Kamehameha II was on the Hawaiian throne at that time. There was also an African-American from New York named Allan who had moved to the islands about , possibly to escape racial prejudice. Thus, by the time Chamberlain and his friends arrived, people were already teaching Hawaiians English and Christianity, and starting to weave them into the world market economy.
This too is an oversimplification. Chamberlain makes clear that Kamehameha was already reforming the religious and cultural life of the islands by the time the missionaries arrived. Chamberlain and his family eventually left Hawaii. His body ravaged by effects of the tropical climate, Chamberlain was persuaded to go home in , and in fact wrote a second, shorter journal about the trip home. In the novel and the movie, Jerusha dies in Hawaii; in reality Jerusha Chamberlain only spent a few years there.
The ones I read the other day are typewritten transcripts evidently made about This is another reason why seeing the journal was so cool—I followed in the footsteps of a truly great fiction writer, and one I greatly admire. Hawaii and its history are a vast and fascinating topic. After this experience I find myself drawn to it.
Who knows; this may not be my last encounter with this rich and absorbing story. Like many others I was introduced to it from the work of novelist James Michener, whose tome Hawaii was made into a movie in This episode also draws on some research I did at the Massachusetts Historical Society in You must be logged in to post a comment. Discovering paradise: the journal of Daniel Chamberlain, early Hawaii missionary. Previous Next.
This is a more accurate account of such a night, than it would be to record that we had slept in the woods; for the traveller, lying on a few fir branches upon the snow, freezes on one side, while the blazing flame scorches him on the other. I did not, at this early period of my cruise, understand so well, as I afterwards did, the plan of making a fire in the woods; and in my hurry to greet the welcome sight of a cheerful fire, by which I might break the fast which I had kept since seven in the morning, I had neglected the necessary preliminary of digging out a hole in the eight feet of snow, which were on the ground.
The immense fire which we kindled, for want of this precaution, continued to melt down the snow, lower and lower by degrees, till, before the dawn of morning, I was left to the action of the piercing winds, on the top of a Banks of snow, the fire being in a hole much below my level, and only benefiting me by its smoke, which threatened to blind, as well as to stifle me. I may mention, that the first tree, which I felled, nearly demolished my faithful dog which accompanied me, as it fell across the terrified creature's lions; the soft newly fallen snow, however, offered no resistance to his body, but sunk under his weight, so that he received no injury.
I was most humanely entertained by a Roman Catholic planter, Handlin and his wife, at whose house I dried and warmed myself, and after breakfast, was put over the bight in a punt, whilst it was blowing very heavily, and afterwards proceeded on foot to the winter-house of Mr. As Mrs. Cooke, much to my regret, had, on the first intimation of my arrival, walked nearly three miles to their summer residence at Adam's Island, in Paradise Harbour, to receive me there, I accompanied her husband to this place, where he has been settled eighteen years, and has a fine establishment.
Finding that Mrs.
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Cooke's family, his neighbours being all Romanists. Monday , Was reminded by an Irish servant in the boat of the approaching festival of St. Patrick, as he was exulting in alluding to the quantity of spirits which would be drunk before breakfast the next day, in Newfoundland, in honour of the patron saint of the Emerald Island. As there were no Protestants residing where I left the boat, I pushed on, starting by the north-east brook, and walking till three P. I came out in the same little harbour, about ten yards from the place we had started four hours before. I persevered, made a second trial, and threading our path through the thick woods, without the vestige of a track, got at length to the ice on Bay de l'Eau, beyond Little Harbour; followed, upon the ice of the bay, nearly nine miles, and came to the winter-tilt of William Chick, of Oderin, by half-past eight, P.
I had discovered this cabin by the "flankers," or bright sparks, which flew up his chimney to some height in the clear starlit sky, from his brisk birch fire. As I had fully expected to pass another night in the woods in my wearied and wet condition, I was most thankful to discover these welcome signs of our proximity to some human abode. None but those who have traversed unknown woods in the untracked snow, can conceive the joy with which the sight of the track of a human foot, or of a racket is welcomed, even though such tracks, being only of persons who have been "rummaging," or searching for firesticks of timber in the woods, may, again and again have raised deceptive hopes, respecting their leading immediately to some habitation or settlement.
Even the sight of a "whiting" in the woods, that is, of a tree stripped of its bark for the uses of the fishery, which tells of the place's having been visited, though in the preceding summer, or a year or two before, by the foot of man;--the marks, even, of the axe, where timber has, in former years been cut and carried away, seem to remind the lone traveller of the link which binds him to the rest of his species. I lost no time, on my arrival at Chick's, in assembling fourteen persons, from his and the adjoining tilts, to full service; and after some very seasonable refreshment slept soundly on a bed which my kind hostess had spread by the fire upon the floor for me.
She begged me to send her some books observing "I am fond of church books; a neighbour of mine 'faults' the church-catechism in his talk sir; but to my belief though I am no scholar there is not like to be a better. They plait bonnets and hats of the shavings of birch cut very thin like what I have seen in England made of the cuttings of stiff paper. I was glad to procure a pair of "cuffs", or mittens made in this bay of a kind of thick woollen or swanskin: these with earcaps which they also made and ornament very neatly are most essential to the comfort of those who venture on any out-of-door exercise or employment in winter.
