Training and preparation.

To accompany me in the performance, I engaged into my service, first, a Micmack Indian, a noted hunter from the south-west coast of the Island, and next a European, whom I thought fitted. For an undertaking involving so much uncertainty, hazard, and hardship, it was difficult to find men in every respect suited -- of volunteers there were several.

In the month of July I trained myself with my Indian, and tried his fidelity by making an excursion from St. John's to Placentia, and back by way of Trinity and Conception Bays, a circuit of about one hundred and fifty miles; I thereby also ascertained the necessary equipment for my intended expedition;(35) and discovered that it would be impossible to travel in the totally unknown interior, until subsistence could be there procured, the supply of which is extremely precarious until the berries are ripening, and the wild birds and beasts have left their birth-places to roam at large and are likely to fall in the traveller's way.

I now resolved to penetrate at once through the central part of the Island; and the direction in which the natural characteristics of the interior were likely to be most decidedly exhibited, appeared to lie between Trinity Bay on the east coast and St. George's Bay on the west.(36)

In the latter end of August I equipped my two men with everything necessary for three months' campaign, and considered my party, under circumstances, sufficient.

August 29th. -- It is necessary to mention that the chief Government authority was opposed to the project, -- and with which he was made acquainted, -- of obtaining a knowledge of the interior of the country. In consequence of this, I was deprived of the services of the European, who was, unfortunately for me, a Stipendiary by local appointment.(37) I could not add to my party either by hiring or obtaining a volunteer.



Passage from St. John's to Trinity Bay.

The proper season had arrived in which to set off, and I embarked at St. John's for Trinity Bay, previously taking with me my Indian only. Uncertainty of result waved over my determination, now more settled (by opposition) to perform at all hazards what I had set out upon. That no one would be injured by my annihilation was a cheering triumph at such a moment.

Mineralogy. -- The sea coast at St. John's, and twelve or fifteen miles northward, as well as thirty miles to the southward, is formed of brown sandstone of a highly silicious quality approaching to quartz-rock, alternating with beds of conglomerate and brechia -- the latter rocks consist of a mechanically formed basis of sandstone -- in some parts amygdaloidal -- with rolled agates, jasper, fragments of felspar, clay slate, &c., imbedded. The highest hills of this formation are entirely, and both sides of the entrance of the harbour of St. John's are partly, formed of these.

The sandstone is traversed in all directions by tortuous veins of quartz, generally white, and vertical, and it includes within it some minor beds of stratified sandstone, with a dip to the south east. The whole line of coast presents a precipitous and mural front to the sea, varying from a hundred to nearly five hundred feet in height. In many parts the veins of quartz are of a green colour, indicative of copper, and which metal is here found in the form of gray copper ore of a very rich quality.

There was a copper mine opened about forty years ago, at Shoal Bay, fifteen miles south of St. John's, by a late Earl of Galloway, a Mr. Vance Agnew of Galloway, and a Mr. Dunn of Aberdeen, the Collector at that time of H. M. Customs at St. John's. The mouths of two shafts, one in the side of the solid rock, the other on the acclivity fifty or sixty feet above the level of the sea, as well as other remains of the works, are still to be seen. It is said to have been worked two years; and the ore, sent to England, yielded 80 per cent of copper. The richer veins took a direction under the level of the sea; and owing to the reported difficulty of keeping the mine dry, the undertaking was relinquished after an expenditure of 9,000 pounds. Cornish miners were brought purposely to the country. There are other parts of the coast adjacent, as well as inland, that exhibit the same proofs of abundance of copper as this close assemblage of veins -- of six feet wide at Shoal Bay.

From the termination of the sandstone northward of St. John's, the coast to Cape St. Francis is formed of gray quartz rock, gray wacke, felspar, porphyry, and a series of transition clay slate rocks -- alternating in strata, the prevalent of the slate formation being green stone and flinty slate compact -- long splintering, and friable, blue clay slate -- with patches of red and green, gray quartz is the highest; and having sulphuret of iron disseminated in some spots -- oxidation gives it a brown colour externally. Chlorite and epidote enter more or less into the composition of all the hard rocks, inclusive of the quartz. The green stone passes into varieties; some of which are of yellowish green colour, translucent at the edges, and seem to be composed of talc, approaching more or less to serpentine: these, and all the slate rocks, have a perfect double oblique seamed structure: the whole of them are in nearly vertical strata with an inclination to the north west. The line of junction of the slate formation with the sandstone runs NNE. and SSW., and intersects the harbour of St. John's. The rocks are sometimes distinctly separated, sometimes pass gradually into each other, and again the slate rocks are extremely tortuous, with conforming veins of white quartz intermixed. In some low spots are beds of horizontally stratified blue and gray gritty slate, in tables or flags.

Cape St. Francis is formed principally of gray quartz rock and green stone. The hoary receding front manifests the thousands of years it has defied, and still /132/ defies more sternly than ever, the shocks and chafings of the hundreds of square miles of ice which are forced against it every winter by the constant current and north-west wind from the Arctic seas. The hills behind are from three to five hundred feet in height.

On the 30th of August we sailed past Conception Bay, the most populous and important district in Newfoundland. It was in this Bay, according to history, that the first settlement of the New-found-land was attempted by the English in 1620 -- through Sir George Calvert (father of Lord Baltimore) who had obtained a grant from Charles I of the south-east part of the island. Sir George pitched upon Port-de-Grave, a harbour on the west side of the bay, as the spot best suited to his purpose, there being in its immediate vicinity an extensive tract of flat prairie land. It is said he was of great expense and pains to introduce European animals, plants, &c. He was lost at sea in returning to England, and the scheme was abandoned. Some shrubs and small fruits grow here that have not been met with any where else on the Island, and were no doubt originally brought by Sir George. Mill-stones were until lately in existence at a spot where there had apparently been a mill; but it is supposed the mill was never finished.(38)

On the promontory between Conception and Trinity Bays is the Point of Grates, and close to it Baccalao Island.

The Point of Grates is the part of North America first discovered by Europeans. Sebastian Cabot landed here in 1496, and took possession of The Newfoundland, which he discovered in the name of his employer, Henry VII of England. He recorded the event by cutting an inscription, still perfectly legible, on a large block of rock that stands on the shore.

Baccalao Island, formed of a horizontally stratified rock, apparently gritty slate, is famous for the numbers of sea fowl that frequent it in the breeding season, principally the puffin, called on this coast the Baccalao or Baealieu bird. The Island has one landing-place only, on its east side, and no resident inhabitants; but is visited by men in boats and small schooners called Eggers, who carry off cargoes of new laid eggs. The end of the profession of these men will be the extermination of the sea fowl of these parts for the sake of a cruelly-begotten temporary subsistence. The destruction by mechanical force of tens of thousands of eggs, after the commencement of incubation, precedes the gathering of a small cargo of fresh-laid eggs. Penguins, once numerous on this coast, may be considered as now extirpated, for none have been seen for many years past.

The wind having been unfavourable, it was not until the 31st August we arrived at Bonaventure, a small fishing harbour on the west side of Trinity Bay. It has a narrow entrance, and is surrounded by steep craggy hills of 400 to 600 feet in height.

None of the inhabitants here or in the vicinity, as at other parts of Newfoundland, could give any information about the interior, never having been further from the salt water than in pursuit of animals for their furs, and for wood-stuff to build vessels and fishing boats.

From the summits of the hills immediately around the harbour, there is a view of the country in all directions inland for 20 to 30 miles, encompassing part of Random Island in the south-west. The whole is a continued succession of groups of rugged hills, (mountains except in height,) all apparently of a similar description to those on which we stood, with some small patches of black fir woods, and a few lakes interspersed. It presented a prospect of at least a week's hard labour overland, before we could reach what we could only hope might be the verge of /133/ the interior. This suggested to me the plan of going nearer to the centre of the Island by water, in order to save all our strength and resource for the main object of the undertaking, as it was impossible to know what difficulties and necessities we might have to contend with. This was to be effected by taking a boat from hence to the west part of Random Sound, which lay to the west-south-westward. The country we now saw was within the reach of any one to explore at any short interval of time, and was therefore of secondary moment to me.

The west side of Trinity Bay is composed of rocks of the transition clay slate formation, similar to those on the east. The hills, frequently of 400 to 600 feet in height, are chiefly of greenstone and hornblende slate, the out-goings of the nearly vertical strata and dykes, which sometimes present a perfectly mural front to the sea; blue clay slate alternates, and has cubical iron pyrites often imbedded, some of which are several inches in diameter. In the vallies are beds of horizontally stratified gritty slate of the tabular structure, similar to that noticed at other parts of the east coast. The tables or flags are often several yards in length, formed under a double oblique intersecting cleavage, and admirably adapted for many purposes of building. The beds are traversed in all directions by dykes several feet in thickness, of a dark coloured green stone, also of the seamed structure, the splinters of which are translucent at the edges.

The plants met with at this part of the north-east coast of America, although only 48 degrees 20 minutes N. lat. or nearly in the parallel of Brest, and the highest hills not exceeding 600 feet, seem to be similar to those of Norway and Lapland in the north-west part of Europe, under the Arctic circle. On the sea beaches the common plants are the sea plantain, Plantago maritima, the sea pea, Pisum maritimum, Campanula rotundifolia, Elodea campanula, Impatiens parviflora, Syrcopus virginicus, Mentha Canadensis, &c. The trees immediately at the coast, are nearly all of the pine tribe, principally firs. In the more sheltered spots a few birches are met with. On the acclivities are the raspberry, Rubus idaeus, bramble, R. fruticosus, Viburnum pyrifolium, bearing clusters of a wholesome blue berry -- and V. cassinoides; Cornus circinata, bearing clusters of a white berry considered unwholesome, C. stricta or red rod; strawberry; Epilobium angustifolium, E. tetragonum, E. oliganthum, E. latifolium; Solidago Canadensis, S. flexicaulis; S. viminea; Eupatorium purpureum; Prenanthes serpentaria, everlasting Antennaria margaritacea; Potentilla hirsuta; Lysimachia stricta; Scutellaria galericulata; Polygonum sagittatum; Micropetalum gramineum or Stellaria graminea; Cerastium viscosum; Thlaspi bursa pastoris; Galium palustre; white spinach; Chenopodium album; Salcopus terhalut; Veronica serpillifolia, Leontodon taraxacum; Apargia autumnalis; Senna elongatus; Sonchus oleraceus; Cnicus arvensis, &c. Several varieties of whortleberry, Vaccinium tenellum being the most common, partridgeberry, V. Vuxifolium; juniper, Juniperus communis. On the summits of the hills, Empetrum nigrum, on the black watery berry of which curlew and other birds feed; Vaccinium uliginosum; Arbutus uva ursa, A. unedo; Potentilla tridentata, &c.

The inhabitants of Bonaventure, about a dozen families, gain their livelihood by the cod fishery. They cultivate only a few potatoes, and some other vegetables, which were of excellent quality, amongst the scanty patches of soil around their doors; obtaining all their other provisions, clothing, and outfit for the fishery, from merchants in other parts of Trinity Bay, or elsewhere on the coast, not too far distant, giving in return the produce of the fishery, viz., cod fish and cod oil. They collectively catch about 1,500 quintals, or 300 tons of cod fish, valued at 12 s. per quintal, 900 pounds; and manufacture from the livers of the cod fish about twenty-one tuns of oil, valued at 16 pounds per tun, 336 pounds; which is the annual amount of their trade. The merchants import articles for the use of the fisheries from Europe and elsewhere to supply such people as these, who are actually engaged in the operations of the fishery. The whole population of Newfoundland may be viewed as similarly circumstanced with those of Bonaventure.

/134/ September 3rd -- Having engaged a boat to carry us to the most inland part of Random Sound, we left Bonaventure. On the passage to the north-east entrance, about six miles south-west of Bonaventure, we witnessed the phenomenon of the very great transparency of the sea which it assumes here during the time of change of wind from West to East. The fishes and their haunts amongst the rocks and luxuriant weeds at the bottom were seen to a fearful depth. Every turn of the Sound presents a different aspect of rugged, and in some parts, grand scenery. Both sides are formed of steep and perpendicular hills of greenstone, and of rocks of the transition clay slate formation, of 500 to 600 feet in height, the nakedness of which displays, as at the outer parts of Trinity Bay, the skeleton of the earth. The strata are of various thickness, and lie in different directions. Patches of fir trees, Pinus balsamea, principally grow where the steepness does not prevent debris from lodging. The appearance of both sides of the Sound or gut correspond so remarkably, that it might be inferred Random Island is a break off from the main island. There are no inhabitants here, but fishermen of the neighbouring parts come hither in spring for the rinds of the fir tree, Pinus balsamea, which they peel off, spread and dry in the sun, and afterwards use chiefly to cover the piles of cod fish to protect it from the wet weather and dew -- in the process of curing. The North Arm of the Sound, that which we came through, is about thirty miles in length, and varies from one-eighth to one-third of a mile in width. Within two or three miles of its west extremity it expands and becomes shallow, and here the scene of gloom and barrenness is suddenly contrasted with a pretty, small sheet of water, surrounded by a flat thickly wooded country, as inviting as the past was forbidding.

Random Bar, at the west extremity of the Sound, caused by the meeting of the tide here, in the form of two considerable bores from the north and south arms, is dry except for an hour or two before and after high water, and there is then about two feet only of water upon it. It is in 48 degrees 13 minutes north latitude, and 53 degrees 40 minutes west longitude, (by Steel's chart, published in 1817).

The land adjacent to the bar is low, and the soil is good. Westward towards the interior it rises from the water's edge very gradually, and is entirely covered with wood. In consequence of black birch, Betula lenta, and white pine, Pinus sylvestris, having been produced in this part in considerable quantities fit for shipbuilding, it appears to have been formerly much resorted to, and vessels have been built there. A spot of ground near the bar had been appropriated to the interment of those who had died while employed in the vicinity. Most kinds of the pine tribe are met with here, viz., Pinus nigra, P. alba, P. rubra, P. balsamea, P. microcarpa or Larix, and P. sylvestris, already noticed; also white birch, Betula populifolia, of the rinds of which the Indians cover their canoes; poplars, Populus trepida and P. grandidentata; maples, Acer rubrum and A. striatum, or moose wood of Canada; mountain ash, Sorbus Americana; choke cherry, Prunus borealis, and small wild cherry, P. Pennsylvanica; hazel Corylus Americana; elder Sambucus; and some other shrubs.

September 5th. -- Our boat having lain dry on the bar nearly all night, we slept in her in preference to encamping in the woods. Wild geese and other birds were flying to and fro over us during the whole time, most industriously and fearlessly, in search of food. This is a favourite resort of ducks, herons, and other aquatic fowls.

Sunrise announced that adieu was to be taken for a time to the routine habits of civilization. My travelling equipments being landed, the boat with the party which brought my Indian left us on her return to Bonaventure. On her disappearance into the gloomy gut, and when the reports of our farewell guns were no longer echoed to each other along its windings, an abyss of difficulties instantly sprang up in the imagination between the point where we stood and the civilized world we had just quitted, as well as between us and the centre of the Terra Incognita. That we might be eaten up by packs of wolves was more than probable to the farewell forebodings of the inhabitants we had last seen, if we should escape the Red Indians. My Indian was also at this juncture sensibly affected; contrasting no doubt the /135/ comforts and plenty he had of late experienced; to the toils and deprivations that were before us, the nature of which he could foresee. But we did not come here to entertain emotions from such a circumstance.

It would have been impossible, with the object I had in view, to reach this spot by land from St. John's, as the coast we passed is without roads or paths of any kind, and an entire assemblage of rocky mountains, forests and lakes, intersected by deep bays.


Depart from the sea coast.

Being now removed with my Indian from all human communication and interference, we put our knapsacks and equipments in order and left this inland part of the sea-shore in a north direction, without regard to any track, through marshes and woods towards some rising land, in order to obtain a view of the country.(39) The centre of the island bore nearly west from us.

After several hours of hard labour, owing chiefly to the great weight of our knapsacks, we made only about two miles progress. From the tops of the highest trees the country in all directions westward for at least twenty miles appeared to be covered with one dense unbroken pine forest, with here and there a bold granitic pap projecting above the dark green surface. We had expected to see some open country nearer.

At sunset we halted, and bivouacked beneath the forest. As the weather was fine, and no prospect of rain, our camp consisted merely of a fire and a bundle of spruce boughs to lie on. My Indian, Joseph Sylvester by name, at midnight rolled himself up in his blanket, and evidently slept perfectly at home.

September 6th. -- No clear ground appearing in our course, we struck directly westward through the forest. Wind-fallen trees, underwood, and brooks lay in our way; which together with the suffocating heat in the woods, and moschetos, hindered us from advancing more than five miles to-day, in a WNW. direction.

September 7th, 8th, 9th were occupied in travelling westward through the forest, at the rate of seven or eight miles a day.

In our progress we ascended several of the isolated paps to view the country; stunted firs and a thick rug of moss crept almost to their summits. The prospect of the ocean of undulating forest around, of the high land of Trinity and Bonavista Bays, and of the Atlantic Ocean in the distance northward, was splendid. There was an evident rise in the land westward from Random Bar.

These paps consist of pink and grey granite, very coarse grained. They lie northward and southward of each other, and seem to belong to a primitive range that exhibits itself at distant spots above the transition clay slate formation. They stand like imperishable monuments of the original construction of the earth, overlooking the less perfectly crystallized rocks around them mouldering into soil. The granite often appears in the form of round-backed hills. On the crumbled surface of some of these that are not yet covered with vegetation, fragments of mica slate /136/ are sometimes mixed. On the surface of the vegetation with which others are covered, huge masses or boulders of very hard and sienitic granite often apparently lie, -- but on examination are found to rest on their parent nucleus underneath, as it were deserted by the more perishable portions of the original bed. Greenstone of a very perfect double oblique seamed structure, which owes its green colour to an intimate association in various proportions with chlorite, alternates in the clay slate formation and appears next in elevation to the granite; it presents plain weathered surfaces resembling yellow-grey sandstone, owing to the decomposition of its chief component part -- felspar. The clay slate rocks are distinctly seen at all the brooks and lakes within eighteen or twenty miles of the sea. Beyond that the primitive rocks prevail.

The Forest, it may be useless to repeat, is composed almost entirely of trees of the pine tribe, firs, in general fit for small spars, the black and red spruce, Pinus nigra and P. rubra predominating. In some favoured spots a few birches, larch, and Pinus sylvestris, attain a considerable size. Birch is the only deciduous timber tree met with in Newfoundland,(40) there being here neither beech, maple, (except the two diminutive species already noticed,) oak, nor ash, all common on the neighbouring islands and continent.

Marshes and lakes lie hidden in the forest. Every marsh is accompanied almost invariably by a lake, and every hill also by a lake of proportional extent at its foot, and the three are frequently found together. We travelled on the rising ground in order to avoid the lakes.

On the skirts of the forest, and of the marshes are found the following trees and shrubs: -- Poplar, Populus trepida; Alder, Alnus crispa; Birches, Betula nana and B. glandulosa; Willow, Salix ____; Indian Pear, Pyrus botriatrium, and P. arbutifolium; wild gooseberry, Ribes glacile; and wild currant, R. prostratum; Raspberries, Rubus occidentalis and R. saxatilis, Potentilla fruticosa; yellow-flowering honey suckle, Lonicera alpigena?, Rhodora Canadensis; Andromeda calycirlata, and A. angustifolia; Kalmia glauca; Indian or Labrador tea, Ledum latifolium, Myrica gale; Roses, Rosa nitada, and R. franinifolia, &c.

