Here are countless reefs, rocks, and islands–not one mark, not one buoy, not one light, not one foghorn along the whole coast. The dangers are rendered double by the constant fog, so that the peculiar shapes of islands are liable at any moment to become unrecognizable. Surely some survey should be made, or some marks erected, to render navigation more possible. North of Hamilton Inlet most of the Labrador fishing is done, except for the Straits of Belle Isle, and north of that the present survey is terribly incomplete ; while north of Hopedale there is practically no survey whatever, and not less than fifteen hundred craft go north of Hopedale fishing. So the presence of an occasional gunboat, or proper naval launch even, would confer an inestimable boon on these people, both in assisting navigation and letting it be known that there is some possibility of being punished for wrong-doing.
Yours very faithfully,
“ THE OUTCASTS OF LABRADOR.”
This was the title of an article in the last number of the
“ Illustrated London News ” for 1894. A representative of that paper waited on Dr. Wilfred T. Grenfell, the superintendent of the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen, who has gained most useful knowledge of “ the Labrador ” by three years' cruises along it in their missionary vessels. The result of the interview is a forcible description of the state of things along that bleak and barren coast-line of 1,100 miles, which, says Dr. Grenfell, “ is the home of at least 25,000 Newfoundland fishermen and their wives and children during the three or four months of the cod-fishery each year.”
Dr. Grenfell makes generous and appreciative mention of “ the splendid services ” rendered by our mission among the Eskimoes dwelling along the northern strip of the Atlantic coast of Labrador. Here, too, as he says, the civil administration is represented by the flying and very occasional visits of a Newfoundland Customs officer. “ Were it not that the people are, as a rule, most law-abiding, the consequences might often be terrible. As it is, drunkenness is almost unknown, and crime is rare. Still, a travelling magistrate, to maintain a semblance of authority, is an essential need.”
FROM CAPE HARRISON TO CAPE CHUDLEY.
Under this title we will give the story of the last complete year of Christian work and experiences in the sphere of the Moravian Mission to the Eskimoes of Labrador.
“ Labrador ” is a term used, now with a wider, now with a more limited meaning. Taken in its widest geographical sense, it implies the vast peninsula to the north of Canada and Newfoundland, bounded by Hudson's Bay, Hudson's Straits and the Atlantic Ocean. To Newfoundlanders, however, “ the Labrador ” is that part of the rugged and desolate coast-line nearest their island, and along which their schooners cruise during the season of the cod fishery. Of late years numbers of these fishing vessels have come north of Cape Harrison and so within what we may call “ the sphere of influence ” of the venerable Moravian Mission established among the heathen Eskimoes, when their reputation for murderous savagery held all other white men at a distance.