The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume III

From Okkak, dated August 14, 1790.
pp. 47-49.

From Hopedale, dated Oct. 7, 1791.
pp. 91-94.

From Hopedale, dated August 23, 1792.
pp. 155-156.

From Hopedale, dated August 12, 1793.
pp. 211-212.

From Hopedale.
p. 106.

From Nain.
pp. 64-65.

From Hopedale, 1839.
p. 113.

Hopedale, July 26th, 1844.
pp. 103-105.

p. 173   

pp. 304-306.   

Hopedale, July 28th, 1845.
pp. 307-309.

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No. 466.


[VOL. I. LONDON: 1790.]

Dear Brethren,
*               *               *               *
      We heard but lately of some shocking murders committed in the North, especially in Seglek and Killanek, where the Esquimaux fell upon each other in their tents by night, and many were stabbed and wounded with knives, in so barbarous a manner, that we could not hear it without horror. Our people here made several remarks upon this subject, expressing their gratitude that the brethren had come into this country; and adding, “We certainly should have had as many murders committed here, unless you had come and brought us the good news of our Creator and Redeemer, of his love to us, and our duty to love him and our neighbour.” *
*               *               *               *
We remain,          
      Dear Brethren,
Your affectionate and faithful             
Brethren and Sisters in Okkak.         
(Signed)         JOHN CHRISTOPHER WOLF.  
THEOBALD FRECH.                  

Dear Brethren,
*               *               *               *
      Five or six families of Land-Indians have also spent the winter in Kippokak. They came from Arvertok, and told the Esquimaux, that they intended to pay us a visit. We should be glad to see them, but suppose that they have returned before now.
*               *               *               *
(Signed)        JOHN LEWIS BECK,  

     * The Diary received from Okkak makes mention of new traces having been discovered, of Indians that inhabit the inland country, and of whom the Esquimaux are much afraid. They seem a nation entirely different from the Esquimaux on the coast; and a dog that strayed, probably from their tents, to our people, when hunting rein-deer, appeared of a breed different from the common dog of Labrador. He left them again in some days.

p. 1355                                        C

Dear Brethren,
*               *               *               *
      We devote ourselves anew to our Savior and to his service, and confidently pray unto him, to give us grace and strength to make known his gospel to the poor Esquimaux or Land-Indians, should any of the latter come to us. Hitherto we have heard of none who have an inclination to come.
*               *               *               *
(Signed)        JAMES BRANAGIN,    

Dear Brethren,
*               *               *               *
      During the summer no Esquimaux lived at Kippokak, and we heard nothing of the Land-Indians.
*               *               *               *
(Signed)        JOHN LEWIS BECK,  

[VOL. IV. LONDON: 1806.]

      Extracts of Diaries received from the Settlements of the United Brethren on the Coast of Labrador chiefly relating to internal state of the Mission in 1805 and 1506.
      This settlement was built in the year 1782, with a view to preach the gospel to the Esquimaux to the south of Nain, who, at that time seemed eager to have missionaries resident among them. The Brethren also fondly hoped; that perhaps some communication might be established between them and the so-called Red Indians, who now and then, in small parties, approached that coast from the interior, though greatly in dread of the Esquimaux; and an opportunity afforded of bringing the word of Salvationto those miserable beings. But in this respect, the aim was not obtained; and as the Esquimaux themselves seemed to reject the gospel, and about the year 1790 it appeared as if they had even withdrawn from the neighbourhood of Hopedale, both the Missionaries in Labrador, and the Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel, in London, were of opinion, that it would be well to give up that establishment.
*               *               *               *

p. 1356                                         C

[VOL. XII. London: 1831.]

      Letters from the Missionaries of the United Brethren on the Coast of Labrador to the Brethren's Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel among the Heathen, received in 1831.

Extracts of Private Correspondence. From J. Lundberg
to a Medical Friend.
*               *               *               *
      It is not improbable that these nations have a common oriental origin; at all events, they come from the same stock, and may once have been sufficiently numerous, to have rendered colonization a matter of expediency. The Esquimaux tribe has since been much thinned by frequent wars with the Indians of the interior, who are a very different race.

[VOL. XV. London: 1839.]