The marshes consist of what is termed marsh peat, formed chiefly of the mosses, Sphagnum capillifolium and vulgare S. or S. glacile Mich.?; and are for the most part covered with grasses, rushes, &c., of which the following predominate: Eleocharis sanguinolenta, the roots of which are thickly matted in bunches; cotton grasses, Eriophorum virginicum, E. angustifolium, and E. cespitosum; Carex parviflora, C. tenella, C. stipata of Mecklenberg, C. folliculata and C. bullata; sweet scented grass, Anthoxanthum odoratum, &c. Some of the marshes retain more water than others, and here the prevalent plants are a variety of rushes: Juncus acutifloris and effusus and buforius and campestris, Lugula campestris; Pogonia ophioglossoides, red and a yellow kind; Habernaria dilatata, and H. clavellata; lark-spur, Drosera rotundifolia; Indian cup, Sarracenia purpurea; cranberry, Oxycoccos macrocarpus; and marsh berry, O. ____; bog apple, Rubus chamaemorus?; ladies' slipper, Cypripedium humile; gold thread, Coptis trifolia; Rhynchospora alba; Stachys aspera; Windsoria pore fornis; Arundo Canadensis; -- the two last grasses being five or six feet in height; Mecklenbergia erecta, Iris virginica; white violet, Viola Selkirkia, and blue, V. palustris; Lycopus virginicus, &c. Other spots of the marshes are raised above the common surface, owing generally to the projection of the underlying rocks, and consequently retain less moisture. Here the Kalmia angustifolia sometimes occupies entire acres, and in the flowering season displays (as may be seen in the vicinity of St. John's) a very brilliant appearance. The Rhododendron punctatum Pursh., which puts forth its delicate lilac blossoms before its leaves, is also common. The pools and lakes shone brilliantly with white and yellow water-lilies -- Nymphaea odorata and N. advena, Chelone obliqua, &c. At and in the running waters are Pirea salicifolia, columbine, Thalictrum cornuti and T. pubescens; Lobelia Dortmanna; Equisetum /137/ sylvaticum; Aster nemoralis and A. radula; Potamogeton natans; Hippuris vulgaris; Fontinalis squamosa; Ranunculus filiformis, and R. sceleratus; Atricularia vulgaris, Spergula arvensis; Buckbean, Merganthes trifoliata, Onoclea sensibilis; dock, Rumex, several species; water-aven or chocolate root, Geum nivale, &c.

Under the shade of the forest the soil is light, dry, very rocky, of a yellow-brown colour, and covered every where with a beautiful thick carpet of green moss, formed principally of Polytrichum commune. As there are few or no decidious or leaf-shedding trees, decay of foliage adds little or nothing to ameliorate or enrich the soil, and the velvet-like covering remains unsullied by fallen leaves. The surface is bespangled and the air perfumed by the Marchantia polymorphia; Trientalis Americana, Smilacina borealis; S. Canadensis, bifolia, and S. trifolia; Linnea borealis; Vaccinium hispidotum, the white berry of which is convertible into a very delicious preserve; Pyrola secunda; Cornus Canadensis, bearing a cluster of wholesome red berries, sometimes called pigeon berries; Malaxis unifolia, Habernaria clavellata; Biacuta bulbifera, or cornuta; wild celery, Ligusticum Scoticum; Streptopus distortus, bearing pendulous red berries under its large palmated leaves.

The plants enumerated are not limited to the situation described, but frequently range on several of them. There being neither browse, grass, nor berries in any quantity in the pine forest, even traces of any kind of game are seldom seen. Hence the necessity of carrying a stock of provisions to last while travelling through such woods, yet a heavy load prevents expedition and observing much of the natural condition of the country. The brooks are only visited by otters: the pools and small lakes by beavers and musk rats. The martin, Mustela marte, is sometimes seen on the trees. Of the feathered tribe, the jay, Corvus Canadensis, and sometimes the titmouse followed us, chattering and fluttering, shewing that their retreats were never before invaded by man. A woodpecker, of which there are two or three kinds, is now and then heard tapping, and sometimes the distant croak of a raven catches the ear. These are the only interruptions to the dead silence that always and everywhere reigns during the day in such forests. Man alone forces his way fearlessly onward, scarce a sound being heard except he is directly or indirectly the cause. The loud notes of the loon, Colymbus Arcticus and Colymbus glacialis, discovered to us at night, as we lay in our camp, in what direction the lakes lay that were near, and we thus avoided them, if in our course next day. The loon, like the other aquatic birds of passage, geese and ducks, is most alert in the night time, when the permanent inhabitants of the country are at rest. Almost every lake is occupied during the breeding season by a pair of these nocturnal clamourers. The wild, varied and significant responses to each other, as they swim about in search of food, sometimes like the bleating of sheep, and again like the lowing of cattle, keep the imagination awake all night.

It is impossible in an unknown country, and one into which for centuries admission was in a manner denied, to reconcile oneself with certainty as to who are fellow occupants around. Aborigines might have wandered from the more central parts of the island to our neighbourhood and espy our fire from a distance and steal upon us unawares. No civilized being had been here before, nor was any now expected. Apprehensions and thoughts of no ordinary kind occupy the mind unaccustomed to the untrodden boundless wilderness. Sleep is not looked for.

We had as yet shot only a few braces of grouse, Tetrao albus, while crossing the open rocky spots in the woods, and our stock of provisions was nearly consumed.

The heat in the woods was very oppressive, and there being no circulation of air under the trees, myriads of moschetos, with black and sand flies, annoyed us.

We lodged at nights under the thickest part of the woods, encamping or bivouacking in the Indian manner. As the weather was fine, this was agreeable and cheerful. Familiarity with this transient system of sheltering, adopted from expediency, is soon acquired. It may be shortly described: Continuing our journey, about an /138/ hour before sunset a dry firm spot of ground on which to make a fire and to sleep under the thickest of the trees for shelter is pitched upon as near as possible to water, and an easy supply of wood for fuel. Care should be taken that the spot selected be not hollow underneath the moss that covers the ground, for in that case the fire, which always consumes its own bed, may sink before the night so far below the surface as to be useless, and expose a cavity amongst blocks of granite into which the firebrands have fallen, and sufficient to swallow up any slumberer that might chance to slide into it. Arms and knapsacks are then piled; as much wood is cut and brought to the spot as will serve to keep up a good fire all night. Tinder is made by pulverizing a small piece of dry rotten wood and a little gunpowder together between the hands, and ignited by a spark from the lock of a pistol or fowling piece, or by any other means; the smoke of the fire affords instant relief from the constant devouring enemy, the flies. Boughs are broken from the surrounding spruce trees, two or three arms full to each person, to serve to lie and sleep on; they are laid on the ground at the windward side of the fire to be free from the smoke, tier upon tier, as feathers upon the back of a bird, the thick or broken ends placed in lines towards the fire, and form a kind of mat three or four inches in thickness. A few light poles are then cut and stuck in the ground along the windward side of the bed, inclined in an angle of about 45 degrees over it towards the fire, on which to stretch a blanket to serve as a roof-screen in the event of rain during the night; the upper ends of the poles rest on a horizontal ridge pole, which is suspended at each end by a forked stick or a post. The camp being now ready for the general accommodation, wet clothes are taken off, and supper is prepared accordingly. The labour of exploring and hunting is such that the clothes are always wet from perspiration. A forked stick stuck in the ground is used for roasting by, and some pieces of rind of a birch or spruce tree serve for table cloth, platter, and torches. To make a camp after a hard day's fatigue requires about an hour, and the whole should be done before it is dark. Then and not till then is it proper to sit down to rest. After supper, each when disposed rolls himself up in his blanket and reposes on his fragrant bed of boughs, placing the soles of the feet near the fire. This precaution the Indian strictly adheres to, as a preservation of health, the feet being wet all day.

September 10th. -- From the first we had now and then crossed over marshes and open rocky spots in the forest. As we advanced these latter became more frequent. The change of sylvan scenery as we passed from one to another was enlivening and interesting, and afforded the luxury of a breeze that freed us from the host of blood-thirsty flies.

Early in the day, the ground descending, we came unexpectedly to a rivulet about seventy yards wide, running rapidly over a rocky bed to the north-east, which we forded. The bed and shelving banks are formed of granite, mica and transition clay slate rocks. Some of the latter inclined to serpentine, greenstone, red sandstone of the coal formation, sand, and beds of fine yellow clay. The water was in some parts brought into a very narrow compass by the rocks projecting from the sides. Large birch and spruce trees overhung the banks, and rendered the scenery pretty. It abounded with fine trout, some of which we caught. The sand was everywhere marked with tracks of deer. The roaring of a cataract of some magnitude was heard in the north-east. From the position and course of this stream, we inferred that it was a branch of the river which runs into Clode Sound, in Bonavista Bay: and my Indian supposed, from his recollections of the reports of the Indians concerning Clode Sound River, that canoes could be brought up from the sea coast to near where we were.

Leaving this rivulet, the land has a considerable rise for several miles. The features of the country then assume an air of expanse and importance different from heretofore. The trees become larger and stand apart; and we entered upon spacious /139/ tracks of rocky ground entirely clear of wood. Everything indicated our approach to the verge of a country different from the past.

We soon found that we were on a great granitic ridge, covered, not as the lower grounds are with crowded pines and green moss, but with scattered trees, and a variety of beautiful lichens or reindeer moss, partridge berries, Vaccinium Vuxifolium, and whortleberries loaded the ground. The Xytosteum villosum, a pretty erect shrub, was in full fruit by the sides of the rocks; grouse, Tetrao albus, the indigenous game bird of the country, rose in coveys in every direction, and snipes from every marsh. The birds of passage, ducks and geese, were flying over to us to and fro from their breeding places in the interior and the sea coast; tracks of deer, of wolves fearfully large, of bears, foxes, and martens, were seen everywhere.

On looking back towards the sea coast, the scene was magnificent. We discovered that under the cover of the forest we had been uniformly ascending ever since we left the salt water at Random Bar, and then soon arrived at the summit of what we saw to be a great mountain ridge that seems to serve as a barrier between the sea and the interior. The black dense forest through which we had pilgrimaged presented a novel picture, appearing spotted with bright yellow marshes and a few glossy lakes in its bosom, some of which we had passed close by without seeing them.


First view of the interior -- Our advance into it --

Its description --

Reach the central part of the island.

In the westward, to our inexpressible delight, the interior broke into sublimity before us. What a contrast did this present to the conjectures entertained of Newfoundland! The hitherto mysterious interior lay unfolded below us, a boundless scene, emerald surface, a vast basin. The eye strides again and again over a succession of northerly and southerly ranges of green plains, marbled with woods and lakes of every form and extent, a picture of all the luxurious scenes of national cultivation, receding into invisibleness. The imagination hovers in the distance, and clings involuntarily to the undulating horizon of vapour, far into the west, until it is lost. A new world seemed to invite us onward, or rather we claimed the dominion and were impatient to proceed to take possession. Fancy carried us swiftly across the Island. Obstacles of every kind were dispelled and despised. Primitiveness, omnipotence, and tranquillity were stamped upon everything so forcibly, that the mind is hurled back thousands of years, and the man left denuded of the mental fabric which a knowledge of ages of human experience and of time may have reared within him. Could a dwelling be secured amid the heavenly emotions excited by the presence of such objects.

It was manifested on every hand that this was the season of the year when the earth here offers her stores of productions; land berries were ripening, game birds were fledging, and beasts were emerging to prey upon each other. Everything animate or inanimate seemed to be our own. We consumed unsparingly our remaining provisions, confident that henceforward, with our personal powers, which felt increased by the nature of the objects that presented themselves, aided by what now seemed by contrast the admirable power of our fire-arms, the destruction of one creature would afford us nourishment and vigour for the destruction of others. There was no will but ours. Thoughts of the aborigines did not alter our determination to meet them, as well as everything living, that might present itself in a country yet untrodden, and before unseen by civilized man. I now adopted, as well for self-preservation as for the sake of accomplishing the object of my excursion, the self-dependent mode of life of the Indian both in spirit and action.

/140/ But to look around before we advance. The great exterior features of the eastern portion of the main body of the island are seen from these commanding heights. Overland communication between the bays of the east, north and south coasts, it appears, might be easily established. The chief obstacles to overcome, as far as regards the mere way, seem to lie in crossing the mountain belt of twenty or forty miles wide, on which we stood, in order to reach the open low interior. The nucleus of this belt is exhibited in the form of a semi-circular chain of isolated paps and round-backed granitic hills, generally lying north-east and south-west of each other in the rear of Bonavista, Trinity, Placentia, and Fortune Bays. To the southward of us, in the direction of Piper's Hole, in Placentia Bay, one of these conical hills, very conspicuous, I named Mount Clarence, in honour of His Royal Highness, who, when in the navy, had been in Placentia Bay. Our view extended more than forty miles in all directions. No high land, it has been already noticed, bounded the low interior in the west.

September 11th. -- We descended into the bosom of the interior.

The plains which shone so brilliantly are steppes or savannas, composed of fine black compact peat mould, formed by the growth and decay of mosses, principally the Sphagnum capillifolium, and covered uniformly with their wiry grass, the Uphrasia officinalis being in some places intermixed. They are in the form of extensive gently undulating beds, stretching northward and southward, with running waters and lakes, skirted with woods, lying between them. Their yellow green surfaces are sometimes uninterrupted either by tree, shrub, rocks, or any inequality, for more than ten miles. They are chequered everywhere upon the surface by deep beaten deer paths, and are in reality magnificent natural deer parks, adorned by woods and water. The trees here sometimes grow to a considerable size, particularly the larch; birch is also common. The deer herd upon them to [do?] graze. It is impossible to describe the grandeur and richness of the scenery, and which will probably remain long undefaced by the hand of man. In vain were associations; in vain did the eye wander for the cattle, the cottage, and the flocks.

Our progress over the savanna country was attended with great labour, and consequently slow, being only at the rate of five to seven miles a day to the westward, while the distance walked was equivalent to three or four times as much. Always inclining our course to the westward, we traversed in every direction, partly from choice, in order to view and examine the country, and partly from the necessity to get round the extremities of lakes and woods, and to look for game for subsistence.

It was impossible to ascertain the depths of these savannas, but judging from the great expanse of the undulations, and the total absence of inequalities on the surfaces, it must often be many fathoms. Portions of some of the marshes, from some cause under the surface, are broken up and sunk below the level, forming gullies and pools. The peat there is exposed sometimes to a depth of ten feet and more without any rock or soil underneath; and the process of its formation is distinctly exhibited from the dying and dead roots of the green surface moss descending linearly into gradual decay, until perfected into a fine black compact peat, in which the original organic structure of the parent is lost. The savanna peat immediately under the roots of the grass on the surface is very similar to the perfected peat of the marshes. The savannas are continually moist or wet on the surface, even in the middle of summer, but hard underneath. Roots of trees, apparently where they grew, are to be found by digging the surfaces of some of them, and probably of all. From what was seen of their edges at the water-courses they lie on the solid rock, without the intervention of any soil. The rocks exhibited were transition clay slate, mica slate, and granitic.

One of the most striking features of the interior are the innumerable deer paths on the savannas. They are narrow and take directions as various as the winds, giving the whole country a chequered appearance. Of the millions of acres here, /141/ there is no one spot exceeding a few superficial yards that is not bounded on all sides by deer paths. We however met some small herd only of these animals, the savannas and plains being in the summer season deserted by them for the mountains in the west part of the island. The Newfoundland deer, and there is only one species in the island, is a variety of the reindeer, Cervus tarandus, or Carriboo; and, like that animal in every other country, it is migratory, always changing place with the seasons for sake of its favourite kinds of food. Although they migrate in herds, they travel in files, with their heads in some degree to windward, in order that they may, by the scent, discover their enemies the wolves; their senses of smelling and hearing are very acute, but they do not trust much to their sight. This is the reason of their paths taking so many directions in straight lines; they become in consequence an easy prey to the hunter by stratagem. The paths tend from park to park through the intervening woods, in lines as established and deep beaten as cattle paths on an old grazing farm.

The beaver, Castor fiber. -- Owing to the presence of the birch tree, Betula nigra, all the brooks and lakes in the basin of the interior have been formerly and many are still inhabited by beavers, but these have in many places been destroyed by Indians. The bark of the birch tree, together with that of a dwarf willow which abounds at the edges of the waters, is the favourite food of the beavers. They also subsist on the large roots of the white waterlily, Nymphaea odorata, called by the Indians beaver-root, which they detach in pieces from amongst the mud at the bottom of the lakes and pools. They sometimes, although seldom here, eat of the bark of the spruce fir, Pinus balsamea. They obtain the bark from the trees by gnawing the trunks through about two feet above the ground, and thus causing them to fall. The side on which a tree is intended to fall is cut two-thirds through, the other side one-third. Sometimes, as happens with the most experienced wood-cutter, a tree slips off the stem and will not fall to the ground owing to the support from the branches of adjacent trees. The work has then to be performed over again above the first cutting, as we saw had happened with the beavers in several instances. Some of the trees thus brought to the ground were fifteen inches and upwards in diameter. The tree being felled, every branch by additional gnawing becomes accessible, and by subdividing, portable.

The sagacity displayed by the beavers in constructing their houses has been often described; but it is in their damming operations that their reason is evinced. They frequently dam up such brooks as have birch trees growing plentifully along their margin and build their houses -- with one always immersed or dipt into the margin of the lake thus formed. They also, by damming, raise the level of natural lakes, to accommodate the surface to some eligible site near the margin, or on an island or rock, chosen to build their house upon. On first witnessing the extent of work performed on some of these dams, it is difficult to persuade oneself that it has not been done by man. The materials used are trunks of trees -- gnawed down by the beavers themselves for the purpose -- mud, sticks, stones, and swards. Their houses are formed of the same materials and resemble in their exterior a hemispherical mud-hovel, of from eight to ten feet in length, such as human beings, in some parts, dwell in, but without a visible door or aperture for the escape of smoke. They have different abodes for summer and winter, occupying the former for four or five months, and the latter seven or eight months of the year, according to the temperature of the seasons. Those are sometimes several miles apart. A winter house differs from a summer one, principally in being larger and more substantial. The chief entrance of both is under the surface of the water in the lake; that of the summer house about two feet, that of the winter about three feet. A house has often another entrance at the back or land side if the ground will permit, also under water for egress and ingress to and from the adjoining woods. If the entrance of the winter house was placed nearer to the surface than is stated, it might be frozen up from the outside during the severity of the winter, and stop the egress /142/ and ingress into and out of the lake. In summer the beavers can travel up and down the brooks, swim round the lake, go into the woods in search of food, and return to their houses to rest. In winter the whole surface of the country, land and water, being sealed under snow and ice, instinct directs these animals to concentrate at one accessible spot underneath a stock of provisions to subsist on during that season. It is easier for them to build a house close to where a winter stock of food is to be procured, than to carry this to the house occupied in summer, around which much of the food has probably been consumed. A family, which consists generally of two old, and two, three or four young, will commence early in September to build a house for the winter, and soon afterwards to collect a stock of provisions. They fell tree after tree in the manner described as near as possible to the winter house, gnaw the branches into portable pieces, carry them one by one to the margin of the lake, swim with them to near the front entrance, then dive and deposit them at the bottom; if the piece is inclined to float they stick one end in the mud and even lay stones upon it. In October or November, by the time the lakes are frozen over, and snow covers the ground, the house is completed and the winter's stock of birch wood, with the bark on, placed around the entrance. Now in retirement, they dive through to the bottom of the lake, and bring up at pleasure to within the house a piece to eat of the bark; when stripped they carry it out and bring in another. Thus is the winter spent. At the termination of it, when the ice disappears, the hundreds of pieces of wood, that seven months before were covered with bark, are now to be seen deposited on the dam spot entirely peeled. The senses of hearing and smell, especially of the former, of the beaver, are exquisitely fine. It requires the utmost precaution and vigilance of the hunter to steal within shot of them without detection, and this must be always done from the leeward. Their sense of sight is weak, and they seldom appear abroad during the day. On account of the value of its skin the beavers are the chief object of chase with the Indians. These people having made themselves acquainted with the different spots throughout the Island where these valuable animals abound most, hunt over these places alternately and periodically, allowing the beavers three years to regenerate. We shot many of them for provision.