I had undertaken to go the next morning. Tuesday , 18,--to the island of Oderin; but the wind being too wild I started by land, at half-past nine, over the country, steering nearly north-west by my chart and compass, for the south shore of Fortune Bay. I was the less anxious to visit Burin or Fortune, as I learned that there were very worthy Wesleyan Missionaries in these districts. I came out at Bay de l'Argent, by three P. I could never have imagined, had I not seen such evidence, that the force of a casual fresh-water current could be so great. I do not notice the numerous tracks of otter, beaver, foxes, deer, partridges, and hares, which I am passing everyday, but I may notice here that the son of William Chick and another youth lately killed fourteen deer, and that the families of Piper's Hole, had killed forty head of deer within a fortnight.
A man, Pitcher, formerly a servant at Bay de l'Argent, had, the preceding year, walked across to this place from Placentia Bay, and while the Fortune Bay people were in their winter tilts, at a distance from their summer residences, had robbed their summer-houses, which were situated upon the shore. On his way back, he had been arrested by a storm, and was providentially found by some deer-hunters, in a frost-burnt state, or he must have perished.
Robert Swiers, of Hants Harbour, Trinity Bay, who had been imprisoned in Harbour Grace gaol, Conception Bay, for stealing a cow, met his fate in a similar way last winter I learned while I was in Trinity Bay , in attempting, after his release from confinement, to get across the country from Conception Bay to his home in Trinity Bay. I was fortunate enough to come out upon the shore in Fortune Bay, exactly where there were houses, and a very decent young man, B.
I sent round to his neighbours to give notice of my intention to hold divine service at this house the next morning, and was delighted to see the serious and intelligent manner in which the children were taught to say their grace before and after meat, and their morning and evening prayers. My eyes, which have been much tried by the glare of the sun upon the snow, and by the cutting winds abroad, are further tried within the houses by the quantity of smoke, or "cruel steam," as the people emphatically and correctly designate it, with which every tilt is filled.
The structure of the winter tilt, the chimney of which is of upright studs, stuffed or "stogged" between with moss, is so rude, that in most of them in which I officiated the chimney has caught fire once, if not oftener, during the service. When a fire is kept up, which is not unusual all night long, it is necessary that somebody should sit up, with a bucket of water at hand, to stay the progress of these frequent fires; an old gun-barrel is often placed in the chimney corner, which is used as a syringe, or diminutive fire-engine, to arrest the progress of these flames; or masses of snow are placed on the top of the burning, studs, which, as they melt down, extinguish the dangerous element.
The chimneys of the summer-houses in Fortune Bay, are better fortified against the danger, being lined within all the way up with a coating of tin, which is found to last for several years. A congregation of twelve adults assembled to full service; four baptisms. At twelve started for Bay d'Este, which would have been a distance of four miles in a punt; this conveyance, however, being unsafe, I was obliged to go by land, a distance of ten miles, by Little Barrisway, and Salmonier and Shagrock Pond, to which there is another path from the beach, beaten like a foot-road, and a beaver-house upon the pond.
Some of our path was over most difficult crags, by the landwash; and in one place we had to crawl upon our hands and knees, through a hole in a hollow rock; in others we went under crags, from which heavy icicles were pendent, resembling some mimic Niagara, which had been caught and fixed by the frost at mid-fall. It snowed and drifted, and froze hard as at any time during the winter: my sealskin cap, and the crape gauze veil, which I wore for the protection of my eyes, were stiffened with the frost: my gloves and handkerchief became masses of ice; and, as it was impossible to get off my sealskin mockasins, which had worn out from walking over the icy crags, which cuts frozen leather or skin like a knife, and consequently I could not change them, though I was provided with a second pair; I was in more danger today than probably at any other period of my journey, of being frost-burnt.
Here I met I. Full service. I endeavoured to remove here, and in other places, an unfavourable impression which some of the ignorant had conceived, and some mischievous and interested traders had encouraged. The potatoes sent did not suffice for the supply of all who needed them, and those which respectable merchants imported for sale, or transported from St. John, and sold from their own stores, were alleged to be part of the gratuitous supply furnished by Government.
I saw here again some remarkable signs of the powers of a late freshet from the thawed snow. At Long Harbour, however, a brook, thus swollen, forced a passage quite through Pyramid's Island, which was mid-stream, and on which was a house with eight men in it; and brought down stocks of trees, of forty and fifty feet in length, and of proportionate thickness.
Clumpets of ice, three feet in thickness, swept over the house in which the men were, who were obliged, poor fellows! Thursday , Baptized a child and churched the mother before leaving Bay d'Este for Shelter Point, where I proposed holding prayers, that an aged woman of eighty-six, a native of Placentia Bay, who had never seen any clergyman, might have the privilege of joining in common prayer, which she seemed to value much. Full service to eighteen, and one baptism. Started in a sailing punt, at one, P.
Here, a mile and a half up the ice, I found James Miles, from Shaftesbury, Dorset, the father of the settlement. He had been fifty-six years in Newfoundland, and had never before seen a clergyman. He reads on Sundays to the surrounding families, which are chiefly from his own stock, although to his grief, some, having intermarried with Roman Catholics, have declined attendance on the service of our liturgy.