Extracts of Private Correspondence.
*               *               *               *
      “Not long ago, our Esquimaux brother Zacharias, fell in with two Indians from the interior, whom at first sight he mistook for Europeans. The language they spoke was quite unintelligible to him, nor were they able to understand his. By signs they intimated that their home was far inland, though they could not point out the exact direction. Each of them had a gun, and was clothed in a kind of smock, the legs and feet remaining bare. The invitation given them by Zacharias to accompany him home, they declined to accept, and the younger wept at the very idea of such a visit.
“Z. GLITSCH.”    

[VOL. XVII. London: 1844.]

Letters received by the Brethren's Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel from the Missionaries on the Coast of Labrador.

“Dear Brethren,
*               *               *               *
      “Last winter, we had a visit from two Indians (father and son), who came hither on the 28th of February, in company of a European, from an inlet lying twenty or thirty miles to the west of this place. Their object was professedly to obtain some provisions. These poor people manifest great fear of the Esquimaux, who in turn are disposed to be afraid of them. On visiting us in the Mission-house, we observed that the father had an Indian prayer-book, out of which he read us some passages with much feeling. Our Esquimaux gave them a friendly reception, and supplied them with the necessaries of life out of their own stores. In former times they would have met with very different treatment, the two nations cherishing a

p. 1357                                        C

deadly hatred as Well as fear of each other. The time was, when they sought to do each other every possible injury; but now the Esquimaux is taught by the Gospel of peace, to show kindness to the Indian who comes in his way. This friendly disposition our people again manifested, when, on the 24th of March, another company of Indians, consisting of three married couples and their children, (in all 14 persons), arrived at Hopedale. They had left their effects about an hour's distance from our place, thinking it best to ascertain, how they would be received. Being greatly in want of food, they proposed to avail themselves of the cod-fishery, intending to return to the West, as soon as it was over. They remained, however, only four days, during which time, they attended the meetings very diligently, and appeared very devout and attentive. Being quartered in three Esquimaux houses, they were hospitably entertained by their inmates, and when they took their departure, were supplied With the needful food. They seemed a very poverty-stricken race, far more so than the Esquimaux; the men were clothed in reindeer skins, the women in left-off European garments; the little children were bound upon little sledges or trays, and were dragged after them. They were very expert runners. In their general appearance they resembled the gipsy tribe.
*               *               *               *

“JOHN C. BECK.                
“ZACH. GLITSCH.              
“CH. BARSOE.“                  

Extracts from Private Correspondence.

“During the past year, . . .
      “The visits paid us by the Indians from the South were extremely interesting to us. How did I regret my inability to converse with them! for they understood neither the Esquimaux nor the English language. One old man, who read to us out of an Indian prayer-book, had evidently been instructed by a Roman Catholic missionary; for, as a token of his being a Christian, he made the sign of the cross upon his forehead and his breast. They are indeed a miserably poor and degraded people, and seem not much more enlightened than the reindeer that they are continually hunting.
*               *               *               *
“Z. GLITSCH.”            


      Hopedale had been again visited by a company of Indians from the south-west; with whom, for want of acquaintance with their language, the Missionaries regretted, that they could hold no free intercourse.

p. 1358                                            C

Letters received by the Brethren's Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel from the Missionaries on the Coast of Labrador.
*               *               *               *
“Dear Brethren,
      “In the spring of the year, we were again visited by Indians from the South; on the 6th of March, by an old man, who had been here several times before, and who came again with his wife and child; and on the 10th of July, by the same man in company with three other families. From one of the last-mentioned company, who understood a little English, we ascertained, that most of our visitors had been baptized, probably by Roman Catholic Missionaries. In the evening, we gave them an opportunity of attending a liturgical service, hoping, that, even though they did not understand what was said, they might be impressed with the thought that we were in a place of worship. That the singing of hymns struck them pleasantly, was shewn the next day, by one of the women bringing a reindeer skin as a present to the Church. Oh! could we but be of some spiritual service to these, doubtless, ignorant people! The above-mentioned old man had with him a nearly worn-out Prayer-book in his own language, and appeared to ask if we had any books in the same tongue. It has, therefore, occurred to us to inquire whether we could obtain, perhaps through the kindness of the British and Foreign Bible Society, a few copies of such translations of the New Testament, or portions of it, as have been already made in the language of the Northern Indian tribes. We may thus discover the tribe to which our occasional visitors belong, and be the instruments of some good to their souls.
*               *               *               *



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