Geese, Anas Canadensis, and Ducks (the black duck) Anas boschas, are met with in great numbers in the interior, the ducks in particular in the central parts of the island. There, remote from man, they breed undisturbed on the edges and islands of the ponds and lakes. The geesse moult soon after their arrival in the spring; and, owing to the loss of their pinion feathers, are unable to fly during the summer or breeding seasons; but they can then run faster than a man on the marshes, and if surprised at, or near a pond, they will plunge in and remain under water with their bills only above the surface to permit of breathing, until the enemy has passed by. They feed on berries, preferring that of the Empetrum nigrum, and the seeds of grasses. Both the old and young become enabled to fly in September; and as soon after that as the frost affects the berries and causes the seeds of the grasses on the marshes and savannas to fall to the earth, or otherwise when the snow falls and covers the ground, they collect in flocks, and fly off to the southern shores of the island and from thence to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They remain there until December, and then, assembled, take flight in immense flocks to the southern parts of America, to return in the spring. The ducks do not quit the interior of the sea coast so early as the geese -- that is, not until the pools and ponds in which they obtain their food are frozen over, and they are the last of the birds of passage seen here. Loons of two species breed in the interior, almost every lake, as observed nearer to the sea coast, being occupied during the summer season by a pair of them. Likewise the common sea-gull, early in the spring, which fly off to the sea in July and August. Curlews breed on the barren hills; snipes, (jack,) a kind of godwit (called yellow legs), and bitterns on the marshes; but the first had now all gone to the sea-coast. The redbreasted thrush, Turdus migratorius, /143/ breed in the scanty woods, near to where berries abound; they fly off in flocks to the coast in September, and from thence to the more southern countries. There are several species of hawks and owls here; of the former genus, one species was very small.

The rivers and lakes abound with trout of three or four kinds, differing in size and colour. In one of the source branches of the Gander River, which we crossed, we caught some small fish, apparently salmon fry. A species of fish larger than the trout is said by the Indians to be found in several of the large lakes.

We were nearly a month in passing over one savanna after another. In the interval there are several low granitic beds, stretching, as the savannas, northerly and southerly. During this time we shot only a few deer, but many geese, ducks, and beavers, which, with trout, constituted our principal food. When we had no game to subsist on, the killing of which though certain was irregular, we subsisted on berries, which some spots produced in prodigious abundance. I longed for bread for about ten days after our stock was consumed, but after that did not miss it.

When we met deer in a herd, we seldom failed in shooting the fattest. The venison was excellent; the fat upon the haunches of some of them was two inches in thickness. We shot them with ball or swan shot, according to distance. The leading stag of a herd is generally the fattest, he is as tall as a horse, and must sometimes be shot at full speed, sometimes by surprise. The ball having pierced him, he bounds, gallops, canters, falters, stands, and tosses his antlers; his sinewy limbs quiver, unwillingly bend, and he stretches out his graceful corpse. Should the ball have passed through his heart, he falls at once probably balanced on all fours. There is regret as well as triumph felt in taking possession of the noble vanquished. The broad spreading hoofs of the deer are admirably formed for preventing their sinking into the marshes. A single deer on the plain, when there are no others near to give the alarm, may be approached and knocked down by a blow on the head with an axe or tomahawk from a dexterous hunter. We happened to see a solitary stag amusing himself by rubbing his antlers against a larch tree on a plain; my Indian, treading lightly, approached him from behind, and struck him on the head with his axe, but did not knock him down; he of course galloped off. The flesh of the beaver is by the Indians esteemed the finest of all quadrupeds of the chase, and that of the young beaver justly so -- in taste it is more like lamb than any other meat. In butchering it, with the skin is flayed off the lining of fat, which is sometimes two inches thick round the body. Beavers are commonly shot on the water; they seldom come out of their houses by day, but are abroad all night. Before sunset the hunter posts himself undiscovered as near as possible to the leeward side of their house; the beavers at that time come out, one following another. Directly any of their heads appear above the water, it is fired at either with ball or shot, and sometimes a whole family is thus killed in succession. If any escape, their return to their house is watched before sunrise next morning, in like manner as their departure was in the evening. Their bodies float to the shore. The black duck shot in the interior, remote from the sea, is the finest bird for the table in Newfoundland. The trout are so easily caught in the rivulets in the interior, they being unacquainted with enemies, as to take the artificial fly, merely by holding out the line in the hand without a rod. No country in the world can afford finer sport than the interior of this island in the months of August and September. The beasts of the chase are of a large class, and the cover for all game excellent.

The waters which we crossed contributed sometimes to the rivers of the north, and sometimes to those of the south-side of the island. We occasionally crossed some of the large lakes on rafts, when our course lay across them and the wind happened to be fair, and there appeared nothing to induce us to go round their extremities. We accomplished this by fastening together three or four trunks of trees with withes, and held up a thick bush for a sail, and were blown over. There was of course considerable risk to our accoutrements attending this primitive mode /144/ of navigation. The proportion of water to land in the savannas country is very great. In some directions northward one-half seems to be lakes, of every size and form; in other directions, one-third, and seldom less. The marbled glossy surface, as it appeared from the rising ground, was singularly novel and picturesque.

In some of the forests stripes of the trees are all borne down in the same direction flat to the earth by wind, and the havoc displayed is awful. Such parts were almost impassable. The way through the woods elsewhere, except by the deer paths, is obstructed by wind-fallen trees and brushwood. There are extensive districts remarkable for abundance of berries towards the centre of the island, which attract great numbers of black bears. The paths or beats of these animals throughout their feeding grounds are stamped with marks of antiquity seemingly co-eval with the country. The points of rocks that happen to project in their way are perfectly polished from having been continually trodden and rubbed. Although we had seen fresh tracks of wolves every day, and were sometimes within a few yards of them in the thickets, yet we only caught a glimpse of one of them. They lie in wait amongst the bushes and listen for the approach of deer and rush upon them. When they saw man instead of deer they immediately fled. There are two kinds of wolves here -- one large, that prowls singly or in couples, another small, sometimes met with in packs.

Taking a general view of the mineralogy of the savanna territory, the rocks of the savannas are granite quartz, and chlorite greenstone, the same as already noticed, mica, chlorite, and transition clay slates. The granite is pink and grey, and sienitic. It throws itself in low beds lying northerly and southerly, higher than the savannas, and also appears with the greenstone and slate rocks at the edges of the lakes, and other water courses. It occurs of a globular structure on the verge of the savanna country westward of that branch of Clode Sound river which we crossed. The balls are round, and vary in size from a few inches to a fathom and upwards in diameter. In the whole of this savanna territory, which forms the eastern central portion of the interior, there rises but one mountain, which is a solitary peak or pap of granite, standing very conspicuous about forty-five miles north from the mouth of the west Salmon River of Fortune Bay on the south coast. It served as an object by which to check our course and distance for about two weeks. I named it Mount Sylvester, the name of my Indian. The bed of granite, of which Mount Sylvester is a part, is exposed in a remarkable manner to the northeast of that pap near Gower Lake. Here are displayed the features of the summit of an immense mountain mass, as if just peeping above the earth; huge blocks of red, pink and grey granite -- often very coarse grained, and of quartz -- but compact and granular, lie in cumbrous and confused heaps, "like the ruins of a world," over which we had to climb, leap, slide and creep. They sometimes lie in fantastical positions -- upon an enormous mass of gray granite may be seen, as if balanced on a small point of contact, another huge mass of red granite more durable in quality, and this crowned by a third boulder. Their equilibrium invites the beholder to press his shoulder to them to convince him of his feebleness. These masses seem to be the remaining nodules of strata or beds that once existed here; the more perishable parts having long since crumbled and disappeared, thus evincing the power of time. Quartz rock, both granular and compact, the latter sometimes rose-coloured, occurs, associated with granite. On the summit of a low bristly ridge, formed principally of granular quartz, nearly half way across the Island, are two large masses of granular quartz, standing apart at the bottom, and nearly meeting at top; seen at a distance from the North or South, they have the appearance of one mass with a hole through it. Hence this spot is called Rock Hole by the Indians.(41) Plates of mica, six inches and upwards in length, are found attached to the quartz when the latter is associated with granite. Rolled agates, sometimes transparent, are found on the shores of some of the lakes; mica slate often occurs; and at Carson Lake it immediately joins coarse red granite. Chlorite slate of a peculiar granular texture is met with to the north of Mount /145/ Sylvester. The series of clay slate rocks alternates everywhere with thick strata of the chlorite greenstone, which, owing to its greater durability, projects in outgoings above these, and is therefore oftener seen; the clay, alum, and roof slates have iron pyrites imbedded.

Throughout this great Eastern Division of the interior we did not see even the signs of an alluvial soil. This province of savannas, although of no territorial value at present, is destined to become a very important integral part of Newfoundland. Judging from their countless paths, and from the size and condition of the few deer we met, it is already seemingly amply stocked with that kind of cattle of which no part of North East America possesses so peculiar a territory. What superficial drainage and tilling might effect towards raising the green crops here remains to be proved. Many of the savannas exhibit proofs of being once wooded; and in some places with a much larger growth of trees than that at present in their vicinity. Roots of large trees, with portions of the trunks attached, and lying near, are sometimes seen occupying evidently the original savanna soil on which they grew, but are now partially, or wholly covered with savanna fires, originating with the Indians, and from lightning, have in many parts destroyed the forest; and it would seem that a century or more must elapse in this climate before a forest of the same magnitude of growth can be reproduced naturally on the savannas. It is observed of peat,(42) that "burning, and the turning of the surface by agricultural implements are the chief means by which the vegetation of these soils is exchanged for more profitable plants. To these must be added the growth of larch, under which the original covering is gradually extirpated and replaced by a green and grassy surface, applicable to the pasturage of cattle." Larch, of all other trees, is that to which this climate and the savanna soil are most congenial. The savannas are almost invariably skirted with it, and it grows from the wettest swamp to the summits of the highest hills where the fir cannot live. The fruit of the sarsaparilla, two kinds, Smilax rotundifolia, and S. Sarsaparilla were ripe and vegetating in the beginning of October. Wild currants, gooseberries and raspberries were plentiful in many places; the latter, as in all other parts of North America, only where the woods have been recently burnt. The berries here are much superior to the berries of the same species near the sea coast. They appear to grow for little immediate purpose; as the quantity which the bears, foxes, and the birds fatten upon is comparatively inconsiderable to that produced. The different varieties of whortleberry are very distinctly marked; some of them grow to a size and perfection that would render them esteemed rather than a fine fruit in any country.

Fogs are not frequent in the interior. There was not a foggy day until the fourth of October, which came with a southerly wind. There was no frost to hurt vegetation materially until the third of October, and that unaccompanied with snow. But the frost of that night changed one-half of the vegetation of the savannas from a light vegetable green to a yellow colour. Our attention was arrested twice by observing the tracks of a man on the savannas. After a scrupulous and minute examination, we concluded that one of them was that of a Mickmack or mountaineer Indian, who had been hunting here in the preceding year, and from the point of the foot being steep that he was going, laden with furs, to the Bay of Despair. The other track was on the shores of Gower Lake, of an Indian who had passed by this season apparently from the Bay of Despair towards Gander Bay. We saw no traces however of the Red Indians. The print of a foot remains distinct on the soft surface of the savannas for years or longer. Any track of course differing from those of the deer, in their usual undisturbed walks, is detected by the eye at once.

October 7th -- The nights and mornings were now frosty; and the vegetable kingdom had put on its autumnal colouring of various tints. The waters as well as /146/ the air were becoming more chilly every day. A favourable change of wind did not now bring the accustomed mildness of temperature.

We have been occupied since the eleventh September in travelling the savanna country.

A hilly ridge in the westward, lying northerly and southerly, which had been in view several days, and about the centre of the Island, on our near approach bore an aspect different from any we had yet seen, appearing of a bright brown colour along the summit -- bristly and castellated. The rocks for some miles to the eastward were often of various colours, and impregnated with iron, and the shores of the lakes presented remarkable coloured stones, resembling pieces of burnt clay and broken pottery. On arriving on it this ridge proved to be a serpentine deposit, including a variety of rocks, all lying in nearly vertical strata alternating. The conspicuous points were the large angular blocks of quartz rock, lying on out goings of the same, ranged along the summit. This rock was very ponderous, owing to much disseminated iron pyrites, the oxidation of which, externally, gave it the brown colour. The fresh fracture exhibited a metallic reddish grey. The mineralogical appearances here were altogether so singular that I resolved to stop a day or two to examine them. At the highest parts of the ridge were formed of this metalline rock, and were extremely sterile. The other rocks were, noble serpentine -- varying in colour to black green to a yellow, and from translucent to semi-transparent, in strata nearly a yard wide -- steatite, or soap stone, verde antique diallege, and various other magnesian rocks. Sterile red earthy patches, entirely destitute of vegetation, were here and there on and adjacent to the ridge, and on these lay heaps of loose fragments of asbestos, rock wood, rock cork, rock leather, rock horn, rock bone, and stones light in the hand, resembling burnt clay -- Cum multis aliis, the whole having the appearance of heaps of rubbish from a pottery, but evidently detached from adjoining strata and veins. I could not divest myself from the feeling that we were in the vicinity of a quiescent volcano.

The beaches of many of the lakes of the neighbourhood, as already noticed, are formed of disintegrated fragments of those rocks. At one lake in particular, which I in consequence denominated Serpentine Lake, the beauty and interesting appearance of some of the beaches, composed entirely of rolled fragments of those rocks of every kind and colour, the red, yellow, and green prevailing, may be fancied better than described. A part of the eastern shore is formed of a hard greenish gray rock, in large loose flags, indented straight grooves, which, when struck as we tread upon them, emitted sound like pieces of metal.(43) Serpentine Lake is comparatively small, being about two miles and a half in length by one in breadth. It is known to the Mickmack Indian by the Indian name for it, or Stone Pipe Lake, from their procuring here verd antique, and other magnesian rocks, out of which they carve or chisel tobacco-pipes, much prized by them. This people then, like the ancients of the old world, are not unacquainted with the incombustible nature of the magnesia minerals.

In the woods on the margin of Serpentine Lake we found an old birch-rind canoe of the Mickmack Indians, the same as those used by those people at the sea coast. It had been brought up from the Bay of Despair at the south coast of the Island, by them of the Cod Roy River, which runs through this and intervening lakes. From the circumstance of finding this canoe here, we inferred that the portages between Serpentine Lake and the sea coast were not very extensive or difficult. Here then is a route of the Indians by which the centre of the Island may be approached with the same canoe, and close by are the sources of rivers that flow to the north coast. There was an inhabited beaver's house at the south end of Serpentine Lake, and we shot three of the family that occupied it for food. There were several herds of deer around. The white-headed eagle was also an inhabitant of this part.

This interesting ridge and district, which forms the centre nearly of Newfoundland, I designated in honour of an excellent friend and distinguished promoter of science and enterprise -- Professor Jameson, of Edinburgh -- Jameson's Mountains. Judging from the /147/ rise in the land for about thirty miles to the eastward, they are about twelve hundred feet above the level of the sea. Future travellers may easily reach Jameson's Mountains by the route mentioned; and I hope some may soon follow the first there, for they deserve a much more perfect examination than could be given on a first visit by a half worn-out pedestrian traveller.

October 10th. -- Being now near the centre of the Island, upwards of one hundred and ten miles from the most inland part of Trinity Bay, about ninety miles of the distance being across the savannas -- we had not yet seen a trace of the Red Indians. It had been supposed that all the central parts of the Island were occupied by these people, and I had been daily looking out for them. They were however more likely to be fallen in with farther to the westward. Taking a retrospective, as well as a prospective geological view from Jameson's Mountains, the serpentine deposit of which they are formed separates the low slate country, covered with savannas, through which the granite rocks occasionally peep, in the east, from a high and entirely granitic country that appears in the west. It was now nearly five weeks since with my Indian I left the sea coast, and was just halfway to St. George's Bay. We had for some time past felt severely the effects of continued excessive exertion, of wet, and of irregular supplies of food. My Indian, and only companion, complained much of the never-ending toil, and would willingly have gone out to the sea, if I had yielded to his wish. But with me it was "now or never"; and I had apprehensions of being overtaken by the winter ere we could reach St. George's Bay. To keep my Indian at the toilsome task, I had sometimes to encourage him by promises of future reward, sometimes to excite his emulation by allusions to the fame of the Indian hunters for enduring fatigue and hardships beyond what the white man could bear; and again to picture the shame consequent on his leaving me in the country to perform alone what we had set out to do together.


Continue the journey into the western interior.

In the West, mountain succeeds mountain in irregular succession, rugged and bleak. Encumbered with many additional mineralogical specimens, we took our departure from the interesting central mountains, for my part hoping that I might yet see them again. Immediately on the west, they are succeeded by gneiss, and next to that comes the hungry granitic territory, still almost as barren to imagination as at the creation. Wacke, or conglomerate, is associated with the gneiss in tortuous strata, veins and stripes, indicative of metalline qualities. We were sometimes compelled to climb and creep our way over confused heaps of granite and white compact quartz. There are occasional marshes, and some of the less exposed spots produce stunted spruce and larch trees; other spots produce ground berries in great plenty. A species of Ledum or Indian tea is met with here, different from that commonly found at the sea coast. It is a more perfectly formed shrub, with smaller, rounder, and more numerous leaves; lichens grow everywhere, from the edge of the lake to the mountain top, and deer now begin to appear in small herds in every direction.

October 11th. -- While surveying a large lake in the south-west we described a faint column of smoke issuing from amongst islands near the south shore, about five miles distant. This time we hoped had at last come to meet the Red Indians. Rivers rise here, as they had throughout our journey, owing to our track being central, that run to both sides of the Island, but it could not be seen to which side this lake contributed its waters. The Red Indians had been reported not to frequent the south side of the Island. It was too late in the day to reconnoitre; and my Indian went in pursuit of a herd of deer in another direction, we having no provision for supper. At sunset he did not meet me at the appointed wood in a valley hard by, nor did he return by midnight, /148/ nor at all. I dared not exhibit a fire on the hill, as a beacon to him, in sight of the strange encampment. His gun might have burst and injured him; he might have fled, or been surprised by the party on the lake.

October 12th. -- At daybreak the atmosphere was frosty, and the slender white column of smoke still more distinctly seen. There were human beings there, and, deserted, I felt an irresistible desire to approach my fellow creatures whether they should prove friendly or hostile. Having put my gun and pistols in the best order, and no appearance of my Indian at noon, I left my knapsack and all encumbrances, and descended through thickets and marshes towards the nearest part of the lake, about two miles distant. The white sandy shore, formed of disintegrated granite, was much trodden over by deer and other animals, but there were no marks of man discernible. The extent of the lake was uncertain; but it was apparent that it would require two days at least to walk round either end to the nearest point of the opposite shore to the occupied island. I therefore kept on my own side to discover who the party were. By firing off my gun, if the party were Red Indians, they would in all probability move off quickly on hearing the report, and they having no firearms, my fire would not be answered. If they were other Indians my fire would be returned. I fired. By and by the report of a strange gun travelled among the islands from the direction of the smoke, and thus all my doubts and apprehensions were dispelled. The report of this gun was the first noise I had heard caused by man, except by my Indian and myself, for more than five weeks, and it excited very peculiar feelings.

In about an hour my lost Indian unexpectedly made his appearance from the direction we had parted on the preceding evening, brought to the spot by the report of my gun. He accounted for himself, "that after having shot a stag about two miles from the spot appointed for our encampment, he attempted to get round the west end of the lake to reconnoitre the party on the island, but found the distance too great, and getting benighted, had slept in the woods."

Soon afterwards, to my great delight, there appeared among some woody islets in front, which precluded the view of the other side of the lake, a small canoe with a man seated in the stern, paddling softly towards us, with an air of serenity and independence possessed only by the Indian. After a brotherly salutation with me, and the two Indians kissing each other, the hunter proved to be unable to speak English or French. They, however, soon understood one another, for the stranger, although a mountaineer from Labrador, could speak a little of the Mickmack language, his wife being a Mickmack. The mountaineer tribe belongs to Labrador, and he told us that he had come to Newfoundland, hearing that it was a better hunting country than his own, and that he was now on his way hunting from St. George's Bay to the Bay of Despair to spend the winter with the Indians there. He had left St. George's Bay two months before, and expected to be at the Bay of Despair in two weeks hence. This was his second year in Newfoundland; he was accompanied by his wife only. My Indian told him that I had come to see the rocks, the deer, the beavers, and the Red Indians, and to tell King George what was going on in the middle of that country. He said St. George's Bay was about two weeks walk from us if we knew the best way, and invited us over with him in his canoe to rest a day at his camp, where he said he had plenty of venison, which was readily agreed to on my part.