I had full service here at eight P. Here, for the first time, I witnessed the inconvenience and the pain which those suffer who labour under what is called "lindness;" his sons, who had been deer hunting, having come home affected with this painful visitation, which I was doomed shortly afterwards to experience myself. The thrifty people in this bay endure, perhaps, greater hardships and privations, than any in this trying island. They begin fishing again, at the latest, by Lady-day. It is exceedingly deep water in which they fish, by which the labour is much increased.
The fishing lines freeze as they draw them out of the water; after the first fish is caught, they throw them into the water coiled, that they may thaw in the sea. I have myself seen the fish as soon as they have been taken out of the water, turn up from the cold and die immediately, stiff frozen, and could not but pity the poor men who were subject to such exposure in rough weather. Walked one mile and a half to James Miles, jun. Good old Miles, in the freedom which the most devout will feel, during the performance of a religious service in a humble tilt, when I came to the charge which closes the office of baptism, respecting the bringing of the children at a proper age, and on their obtaining a proper proficiency, to be confirmed by the bishop, devoutly exclaimed aloud, "Ah!
There was a great deal of thin slob ice, and the "barber" vapor was very cutting: reached the settlement at half-past ten, held full service, and baptized seven children. Started at a quarter-past three in a leaky punt, and reaching Femme by five, P. There I held full service and baptized eight children Here were sixteen souls in a tilt of sixteen feet by twelve feet ten. I got, with difficulty, over a very steep and slippery hill from the tilt to the Harbour Le Conte, when I took boat to go along the shore.
As the equinoctial gale was very violent, we could not carry our foresail, and were obliged to go under a goose wing. Got by eleven, to Pinkey's Storehouse, at the east head of Mal Bay, which I was very happy to reach, as we had to steer with an oar, instead of a rudder, the boat which had been recently launched, having not yet been supplied with one; and we shipped many sprays, which, as they froze immediately after falling upon our clothes. Held full service here to Mr. Newman, and his menservants.
Full service, two children baptized; sorry to observe some levity here, as I had in some other places, among the elder children. A company of six men had gone, last month, into the country from this neighbourhood, in search of deer, when falling in with a herd of about one hundred and fifty, they had followed them till they were caught in a snow-storm, and very narrowly escaped with their lives, all six being more or less frost-burnt.
Here I landed my men, to give notice to the people at Corbin of my intention to hold divine service in the P. I found. The settlements in this neighbourhood are very populous. There are, in this bay, at least three thousand persons, who are warmly attached to the church of England. Lawrence, in Placentia Bay. She told me with tears, that next to the death of her father, she had felt it the greatest calamity in her life, that, on her removing at marriage to her present place of residence, she had not been permitted, so great was the scarcity of books in her native settlement, to take with her prayer-book and some other works of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge with which I had supplied her some years before.
The Reverend Messrs. Harris and Evans former Missionaries at Placentia, had within the memory of the most aged inhabitants visited Balorin; and since my own residence in Newfoundland our Missionary the Reverend James Robertson had visited the place and given me a very accurate description of it and of its interesting inhabitants.
I held a full service again to-day. Friday , And baptized four more children. I was sorry to omit visiting the adjoining settlement of St. Jacques but I did not think it prudent to lose what seemed a fine opportunity of going in a Banks boat twenty-one miles to Harbour Briton. We started at 11 A. Saturday , When the Swift our boat which had not shown any great quantity of water upon our passage nearly sunk at the wharf and was found on her being hauled up to have been stove in launching. A large hole in her bottom into which the hand might be thrust and which let in water in such quantity that the pump could not now keep her clear had been covered with a coating of ice through the extreme severity of the weather.
This coating had providentially not melted or worn away during our beat against a head-wind in Fortune Bay the whole of the preceding day or we must have sunk before we could have reached the shore. Here I was confined two or three days with a diarrhea which I find is a very common disorder at this season among those whose diet is confined to the venison which abounds hereabouts.
Newman and Hunt which had been fitted up with house-flags for the occasion. The agents of this firm, here and at Gualtois seemed to vie with each other as to which should carry the kind wishes of their principals most into effect, by paying me the most kind attention; and showed every disposition, by sending notices to the surrounding settlements of my intention of service, to make my visit most useful;--baptized one child publicly, and three at home. Preparations were made, and as much as 70 l. Creed, agent to Messrs. Newman, had kindly forwarded me to Gualtois.
I was sorry that I was prevented visiting Jersey Harbour, an establishment in the neighbourhood, belonging to the Messrs. Nicol, of Jersey: called at Brunette Island, twelve miles, at half-past two, P. Here we saw the wreck of the Royal Nigger, a fine vessel of the Messrs. Newman's, which had run ashore at this place on her way to St. John's, about Christmas last, and which, I regret to say, the people, instead of protecting as they might have done for its owners, had been unprincipled enough to plunder and break up. We bear against a head-wind through the night, and got to Hermitage Cove, Hermitage Bay, a place which I had visited five years ago.
Newman, which I reached in a storm of rain, by half-past three.
My visits to the settlements in this neighbourhood were much aided by the kindness of Mr. William Gallop, who was formerly a pupil of the free naval school attached to Greenwich Hospital, and now fills very ably the responsible station of agent to this respectable establishment.
