p. 1586 N
FROM TOILERS OF THE DEEP, 1897, p. 250.
OUR MISSION WORK IN LABRADOR.
EXTRACTS FROM DELAYED PORTIONS OF THE LOG OF THE S.S. “SIR DONALD.” By Dr. W. T. GRENFELL.
Mr. Bond, the Colonial Secretary, had sent us a kind and prompt telegraphic answer to our inquiries as to what the Government intended to do in the event of impending starvation. I must say, whether the Government are able to keep everyone contented or not, and knowing they discountenance as much as I do myself the indiscriminate distribution of outdoor relief, especially to able-bodied paupers, still they have uniformly extended to us a helping hand in that direction, and have always told us to let no one starve to death.
* * * *
We are glad to hear the Government have appointed Dr. Willway and Mr. Wilson, the Hudson Bay chief factor, their agents to prevent absolute starvation, but it will mean hunger and cold to a good number. No one can tell the value our supply of clothing will prove this winter. I have been in house after house where nakedness was apparent even in the breadwinners, and the children in some cases were in a state of Nature almost. Somehow or other we are always short of bed clothing on the Sir Donald, for though one can say "no" to an able-bodied man, it is not easy to see women and children in such need.
The Labrador people will this year be reduced to needed corroboration to arrest attention, and he told us that, as well as Mr. Wilson of Rigolet, and Mr. Hollett and others, he had found that the total failure of the salmon and cod fishing in the bay necessitated some special effort on the part of the Government if actual starvation was to be avoided.
Breakfast next day found us at Venison Tickle. Here an outbreak of fever was raging. The cases treated in the spring by Dr. Willway had recovered. Dr. Aspland had been less fortunate at Red Point, near Cape Francis, for in spite of all his efforts three of his patients had died there from it. Mr. Hawker had bad news to tell us, for he said that unless the Newfoundland Government gave authority to relieve destitute families, the stores at both Francis Harbour and Venison Tickle would have to be closed down during the winter. This, however, had been avoided.