The island on which the mountaineer's camp was, lay about three miles distant. The varying scenery as we paddled towards it, amongst innumerable islands and inlets, all of granite, and mostly covered with spruce and birch trees, was beautiful. His canoe was similar to those described to have been used by the ancient Britons on the invasion by the Romans. It was made of wicker-work, covered over outside with deer skins sewed together and stretched on it, nearly the usual form of canoes, with a bar or beam across the middle, and one on each end to strengthen it. The skin covering, flesh side out, was fastened or laced to the gunwales, with thongs of the same material. Owing to decay and wear it requires to be renewed once in from six to twelve weeks. It is in these temporary barks that the Indians of /149/ Newfoundland of the present day navigate the lakes and rivers of the interior. They are easily carried, owing to their lightness, across the portages from one water to another, and when damaged easily repaired. There were innumerable granite rocks in the lake a little below and above the surface; on one of these our canoe struck and rubbed a hole through the half-decayed skin, and was attended with some risk to our persons and guns. His wigwam was situated in the centre of a wooded islet at which we arrived before sunset. The approach from the landing place was by a mossy carpeted avenue, formed by the trees having been cut down in that direction for fire-wood. The sight of a fire, not of our own kindling, of which we were to partake, seemed hospitality. It was occupied by his wife, seated on a deer skin, busy sewing together skins of the same kind to renew the outside of the canoe we had just found, which required it. A large Newfoundland dog, her only companion in her husband's absence, had welcomed us at the landing-place with signs of the greatest joy. Sylvan happiness reigned here. His wigwam was of a semicircular form, covered with birch rind and dried deer skins, the fire on the fore ground outside. Abundance and neatness pervaded the encampment. On horizontal poles over the fire, hung quantities of venison stakes, being smoked dry. The hostess was cheerful, and a supper, the best the chase could furnish, was soon set before us on sheets of birch rind. They told me to "make their camp my own, and use everything in it as such." Kindness so elegantly tendered by these people of nature in their solitude, commenced to soften those feelings which had been fortified against receiving any comfort except that of my own administering. The excellence of the venison, and of the flesh of young beavers, could not be surpassed. A cake of hard deer's fat with scraps of suet, toasted brown, intermixed, was eaten with the meat; soup was the drink. Our hostess after supper sang several Indian songs at my request. They were plaintive, and sung in a high key. The song of a female and her contentment in this remote and secluded spot, exhibited the strange diversity there is in human nature. My Indian entertained them incessantly until nearly daylight with stories about what he had seen in St. John's. Our toils were for the time forgotten. The mountaineer had occupied this camp for about two weeks, deer being very plentiful all around the lake. His larder, which was a kind of shed, erected on the rocky shore for the sake of a free circulation of air, was in reality a well-stocked butcher's stall, containing parts of some half-dozen fat deer, also the carcasses of beavers, of otters, of musk rats, and of martens, all methodically laid out. His property consisted of two guns and ammunition, an axe, some good culinary utensils of iron and tin, blankets, an apartment of dried deer skins to sleep on and with which to cover his wigwam -- the latter with the hair off; a collection of skins to sell at the sea coast, consisting of those of beaver, otter, marten, musk rat, and deer, the last dried and the hair off; also a stock of dried venison in bundles. Animal flesh of every kind, in steaks, without salt, smoke-dried on the fire for forty-eight hours, becomes nearly as light and portable as cork, and will keep sound for years. It thus forms a good substitute for bread, and by being boiled two hours recovers most of its original qualities.

The Red Indians' country, or the waters which they frequented, we were told by the mountaineer, lay six or seven miles to the north of us, but at this season of the year these people were likely to be farther to the northward at the Great Lake of the Red Indians; also, that about two weeks before there was a party of Mickmack hunting at the next large lake to the westward, about two days walk from us, and that the deer were very plentiful to the westward. He also described the nature of the country, and made drawings upon sheets of birch-rind of the lakes, rivers, mountains, and woods that lay in the best route to St. George's Harbour. He kept a register, ascertaining when Christmas Day would arrive; having ascertained at St. George's Bay the number of days intervening, he cut a notch on a stick every morning to the number of that holiday. He had missed a day and now rectified the mistake. This lake, called Meelpegh, or Crooked Lake, by the Indians, I also named in honour of Professor Jameson. It is nine or ten miles in length, by from one to three in breadth, /150/ joined by a strait to another lake nearly as large, lying south east, called Burnt Bay Lake, and is one of the chain of lakes connected by the East Bay River of the Bay of Despair, already noticed as running through Serpentine Lake which forms a part of the great route of the Indians.

October 14th. -- We left the veteran mountaineer (James John by name) much pleased with our having fallen in with him. He landed us from his canoe on the south shore of the lake, and we took our departure for the westward, along the south side. Truly could this man proclaim:

"I'm monarch of all I survey,

My right there is none to dispute;

From the centre all round to the sea,

I am lord of the fowl and the brute."

October 15th. -- There is a considerable quantity of fir woods on the borders of Jameson's Lake. We fell in with a summer as well as a winter beaver's house, both of them inhabited, evidently by the same family, this being the time when they are changing their abodes. We found none of them however at home. The houses were about a half-a-mile apart, the summer one on the edge of an artificial dam, and the winter one in the middle of a small pond, surrounded with birch trees on the acclivity of a hill. The first snow fell this afternoon with a gentle wind from the north-north-east, and so thick as to compel us to shelter and encamp in a wood that happened fortunately to be near. It continued to snow so heavy that at midnight our fire was extinguished and firewood buried; but the silent uniform fall and pressure of the snow over our screen, and the blankets in which we were wrapped, kept us warm.

October 16th. -- In the morning three feet of snow covered the ground in the woods, and on the open ground it was deeper. Our provisions were exhausted, nor could we get through the snow to look for game. Weakened and miserable, we looked anxiously for a change of wind and thaw. The trees were loaded with snow. At night a thaw came, but with it a southerly wind that brought both the snow and many of the largest trees to the ground together. There being no frost in the ground, the roots of the trees were not sufficiently bound in the earth to stand under the extraordinary pressure of snow and wind. Our fire was buried again and again by the snow from the trees, and we were as likely to be killed while standing up as lying down, by the trees that crashed and shook the ground around us all night, we lay still wrapped in our blankets amidst the danger, and providentially escaped unhurt. The birch had attained a pretty large size in this sheltered spot, under the lie of a hill, which I called Mount Misery. In the forest, while the storm rages above, it is calm at the foot of the trees.

October 17th. -- We were still storm-stayed, and could only view the wreck of the forest close to us. Our situation was truly miserable; but the snow was fast melting away. I felt alarmed at the winter setting in thus early, for the consequences ere we could reach the sea coast.

October 18th. -- The snow having shrunk a foot at least, we left our wretched encampment, and after a most laborious walk of six or eight miles through snow, thickets, and swollen brooks, and passing many deer, scraping holes in the snow with their hoofs to reach the lichens underneath, without however being able to get within shot of them, we not only reached the lake to the westward, but to our great joy also discovered, in consequence of meeting with some of their marten traps, the encampment of the Indians of whom we had been told by the mountaineer. My dress, once gray, now bleached white, was seen by some of the Indians as we emerged from a spruce thicket, a great distance off. The party were encamped in one large wigwam, or kind of hut. We entered with little ceremony, my Indian kissing them all -- male and female. None of them could speak English, and only one of them a little French. A deer skin was spread for me to sit on, at the /151/ innermost part of the dwelling. My Indian interpreted, and introduced me in the same particular terms as before. They were Mickmacks and natives of Newfoundland, and expressed themselves glad to see me in the middle of their country, as the first white man that had ever been here. The Indian amongst his fellows is a purely self-dependent being -- an innate power of self-denial raises him above dependence upon others, and keeps him beyond their interference even in distressing wants, which yields mental triumph and glory. Want implies inability in the hunter. I observed these people bestow, and my Indian receive attention, with seeming indifference. He smoked the pipe given to him with the same composure as after a feast, although starvation and unconcealable hunger were depicted in his countenance. Supper was soon ready, which consisted entirely of boiled venison. All seated around the fire, in the centre of the wigwam, partook at once -- although, enfeebled by want of sustenance, I could eat only a few mouthfulls. The jaws would not perform their office without great pain from want of practice. Fortunately the stomach sympathised, for it could bear but little. They told us that we might reach Saint George's Bay in about ten days; that they had left that place in the middle of the summer, and had since then been hunting in the western interior, -- several weeks latterly having been spent at this lake, where deer were plenty; and that they intended in a few weeks hence, before the lakes and rivers were frozen over, to repair to White Bear Bay, to spend the winter, that place having been always celebrated for immense herds of deer passing by in the winter season. The Indian idea of a road is to Europeans little else than a probability of reaching a distant place alive; and I foresaw, from their report, much suffering before we could reach St. George's Bay. Here were three families amounting to thirteen persons in number. The men and boys wore surtouts made of deer skins, the hair outside, buttoned and belted round them, which looked neat and comfortable. Their caps were of mixed fur; they had not procured much fur for sale, only a few dozen marten, some otter and musk rat skins; of beaver skins they had very few, as beavers are scarce in the western interior, it being too mountainous for woods, except on the sheltered borders of some of the lakes. In the woods around the margin of this lake the Indians had lines of path equal to eight or ten miles in extent, set with wooden traps, or dead falls, about one hundred yards apart, baited for martens, which they visited every second day. They had two skin canoes in which they paddled around the lake to visit their traps and bring home their game. The Red Indian country we were told was about ten or fifteen miles northward of us, but that at this time, as the mountaineer had likewise informed us, these people were all farther to the northward, at the Great Lake, where they were accustomed to lay up their winter stock of venison. These people corroborated previous as well as subsequent inquiries, respecting the number of their own, and of the other communicating tribes in the Island.


Of the Red Indians and the other tribes.

All the Indians in the Island, exclusive of the Red Indians, amount to nearly a hundred and fifty, dispersed in bands, commonly at the following places or districts: -- St. George's Harbour and Great Cod Roy River on the west coast; White Bear Bay, and the Bay of Despair on the south coast; Clode Sound in Bonavista Bay on the east; Gander Bay on the north coast, and occasionally at Bonne Bay and the Bay of Islands on the north-west coast. They are composed of Mickmacks, joined by some of the mountaineer tribe from the Labrador, and a few of the Abenakies from Canada. The Esquimaux, from Labrador, occasionally, but seldom, visit the Island. There are twenty-seven or twenty-eight families altogether, /152/ averaging five to each family, and five or six single men. They all follow the same mode of life -- hunting in the interior, from the middle of summer till the beginning of winter in the single families, or in two or three families together. They go from lake to lake, hunting all over the country, around one before they proceed to the next. They paddle along the borders, and the men proceed on foot up every rivulet, brook, and rill, beavers being their primary object of search, otters, martens, musk rats, and every living thing; secondly, when the lakes are connected by rivers, or when the portages between them are short, they proceed in or carry their canoes with them; otherwise they leave these, and build others on arriving at their destination. The hunting season, which is the months of September and October, being over, they repair to the sea coast with their furs, and barter them for ammunition, clothing, tea, rum, &c., and then most of them retire to spend the winter at or near the mouths of the large rivers, where eels are to be procured through the ice by spearing, endeavouring at the same time to gain access to the winter paths of the deer. A great division of the interior of Newfoundland is exclusively possessed and hunted over by Red Indians, and is considered as their territory by the others. In former times, when the several tribes were upon an equality in respect of weapons, the Red Indians were considered invincible, and frequently waged war upon the rest, until the latter got fire-arms put into their hands by Europeans. The Red Indians are even feared yet, and described as very large athletic men. They occupy the Great or Red Indian Lake, and many other lakes in the northern part of the Island, as well as the great River Exploits. Along the banks of this river, and at the Great Lake, they are said to have extensive fences or pounds, by which they ensnare deer, and thus procure regularly in every fall a supply of venison for winter provisions. Two of the Indians here had several times fallen in with the Red Indians, and on one occasion obtained possession of their camp, in which they assert they found some European blankets and other articles of clothing, which it is presumed they must have pilfered. They also stated that the Red Indians use the same kind of skin canoes in the interior as they themselves do, and that they paint themselves all over. The ancient Britons painted their bodies blue at the period they used canoes of a similar description in the interior of the Island. The tribes, exclusive of the Red Indians, have no chief in Newfoundland, but there are several individuals at St. George's Bay to whom they all pay a deference. The Mickmacks, although most of them born in this Island, consider Cape Breton, where the chiefs reside, as their head-quarters. Their several tribes intermarry. These people might be rendered useful if some of the leaders were noticed by the British Government. Had this been earlier done it might have saved that tarnish on humanity, the butchery of the interesting aborigines, the Red Indians, by Englishmen. The communicating tribes consume their share of British manufactures, and mainly contribute to the support of the fur trade of the Island. The French have their principal confidence and affection. The most important subject to the Indians at present, connected with His Majesty's Government, relates to beaver-hunting. They are most anxious that King George, as they call His Majesty, should make a law to prevent the hunting of beavers in the spring season. They acknowledge the practice of hunting them then, and also that the practice will soon destroy them altogether, as the animals are then with young. But they cannot desist of their own accord, being by nature hunters. They state that a considerable traffic has been carried on in venison between some of the Indians at White Bear Bay and the French at the Island of St. Peter's. In one instance a single Indian had been known to convey over forty carcasses at once, and sell them for twenty shillings each. The capabilities of some of the Indians in hunting seem almost incredible to those who have not seen their powers tried. Some single Indians will run down a stag; when the stag is fat, he is sometimes worth such an arduous pursuit, and it is then only he is liable to be fatigued to exhaustion. The hunter will commence the chase early in the day, and by following it up without intermission, will before night make the stag his prey without firing a shot. The /153/ stag at first easily outstrips its pursuer, but after a run of four or five miles he stops and is by and bye overtaken; again he sets off, and again he is overtaken; again, and again, he is overtaken; he lies down fatigued but is again surprised; thus the chase is kept up, until the poor stag, in despair of eluding his pursuer, plunges into a pool or morass to escape, Man at last winning the day. The Indians find their way through the forests by marks with which they are familiar. Thus moss grows on the north not the south side of the trees; the tops and branches of trees have an inclination for stretching to the south-east; wind-fallen trees point to the northward, &c. They have a call or toll for every kind of beast and bird to bring them within shot -- for the deer an outward snort, to imitate the stag; for the beaver a hiss, &c.; for the otter a whistle, &c. They are Roman Catholics, but their religious ceremonies, of which they are observant, consist of a combination of that church and their own primitive ceremonies blended together, to suit their convenience and tastes. The inmates of the camp, by the earliest dawn of day, all joined in prayer; and nearly the whole of a Sunday, on which it happened I was with them, they spent in singing hymns. They had in their possession a French manuscript of sacred music, given to them they said, by the French Roman Catholic clergyman at the Island of St. Peter's, whom they consider their confessor, and endeavour to see once in two years. One of the Mickmacks of this party, named Paul, boasted of maternal descent from a French Governor of Prince Edward Island.

The Indians seldom carry salt with them into the interior, nor, with very few exceptions, do they require it. They never carry spirits, the excessive use of which, by a few of them when at the coast, enervates and renders them incapable for the time of undergoing the fatigue, abstinence, and exposure to the weather, with they afterwards bear to a surprising degree, as a duty, without any immediate ill effects. The Red Indians are, of course, unacquainted with salt, as well as with all foreign luxuries; when their food is altogether animal salt is not desired, nor does it seem to be necessary. Supper is the chief repast with the hunter; in the evening he enjoys the fruits of the day's chase, and recounts in his turn his adventures. Most of the Indians, when they would otherwise be in the prime of life, have broken constitutions by over-exertions, casualties, and exposure to weather. Their perilous mode of life also leads them to be more subject to some kinds of bodily infirmities than men in more dense societies. They have most of their remedies within themselves. The following plants, among others, are used medicinally by them --



Geum nivale, Root Strong Drank, a gill Dysent-

or chocolate Decoction two or three ery,

root times a day colds or oftener and coughs,




Sarracenia Root Strong A table or Spitting

purpurea, Decoction teaspoonful blood

or Indian drank and cup frequently other

during the pulmon-

day, with ary abstinence com-

for several plaints


Havernaria Root Expressed Drank, a gill Gravel

dilatata juice at a time

with a little


Smilacrina Root Expressed Drank, a gill Gravel

borealis juice at a time

Sorbus Bark Infusion Drank Cholic


Nymphaea Root Expressed Drank Coughs

odorata juice

Nymphaea Root Boiled Poultice Swel-

odorata lings

Nuphar Root Bruised with Swel-

advena flour or meal lings and


Mergantnes Root Very strong Drank

trifolia decoction

Salix Root Scrape into Poultice Bruises,

(vulgare) spirits sprains

and broken





Kalmia Leaves Hot water Drank Stomach

angustifolia with very weak com-

infusion -- plaints

poison, if


Pinus Inner Boiled Sores,

balsamea, bark swel-

P. strobus, lings &c.


and P.


Cornus Bark Dried Mixed with

stricta tobacco for


Taxus Leaves Very strong As a green

Canadensis concentrated dye


Salix Root As a black

(vulgare) dye

Salix Leaves Bruised with Sprains (vulgare) hot water and


Vaccinium Leaves Decoction As a tea

hispidotum or the


Ledum Leaves Decoction As a tea Diuretic


Pinus Boughs Decoction As a tea Diuretic


Sorbus Bark Infusion As a tea


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * The lixivium from the ashes of deers' bones is drank as an astringent. The yolk of eggs and turpentine, equal parts, or vary the proportions with the nature of the sore, applied as a salve, is said to have effected cures in desperate cases of ulcers.

October 21st. -- The weather having been mild for the last few days, much of the snow had dissolved, it lay chiefly on banks. The Indians put us across the lake, and we took our departure for the westward, refreshed by our two days' stay with them. The country now became mountainous, and almost destitute of wood, deer became more numerous, berries were very plentiful, and mostly in high perfection, although the snow had lately covered them. Indeed the partridge berries were improved, and many spots were literally red with them.

October 22nd. -- On our march to-day we discovered a black bear feeding on berries on a hill about a mile off, and stole upon him unawares by a circuitous route from the leeward. We fired a shot each at him, both of which had effect; but he ran a mile before he fell. He was very fat, weighing about three hundred and fifty pounds. The fat round his body was four inches in some parts. We rested two days to feast on him, leaving the remainder, except what we could conveniently carry, with regret, from a lively apprehension of the future want of it. Bear's flesh is by many of the Indians esteemed next to that of beaver's, and it has the peculiar quality of not clogging the stomach, however much of it is eaten. My Indian apprised me of this circumstance before hand, and availed himself of the fact, for on the night of the death of bruin, after we had both began, as I thought, to sleep, about two o'clock, a.m., I found him busy roasting, frying, and devouring as voraciously as if he had eaten no supper.

October 24th. -- The winter had now fairly set in, the ponds were all frozen over, the birds of passage had deserted the interior of the sea coast, and the grouse had got on their white winter coats; many hardships now await the traveller.



General features of the Western interior, etc.

October 27th. -- The western territory is entirely primitive. No rocks appear but granitic. The only soil is peat, which varies in quality according to situation. In the valleys some patches are very similar to the savanna peat in the eastward, but as the peat ascends, it becomes shallower and lighter until it terminates at the summit of the mountains in a mere matting; lichens occupy every station, on the peat, among the other plants, and on the bare rock. The Arbutus alpina, Potentilla tridentata, Empetrum nigrum, and the lichens, occupy the highest resting places for vegetation on the mountain tops. The trees, all vegetating upon peat, are often forced in this region to assume new features. The larch in particular will grow in spite of the nipping blasts, and where it is not permitted to rise erect on the mountain top as it does on the lower stations, it creeps along the ground to leeward, where neither the birch nor spruce can exist. It is thus sometimes only a few inches in height, and many feet in length. The spruce-fir thickets are often only a few feet in height, the trees hooked and entangled together in such a manner as to render it practicable to walk upon, but impossible to walk through them. In an extensive flat, barren track, that lay on our left, there are a number of small conical-shaped granite hills, clad with sombre spruce, which resemble islands in an ocean of meagre vegetation. Yet there are here the remains of extensive forests, destroyed by fire, where now there is not a tree within many miles. Neither reptile nor serpent of any kind had yet fallen under our notice, nor had the Indians ever seen or heard of any noxious animal being in the island. It may therefore be concluded that there are none of this class, common on the neighbouring islands and continent, here.