April, Wednesday , 1. Gallop, and Mr. I passed Furby's Cove, sending the inhabitants notice of my intention to hold service there in the evening, upon my return; and I proceeded eight miles to Olave's Cove, which I reached before the sloop, in Mr. Gallop's light eight-oared gig, and had assembled the three resident families for service by the time of her arrival;--baptized five children in full service.
I was glad to find here a few copies of "Bishop Blomfield's Prayers," and some other books of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. A clergyman in the neighbourhood of Sturminster, had sent them out to one of the planters, who had very profitably dispersed them among the settlers around him. How much, under God, do this and similar societies effect towards keeping up a knowledge of Christian doctrine, and Christian requirements in these spiritually destitute settlements!
I left this place at four, and got to Furby's Cove by five, P. I held full service to sixty persons; baptizing fifteen children. The people of this neighbourhood are very warmly attached to the church of their fathers, and, when asked respecting their creed, say, they belong to "the good old English religion;" and I believe that, in the main, removed as they are from all social means of edification, some of them really adorn their good profession, although, the too general prevalence of spirit-drinking even among the females, is much to be lamented.
When it is considered in England, that the original settlers of some of these places possessed, on coming out to this country, only the common modicum of attainments which fell to the lot of the inhabitants of English villages, before the institution of Sunday schools, it may be conceived, what the third and fourth generation in many such places is likely to be. Returned to Gualtois in the eight-oared gig, as we had dismissed the sloop on night's coming on.
Thursday , 2. William Gallop had fitted up so neatly, that I regretted being obliged to leave the place before Sunday. Off at ten A. In this passage there are two waterfalls: one so fine, that we rested upon our oars, for some minutes, to look at its unceasing flow of water, in an unbroken perpendicular fall of at least sixty feet. At one part of the tickle, where the hills were wooded, close to the margin of the water, we came to ice, at the edge of which persons were engaged in boats, fastened to the ice by keel-logs, catching codfish. We hauled our gig over the ice, and again proceeded, and with difficulty got round Bremner's Head and to Cape St.
Mark, on the opposite shore of Bay Despair. Besides a drizzling rain, the salt spray was thrown over us, and deposited so much salt upon our faces and clothes, that we were whitened like millers. There we met with so much ice, that we drew the boat up and left her, and walked ourselves upon the ice, this, from the rain which had fallen, was not quite trustworthy. Newman's winter crew, ten men, and a skipper.
After great difficulties we reached their tilt, by ten, P. They had all retired for rest; a fire was soon made, however, of wich-hazel sticks, two yards in length, and thick as our bodies, and by the fire's red glare, the men in their red or blue woolen shirts, as they came forward to welcome us, and could be discovered through the smoke, presented a very grotesque appearance. My intention being to visit the southern and western shore of Newfoundland, far as the Bay of Islands, or at least, St. George's Bay, I had thought that it would economize time, if I went through the interior from the Bay Despair, a journey of eight or nine days overland, and so return by the settlements along the coast.
By this arrangement, I should, after visiting the extreme point of my intended cruize, have been proceeding nearer to St. John's, by each day's journey along the shore, and should not have had to touch twice at any one place. Cormack's suite, when he had been similarly engaged; Jean Bapitiste, Mr.
Cormack's principal guide was, at this time, at the back of the land, as they term that part of the island which is about the river Exploits, in the north. The Indians also call the river Exploits the Spread, from the size of the stream. He returned within a few days, having been confined a week in the country from snow blindness.
The guide whom I had now added to my other man, as my escort through the country, had once walked in the depth of the winter, from the Exploits across the island, to Gualtois in four days. Many have compared my own visitation to the excursion of Mr. Cormack, an enterprising individual whom I remember having seen at St. John's, when I visited Newfoundland in It has not, I should imagine, been very dissimilar; and it would indeed, be a matter of regret, if the zeal of a Missionary could not induce him to make as much exertion, and to endure as much privation, as others would brave in the pursuit of philosophical research, or the gratification of mere curiosity.
Friday , 3. Here, and at other winter houses, I saw a rude calendar; it was a piece of board, on which was carved an initial letter for each day of the week, thus, S. Under these letters the date of the month was chalked afresh at the beginning of each week. The monotony of a Newfoundland planter's life is remarkable.
I met, on my journey with pious person.
At two I started with my Indian pilot; but we got no further than the bottom of this arm. Here were the wig-wams of two Indian families of the Banokok tribe, or Six Nations, from Canada, and my guide requested that he might be allowed to stay the night, that he might repair his mockasins and make other preparations for his journey. Here I met with an interesting Indian, from Conne River, five miles hence; his ascetic acts, and acts of real humanity, had acquired for him a character of holiness, and a great influence over his tribe.
He was, at this time, under a self imposed vow, not to break silence during the Fridays of Lent: accordingly, though the arrival of strangers was, of course, most exciting, and might have been expected to throw him of his guard, he exhibited a degree of impassiveness and of nervous control as he lay smoking his short blackened pipe, with his feet towards the central fire, which were quite wonderful.
