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sharpest and hardest stones they could make use of; the other was angular, and much softer, and from this they were able to chip off pieces with a sharp stone. The endeavours of Captain Ross to procure specimens of this iron in its native state were unavailing; and however desirable it might be to obtain these, and some more explicit information respecting the real state of this insulated tribe of Esquimaux, yet; considering how much time had already been lost in struggling through the ice, he would, in our opinion, have been highly culpable, had he neglected the first opportunity that presented itself for getting farther to the northward. : We are now in possession of the fact that aërolites, if the term be allowable, have been discovered in almost every région and climate of the globe-on the burning deserts of Arabia, and on the icy mountains in the farthest nook of Baffin's Bay; and the * very circumstance of their being met with equally under the torrid "and frigid żones would seem to militate against their meteoric
origin, unless we are to suppose themi formed in all states, and in the opposite extremes, of the atmosphere. We have mentioned Arabia; because we think that the thunderbolt; black in appearance, like a hard rock, brilliant and sparkling,' of which the blacksmith forged the sword of Antar,* was a true aërolite. It was long before the ancients were allowed any credit
for their celestial showers of stones, and all were ready to laugh, · with the facetious author of Hudibras, at the fable of the Thracian rock, which fell into the river Ægos.
For Anaxagoras long agone
Because the sun had yoided one: · It is now discovered that the ancients were correct in the fact; and we are even ready to meet them half way in their hypothesis.
The falling in with these Esquimaux has furnished Captain · Ross with no unimportant episode, occupying about one-fourth
part of his narrative. Not content with detailing the particulars of the two or three short interviews on board the ships, he has.
presented us with a whole chapter dedicated to the “ Arctic · Highlanders;' an appellation with which he has thought fit to dignify this insulated tribe; as if a little nook in Baffin's Bay ought to monopolize a name which would be equally applicable to the natives of every mountainous region within the Arctic
* Antar, a Bedoween Romance, translated from the Arabic, by T. Hamilton, Esq. VOL. XXI. NO. XLI.
toms Religion Languuge Nature of t/
.circle in Europe, Asia, and America. But Captain Ross is a great adept in nomenclature: he has transferred one half of Scotland to the shores of this Bay—reserving, however, a due share for the Prince Regent and the other members of the royal family, for his Majesty's Ministers, the Lords of the Admiralty, &c. The title of the chapter, considered under all circumstances, is rather amusing: 'The Arctic Highlands-Nature of the CountryIts Produce— Inhabitants-Languuge Mode of Living—Munners and Customs—Religion,' -no scanty bill of fare; but, like that of the landlord in the play, all of the good things are stuffed into the bill while nothing is found in the larder. A chapter of this kind must be exceedingly edifying from the pen of a writer who never set foot on any part of these Arctic Highlandş,' who understands not a syllable of the language' spoken in them, and who could only converse with the inhabitants through the medium of one who had much difficulty in comprehending their discourse, and more in making himself intelligible in the English language; who saw the country and its produce' only from the ship; and whose acquaintance with the mode of living, manners, and customs, and religion,' of the people was the produce of a few hours study in the cabin of the Isabella. We shall deem it, under those circumstances, quite sufficient to cull a few facts.* ,
These poor people, it would seem, are so completely shut out, by mountains covered with perpetual snow, from their southern neighbours, as to have no knowledge of any other human beings besides themselves; judging, from surrounding appearances, that all the rest of the world to the southward was a mass of ice and snow. How far they extend to the northward is not known, though Captain Ross, in his usual decisive manner, fixes the limit at 77° 40'. One circumstance appears very remarkable, that their winter's habitations are in the northern extreme, where, in summer, the weather is so warm, that the ice disappears from the water and the snow from the land; and as both these are necessary to enable them to procure their chief articles of food and raiment, they are compelled to descend to the southward in search of them. Another remarkable circumstance is, that, though their sustenance is principally derived from the sea, they have no sort of embarkation in which they can go afloat, nor have they any knowledge of the names kaijac and umiak, by which the boat and cunoe are generally designated among all the tribes of Esquimaux. " This,' says Captain Ross, “is easily accounted for, by their total want of wood:' --not so easily, we conceive; for, if it be admitted,
* An interesting account of this pour tribe of Esquimaux, drawn up by Captain Sabine, may, be seen in Mr. Brande's Journal of Literature, &c. for April.
** Hout wood, the on
and we have never heard it denied, that this singular people, now spread over the islands of Hudson's Bay, Labrador, and Greenland, came originally from Asia, along the shores of America bordering 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 ; nor is their situation less favourable for the employment of canoes than 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), six 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 fire, 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 fire, 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 heath,' (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 fire by the friction of two fish 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 consists 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, none 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 southern 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 Prince Regent's Bay, as Captain Ross ha's named it, that parties from both ships went on shore in search of patives, 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 examined a great number of those minute red shrimps with which the Arctic seas abound. Captain Ross says, “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 s 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 an inch or two beneath the surface of the snow; 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 apy of the rotges (awks) which are so numerous