Were the agriculturalists of the coast to come here, they would see herds of cattle, fat on natural produce of the country, sufficient for the supply of provision to the fisheries, and the same animal fit, with a little training, to draw sledges at the rate of twenty miles an hour. Nature has liberally stocked Newfoundland with herds, finer than which Norway and Lapland cannot boast. Some of the reindeer here attain the size of six or seven hundred pounds weight, and even upwards. These natural herds are the best adapted for this climate and pasture; and it is evident on witnessing their numbers, that all that is required to render the interior, now in waste, at once a well-stocked grazing country, could be done through the means of employing qualified herdsmen, who would make themselves familiar with, and accompany these herds from pasture to pasture, as is done in Norway and Lapland with the reindeer there, and in Spain with the sheep. When taken young these deer become very domestic and tractable. Were the intelligent resident inhabitants of the coast, who have an interest in advancing the country internally, to adopt a plan for effecting this object, under their own vigilance, benefits and comforts now unthought of could be realized. Norwegians or Lapland Finns could be easily introduced into the interior, if the Indians were unwilling or unfit.

We met many thousands of the deer, all hastening to the eastward, on their periodical migration. They had been dispersed since the spring, on the mountains and barren tracts, in the west and north-west division of the interior, to bring forth and rear their young amidst the profusion of lichens and mountain herbage, and where they were, comparatively with the low lands, free from the persecution of flies. When the first frosts, as now in October, nip vegetation, the deer immediately turn towards the south and east, and the first fall of snow quickens their pace in those directions, as we now met them, towards the low grounds where browse is to be got and the snow not so deep over the lichens. In travelling herd follow herd in rapid succession over the whole surface of the country, all bending their course the same way in parallel lines. The herds consist of from twenty to two hundred each, connected by stragglers or piquets, the animals following each other in single files, a /156/ few yards or feet apart, as their paths show; were they to be in close bodies, they could not graze freely. They continue to travel south-eastward until February or March, by which time the returning sun has power to soften the snow and permit of their scraping it off to obtain lichens underneath. They then turn round towards the west, and in April are again on the rocky barrens and mountains where their favourite mossy food abounds the most, and where in June they bring forth their young. In October the frosty warning to travel returns. They generally follow the same routes year after year, but these sometimes vary, owing to irregularities in the seasons and interruptions by the Indians. Such are, in a general view, the courses and causes of the migrations of the deer, and these seem to be the chief design of animated nature in this portion of the earth. Lakes and mountains intervening, cause the lines of the migration paths to deviate from the parallel; and at the necks of land that separate large lakes, at the extremity of lakes, and at the straits and running waters which unite lakes, the deer unavoidably concentrate in travelling. At those passes the Indians encamp in parties, and stay for considerable intervals of time, because they can there procure the deer with comparatively little trouble.

After the first great fall of snow, although the acclivities had been for a few days laid bare by the mild weather, the summits of the mountains remained covered, and the snow lay in banks in the valleys. Light snow-showers afterwards occasionally fell, spreading the veil, and thickening the white mantle of winter in every direction. We suffered much that night from the inclemency of the weather. The trees were here generally so stunted and scanty, that we could hardly collect enough of brushwood and roots to keep a very small fire alive, and then we were unavoidably exposed. At one time, for three nights in succession, we could not find a dry spot of ground to lie upon. In such situations the want of sleep attended the want of shelter; and it was a contest between frost and fire which should have the supremacy over our bodies. Although we could shoot deer at intervals every day, no supply of food was adequate to support the system under the exhaustion and load of painful fatigue which we had to undergo. For my part I could measure my strength -- that it would not obey the will and drag along the frame beyond two weeks more. Still it was cheering to hope that space of time would carry us to the west coast. Ever since we left the last party of Indians, my Indian disputed with me about the course we should pursue, he obstinately insisting upon going to the southward. Perhaps he had a secret desire not to pass too near the Red Indian country, or he may have heard that some of his tribe were encamped in the direction he was inclined to go. As a separation might have led to serious consequences, I submitted from necessity.

October 28th. -- The small lakes were sufficiently frozen over for us to walk upon them. As we advanced westward the aspect of the country became more dreary, and the primitive features more boldly marked. Pointed mountains of coarse red granite, standing apart, lay in all directions northerly and southerly of each other. Most of them are partially shrouded with firs, bald, and capped with snow. As we neared the south end of an extensive lake in order to get round it, we observed a low islet near the middle entirely covered with a large species of gull. Those birds seemed as if they had congregated to take flight before the lake was frozen over. I named this lake in honour of a friend at the bar in Edinburgh, "Wilson's lake." At the extreme south end we had to ford a rapid river of considerable size, running to the southward, which, from its position, we inferred was "Little River," and which discharges at the south coast.

October 29th. -- Drawing near to a mountain-ridge, higher than any we had yet crossed, and which from appearance we supposed might be the last between us and the sea coast, we had great satisfaction in discovering smoke rising from a wood on the opposite side of a lake near the foot of it. We indulged in the hope that some timber party from the settlements at St. George's Bay was encamped here. Our /157/ toils were in fancy ended. On reaching the lake, the party encamped seemed to distrust us, not venturing to show themselves openly on the shore. After a time, however, they were convinced by our appearance, gestures, and the report of our guns, that we were not Red Indians nor enemies. A canoe was then launched and came across to us. The canoe was of the kind already described, of wicker-work, covered with skins, and paddled by two pretty Indian girls. I unceremoniously saluted them in the Indian manner and we accompanied them to their camp. They were of a party of Mickmack Indians, encamped at this lake because deer and firewood were plentiful. One man only belonged to this encampment, and he was out hunting when we arrived. None of the party understood a word of English; my Indian however explained. They told us, to our no little mortification, that we were yet sixty miles from St. George's Harbour, or about five days walk if the weather should happen to be favourable, and that it lay in a north-west direction. The last information proved that my Indian had of late pertinaciously insisted on a wrong course. This small party consisted of eight individuals -- one man, four women, and three children; one an infant, was strapped or laced to its cradle, and placed upright against the side of a wigwam, as any piece of domestic furniture might be. They had left St. George's Harbour three months before; since then, had been in the interior, and intended to spend the winter at Great Cod Roy River in St. George's Bay. As every hour was precious towards the final accomplishment of my object, I proposed to my Indian host to accompany me to St. George's Bay; my offer was agreed to, and a stipulation made to set off in two hours. In the absence of this Indian, who told me his name was Gabriel, his family -- consisting, as already observed, of females and children -- were to provide for themselves. For this purpose two guns and ammunition were left with them. One of the young women was a capital shot; during our halt with them she left the camp and shot a fat deer close by. Having partaken of the best piece of venison the interior could produce, together with smoked deers' tongues, we set off. Owing to our enfeebled condition, this man's vigour and strength were enviable.

October 30th. -- Rain, snow, and wind, in the early part of the day compelled us to stop and encamp. We shot a hare, the first we had killed; it was white, except the tips of the ears and tip of the tail, which always remain black. The hare of Newfoundland is the Arctic hare, Lepus arcticus. It sometimes weighs fourteen pounds and upwards. There is no other kind in the Island. The grouse, during severe snow storms at night, allow the snow to drift over them, and thus covered, obtain shelter. While in this situation a silver thaw sometimes comes on, and the incrustation on the surface becomes too thick for them to break through in the morning, and immense numbers of them perish by being in that manner enclosed. When we were crossing a lake on the ice my Indian fell through and with great exertion saved himself. While he was struggling my new friend Gabriel stood still and laughed; Joe did not look for assistance, nor did the other evince the least disposition to render any, although he was, compared with my position on the lake, near to him. Upon my remonstrating with Gabriel about his manifesting a want of feeling towards Joe, when perishing, Joe himself replied to me, "Master, it is all right; Indian rather die than live owing his life to another." The other had acted in sympathy with the self-dependent sentiment.

October 31st. -- We travelled over hills and across lakes about twenty miles, fording in that space two rivers running north-easterly, and which are the main source branches of the river Exploits. This large river has therefore a course of upwards of two hundred miles in one direction, taking its rise in the south-west angle of the Island, and discharging at the north-east part. The Indians are all excellent shots, and the two men now with me displayed admirable skill in killing the deer at great distances and at full speed, with single ball. Nearly a foot of snow had recently fallen, which cast a monotonous sublimity over the whole country, and in a great measure concealed the characteristics of the vegetable as well as the mineral kingdoms. /158/ We encamped at night at the southern extremity of what is said by my Indians to be the most southern lake of the interior frequented by the Red Indians, and through which was the main source branch of the River Exploits. At the same lake, the Micmacs and the Indians friendly with them commence and terminate their water excursions from and to the west coast. They here construct their first skin canoes upon entering the interior, or leave their old ones upon setting off on foot for the sea coast. The distance to St. George's Harbour is twenty-five miles or upwards, which part of the journey must be performed on foot, because no waters of any magnitude intervene. I named the lake in honour of His Majesty George the IV.

November 1st. -- For nearly twenty miles to the westward of George the Fourth's lake, the country is very bare, there being scarcely a thicket of wood. During this day we forded two rapid rivulets running south-west to St. George's Bay. Deer had hitherto passed us in innumerable straggling herds. But westward of George the Fourth's lake, and particularly as we neared the coast, very few were to be seen. While ascending a mountain, I felt myself suddenly overcome with a kind of delirium, arising I supposed from exhaustion and excessive exertion, but fancied myself stronger than ever I was in my life. It is probable, under that influence, that if the Indian who last joined had not been present, I would have had a rencontre with my other Indian.


The West Coast.

In the evening (1st November) about eighteen miles west of George the Fourth's lake, from the summit of a snowy ridge which defines the west coast, we were rejoiced to get a view of the expansive ocean and St. George's Harbour. Had this prospect burst upon us in the same manner a month earlier, it would have created in my mind a thousand pleasures, the impression of which I was now too callous to receive; all was now however accomplished, and I hailed the glance of the sea as home, and as the parent of everything dear. There was scarcely any snow to be seen within several miles of the sea coast, while the mountain range upon which we stood, and the interior in the rear, were covered. This range may be about two thousand feet above the level of the sea, and the snow-capped mountains in the north-east are higher. The descent was now very precipitous and craggy. A rapid river called Flat Bay River, across which we were to ford, or if swollen, to pass over upon a raft, flowed at the foot of the ridge. It threatened rain, and sun was setting; but the sight of the sea urged us onward. By sliding down rill courses, and traversing the steeps, we found ourselves with whole bones, but many bruises, at the bottom, by one o'clock the following morning. We then, by means of carrying a large stone each on our backs in order to press our feet against the bottom, and steadying ourselves by placing one end of a pole, as with a staff or walking-stick, firmly upon the bottom of the lawn or lee side, to prevent the current from sweeping us away, step after step, succeeded in fording the river, and encamped by a good fire, but supperless, in the forest on the banks of the river.

November 2nd. -- Upon the immediate banks of Flat Bay River, there is some good birch, pine, and spruce timber. The soil and shelter are even so good here that the ground spruce (Taxus Canadensis)(44) bearing its red berries, constitutes the chief underwood, as in the forests of Canada and Nova Scotia. In the afternoon we reached St. George's Harbour. The first houses we reached, two in number, close to the shore, belonged to Indians. They were nailed up, the owners not having yet returned from the interior after their fall's hunting. The houses of the European residents lay on the west side of the harbour, which is here about a mile wide, and near the entrance; but a westerly gale of wind prevented any intercourse across. /159/ Having had no food for nearly two days, we ventured to break open the door of one of the houses, -- the captain or chief's as we understood from my last Indian, and found what we wanted -- provisions and cooking utensils. The winter stock of provisions of this provident man named Emanuel Gontgont, the whole having been provided at the proper seasons, consisted of six barrels of pickled fish, of different kinds, viz.: young halibuts and eels, besides dried cod fish, seal oil in bladders, and two barrels of maize or Indian corn flour.

November 3rd. -- We were still storm-stayed in the Indian house, in the midst of plenty. It seemed remarkable that the provisions were entirely free from the ravages of rats and other vermin, although left without any precaution to guard against such. There was a potato and turnip field close to the house, with the crops still in the ground, of which we availed ourselves, although now partly injured by frost.

November 4th. -- A party of Indians arrived from the interior, male and female, each carrying a load of furs. Our landlord was amongst them. Instead of appearing to notice with displeasure his door broken open and house occupied by strangers, he merely said, upon looking round and my offering an explanation, "Suppose me here, you take all these things."

We crossed the harbour, and were received by the residents -- Jersey and English, and their descendants -- with open arms. All European and other vessels had left this coast a month before, so that there was no chance of my obtaining a passage to St. John's, or to another country. There were too many risks attending the sending to sea any of the vessels here at this season, although I offered a considerable sum to the owners of any of them that would convey me to Fortune Bay on the south coast, from whence I might obtain a passage to Europe by some of the ships that had probably not yet sailed from the mercantile establishments there.

After a few days I parted with my Indians -- the one, who had with painful constancy accompanied me across the Island, joining his countrymen here to spend the winter with them, and return to his friends at the Bay of Despair in the following spring; the other, having renewed his stock of ammunition and other outfits, returned to his family which we had left in the interior. Having now crossed the Island, I cannot help thinking that my success was in part owing to the smallness of my party. Many together could not so easily have sustained themselves; they would have multiplied the chances of casualties, and thereby of the requisition of the attendance, and detention of the able. It is difficult to give an idea of, or to form an estimate equivalent to, the road-distance gone over. The toil and deprivations were such that hired men, or followers of any class, would not have endured them. At St. George's Bay, as at all other parts of Newfoundland except the towns, the country is nearly as destitute of paths and roads as at the time of the discovery of the Island; the intercourse between the settlements, being by water, during bad weather is entirely suspended. I remained at St. George's Bay Harbour under the hospitable roof of Mr. Philip Messervey, the principal inhabitant, to rest and recover from the fatigues and deprivations of my journey, and from a hurt received while descending the mountains to the coast. At St. George's Harbour there are about twenty families, amounting to one hundred souls, most of the parents natives of England and Jersey. Their chief occupation is salmon fishing and furring; a little cod fish is also cured. They catch annually three or four hundred barrels of salmon, according to the success of the fishery, and procure fur, including what is obtained from the Indians by barter, to the value of nearly four hundred pounds. They possess four schooners, three of them being built by themselves and one by the Indians, in which most of the male inhabitants make one voyage annually, either to Halifax, Nova Scotia, or to St. John's, Newfoundland, to dispose of their fish and fur. Some of them barter their produce with trading vessels from Canada and New Brunswick, or with the vessels of any other country that may come to the coast, receiving provisions and West Indian /160/ produce. They all cultivate potatoes, and some keep a few cows. The harbour is six or seven miles in length. On the east side the soil is good; red, white, and blue clays are found here. Along the banks of the several rivers which flow into the harbour, are strips of good land; some good pine spars and birch timber fit for shipbuilding are also to be found there. The young black birch,(45) as far as my observation went, is called here the "witch hazel." St. George's Harbour, although barred, may be entered by vessels of any burthen. There is no other ship harbour between Cape Ray and Port au Port; but there is good anchorage in the roadstead between Cod Roy Island and the main Island near Cape Anguille. None of the other harbours can be entered even by small craft when the wind blows strong westwardly. The trade and pursuits of the inhabitants of the other parts of St. George's Bay, and, it may be observed, of all the other parts of the French Shore, are very similar to those of the other parts of St. George's Harbour. To the southward, at what is called here the Barasways, are seven or eight families, amounting to nearly sixty souls, who catch annually from 150 to 200 barrels of salmon, and obtain fur to the value of one hundred pounds. They have one schooner which carries most of their produce to St. John's, Newfoundland, or to Halifax, Nova Scotia; they bartering a part with trading vessels at Cod Roy. At the Great and Little Cod Roy rivers, towards the southern extremity of St. George's Bay, there are twelve or fourteen families, amounting to seventy or eighty souls, who catch annually four or five cwts. of cod fish, about fifty barrels of salmon, and obtain a little fur. The salmon fishery of St. George's Bay, under which head are included, with few exceptions, all the able men, are in summer divided into about thirty fishing crews of two or three men each, with boats and nets, and occupy the salmon fishery at the shores and rivers all over the bay. At the Bay of Islands, north of St. George's Bay, there are six -- and at Bonne Bay, still further north, there are several families; north of that, on the west coast, there are no inhabitants. At the north-east part of the French Shore, between Quirpon Island and Cape John, there are a few stray settlers, whose value cannot be reckoned upon, further than that their occupations are in aid of the French fisheries. Taking an aggregate view of the French Shore, there are resident upon it upwards of fifty British families, consisting of about three hundred souls, who catch annually nearly seven hundred barrels of salmon; fur, to the value of six hundred pounds; cod fish and herrings, four hundred pounds; making, together with the shipping built, the total value of the exports of the British residents on the French Shore, 2400 or 2500 pounds. The usual mode of paying servants on the west coast is, allowing them one-third of the fruits of their industry, salmon, fur, or otherwise, the employer providing diet. The principle is well worthy of imitation on the east coast. St. George's Harbour, locally called Flat Bay, as well as the estuaries of all the rivers on the west coast, is famous for abundance of eels. The Indians take them in great quantities by spearing in the mud, and pickle them for winter use. If there was a market, they might be, as indeed they have been to a limited extent, exported. The French Shore of Newfoundland is one of the most valuable in the globe for fisheries. At this day it is nearly in a primitive state, although in summer occupied by hundreds of French ships, which send forth their thousands of batteaux and men brought from France, all eager in the pursuit of the cod fishery. Mackerel might be taken at St. George's Bay in any quantity in the fall of the year only, but none are caught now.

This fishery, were it pursued, would succeed that of the salmon in the order of season, and the process of curing is similar. Herrings might likewise be caught to supply and suit any demand and market, as they are of all sizes. Whale and seal also abound in their respective seasons, but none are killed. The British residents on the French Shore feel very insecure in the enjoyment of their Salmon fishery and in any extension of their property, by reason of the peculiar tenure in regard to the French. A satisfactory solution of the mystery as to their rights has not yet /161/ been communicated to them, although they have made repeated applications at head quarters at St. John's. But the French are at present friendly disposed to them, although their rights are treated as a mere sufferance. There is here neither clergyman, school-master, church nor chapel. Yet during my short stay, there was one wedding (an Indian couple, Roman Catholics, married by a Protestant resident, reading the Church of England service from a French translation) and four christenings, celebrated by the same person, with feasts and rejoicings suitable to such events.

November 16th. -- Being now much recovered by the various attentions at St. George's Harbour, during my stay of ten days, I set out on foot to the southward along the sea shore, accompanied by two of the young Jersey residents, in hopes, by walking and boating, to reach Fortune Bay, a distance of upwards of two hundred miles, before all the vessels for the season had sailed for Europe. We slept, as intended, in a deserted salmon fisher's hut on the shore, being unable to reach any habitation.

November 17th. -- We forded the mouths of several minor streams, and that of the north of third Barasway river, it having no harbour at its estuary. In the evening reached the second Barasway river, a distance of twenty-four miles from St. George's Harbour, and where reside the nearest inhabitants. Our walk all the way was on a sandy rock beach at the bottom of cliffs washed by the sea. The cliffs are formed chiefly of red sand-stone, red ochre, blue clay, and gypsum, sixty or seventy feet and upwards in height, with a deep bed of red alluvial earth everywhere superimposed. The gypsum is of the compact kind, with hard nodules throughout; the beds extend into the sea, in which stand water-worn projections, sometimes of grotesque forms. A few miles north of the Barasway river there is a vertical stratum of a dark green-coloured rock resembling verde antique, running through the gypsum deposit, owing to the great hardness and durability of which its entering resembles a wall running into the sea. Gypsum also abounds inland, at the Rattling Brook, Flat Bay River, &c.