I really imagined that the man was dumb. His imperturbability was the more surprising as he had it in his power, I found afterwards, by merely opening his mouth, to have exposed an act of rascality which had been practiced upon him by a person present, who, had he left, as he was expected to have done, before dawn the next day, might have escaped detection.
The spruce boughs in these wigwame were spread, like feathers, around the fire, which was is the centre. Towards this our feet were directed; the softest and cleanest deer skin was most courteously offered to me, and I passed the night very comfortably. I learned from Maurice Louis, that Zeul prestoul , in their language signified "God save you! This instance of the poverty of their language, if indeed, we understood each other rightly, is the most extraordinary, since they certainly are no strangers to prayer. My Irish pilot, whom I shall so call, to distinguish him from Maurice Louis, my Indian guide, informed me that, while he was four years with Brazil, an Indian chief, this Micmac never allowed his family to commence their day's hunting, or to lie down upon their green boughs at night, without prayer; and: I found, while I was myself among them, that the Indians were very regular in their evening and morning devotions and attention to their rosaries, and that, as they are Romanists, they were very particular in carrying their children over to the Romish priest at the French island of St.
Peter's for baptism. The females particularly had a soft melodious hum in which they chanted with much seeming devotion, every night before they gave themselves to rest. Saturday , 4. Two Indian squaws accompanied us, and two other Indians, as twenty deer, some of which they wanted to carry out, were buried in the snow, one day's journey directly upon our track. It is a singular fact, which the Indians related to me, that bears and wolves have so great a dislike to the branches of the juniper, that if a few of them are stuck in the snow where the venison is deposited, they effectually preserve it from the depredations of these animals.
The Indian squaws pleased me much by their natural courtesy. Though walking above a hundred miles in Indian rackets or snow-shoes has made me now somewhat expert in the use of them, it may be imagined that I was at first, indeed I must be still, very awkward in them, by the side of an Indian. Being thirty-three inches in length, and eighteen inches broad, and weighing each of them twenty ounces, even before they are saturated with wet, they occasioned me many falls and disasters.
This was especially the case in descending very steep hills, or going upon the thin ice of Long Pond, which broke in under our weight. The water which had collected to the depth of a foot or a foot and a half on the top of ice of some of the large lakes, had its own coat of ice, and although the safety of the traveller is not endangered by the weakness of this upper ice, his expedition is very much impeded. Though noisy in their mirth at their own disasters, these Indians were courteous as French people could have been, in rendering me every assistance in my difficulties.
We pitched for the night near the Bay of East-brook. A description of the process of making our temporary place of rest for this night may suffice for the description of our similar arrangements during the week. The snow being at lest ten feet deep, a crude shovel is first cut out of the side of some standing tree, which is split down with a wedge made for the purpose. Snow does not adhere to wood as it does to an iron shovel, consequently a wooden shovel is preferable for the purpose of shoveling out the snow.
The snow is then turned out for the space of eight or ten feet square, according to the number of the company which requires accommodation. When the snow is cleared away, quite to the ground, the wood is laid on the ground for the fire. About a foot of loose snow is left in the cavern round the fire. On this the spruce or fir branches, which break off very easily when bent hastily back downwards, are laid all one way, featherwise, with the lower part of the bough upwards.
Thus the bed is made. Some of these boughs are also stuck upright on the snow against the wall of snow by the side of the cavern, and a door or opening is left in the wall of snow for the bringing in during the night the birch-wood for burning, which is piled up in heaps close by for the night's supply, that any who may be awake during the night may bring it in as it is required.
Here the traveller lies with no covering from the weather, or other shelter than the walls of snow on each side of his icy cavern and surrounding trees may supply. Of course as the laborious exercise during the day is sufficiently heating, and he is unwilling unnecessarily to increase his burden, he has no great coat or cloak for wrapping up at night. A yellow fungus which grows on the wich-hazel supplies tinder to the Indian, who is never without flint and steel, and he is remarkably expert in vibrating moss and dry leaves and birch bark rapidly through the air in his hands, which, soon after the application of a spark, ignite and make a cheerful blaze.
One who posses a night in the woods in the winter must halt by four P. One of these resting-places, in which the snow was deeper than usual, reminded me of a remarkable sight which I had witnessed at Bermuda. There a sand, which was driven by the wind from a neighbouring Banks or shoal, was making such rapid encroachments on the cedar groves, upon a certain part of the main, that several cedars were covered nearly to their tops by the sand which was gradually accumulating about them, clogging their branches, and threatening eventually to cover them.
Here, as the fire melted our cave away, and enlarged our chamber of ice, branches of verdant spruce, fresh as when, first covered in October and November, came forth to view several feet below the surface of the snow, as the cedar branches were observed to do from the sand in Bermuda. There was no other point of similitude, however, between this scene and that which it recalled to my memory; and grateful as a view of the green landscapes of Bermuda might have been to the eye, a few hours of its Favonian breezes would have placed me in no very agreeable condition. The correct and modest deportment of the squaws who were in our company here and in the wigwams, was highly creditable to them.
I had met with dormitory arrangements in our own planter's houses, of so promiscuous a description, that my Irish guide, who had lived four years with Indians, expressed his surprise at a want of delicacy which he had never seen among the Micmacs; but I could not have imagined had I not myself witnessed it, that this people could have shown so much delicacy and propriety of conduct as I observed among them, wherever I met with them. I have the squaws chiefly in view in this remark; but I have never seen any of the men otherwise than well behaved, except when they have been under the influence of liquor.
