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LETTER FROM MR. LA TROBE, SECRETARY OF THE UNITAS FRATRUM, TO MR. GOULBURN.
C.O. RECORDS 194/61. MISCELLANEOUS L.
Permit me to state to you the situation of the Mission of the United Brethren (commonly called Moravian) among the Esquimaux on the Coast of Labrador.
This Mission was begun by the Encouragement of the British Government, in the year 1764, and obtained consistency in the years 1769 and 1774, when orders of Council were granted for its establishment and security. Under the protection of these orders, and a proclamation, directed to be issued by H.M. Governor of Newfoundland, the Mission has proceeded to the present time, supported chiefly by the voluntary contributions of friends to the Spread of Christianity.
The communication between the settlements of the United Brethren on that Coast & England is maintained by a small brig annually sent with provisions and stores, the expence of which is defrayed by some trade with the Natives.
The benevolent aim of Government in encouraging this institution has so far been obtained, that, at present, there is perfect safety for all Europeans visiting that Coast, whereas formerly, the Esquimaux murdered every whiteman they could get into their power. Those, who have obeyed the Gospel and reside with the missionaries at the settlements have acquired a considerable degree of civilization. A farther extension of such benefits to a barbarous race must be the wish of every benevolent mind.
The first establishment of the Mission was at Nain, in Lat. 56° 18 N. the second at Hopedale, in Lat. 55° 33 N. and the third at Okkak, in Lat. 57° 35 N. Of late years, the number of Esquimaux, who have come to reside with the Missionaries has considerably encreased, and. some of the inhabitants of a bay, hitherto unknown, have long ago importuned the Brethren to come and settle among them. In 1811, a reconnoitring voyage was undertaken to that coast, of which I had the honour to present a report to Earl Bathurst, at his particular desire.
The result of that discovery was a conference with the Directors of the Hudson's Bay Company, within whose territory the said bay, called Ungava, seems to be situated. The Directors expressed a wish, that the Esquimaux under their protection might receive the same instructions as those on the Eastern Coast, but the necessary facilities could not be afforded, consistent with their obligations as guardians of the Company's rights.
Meanwhile, the number of Esquimaux, collected, particularly at Okkak,
became too great to afford them the means of procuring subsistence, which they obtain solely by catching seals and fishing, and must consequently spread their habitations along the coast. By these circumstances great disadvantages have arisen to the Mission, which have caused the Brethren's Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel to resolve to yield to the necessity of the case, and to form a fourth Settlement on the Eastern Coast.
For this purpose the only suitable place seems to be a bay called Kangerttuksoak situated about 100 miles North of Okkat, and we now entreat your kind attention to this subject, that we may be favoured with the countenance of Government in executing this Design.
Of late years our Settlements have been not a little disturbed by the intrusion of stragglers from some Southern quarter, who bring brandy, and other European articles, useless and hurtful to the Esquimaux; etc.
Signed: CHRISTN IGNATS LATROBE,
Secretary of the Unitas Fratrum.