In the immediate vicinity of the Barasway rivers, as well as elsewhere in St. George's Bay, there are both sulphurous and saline springs. One of the former, strongly saturated, occurs near the sea shore about a mile north of the second Barasway river; another is said to exist about seven miles from the sea up the Rattling Brook, which runs into the sea, a short distance north of the second Barasway river. Of the saline springs, one is situated about two miles up the second Barasway, another up the Rattling Brook, and a third is said to be on the neck of land at Port au Port, westward of Fall Mount. Coal of excellent quality lies exposed in strata in the bed and banks of a rivulet between the first and second Barasway rivers, about seven and nine miles from its mouth. The harbour at the mouth of the second Barasway river, as well as that of the first, is barred, having only eight or nine feet of water on the bars at high tides. The vicinity of the Barasway rivers, as of all the river courses in Newfoundland, is an interesting and untrodden field for the geologist, and for the naturalist generally. The inhabitants at the Barasway rivers were now in their winter houses under the shelter of the woods, having recently left their summer residences at the shore. Like the people at St. George's Harbour, they are industrious and frugal; the extent of their salmon fishery and furring has been already noticed. The following animals are entrapped and shot here for their furs: -- Martens, foxes, otters, beavers, musk rats, bears, wolves, and hares. Although ermines are numerous, the inhabitants do not preserve their skins, because they are small, their value not being known. Some of the residents have well-stocked farms, the soil being good. Oats, barley, potatoes, hay, &c., are produced in perfection, and even wheat. As evidence of the capabilities of portions of Newfoundland for agricultural purposes, notice must be taken of the farm of my hostess, Mrs. Hulan, at the second Barasway river. The stock on it consisted of six milch cows, besides other cattle; the dairy could not be surpassed in neatness and /162/ cleanliness, and the butter and cheese were excellent; the butter made, exclusive of what was kept for her comparatively numerous domestic establishment, was sold, part to the residents at other places in the bay, and part to trading vessels that come to the coast in summer. The cellar was full of potatoes and other vegetables for winter use. She was also an experimental farmer, and exhibited eight different kinds of potatoes, all possessing different qualities to recommend them. Of domestic poultry there was an ample stock. Mrs. Hulan, although not a native, had lived in St. George's Bay upwards of sixty years, and remembers the celebrated navigator, Cook, when he surveyed the coast. She is indefatigably industrious and useful, and immediately or remotely related to, or connected with, the whole population of the bay, over whom she commands a remarkable degree of maternal influence and respect. The coast southward from hence to Cod Roy, a distance of upwards of thirty miles, and where the nearest inhabitants in that direction were, was too rugged and bold to admit of our walking along the shore. The inhabitants there, or at St. George's Harbour, were ready to exert themselves to get me forward. A forced march, which might occupy ten days, over a snow-covered mountainous country in the rear of the coast, had few attractions just now, and on

November 19th, the weather proving favourable, two young men of Mrs. Hulan's establishment launched forth with me in a small skiff to row and sail close along the shore, as wind and weather might permit. My kind hostess, aware of the probable detention we might meet, provisioned the little bark for two days.

November 20th, 21st, and 22nd. -- While passing in a boat, the formation only of the coast could be viewed, not examined. Between the south Barasway river and Cod Roy the coast is a continued range of cliffs, along which there is neither harbour nor shelter of any kind for even a boat. A light skiff or punt is therefore the safest mode of conveyance along this horrific coast in the inclement season of the year; for here and there between the cliffs there is a spot of beach with a ravine well known to the inhabitants, at which, although far apart in the event of being overtaken by bad weather, a skiff can run ashore, and the crew at the same instant jumping out, haul her up beyond the reach of the surf. This we were forced to do several times, and to clamber to the top of the cliffs until the weather moderated. The cliffs to within three miles north of Cape Anguille are formed chiefly of old, red, and variegated sandstone and sandstone of the coal formation. Then, at a narrow opening called Snake's Bight, another formation succeeds, and from thence southward to Cape Anguille the coast is principally formed of dark bluish stratified rocks, with an inclination of about thirty degrees. Beds of a narrow strata of a red rock, presenting a series of stripes to the sea, alternate. This latter portion of the coast has many irregularities and shiftings in the strata, and single vertical strata of a reddish brown rock, seemingly trap or green-stone, pervade it in different directions, sometimes presenting an extensive smooth mural front to the sea.

November 23rd. -- We doubled Cape Anguille and reached Cod Roy. Cape Anguille seems to be formed of quartz rock in front and granite in the rear, it being a projection of the granitic ridge that defines the west coast. Cod Roy -- and here there is an island of the same name -- is close to Cape Anguille on the south. The inhabitants, as at the Barasway rivers, were in their winter houses in the woods, and their boats laid up for the winter. I, however, soon obtained a volunteer in the principal resident, named Parsons, to convey me as soon as the weather would permit in his skiff round Cape Ray, and to the next place where a boat could be procured. Owing to the shelter and anchorage for shipping at Cod Roy, as already noticed, and to its immediate proximity to the fine fishing grounds about Cape Ray, it is the central point of the French fisheries in summer. Many square rigged vessels are here loaded with dried cod fish for France; and hundreds of batteaux brought from France in the fishing ships scatter from hence in all directions over the fishing grounds. There are here five resident families. Gypsum abounds at Cod Roy.

/163/ November 28th. -- Having awaited at Cod Roy five days in vain for an abatement of the strong north-west wind to permit of our putting to sea in a skiff, I set out with Parsons on foot to the southward by the sea shore. Great Cod Roy River is about six miles south of Cod Roy Island. We crossed the gut or entrance between the sea and the expansive shallow estuary of this river in a boat of one of the residents. The entrance is barred with sand, and has only about six feet of water. There reside here five families with their servants, amounting to twenty-eight souls. They catch about forty barrels of salmon annually, which, with herring, and a trifling cod fishery, are their chief means of subsistence. Coal is found on the south bank of Great Cod Roy River, six or seven miles from the sea. The land between Cod Roy and where the coal occurs is low and flat; so that in the event of the coal being raised, it could be conveyed by means of a railroad from the mines to the shipping. There were at this time ten Indian families encamped for the winter on the banks of Great Cod Roy River, about ten miles from its mouth. The chief attraction for the Indian here is the abundance of eels and trout. Little Cod Roy River is about six miles south of that of Great Cod Roy, and has also a gut at its estuary, which we in like manner crossed in a boat. Its entrance is likewise barred, and has only three feet of water; but forms, like Great Cod Roy River, an expansive harbour inside. There are here two resident families only, amounting to, with servants, seventeen souls. They exist by furring, and a small cod fishery, the quantity of salmon caught being very trifling. Both the Great and Little Cod Roy Rivers have their friths protected from the sea by sand hills or downs. The residents of Cod Roy and at these rivers, with the exception of Parsons, and one or two others recently settled there for the sake of the cod fishery, are extremely indolent and ignorant, differing in these respects from the rest of the inhabitants of St. George's Bay. The extent of their salmon and cod fisheries, and of their furring, was noticed when speaking of the occupation collectively of the inhabitants of St. George's Bay. The coast between Cod Roy and Great Cod Roy River is formed chiefly of mural cliffs of horizontally stratified sand-stone of the coal formation, with alternations of red earth, blue clay, and gypsum. From Cod Roy River to Cape Ray it presents downs to the sea. The downs near the sea shore are raised into hillocks, and in the rear they are level. In the vicinity of Cod Roy there are also downs, and here are numerous funnel-shaped hollows, some of them twenty yards wide across the mouth and many yards deep. Most of the hollows are dry; they are caused, as it is known to geologists, by fresh water springs dissolving the beds of rock salt and gypsum underneath, and by the earth, sand, and other superimposed substances thus falling in.(46) They sometimes assume the shape of an inverted funnel, having a small aperture only at the surface, and a hole below. Cattle have fallen into the latter description and been lost. The sand composing the downs is of a yellow white colour, with minute shells of various kinds and minute radiated brown pyrites abundantly intermixed. They produce only sand-hill grass, Carex arenaria, and the sea pea or vetch, Pisum maritimum.

The soil in St. George's Bay is the best, and at the same time forms the most extensive tract of good soil any where on the coast of Newfoundland. It is a low flat strip nearly the whole length of the Bay, lying between the sea shore and the mountains in the rear, interrupted only by Cape Anguille, which juts into the sea. It seldom exceeds two miles in breadth except at the rivers, and there it extends many miles up the country along the banks. The granite mountains behind appear generally clad with firs, except along the summits, which are bare. Iron pyrites of various forms occur in abundance on the west coast, particularly at Port au Port and that neighbourhood. They are generally of the radiated and kidney-shaped structure, encrusted with a white earthy substance. Some of them weigh several pounds, and many of them have garnets embedded. Pure hornblende rock in large masses, some four or five feet in diameter, is met with at the Cod Roy Rivers; coal is /164/ reported to exist at other places on this coast, besides being at the Barasway and Cod Roy Rivers. The Indians say it lies exposed in such abundance on the surface of the earth near the mouth of a brook on the west side of Port au Port that they have made fires of it on the spot; and this is an excellent harbour for shipping. Verde antique, of a dark green colour, spotted or mottled with white, is found at the north of Port au Port on the bed of what is called the Coal river, a few miles from the sea, and brought down in pieces by the Indians for the manufacture of tobacco pipes. The natural productions of the west coast, viewed in relation to the neighbouring countries are well deserving the attention of Canada in particular. Coal and the other valuable minerals are here in abundance, and may be considered at the very threshold of that country by means of steam navigation, to the extension and support of which that material so directly contributes. Iron is probably to be found in more profitable forms than pyrites. By means of steamships, the countries bounding on the Gulf and River St. Lawrence could defy foreign aggression and command an extension of commerce.

November 29th. -- Cape Ray. -- Having slept the previous night in the winter house of one of the families at Little Cod Roy river, we to-day walked round Cape Ray, here leaving the French Shore and entering upon American Newfoundland, or that division of the coast on which the Americans have a right of fishing and of drying their fish. On the shore north of Cape Ray lay several wrecks of ships and their cargoes of timber. Cape Ray is a low point formed of dusky coloured trap rock, intersected in some places with vertical strata of green trap, running in an east and west direction. The coal formation of St. George's Bay adjoins. On the very Cape there resides during summer a person of the name of Wm. Windsor, with his family. We found him in his winter hut in a spruce wood two or three miles to the eastward of the Cape. The most perfect contentment, cheerfulness, poverty, and hospitality were the characteristics of the monarch of Cape Ray. His resources, through the means of fishing, enabled him to procure a sufficiency of coarse biscuit, molasses, and tea, by which, together with fowling, he supported his family. He wore no covering on his head, even when exposed to the inclement weather -- Nature, aided doubtless by habit, providing him with an extraordinary mat of hair, as she does the inferior animals here with fur. The high lands of Cape Ray lie several miles inland, north-east of the Cape, and consist of a group of granite mountains seemingly nearly two thousand feet in height. The scenery among them is sublime; the steep sides of the wedge-shaped valleys appear smooth and striped at a distance, owing to the crumbled rocks and blocks detached by frost being hurled from the very summits to the bottom, where they lie in heaps of ruins. I had reluctantly to behold only the treasures laid open to the mineralogist. Snow and ice lie in beds on these mountains all the summer. The vicinity of Cape Ray is remarkable for great numbers of foxes, induced here by the abundance of their chief food, viz, the berries of the vaccinium or partridge berry and that of the vaccinium or hurtle berry. We were several days storm-stayed by winds and snow, and the inefficiency of the ice to bear us across the rivulets, at a boat harbour called the Barasway, six or seven miles east of the Cape. The person in whose winter house we here stopped, his summer residence being at Port au Basque at the eastward, had now entrapped and shot about eighty foxes, black, silver gray, patch, and red, in less than two months; all those colours are produced at one litter. The foxes are mostly caught in iron spring-traps, artfully concealed (not baited) in the path-ways along the seashore. It may be noticed that on the west coast of Newfoundland, there is neither Scotchman, Irishman, nor rat to be met with; nor, it is said, has any member of these European families taken up an abode west of Fortune Bay.



American portion of Newfoundland.

December 5th. -- Port au Basque, the nearest harbour to Cape Ray on the East, about twelve miles distant therefrom, we reached by boat from the Barasway. It had a fine open entrance, and good anchorage, and is sufficiently capacious for any number of ships to ride in safety. The rendezvous for fishing vessels, small craft and boats, is a long narrow passage, immediately adjoining the west side of the harbour, formed by a chain of Islands which lie close along the coast, and is called Channel. Four families reside here during the summer, pursuing the cod fishery at that season, and the furring in winter. A small safe basin called Little Bay, with a narrow entrance, adjoins Port au Basque immediately on the East. There are no summer residences here, but two persons engaged in the cod fishery at the Dead Islands in summer were encamped in the woods for the winter. They undertook to convey me in their little skiff to Dead Island, the next harbour to the east; and in consequence, I here parted with my faithful and daring attendant, Parsons, from Cod Roy.

December 7th. -- Dead Island. -- Reached this place from Little Bay. The harbour, here called Pass, is fit for any ships, and like Channel, is a narrow passage between a string of Islands and the main Island. Port au Basque and Channel, and the Dead Island or Pass, are both excellent stations at which to carry on the American fisheries. The fishing grounds in the vicinity of Cape Ray are probably the best on the Newfoundland coast for the resort of fishermen from a distance, they being peculiar in this important point, that the cod are always to be found in abundance upon them, and caught at all seasons when the weather is not too boisterous, and then the neighbouring harbours mentioned afforded shelter to the fishing craft. The fishery may be commenced here six weeks or a month earlier than at any other part of the coast, and continued in the fall of the year until Christmas. Many industrious fishermen within a hundred miles eastward, do not leave these grounds until the end of December. The cod caught in October, November, and December is called winter fish. At Fortune Bay to the eastward, on the same coast, winter fish is caught by means of the smaller boats in the months of January, February, and March, in deep water close to the shores. The winter-caught fish is of a better quality than that taken at any other season. It is allowed to remain in dry salt during the winter, and dried in the first warm weather in spring; being then sent to a foreign market, it arrives at an early season of the year, when there is no other newly-cured fish to compete, and brings fifty per cent. or upwards more than the fish dried in the preceding year. There is no winter fish caught at Newfoundland except at the south-west coast. At the Dead Islands three families reside in summer, whose chief pursuit is the cod fishery. These Islands are composed chiefly of mica slate. I was here fortunate in finding a very respectable industrious inhabitant, named Thomas Harvey, still occupying his summer house at the shore, and his fishing boat or shallop not yet dismantled for the winter. Although no ordinary remuneration was equivalent to the risk at this inclement season on so dangerous a coast, Harvey unhesitatingly manned and provisioned his boat to enable me to reach Fortune Bay.

It would have been impossible without the probability of being either frozen or starved to walk along this coast at this season of the year, it is so indented with deep bays and rivers, and in a manner uninhabited and unexplored.

December 8th. -- We set sail from the Dead Islands, passed by a harbour called Burnt Island, where reside two families who pursue the cod fishery. The weather being stormy, we were forced afterwards to put into the Seal Island, some /166/ fifteen miles to the eastward. Seal Island is a fine safe harbour with two entrances, one east, another west. There is one resident family only here, seemingly in good circumstances by means of the cod fishery. The prevailing rock here is mica slate.

December 11th. -- Strong winds and snow had compelled us to remain all night at Seal Island. We now got under weigh, with a fair wind, cheerfully passing by Harbour le Cou, uninhabited; Garia, with one resident family in summer; Indian Island, with one resident family; La Poile, a noble deep bay with two resident families; and reached Grand Brit, a good little harbour with two entrances, the west being the better, and where reside two families in summer, whose habitations were now locked up and deserted.

December 12th. -- Set sail, and reached Cingserf, a good harbour for vessels of any size; the best anchorage is on the east side. Within the harbour there are many small inlets. It has no summer residents, nor could we discover any signs of winter occupants. Trap rock prevails here.

December 13th. -- Having passed the night at Cingserf, we set off again with a fair wind; touch at and pass through amongst the Burgeo Islands. Here is a sheltered roadstead with good anchorage. At Burgeo Islands there are eleven or twelve, and in the vicinity, five or six resident families. Burgeo Islands are formed of gray granite, and very barren. The part of the main Island opposite to them, as well as that for some miles westward, presents steep and perpendicular cliffs of old red sandstone to the sea. In the evening we reached the Rameo Islands, the east extremity of that portion of the Newfoundland coast at which the Americans have a right of fishing and of curing fish. There are only two resident families here. The Americans have, by the treaty of Ghent, a right of fishing and curing their fish in common with British subjects, on the coast between Cape Ray and the Rameo Islands, an extent of about seventy-five miles. This portion of the coast, although possessing many fine harbours besides those noticed here, contains scarcely forty resident families, or two hundred and fifty souls on the whole of it. The chief pursuits of these people are the cod fishery in summer, and entrapping foxes and other wild animals for their skins in the fall. The salmon fishery is a very minor object, as the rivers are not so large nor numerous as on the west coast. The fishermen, or planters as they are called, obtain their outfits to enable them to carry on the fisheries from the merchants at Fortune Bay. They annually catch about three thousand cwts. or quintals or upwards of cod fish, make about forty-five tuns of cod oil, and obtain fur to the value of one hundred pounds. The approach to many of the fine harbours here is dangerous from the want of surveys of the outer coast. Thousands of valuable lives have been lost by shipwreck, particularly to the eastward of Cape Ray, in consequence of most dangerous currents and sunken rocks that exist here, being unnoticed upon any chart; and until the colonists themselves take up the cause of humanity, it is not likely these dangers will for a long time be made known or a light-house erected on that coast. The residents here, as at St. George's Bay, and at most of the north and west harbours of the Island, have both summer and winter houses. They retire to the residences or huts in the woods on the setting in of the winter, for facility of firewood and shelter; the labour attending the conveyance of fuel to their summer residences at the shore, which are exposed to every inclemency of the weather, being very great. They sometimes remove to a distance of thirty miles and even farther to the sequestered woods at the heads of bays and harbours, and on the banks of rivers, taking with them their boats, furniture, and provisions, and re-appear at the coast in the month of April. The habits and imperative performances of the beaver for preservation of self and kind, are at least equally perfect with those of the European settlers or Indians on the coast. Each have their summer and winter abodes, and respectively provide for their retirement, &c. Sea fowl and birds of passage resort to the south-west /167/ coast in great numbers in the fall of the year; and during that season, as well as in winter, constitute a considerable portion of the provisions of the inhabitants. The dogs here are admirably trained as retrievers in fowling, and are otherwise useful. The smooth or short-haired dog is preferred, because in frosty weather the long-haired kind become encumbered with ice upon coming out of the water. They are fed on fish, purposely cured for them. The Loup Cervier,(47) a common animal in all the adjacent countries, is not considered to be a native of Newfoundland, although one was caught last year in La Poile Bay, and another killed in the same neighbourhood a few years ago. In these instances it is probable that the animals have either crossed or been blown over upon the ice from some of the neighbouring countries. Neither squirrel, porcupine, or racoon have been met with on the Island. Penguins were once numerous at this coast, their breeding place having been the Penguin Islands, about fifteen miles north-east from Rameo Islands. They have been extirpated by man, none having been seen for some years past. Halibuts abound more at the south-west coast than elsewhere. The young,(48) in the fall, is one of the finest fishes on these coasts; but its excellence seems to be little known except to the fishermen and their families. It may be cured in several ways.


South coast of Newfoundland -- Termination of Journey.

December 14th. -- The coast was now everywhere clad in its winter white mantle, and most of the birds of passage had left the shores for a more genial climate. Having spent the night at the Rameo Islands, we set sail eastward, entering now upon the British Newfoundland coast. This part may be considered out of the province of the present narrative, although, except to the immediate residents, little better known than the coast just gone over. The coast at the entrances of White Bear Bay and Old Man's Bay is formed of trap rocks and red sandstone alternating. Pass by Little River, a good harbour; Cape La Hune, where two families reside; Bay Francois, with three resident families; New Harbour, three resident families; Rencontre, four families; and reach Richard's Harbour, where several families reside in summer.

Cape La Hune, as well as the coast thence to Richard's Harbour is formed chiefly of trap rock. Richard's Harbour is a complete basin surrounded on all sides by steep trap hills, of four hundred feet and upwards in height. The entrance is very narrow and deep, rocks on the west side overhanging to that degree as to render it awful to behold while passing under.

December 16th. -- Having been wind-bound one day in Richard's Harbour, a favouring breeze now carries us to the Bay of Despair, and in sight of the whaling and cod fishery establishment of Messrs. Newman, Hunt & Co., of London. The few inhabitants, and their pursuits, between Rameo and the Bay of Despair, are similar to those farther to the westward. The rock formation of the coast between Cape Ray and the Bay of Despair may be noticed in a general view as follows: red sandstone, of the coal formation, is found next to the trap rock, six or eight miles east of Cape Ray. Then we come to primitive rocks, mica slate, gneiss, and granite; next are trap and old red sandstone alternating, which, with the granitic rocks, form the coast all the way eastward, presenting little else than most barren and precipitous hills, half clad with stunted firs, and indented everywhere with harbours, bays, and rivers. Few of the harbours have any soil at those parts nearest the sea, there being merely debris in small patches. At the head, however, of most of the harbours and bays, and along the margins of the waters that discharge into them, some good /168/ soil and spruce timber are to be found. Rock crystals of different colours are stated by the inhabitants to occur in quantities at Harbour Le Cou and Diamond Cove in that neighbourhood. Several of the inhabitants possessed transparent specimens as curiosities.