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To the immoderate use of this they are too generally strongly addicted. There are gratifying exceptions, however. I had been supplied, by the kindness of Mr. Gallop, with some port wine, some of which I offered to my Indian guide, but I found that his notions of fasting were so correct, that they extended to all indulgences, and during Lent he declined tasting even wine: some of them during that season forego smoking. The Indians dress their venison on skewers of wood, which they stick in the ground around the fire. They plaited for me a basket-like mat, of small spruce boughs, to serve as a plate.
In this they served me the deer's heart as the most delicate part of the animal. The intense cold made the trees crack, with a report, in the silence of the night, as though struck with an axe; my watch also, under the same influence, became of little use, a most serious inconvenience when traversing the country in a season when the days are so short, and a little miscalculation may occasion the traveller's being benighted before he is prepared. Sunday , 6. I had been induced, too, on the preceding night to creep out a little distance from the fire, that I might enjoy the picturesque effect of our little group, as the stars were twinkling in the broad arch of heaven, and the smoke was curling through the evergreen branches which were enlivened by the ruddy glare of our brisk fire; and, as I heard the light laugh, and caught the good-humoured faces of my companions, I had felt that when they left us, I should retain all the privations and lose all which probably might have given some charm to such a tour.
We saw tracks of deer every twenty yards as we passed through the country; so numerous were they at last, that we ceased to take any notice of them; herds of deer became themselves objects of very frequent occurrence. They offered a very interesting sight. The whole interior, with little exception of the tops of some of the hills, from which the snow had melted, was then white with snow. These bare spots upon the hills are called "naps;" though they are brown, and not green, they resemble island meadows in an ocean of snow.
On these the deer were grazing leisurely like cattle. They were travelling in quest of food, from one of these naps to another. The partridge, or ptarmigan were also very numerous upon these hills, searching for a species of cranberry, which is called here, the partridgeberry. In places near water, which, after long frost, becomes exceedingly scarce in the interior, the tracks of the deer were as thick, as of cattle in the snow in a well stocked farm-yard.
I was obliged, in going through the country, to fasten my terrier, which accompanied me, to my belt, as he would follow upon scent of the deer, and be lost to me for two and three hours at a time; and though I had no fear but that he would come up with us again, he would, if let loose, have effectually prevented our coming within shot of any deer or ptarmigan. For three days we were favoured with very brilliant weather, and made so much progress upon the hard snow, that I believe, we were one-third of our way across to Bay St.
George, having got within sight of the Catt Aeau Hills. A field of white paper, varied only by an occasional blot of the pen, with the full glare of the bright sun upon it all day, and the red glare of the fire all night, to say nothing of the effect of the wind by day and of the wood smoke, or "cruel steam" by night, may give some idea of the constant trial to which our eyes were subjected.
Tuesday , 7. Our provisions too, over which the Indian who was cook, had, with the usual improvidence of his race, not been sufficiently economical, were just out in a country which abounds with game, and in which it is so difficult to travel even without any burden, none think of carrying provisions for more than a day or two into the interior with them; but neither the pilots nor I could now see sufficiently to use a gun, or bear indeed to look upwards.
The Indian did try, but he came back without success, although he met with many fresh tracks of deer, and heard many partridges, and in the course of the night, deer had evidently passed within twenty yards of our retreat. It became so thick, moreover, that, had we been ever so little affected with snow-blindness, we could not have seen more than a few yards, and could not consequently have made any way in an unknown country.
Our Indian guide, while he was in search of deer, nearly lost all track of us, when, our allowance of food being exceedingly scanty, our situation seemed likely to be very deplorable. All Tuesday we rested in our icy chamber. What an oratory was it for the prayers of two or three, who were surely agreed touching what they should ask of their Father in heaven.
The ejaculations "Give us this day our daily bread," and "lighten our darkness," commanded a ready response. Such place might be a Bethel, and there may be seasons in the lives of those who travel, and scenes such as these, of which they may afterwards say, that the LORD was by them in the wilderness, and that it has been good for them to have been there. Some natural tears may have mingled with the water which the acrid vapour from the smoke of the damp wood for it now rained forced from my eyes, as I thought of the probable anxiety of my dear wife, and of the likelihood that all my dreams of future useful labours in the church might be thus fatally dissipated.
It was at length hinted by the Indian, that my dog might make a meal; and it is as much that they may serve in such a season of extremity, as for any fondness which they have for the animal, or use they generally make of them, that Indians are usually attended by dogs of a mongrel breed. Had my Indian pilot known the coast, we might have got to some Indian wigwams in White Bear Bay, but he did not like to attempt reaching that bay.
The straggling locations of these Indians along our coast, reminded me much of the separation between Abraham and Lot. The reasons, in the case of Indians, who separate son from father, and brother from brother, that they may have uninterrupted space for their hunting and furring excursions, are similar to those which led the patriarchs to live apart, that they might have ample space for their pastoral pursuits.
