed to repine as much over a gift to their neighbor, as they rejoiced in one to themselves. They had, also, more than would be expected in a rude state of society, a taste for scandal, which was much supported by their talent for ridicule. It was very common for a little company when met, to mimic some peculiarity of their neighbors, or to set forth in a ludicrous manner some discreditable occurrence. There are few disputes among them; when these occur, they are sometimes settled by conventional blows; that is, one party in turn abides the blow of the other, and he is the winner, that endures the longest. Wars are unknown among them; though the Indians pursue them with ferocious vindictiveness. Captain Parry related to some of them the massacre of their countrymen described by Hearne they shuddered, and the mothers pressed their children as if the danger were presThe same person says of them, "war is not their trade; they are fishermen, and not warriors; but I cannot call that man a coward, who, at the age of 21, will attack a polar bear single handed, or fearlessly commit himself to floating masses of ice, which the next puff of wind may drift from the shore."


7. Amusements. It was rarely that Captain Parry or his companions visited the huts when they did not find the people engaged in some sport or game. Some consist merely in grinning and grimacing, in which they are so successful, that the Captain thinks they would put the most skilful horse-collar grinners out of countenance. They have a game similar to blind man's buff, but the most common recreation is a recitation of certain words, uttered while the parties are engaged in going through a sort of dance; they have also the skip-rope, which is held by two, while the third jumps over it. They are exceedingly fond of music, although their own is not of a very high grade. It is chiefly vocal, though they have a sort of drum or tambcrine. Whenever the English played or sung to them the women would bend forward to catch the sounds and remove the hair from their ears. Their own songs are long; and the most common have the chorus common in Greenland, Amna Aya. Captain Parry did them a favor much to their taste, when he instructed them in leap frog and other games; they became expert at the former, and when he walked forth, put themselves in line and position to be jumped


8. Government. There is no government in force among the Esquimaux, but that of families; yet in all their settlements, they act with wonderful unanimity. There is not even a word in their language to express a superior in point of station.

9. Religion, &c. They have no conception of a Supreme Being, and their notions are very confused, concerning a future state. They have hardly any belief, that may be called religious. Their superstitions relate principally to spirits, with whom their Angetkooks or conjurers are supposed to have communication.

The marriages are performed with no solemnity or ceremony, and the courtships are more summary than in civilized countries. The Esquimaux, upon some intimation from his future father-in-law, or other friend of the bride, goes for and carries her off, as by force, to his own hut. Resistance is, as in Greenland, a part of the ceremony that custom imposes on the female. Generally, there is little polygamy, and all are married young. The Esquimaux did not credit the assertion of the English sailors, that the most of them were unmarried. They use their wives kindly, and one has only to enter their hut to see that the domestic affections can flourish at this extremity of the earth. In this respect, they are far superior to any tribe of Indians, in which the women are slaves to the cruelty and caprice of the stronger sex Even Igliuk (mentioned by Parry), in whom the feeling of gratitude seemed to have no exist

ence, showed the deepest feeling when her husband was ill. "Nothing could exceed the attention she paid to him; she kept her eyes almost constantly upon him, and seemed anxious to anticipate every wish."

The burials have as little ceremony as the marriages; the bodies are buried beneath stones or ice, yet so carelessly, that the wolves often prey upon them, and skulls are to be seen about some of the huts. The canoe and some implements are placed near the grave, and a friend sometimes walks several times around it. At deaths, and on other occasions of misfortune, the friends sometimes assemble to cry and howl with the afflicted; this is the ceremony of condolence, begun generally by the person who sustained the loss; the others, when he has begun to express sorrow, join him with groans and expressions of grief.

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1. Greenland. There are no means of ascertaining whether Greenland is joined with America, or is an island, or a part of a polar continent. It is an extensive country in the most northern region of the globe, bounded on the E. and S. by the North Atlantic Ocean. The shore on the western side has been explored about 1,000 miles. It is high, rugged, and barren, rising from the water's edge into precipices and mountains, which are crowned with perpetual snow. The eastern coast, beyond the promontory of Herjolf's Ness, is absolutely unexplored. An everlasting barrier of ice precludes the attempt.

This country belongs to the crown of Denmark. The Danish establishments consist of about 20 factories, scattered along the coast, and divided into 2 departments, over each of which an inspector presides. Besides those for the fishing trade, there are several settlements of the Moravian Missionaries. Cape Farewell, the southern extremity of Greenland, is situated in 59 N. latitude. Coasting to the northwest from this place, the first settlement is Julianshaab, and then Frederickshaab, upon a projecting point of land. The latter was founded in 1742, has a good harbor, and is an eligible place of trade.

Nine leagues from this colony is the well-known Ice Blink. This is a vast, elevated sheet of ice, reflecting a brightness over the sky which resembles the Northern Lights. The mouth of the adjoining bay is blocked by ice driven out by the efflux of the tide, and so wonderfully heaped by the waves, that the spaces between the islands are completely vaulted over, and present the sublime spectacle of an enormous bridge of ice, 18 miles long and nearly 5 broad. enter the harbor under the arches, which are from 60 to 180 feet high. The mouth of the bay is closed, but there is a sheet of open water within.

Boats may

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