Upon reaching the establishment of Messrs. Newman and Co., at the Bay of Despair, I learnt with satisfaction that the last ship for England this season from this coast was to sail within a few days from another of their establishments in Fortune Bay. Harvey's boat and men now went back to the Dead Islands, but not without apprehension on my part for their safety, contending against westerly winds on this inhospitable coast at such a season. For while we were coming, with a fair wind, every drop of water and spray that came into our boat congealed as it fell, thus binding together boat, ropes and sails in one mass of ice.

Here ended a four months' excursion of toil, pleasure, pain, and anxiety, succeeded by the delight of being again restored to society, which was enjoyed with the gentlemen and families of the mercantile establishments at the Bay of Despair and Fortune Bay.

It was impossible to reach St. John's, and I took passage at Little Bay, in Fortune, by the ship "Duck," sailing on the 28th December, and arrived in Dartmouth, in England, on the 10th February, 1823.


OCTOBER, 1822.

Winds Bright Rainy Foggy and Snowy

Days Days Drizzly Days Days

September W & SW 19 3

4th to NW 1 1

30th S 2 1



22 5


October, W & SW 9 1 2 1

31 days NW 3 2

N 2 1

S 2 2

SE 2 1

E 2

NE 1


19 3 4 5

Sept, as above 22 5


Weather of 58 days 41 8 4 5



Capture of three Beothuck women.

In the spring of 1823, a party of Indians was seen on the ice in New Bay, an arm of the Great Bay of Notre Dame, by some furriers. On the first meeting, these amiable whites shot a man and a woman who were approaching them, apparently for food. The man was first killed, and the woman in despair, remained a calm victim. (Bonnycastle.) Three other women afterwards gave themselves up. They were in a starving condition. Cull who captured them brought all three and placed them in charge of Mr. Peyton who was the Magistrate for the district. Peyton deemed it the best thing he could do to bring the women to St. John's. On their arrival there, however, it soon appeared that one of them was far gone in consumption, and the health of the other two was precarious. It was, therefore, judged proper to hasten the return of two of them.

The service of conducting them back devolved upon Mr. Peyton who was furnished with a large number of presents, consisting of such articles as were calculated to gratify a barbarous tribe. These his instructions directed him to use as circumstances and his own discretion might render most suitable as "an incitement to those poor creatures to repose confidence in our people in that part of the coast they frequent." (Pedley.)(49)



10th June, 1823.


I grieve to have it to report that information has reached me of the violent death of an Indian man and woman natives who were shot by two of our people early this spring in Badger Bay; the particulars of this melancholy event have not yet reached me, but I am in hourly expectation of Mr. Peyton's arrival here with one of the offenders. Since this unfortunate occurrence took place, Mr. Cull and a few men with him fell in with an Indian man and an old woman, the former fled, but the latter approached and joined our people. Some days after this she led Mr. Cull to where her two daughters were, the one about twenty, the other about sixteen years of age. I am much pleased to find that these interesting females are under the care of Mr. Peyton, and I understand he brings them with him; as a vessel sails today for England I am desirous that you should be made acquainted with these events, as it may again induce His Majesty's Government to hold out their protecting hand to this unfortunate race of human beings whose blood seems to be shed without remorse. I shall take the first opportunity of presenting you with every information connected with these transactions.

I have the honour to be,


Your most obedient,

humble servant,

(signed) D. BUCHAN, Comm.

Copy (signed) P. C. LEGEYT.

To His Excellency

Vice Admiral Sir C. Hamilton, Bt.,

&c., &c., &c.



P. C. Legeyt, Secy.


18th June, 1823.


I beg to inform you that I have now in my charge three women natives of this island who were taken in March and April last by Wm. Cull and others who consigned them to my care, being a Magistrate, and as I have reason to suppose than an amicable intercourse with these people is much desired by Government, I considered it best to bring them here in order to place them under the direction of His Excellency the Governor, but as I find that Sir Charles Hamilton is not yet arrived, I would most strenuously advise that they be immediately returned, and what renders this step most pressing is that one of them is far gone in a consumption, and the health of the other two has been very precarious since I have had them. That this object may be accomplished with the least possible delay I shall be happy to take them to the Bay of Exploits, whither I return immediately, and place them so near their people that they may readily rejoin them; and if this project meets your approbation, I would take the liberty of suggesting the propriety of providing such presents to be sent with them as will best promote the effect desired, and the cause of humanity.

As the schooner I brought them here in requires repair, it is desirable to provide them with a more eligible place of abode for the few days I remain at this place both on account of the general comfort of all, and the critical situation of the sick one who requires medical aid and attendance which can best be procured through your influence.

I have the honour to be,


Your most obedient,

humble servant.

(Signed) JOHN PEYTON, Jr. J.P.

Capt. D. Buchan.


P. C. Legeyt, Secy.



18 June, 1823.


Your letter of this day's date communicating the circumstances of your having brought with you three Native women of this Country, has been perused by me with much interest and consideration, and I hasten to acquaint you that Mr. Bland, the High Sherriff, is instructed to see that these objects of our solicitude be instantly provided with every requisite comfort suitable to their condition. Mr. Watt, Surgeon of the Grasshopper, will pay every attention in his power to promote the recovery of their health. The desirable object of endeavouring to open an amicable intercourse with their tribe shall have my fullest consideration.

I have the honour to be,


Your most obedient,

humble servant,

(signed) D. BUCHAN,


Mr. John Peyton, Jr.,


/171/ The most circumstantial account of the capture, &c., of these three women is contained in a work entitled Newfoundland and its Missionaries, by the Rev. Wm. Wilson, Methodist Minister, who gives an extract from his journal as follows.



June 23rd, 1823.

Last week there were brought to this town three Red Indians so called, who are the aboriginal inhabitants of this island. They are all females and their capture was accomplished in the following manner.

In the month of March last a party of men from the neighbourhood of Twillingate were in the country hunting for fur. The party went two and two in different directions. After a while one of these small parties saw on a distant hill a man coming towards them. Supposing him while at a distance to be one of their own party, they fired a powder gun to let their friend know their where-about. The Red Indian generally runs at the report of a musket, not so in the present instance, the man quickened his pace towards them. They now, from his gait and dress, discerned that he was an Indian, but thought that he was a Micmac and still felt no anxiety. Soon they found their mistake and ascertained that the stranger was one of the Red Indians. He was approaching in a threatening manner with a large club in his hand. They now put themselves in a posture of defence and beckoned the Indian to surrender. This was of no use, he came on with double fury, and when nearly at the muzzle of their guns one of the men fired and the Indian fell dead at their feet. As they had killed the man without any design or intention, they felt deeply concerned, and resolved at once to leave the hunting ground and return home. In passing through a droke of woods they came up with a wigwam which they entered, and took three Indian females, which have been since found to be Mother and her two daughters. These women they brought to their own homes, where they kept them till they could carry them to St. John's and receive the Government reward for bringing a Red Indian captive.

The parties were brought to trial for killing the man, but as there was no evidence against them, they were acquitted.

The women were first taken to Government House and by order of His Excellency the Governor, a comfortable room in the Court house was assigned to them, as a place of residence, where they were treated with every kindness. The mother is far advanced in life, but seems in good health. Beds were provided for them but they did not understand their use, and slept on their deer skins in the corner of the room. One of the daughters was ill, yet she would take no medicine. The doctor recommended Phlebotomy and a gentleman allowed a vein to be opened in his arm to show her that there was no intention to kill her, but this was to no purpose, for when she saw the lancet brought near her own arm, both she and her companions got into a state of fury; so that the Doctor had to desist. Her sister was in good health. She seemed about 22 years of age. If she had ever used red ochre about her person, there was no sign of it in her face. Her complexion was swarthy, not unlike the Micmacs; her features were handsome; she was a tall fine figure and stood nearly six feet high, and such a beautiful set of teeth, I do not know that I ever saw in a human head. She was bland, affable and affectionate. I showed her my watch she put it to her ear and was amused with its tick. A gentleman put a looking glass before her and her grimaces were most extraordinary, but when a black lead pencil was put into her hand and a piece of white paper laid upon the table, she was in raptures. She made a few marks on the paper apparently to try the pencil; then in one flourish she drew a deer perfectly, and what is most surprising, she began at the tip of the tail. One person pointed to his fingers and counted ten; which she repeated in good English; but when she had numbered all her fingers, her English was exhausted, and her numeration if numeration it were /172/ was in Beothuck tongue. This person whose Indian name is Shanawdithit, is thought to be the wife of the man who was shot.(50) The old woman was morose, and had the look and action of a savage. She would sit all day on the floor with a deer-skin shawl on, and looked with dread or hatred on every one that entered the Court house. When we came away, Shanawdithit, kissed all the company, shook hands with us and distinctly repeated good bye.

June 24th. -- Saw the three Indian women in the street. The ladies had dressed them in English garb, but over their dresses they all had on their, to them, indispensable deer-skin shawls; and Shanawdithit thinking the long front of her bonnet an unnecessary appendage had torn it off and in its place had decorated her forehead and her arms with tinsel and coloured paper.

They took a few trinkets and a quantity of the fancy paper that is usually wrapped around pieces of linen; but their great selection was pots, kettles, hatchets, hammers, nails and other articles of ironmongery, with which they were loaded, so that they could scarcely walk. It was painful to see the sick woman who, notwithstanding her debility, was determined to have her share in these valuable treasures.



28th June, 1823.


In reference to my letter of the 10th instant I now have the honour to inform Your Excellency that Mr. Peyton arrived here on the 18th, bringing with him three Native females of this Island, their respective ages are apparently about 43, 24 and 20. There is reason to believe that the eldest is the mother of the others, and she bears all the marks of premature old age. The second is labouring under an affection of the lungs, which it is much to be apprehended may soon terminate her existence. The youngest is of a very lively disposition and quick apprehension.

Captain Roberts having declined all interference in matters not immediately connected with the squadron, I have on this occasion considered it my duty to pursue the steps as detailed in the accompanying documents; I also transmit for Your Excellency's information a copy of the legal proceedings taken relative to the murder of the two Indians. I trust that the measures taken by me in so important a crisis may meet with your approbation.

I have the honour to be,


Your most obedient,

humble servant,

(signed) D. BUCHAN,


His Excellency

Vice Admiral Sir C. Hamilton, Bt.,

&c., &c., c.

Copy (signed) P.C. LEGEYT,



P.C. Legeyt,




28th June, 1823.


As it appears to me in every point of view of the first consideration that the three female Aborigines should be conducted with the least possible delay to such station as may enable them with the less difficulty to rejoin their tribe, I feel /173/ most desirous on behalf of His Excellency the Governor to facilitate this pleasing object, and it is particularly gratifying to me that my personal knowledge of your humanity, zeal and ability qualified you in an eminent degree for this confidence and trust which I impose on you under a perfect conviction that your proceedings herein will prove most satisfactory to His Majesty's Government. You will, therefore, again take charge of the three native females with the presents enumerated in the annexed schedule, which you will use as circumstances and your discretion may render most suitable as an incitement to these poor creatures to repose confidence in our people on that part of the coast they frequent.(51)

It is impossible to give adequate written instructions on a subject that must even vary according to the circumstances of the moment, and as you are perfect master of what were my intentions and views in the expeditions of 1819 and 1820, it renders it altogether unnecessary for me to say anything on these heads. Should you, however, find it necessary to carry your operations to any part of the coast not included between the NW. entrance of the Exploits, tracing up the Western side of that Bay by Charles's Brook to the River Exploits, you will leave at Exploits Burnt Island, as also at Twillingate, a letter of instruction where you may be found in the event of His Excellency wishing to communicate with you. You will likewise acquaint the Governor with your proceedings as opportunities may offer.

I have the honour to be,


Your most obedient,

humble servant,

(signed) D. BUCHAN,


To John Peyton, Jr.


July 23rd, 1823.


I beg leave to acquaint you for the information of the Governor that I left the three Indian women on the 12th instant at Charles' Brook and that they appeared perfectly happy at our leaving them. I called there again on the 14th instant, when I gave them a little boat, at which the young woman was much pleased, and gave me to understand that she should go to look for the Indians and bring them down with her. I am sorry to add the sick woman still remained without hopes of her recovery.

I have the honour to be,


Your most obedient,

humble servant,

(signed) JNO. PEYTON, Jr.

Copy (sgd) P. C. LEGEYT,


To Captain D. Buchan,

H.M.S. Grasshopper


June 29th, 1825.

Extract of a disputation from R. A. Tucker, Esq. Administering

to the Government of Newfoundland,

to R. W. Horton, Esq.

"You are doubtless aware that three of the Aborigines of this Island were brought to St. John's about two years ago, and two of them died very shortly after their return to the Bay of Exploits, the third, a woman about 18 or 19 years of age is still alive, and from the person under whose charge she has since continued I understand that she has acquired a sufficient knowledge of the English language to communicate that information respecting her tribe which we have so long been desirous to obtain. She states that the whole number of her tribe did not exceed fifteen persons in the winter of 1823, and that they were obliged by the want of food to separate into three or four parties. Of these fifteen, two were shot by some of our settlers, one was drowned and three fell into our hands, so that only nine at the utmost remain to be accounted for, and Mr. Peyton (the person in whose house the Native Indian resides) tells me that from the circumstance of his not being able to discover the most distant trace of any of them for the two last winters he is convinced that they must all have perished.(52)

If such be the fact, this woman is the sole survivor of her race and of course whatever curiosity may be felt regarding it can be gratified by her alone.

Among other conjectures which have been formed relating to this tribe, it has I believe been supposed by a gentleman(53) of talent and learning that they were the remains of Icelandic Colony, and an opportunity is now afforded of ascertaining the truth of this hypothesis, as the language will determine whether they are of Norwegian origin or not. It must also I conceive be interesting to learn from her what notions they had of a Supreme Being, to examine into the present state of her mental faculties and to try how far they are susceptible of improvement by education. Regarding her therefore in these and in many other particulars as an object of considerable interest, I have been irresistibly compelled by my feelings to draw your attention to her."

An old man named James Wheeler, well known about St. John's a few years ago, told me that he distinctly remembered, when a mere lad, seeing these three women passing along the street as described by Rev. Wm. Wilson. He said the people stopped everywhere to look at them, especially the young folk, himself amongst the number, and when the children would crowd around them, Shanawdithit would make a pretence of trying to catch some of them. They would immediately scatter in all directions, child like, then she would give vent to unbridled laughter. Their fear appeared to be a matter which greatly pleased her, nor did she seem the least abashed at anything.

We are indebted to Mr. W. E. Cormack and to Mr. John Peyton for the subsequent history of the three women. Cormack relates the story of their capture pretty much as above, except that he says the husband of the old woman ran away, and in attempting to cross a creek on the ice fell through and was drowned.(54) Also about a month before this event, and a few miles distant, the brother of this man (Shanawdithit's uncle), and his daughter belonging to the same party, were shot by two other English furriers, one or two more of the party escaped to the interior.

/175/ After remaining a few weeks in St. John's the women were sent back to Exploits with many presents in the hope that they might meet and share them with their people. They were conveyed up the river Exploits some distance by a party of Europeans and left on the bank with some provisions, clothing, &c., to find their friends as they best might. Their provisions were soon exhausted, and not meeting any of their tribe, they wandered on foot down the right bank of the river, and in a few days again reached the English habitations. The mother and one daughter here died shortly afterwards, and within a few days of each other. The survivor, Nancy, or Shanawdithit, was received and taken care of by Mr. Peyton, Junior, and family.

Mr. Peyton informed me that after the Indian women came back he had a tilt built for them on the shore of the bay near his own dwelling and supplied them with food, &c., but that the sick girl quickly grew worse, and soon died. He said the old mother used to treat her to a vapour bath frequently, by heating stones and dropping them into a pail of water in the room till a dense vapour of steam was created, somewhat after the manner of a modern Turkish bath. When the old woman died he took Shanawdithit into his house where she acted as a kind of servant, doing, however, pretty much as she liked.

An old woman, Mrs. Jure, of Exploits Island, whom I met in 1886, and who resided with the Peyton family at the same time as Nancy, gave me the following particulars concerning her. Nance, as she was familiarly called, was swarthy in complexion but with very pleasing features, rather inclined to be stout(55) but of good figure. She was bright and intelligent, quick to acquire the English language, and of a retentive memory. She was very pert at times, and when her mistress had occasion to scold her, she would answer very sharply, "what de matter now Missa Peyton, what you grumble bout." At times she got into sulky fits, or became too lazy to do anything. When such moods were upon her she would go off and hide in the woods for days together, only returning when the sulks had worn off, or when driven back by hunger. She would allow no familiarity on the part of the fishermen who frequented Peyton's house, but on one occasion, when amongst others, an individual possessing an extremely red beard and hair was amongst the number, she showed the greatest partiality to this man, even going to the length of sitting on his knee and caressing him; to the no small confusion of the big shy fisherman, and to the great amusement of his companions.(56) She was very ingenious at carving and could make combs out of deers' horns and carve them beautifully. She would take a piece of birch bark, double it up and bite with her teeth into a variety of figures of animals or other designs, i.e. to say when the bark was again unfolded, the impressions thereupon would be such.

I have seen myself, a Micmac Indian perform this same feat. He would select a piece of thin clear inside bark, which was soft and pliable, /176/ then fold it several times tightly. By some peculiar way of manipulating his teeth, he would leave their impress in the bark, upon unfolding which the figures were distinctly recognizable.

According to Mr. Peyton, she exhibited the greatest antipathy to the Micmacs, more especially towards one Noel Boss, whom she so dreaded that whenever he, or even his dog made their appearance, she would run screeching with terror and cling to Mr. P. for protection. She called this man Mudty Noel ("Bad Noel"). She stated that he once fired at her across the Exploits River, as she was stooping down in the act of cleaning some venison. In proof of this she exhibited the marks of gunshot wounds in her arms and legs; one slug passing through the palm of her hand. Mr. W. E. Cormack, to whom she also showed these marks, confirms this statement.

The remainder of poor Shanawdithit's story is soon told; she remained in obscurity at Peyton's house, Exploits, till the autumn of 1828 when the "Beothuck Institute," at the instance of Mr. Cormack, its President, had her brought to St. John's. She then resided with Mr. C. until he left the country some time in the spring of 1829, she was then transferred to the care of Mr. Simms, Attorney-General of the Colony, and died in the month of June of that same year.

In 1824, two Canadian Indians (Micmacs?) reported seeing a party of Red Indians, with two canoes, on the right bank of the Exploits River, about half way between the coast and the great lake. Friendly gestures were exchanged across the river and no collision took place (so Cormack was informed by the two Micmacs themselves).(57)

In 1827 Mr. Cormack undertook a second expedition into the interior, with the same object as formerly. His account of this journey is best told in his own language.

Captain David Buchan, R.N.

Captain David Buchan who figures so prominently in Newfoundland history, more especially in connection with the attempts to open up communication with the Beothucks, is worthy of an extended notice here.

David Buchan was born in Scotland in 1780. In 1806 he held a Lieutenant's commission in the British Navy. Exactly when he first came to Newfoundland I have been unable to ascertain, but Lieut. Chappel in his Voyage of the Rosamond speaks of Buchan in 1813 as having been several years engaged in surveying the coast line.(58) In 1810, he was sent by the Governor, Sir John Thomas Duckworth, to winter at the Bay of Exploits and ascend the river next spring to search out the abode of the Indians. His narrative of that journey gives full details of the expedition, and of the murder of his two marines, &c. He was at the time in /177/ command of the armed schooner Adonis. In 1813 his ship, together with the Rosamond, Capt. Campbell, convoyed the Newfoundland fishing fleet home to England. They left St. John's in December, and had a very stormy passage. When nearing the English Channel the ships became separated in a violent gale, and the Rosamond did not again rejoin the fleet, but the Adonis picked up the convoy after a while, and accompanied it, till in the vicinity of the Scilly Islands when it was attacked by a large fleet of French ships. Buchan's small vessel being unable to cope with such a superior force, had to run for safety, and barely escaped being captured by throwing overboard all her heavy guns.(59)

In 1816 he was promoted to Commander, and was again on this station. During the absence of the Governor that winter he acted as his deputy in command here. It was a winter of much distress and misery brought about by a great conflagration in which most of the town of St. John's (the capital) was destroyed. This was followed by famine, and consequent lawlessness. Buchan acted throughout with such cool, courageous and humane conduct as to succeed in averting worse calamities. He was then in command of H.M.S. Pike, and during the winter he put all his crew on short allowance to relieve the distress of the inhabitants. For his humane and praiseworthy conduct during this trying season, he was presented with a most flattering address of thanks by the Grand Jury, and also with a service of plate by the inhabitants.