A large lake, inside of the Bay East, which I passed, gave me the idea, with its precipitous wooded cliffs, of an inland sea: the size of some of the lakes or ponds of Newfoundland is immense; a lake within the Bay of Islands, in which are numerous seals the whole summer, has an island of forty miles extent in the midst of it. Wednesday , 8. I proposed, therefore, to the Indian pilot, that we should try to return to the spot where we had left so much venison buried.
At first he hesitated; but, at length he agreed that we should attempt it. A black gauze veil, which I had kept over my eyes when the sun was at its height, and the resolution to which I had adhered of not rubbing my eyes, had preserved me, perhaps, from suffering so much from sun-blindness as my companions. Maurice Louis, the Indian, would open his eyes now and then to look at my compass;--we could not see for fog more than yards; he would fix on some object as far as the eye could reach, and then shut his eyes again, when I would lead him up to it.
Mormon Missionary Diaries
On reaching it he would open his eyes again, and we would, in the same manner, take a fresh departure. It was literally a case in which the blind was leader to the blind. The fog made our travelling dangerous; it did indeed occasion our going astray; but it was providentially favourable to us upon the whole; for, had the sky been clear, and the sun bright as when we set out, we must have been incapacitated by our sun-blindedness from moving for a week at least, and must have suffered much, if not fatally, from want of food. By forced marches,--the snow now being soft, and nearly the entire distance to be travelled in rackets, in consequence of which we could not make the same expedition which we did as we came along,--we were providentially enabled to reach by seven or eight, P.
Thus, a degree of labour, that of digging and clearing, to which we were now quite unequal, was spared us on our way back. The small quantity of biscuit to which we were now reduced, led me to advise my companions not to eat any quantity at a time, but to take a piece of the size of a nutmeg when hunger was most craving. We did, indeed, gather each day on our return, about as many partridge berries as would fill a wine glass apiece.
- Pacific Missionary George Brown – - ANU
These we found very refreshing and nutritive. Having been ripened in the fall of last year, and been sheltered under the snow all the winter, they were, now that the snow melted away from them, like preserved fruit in flavour, and resembled a rich clarety grape. At night, the want of water is a great privation in this winter travelling.
At this season, if a lake or rivulet chance to be near your resting place, it is, in all probability, protected from invasion by so thick a coat of ice that it would require some hours labour with a hatchet to get at it. A draught of water, obtained at such a price of labour, to guides already over-wearied with carrying his burden and hewing his wood, a humane man would relish as little as Sir Philip Sydney would have relished a selfish draught at Tutphen, or David from the well of Bethlehem.
I contented myself, therefore, with water supplied by snow, melted by the smoky fire. This water, together with the wind, had the effect of parching and cracking my swollen lips to such a degree, that, when on getting out of the country on the 10th, I again saw my face, after an interval of eight days, in a piece of broken glass, I had some difficulty in recognizing my own features. The most scorching heat in summer does not tan and swell the face more than does the travelling in the snow at this season.
Under the combined influence of the wind and sun, the skin peeled off: from my nose and ears, and the exposed parts of the neck, as in summer. Thursday, still dismally thick weather;--but we proceeded on our way in the same manner as yesterday. The noise of the woodpeckers upon the bark of the trees truly portended rain, of which we were much afraid; we saw quantities of deer and ptarmigan, but, though the fog favoured our weak sight much, we could neither of us take a sight with the lifted gun.
At one place, we came upon the recent tracks of wolves; they had consumed or dragged away all remains of a deer, except a little hair from the skin, and some blood, by which the snow was stained. By night, through God's most merciful protection, we reached the place where the Indians had left so much venison buried since Christmas. Much snow having fallen to-day, our feet were chafed with the rackets on which we had to walk the whole day, heavy as they were from being clogged with the newly fallen snow.
My late trip into the interior has strengthened the conviction, which, from former journeys of the same kind, I had formed that the Beothic, or Red Indians, the aborigines of the island, must be extinct. I have met with several of the Micmac Indians, who are constantly traversing the interior; none of them have seen any of these aborigines of late years; and, from the nature of the interior, which does not abound with wood, it is impossible that, if they existed in the island, they could so long have escaped observation.
In the interior of the island, the wood is so scarce, that I was more than once obliged, when the time of putting up for the night arrived, to look around for a sufficient quantity of wood to give a shelter for the night. Large expanses of country may be commanded at one view, and the fire of a company of Beothics would betray itself to the watchful Micmac by its smoke, at the distance of several miles. It may give some idea of the extent of view which is commanded in certain situations, if I mention, that from Webber's Hill, near Little River, no fewer than lakes may be seen with the naked eye at one time.
Friday, On coming out to the south-east brook of Bay Despair, we found that the last few days of soft weather had broken up the ice on which we had walked at the end of last week, and made it treacherous. It was now difficult and dangerous to get to the place where the wigwams of the Banokok Indians had been left.
I persevered, however, and, on reaching them, walked on to the winter crew's tilt, mentioned on the 3d. There throwing myself into a dark linny, or "lean-to," I sought some repose for my eyes, and availed myself of opodeldoc for my excoriated face,--a salutary, but very painful application, which happened to be the only one which was accessible. So heavy a rain now came on, that I was truly thankful I was not in one of those miserable unroofed snow-caves, which had, of late, been my only places of retreat during all weathers at night.
Saturday, When we had gone into the interior, an old Indian had told us that the wild geese might be expected with the first southerly wind. A southerly wind had since come, and with it thousands of these birds. They had been attracted to this arm by the quantity of goose-grass, and made a noise which resembled the harsh sound of a saw under the file, reminding me of Homer's description of the sound of an army of cranes.
I found that these birds of passage are led hither by an unfailing instinct at this season each year, till, the snow being melted from the marshes, they seek the interior, where they stay, till they emigrate again in the fall of the year, late or early, according as the season may be mild, or otherwise: last year they staid till December 6.
Sunday, At the P. Jean Michael, the ascetic Indian mentioned above, this day assembled the Indians for their worship, of which singing formed a very considerable part. He and the rest were collecting wild geese for an Indian feast on Easter Sunday, to which they congregate from all parts, and it was with difficulty that I could purchase one, on the morning of. Monday, 13,--To take on with me to my hospitable friend, Mr.
Gallop, of Gualtois. Started over the rotten ice, which let me through once, as I leaped from pen to pen. Went to Conne Head, across Conne River, where the water was nearly knee-deep, upon the ice to Jean Michael's wigwam, and waited there for low tide that we might walk on the beach. At Brand's Point, we crossed the nick through the woods, and over barrens to Little River, which we had to ford, high as our waists, and reached the winter house of a man who in the summer lived at Grand Jervis. There I slept. Tuesday, I had a very bad walk of ten miles down Little River, partly hopping from one pen of ice to another, and partly wading through the deep water round the points.
To escape one or two of these points, I rafted myself upon pieces of floating ice down the stream. At length, on reaching a place where the river was clear from ice, we found a flat which belonged to the Indians. In this, I was conveyed through "The passage," mentioned April 2, to Gualtois. A vessel had recently arrived here from Torquay, in nineteen days, but, to my disappointment the captain, being no politician, had brought no papers, or accounts by which I might be informed of the movements in the political world at home.
Wednesday, Went to look at a neatly enclosed burial ground, for the consecration of which the people expressed a laudable anxiety. The Rev. James Robertson, having visited this place at a season of great mortality, had interred three persons in it at one time. I looked to day over the whaling establishment of Messrs. Hunt and Newman. The machine with which the fat of the whale is cut into small pieces for the boiler, reminded me of a similar machine which I have seen used by sausage-makers in England. The refuse pieces of the whale, which are left in the boiler, after the oil is extracted, furnish, I am informed, all the fuel which is required for heating the coppers.
This recalls to my recollection the fact, that the early settlers on this island used to make fires with piles of the carcases of fat penguins, a bird which used then to be very common, but is now extinct, or has left the island. They were most cruelly treated while they abounded in the island, being often plucked for their feathers and then turned loose to perish, or burnt in piles as above described. The whalers were just commencing their work for the season. Two fine congregations of one hundred and fifty. Seven children baptized.
Monday, Gallop's gig, and passed Picar to Round Harbour, where I held a full service to eighteen, and baptized a child, and wrote three family letters for my host. Returned by foul wind. On seeking to make acquaintance, as in such cases of detention I am accustomed to do, with the libraries of the people, was happy to find here many books of an higher intellectual stamp than I should have expected in such a place. I found, too, more habits of reading in this house than in any other, perhaps, without exception, which I had visited.
I held a second service here. I reached W. Strickland's, however, at Long Island Harbour, by half-past seven, A. There was much "swish ice" in the harbour which we left, and we found much of the same here also. The people, being upon their fishing-ground outside, had seen us go into their harbour, So they returned, on so unusual an event as the entrance of a strange boat to their harbour, and assembled for full service.
I had one baptism, and was much pleased with their simple manner of singing. Sir Thomas J. Cochrane, the late excellent governor of Newfoundland, having put into Deer Island, White Bear Bay, while this Strickland and his brother John lived there, found them engaged, as is their custom, in reading prayers to their own and the neighbours' families on the Lord's day; and his Excellency presented him with a one octavo prayer book, with the stamp of the Prayer Book and Homily Society.
Strickland is very proud of this treasure. When he showed it to me, he begged with much humility, that I would point out to him those parts of the public service which a lay reader might use in a congregation. The younger branches of the families of these good men could all read. A reference to the report of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, for the year , will introduce the reader to a patriarch of the same name. I found him employed in the same useful way at the Burgeo Islands. His seed, it will be seen, from this present description of two of the younger branches of the same stock, are likely to be blessed.
At Little Bay, close to this place, so plentiful is the fish all the year round, that the women and children cut holes in the salt-water ice, and catch great quantities of cod-fish all through the winter. Left Long Island after service. Three hours cold rowing against nearly a head wind, attended with snow squalls, brought me to Pushthrough, Grand Jervis, upon the main. There I assembled a large congregation in the house of Charles King and his wife, whom I had visited in Nothing could exceed the joy with which this good pair welcomed this my second appearance among them.
The increase of the population in settlements of this description, is most rapid. I baptized twenty-two children here, all of whom had been born since my last visit, and there were some young children besides, who, from the absence of their parents or sponsors, or other reasons, were not now presented for this sacrament. How needful are scriptural schools in these rapidly increasing settlements!
Related Two Years in Paradise; Diary of a Missionary
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