Again during the following winter of 1817-18 still more disastrous fires, accompanied by even worse disorders occurred, Buchan again saved the situation, and by his courage and discipline, succeeded in preserving order and tranquility, for which he was again the recipient of much deserved praise.(60)

During the summer of 1818 two celebrated Arctic expeditions were undertaken, the one in command of Ross and Parry, was sent in search of a North West Passage, the other in command of Capt. Buchan and Lieut. Franklin, proceeded towards the pole by way of Spitzbergen. Capt. Buchan in the Dorothea was in chief command, while Lieut. Franklin in the Trent was second. This was the celebrated, and ill-fated Sir John Franklin's first expedition into Arctic waters. Other heroes of Arctic fame took part in this expedition, Beechey was First Lieut., and Back, Admiralty Mate on board the Trent with Franklin. Early in June they reached Spitzbergen, and after being beset with the ice for a while, they sailed again on June 7th and succeeded in passing the NW. boundary of that island, but were stopped beyond Red Bay, and remained fast in the floe 13 days, when they took shelter in Fair Haven. On the 6th of July they again sailed North and succeeded in reaching Lat. 80 degrees 34 minutes North, but could not proceed further.

Buchan now turned towards Greenland, but while sailing along the edge of the ice, encountered such a sudden and furious gale, that in order to save his ships, they had to run before it into the ice pack, thereby /178/ greatly injuring them by the violent contact with the heavy floe. Beechey describes the scene in vivid colours, he says the impact was terrific. "It threw every man off his legs prone on the deck, the crunching of the timbers, bending of the masts, and tolling of the ship's bell, was enough to arouse the utmost apprehension on the part of the officers and crew, yet," he adds, "the conduct of all other such trying circumstances was admirable." "I will not conceal," he says, "the pride I felt in witnessing the bold and decisive tone in which orders were issued by the commander (Franklin) of our little vessel and the promptitude and steadiness with which they were executed by the crew."

The ships were greatly damaged, and when the gale abated, and the pack broke up sufficiently to release them, the Dorothea was in a sinking condition; but they made their way back to Fair Haven and partially repaired them. They then sailed home, arriving back in October.

The next year Buchan was again on the Newfoundland Station and it was in the fall of this year (1819) that he was sent North with poor Mary March, who, as we are aware, died on board his ship the Grasshopper at Peter's Arm, Exploits Bay, in January 1820.

In 1822, Buchan was tried by court-martial, at St. John's on board H.M.S. Albion for some alleged disobedience of orders, but he was honourably acquitted. The charge was brought against him by Capt. Nicholas.

In 1825 he was appointed Surrogate, and at the first term of the Supreme Court in 1826, High Sheriff. Previous to this date he had been made a Justice of the Peace for the Island. His name appears as far back as 1813, amongst a number of other naval officers in the Court Records, who were similarly appointed as J.P.'s for the Island generally.(61)

During the year 1820 Buchan acted as floating Surrogate in the Egeria at Harbour Grace, and administered justice in conjunction with the Rev. Mr. Leigh, resident Episcopal Missionary of that place. Two men named Butler and Lundrigan of Harbour Main were summoned before them for some offence, but as they refused to obey the summons, Buchan sent a posse of marines to arrest them. They were brought to Brigus where they were tried for contempt of Court and sentenced to be publicly flogged. This action aroused public indignation all over the country, especially in St. John's, and a tremendous furor was raised. The leading citizens took the matter up and subscribed funds for the accused to bring the case before the Supreme Court. The case went against Buchan, who was fined and severely censured. It was then brought to the notice of the British Government, and Buchan's cruel and arbitrary conduct was made the subject of a special investigation.(62) It resulted in the doing away with the Surrogate Courts, and the substitution of properly trained legal gentlemen to administer justice thereafter.

I learn from Barrow's Arctic Voyages, that Buchan was lost in the /179/ Upton Castle, coming from India, a ship that was never heard of after the 8th of December 1838. His name was removed from the list of living Captains in 1839.

Buchan is described by those who remember him, as a man of about 5 ft. 7 in. in height, of slight active build, and as being a regular martinet. He married a Miss Marie Adye about 1802-03. From his granddaughter, Miss Eva Buchan of 17 Kidbrooke Park Road, Blackheath, S.E., England, I have learned some few further particulars of Capt. Buchan, and have been also kindly furnished with a photograph of him copied from an oil painting.

She says Capt. B. married a Miss Maria Adye about 1802-03. Her father was his eldest son and was with him on his Arctic Expedition, and she often heard him describe it. He died when she was quite young. She does not say what other descendants Capt. B. left. On her grandmother's side, two of her great uncles were distinguished officers, the one under Wellington, and the other as Flag-Lieut. with Nelson.

There is still preserved in the family some silver plate presented to Capt. Buchan in 1817-18 by the inhabitants of Newfoundland.

I learn from a letter of Mr. W. E. Cormack that Buchan was in Newfoundland as late as 1828. Again from the records, a letter from Col. Secretary, Mr. Joseph Crowdy of date Sept. 1, 1835 acknowledges receipt of a letter from Capt. Buchan tendering his resignation of the High Sheriffship, dated Aug. 27th, 1835. He probably left the country for good that year.

The following interesting particulars relative to the capture of Mary March, also of Nancy, her mother and sister, &c., were procured for me some years ago by the Rev. J. St. John, P.P., of Salmonier, from a very old inhabitant of that place named Curtis.

Substance of Mr. Curtis's Story.

"In the October of 1819, I left St. Mary's to go to Twillingate where Mr. John Peyton wanted me to build a schooner. In the spring of that year Peyton had brought Mary March from Grand Pond(63) to Twillingate. The Indians had the summer previous robbed his boat, and he went with 7 or 8 armed men to recover whatever he could from them. When they came upon the Indians one of them having proved troublesome and threatened to use the hatchet with which he was armed, Peyton's men were forced to shoot him. Mary March returned willingly with them to Sandy Point, where the women took care of her, washed the ochre from her person, and clothed her. She was of medium height and slender, and for an Indian, very good looking. Then he brought her to St. John's to the Governor. Governor Hamilton sent her back by Peyton to Twillingate where she remained with Parson Leigh, who wished to learn her language. Capt. Buchan of the Grasshopper was employed searching for Red Indians in the fall of 1819 to civilize them. Peyton brought Mary March from the Parson's house to the Man-of-war lying in Peter's Arm of the river Exploits, where Capt. Buchan took charge of her. She died on board this vessel in the spring of 1820. I saw Peyton and others bring the corpse, decked out with all the presents and trinkets she had, back on the ice to the Indian camp about 130 miles up the river. Captain Buchan and several of his men went /180/ on this expedition, in all about 30 men. They were very unsuccessful having seen no Indians nor any trace of them. They afterwards went in by Badger Bay but found none there either.

In the month of March(?) 1823, I lived at Indian Point in the Exploits. W. Cull brought three Indian women, mother and daughters to my house expecting to meet Peyton there. Not finding him there, he started, after having been detained 7 or 8 days at my house by unfavourable weather, to bring the women down to Burnt Island to Peyton, who was commissioned by Government to look after them. We brought these Indians to St. John's in the new schooner Anne, which I had just finished. The Government sent them back again with us to the Exploits. They lived in a hut outside our door until Peyton gave them their liberty and furnished them with a small flat boat for the summer. They paddled up the river and landed at Point of Bay where the mother died.(64) Here the daughters buried her in the following manner. They laid a sheet of birch bark on the ground, upon which they placed the corpse, which they covered with more rind. Upon this they placed stones and the burial was finished. They left then for Lower Sandy Point where cooper Pike lived. Here the elder sister died in about a week. The remaining sister Nance paddled in the flat, back to us at Burnt Island, and lived with Peyton and myself until Cormack took her to St. John's, where she died.

Whilst she lived with Peyton she acted, freely and without being obliged, the part of servant, and a very industrious and intelligent servant she was. She made the fire, prepared the tea, swept and scrubbed the floor, washed the clothes, cooked &c. She never made the bread. I never saw her with a needle, but I often saw her stitch by passing the thread through a hole made with a sharp point or awl. I never saw anything in the conduct of the woman to indicate a belief in God. Peyton's religion was very unobtrusive, and he never had prayer in common in his house, in which Nance might join. I am unable to say whether she or the others were baptised, certainly they showed no knowledge of christianity. I am doubtful even as to whether they believed in a future life. Speaking with Peyton on this subject I was told by him that when the elder daughter was sick, he saw the mother light a fire in the tent and hold the girl in the smoke, throwing in certain weeds, and at times raising her hands and eyes imploringly as if in prayer, to some supernatural Being. After her mother's and sister's death, Nance never spoke any more of them, and seemed to forget them altogether.(65) They were much given to theft. Nance and her sister played a trick on a poor fisherman. They opened a barrel of pork belonging to him, and having selected the fattest pieces, cut off the fat and then cut the vamps off a fine pair of boots to contain it. They could use no salt, very little pork, no sweeting, no butter -- in fact they ate very little of anything. We understood from `Indian Nance' that it was her mother, who died at Point of Bay, that scalped(?) (beheaded) the marines in 1811. Certainly her appearance showed her capable of any cruelty. We called her `Old Smut.' She was thought to be the instigator of every wicked act the Indians did.

Wm. Cull told me that he was employed as principal guide by Capt. Buchan in his first expedition to the Indians in the Adonis, when two of his marines were killed by the Indians. These two men were left by Buchan as hostages at the Indian camp whilst he took three Indians with him to where he left some presents and trinkets the night before. The three Indian hostages fled from Buchan and the two marines were stripped naked by the Indians and when they were flying naked down the river the Indians fired at them and shot them. An old Indian woman took their scalps."(66)

/181/ Another old man of Exploits Bay, named Gill, gave me some further particulars about Nance and her companions. Gill's mother was also a servant in Peyton's employ at the time Nance lived with him, and he stated that he often listened with deep interest to his mother talking of her and relating other stories of the Indians.

"Nance was a married woman, according to her own account and left two children in the interior, which she used to express great anxiety about. She said her tribe were very strict about the moral law, and visited severe penalties on any one who transgressed. Burning alive at the stake being the fate of the adulterer, which was witnessed by the whole tribe who danced in a circle around the victim. Nance was fired at by a Micmac Indian once as she was engaged washing venison in the Exploits River. He waited till she turned to walk up the bank when the old ruffian deliberately fired at her across the river wounding her severely in the back and legs. The poor creature dropped the venison and limped off into the woods. In describing the incident she would act the part, limping away after being shot at. She was perfectly aware who the perpetrator of this dialolical act was, -- one Noel Boss, by name, and ever afterwards entertained the greatest fear at sight of this villain or even his dog. It is said of this Noel Boss, that he boasted of having killed 99 Red Indians in his time, and wished to add one more to the number so as to complete the hundred. He afterwards fell through the ice on Gander Lake while laden with six heavy steel traps, and was drowned, by far too good a fate for such a monster.

Nance was very pert at times and openly defied Mrs. Peyton when the old lady happened to be cross with the servants. Nance would laugh in her face, and say, `Well done Misses, I like to hear you jaw, that right'; or `jawing again Misses.' They had named her Nance April from the month in which she was captured, they did not then know her Indian name. Her elder sister was named Easter Eve, that being the day of their capture, whilst the old mother was named Betty Decker, because the party who captured them were engaged at the time decking a vessel. In personal appearance Nance was very similar to the Micmacs, being about the same colour and broad featured. Her hair was jet black, and her figure tall and stout. She was a good worker, and performed the usual household avocations, such as washing, scrubbing &c. with satisfaction. At times she fell into a melancholy mood, and would go off into the woods, as she would say to have a talk with her mother and sister. She generally came back singing and laughing, or talking aloud to herself. She would also frequently indulge in the same practice at night, and when asked what was the matter would reply, Nance talking to her mother and sister. When told not to be foolish, that they were dead and she could not talk to them, she would say, `a yes they here, me see them and talk to them.' She was very gentle and not at all of a vicious disposition, was an adept at drawing or copying anything. Capt. Buchan took her on board his man-of-war, gave her drawing paper and materials &c., he then showed her a portrait of his mother which she copied very accurately. She made very neat combs out of deers horns and carved them all over elaborately. She would take a piece of birch bark fold it up, and with her teeth bite out various designs representing leaves, flowers &c.(67) Her teeth were very white and even. She was strictly modest and would allow no freedom on the part of the opposite sex. Once when an individual attempted some familiarity he was so rudely repulsed that he never afterwards dared to repeat the offence. She would not tolerate him near her. He was a Mudty man (bad man). She seemed well aware of the difference between right and wrong, and knew if a person cursed or swore he was doing wrong, `mudty man' she would say. She is described as a fine worker, was a good clean cook and washer. When first taken /182/ the woman had quite a job to wash off the red ochre and grease with which her person was smeared.

When she fell into one of her melancholy moods and ran off into the woods she would turn round saying, `All gone widdun (asleep) Nance go widdun too, no more come Nance, run away, no more come.' She was fond of colours and fine clothes. Capt. Buchan sent her a pair of silk stockings and shoes from St. John's in which she took great pride."

The widow Jure, whom I met at Exploits, Burnt Island, in 1886, and who was also a servant at Peyton's, during Nancy's time gave me much information about the Indian woman. She confirmed all the above particulars. This Mrs. Jure had learned some of the Beothuck language from Nance who used to compliment her on her pronunciation. Unfortunately she had now forgotten nearly all of it. But on my producing a vocabulary of the language and reading it over for her she remembered several words and pronounced them for me. She also corrected some which were misspelt, etc.

Formation of the Beothuck Institution.

From the Royal Gazette of November 13th, 1827.

At a numerous meeting of the friends of this Institution in the Court House at Twillingate, on Tuesday the 2nd day of October 1827, the Honourable Augustus Wallet Des Barres, Senior Assistant Judge of the Supreme Court, and Judge of the Northern Circuit Court, of Newfoundland, in the Chair.

The Honourable Chairman briefly eulogized the object of the Institution, when the following statement, in support thereof, was made by W. E. Cormack, Esq., the founder:

"Every man who has common regard for the welfare of his fellow beings, and who hears of the cause for which we are now met, will assuredly foster any measures that may be devised to bring within the protection of civilization that neglected and persecuted tribe -- the Red Indians of Newfoundland. Every man will join us, except he be callous to the misfortunes or regardless of the prosperity of his fellow creatures. Those who by their own merits, or by the instrumentality of others, become invested with power and influence in society, are bound the more to exert themselves -- to do all the good they can, in promoting the happiness of their fellow men: and if there be such men in Newfoundland, who say there is no good to be gained by reclaiming the aborigines from their present hapless condition, let them not expose their unvirtuous sentiments to the censure of this enlightened age. -- Is there no honest pride in him who protects man from the shafts of injustice? -- nay, is there not an inward monitor approving of all our acts which shall have the tendency to lessen crime and prevent murder?

We now stand on the nearest part of the New World to Europe -- of Newfoundland to Britain; and at this day, and on this sacred spot, do we form the first assembly that has ever yet collected together to consider /183/ the condition of the invaded and ill-treated first occupiers of the country. -- Britons have trespassed here, to be a blight and a scourge to a portion of the human race; under their (in other respects) protecting power, a defenceless, and once independent, proud tribe of men, having been nearly extirpated from the face of the earth -- scarcely causing an enquiry how, or why. Near this spot is known to remain in all his primitive rudeness, clothed in skins, and with a bow and arrow only to gain his subsistence by, and to repel the attacks of his lawless and reckless foes: there on the opposite approximating point, is man improved and powerful: -- Barbarity and civilization are this day called upon to shake hands.

The history of the original inhabitants of Newfoundland, called by themselves Beothuck, and by Europeans, the Red Indians, can only be gleaned from tradition, and that chiefly among the Micmacs. It would appear that about a century and a half ago, this tribe was numerous and powerful -- like their neighbouring tribe, the Micmacs: -- both tribes were then on friendly terms, and inhabited the western shores of Newfoundland, in common with the other parts of the island, as well as Labrador. A misunderstanding with the Europeans (French) who then held the sway over those parts, led, in the result, to hostilities between the two tribes; and the sequel of the tale runs as follows.

The European authorities, who we may suppose were not over scrupulous in dealing out equity in those days, offered a reward for the persons or heads of certain Red Indians. Some of the Micmacs were tempted by the reward, and took off the heads of two of them. Before the heads were delivered for the award, they were by accident discovered, concealed in the canoe that was to convey them, and recognized by some of the Red Indians as the heads of their friends. The Red Indians gave no intimation of their discovery to the perpetrators of the unprovoked outrage, but consulted amongst themselves, and determined on having revenge. They invited the Micmacs to a great feast, and arranged their guests in such order that every Beothuck had a Micmac by his side, at a preconcerted signal each Beothuck slew his guest. They then retired quickly from those parts bordering on the Micmac country. War of course ensued. Firearms were little known to the Indians at this time, but they soon came into more general use amongst such tribes as continued to hold intercourse with Europeans. This circumstance gave the Micmacs an undisputed ascendancy over the Beothucks, who were forced to betake themselves to the recesses of the interior, and retired parts of the island, alarmed, as well they might be, at every report of the fire-lock.

Since that day European weapons have been directed, from every quarter, (and in latter times too often) at the open breasts and unstrung bows of the unoffending Beothucks. Sometimes these unsullied people of the chase have been destroyed wantonly, because they have been thought more fleet, and more evasive, than men ought to be. At other times, at the sight of them, the terror of the ignorant European has goaded him on to murder the innocent, -- at the bare mention of which civilization ought to weep. Incessant and ruthless persecution, continued for many generations, has given these sylvan people an utter disregard and abhorrence of /184/ the very signs of civilization. Shanawdithit, the surviving female of those who were captured four years ago, by some fishermen, will not now return to her tribe, for fear they should put her to death; a proof of the estimation in which we are held by that persecuted people.

The situation of the unfortunate Beothuck carries with it our warmest sympathy and loudly calls on us all to do something for the sake of humanity. -- For my own satisfaction, I have for a time, released myself from all other avocations, and am here now, on my way to visit that part of the country which the surviving remnant of the tribe have of late years frequented, to endeavour to force a friendly interview with some of them, before they are entirely annihilated: but it will most probably require many such interviews, and some years, to reconcile them to the approaches of civilized man.

Several gentlemen of rank, in England and elsewhere, have viewed with regret the cruelties that have been exercised towards those people; and have offered to come forward in support of any measures that might be adopted, to offer them the protection and kindness of civilization. -- Amongst the foremost of those are His Lordship the Bishop of Nova Scotia. -- and amongst ourselves, the Hon. Augustus Wallet Des Barres. I lay his Lordship the Bishop's correspondence upon that subject on the table. -- After this day we shall expect the co-operation of many such independent and enlightened men.

I hope to be able to effect, in part, the first objects of the Institution -- that of bringing about a reconciliation of the Aborigines, to the approaches of civilization. I have already commenced my measures, and am determined to follow up, in progression, what steps may appear to be the best for the accomplishment of the object I have long had in view. I hope to state to the public, in a few weeks, the result of my present excursion; on which I am to be accompanied by a small party of other tribes of Indians.

(signed) W.E. CORMACK.

It was then proposed by W.E. Cormack, Esq. -- seconded by Charles Simms Esq. and unanimously resolved, -- That a Society be formed to be called the "Boeothick Institution," for the purpose of opening a communication with, and promoting the civilization of the Red Indians of Newfoundland.

1st. -- Proposed by Charles Simms Esq., seconded by Joseph Simms, Esq. and unanimously resolved, -- That the affairs of the Institution be conducted by a Vice Patron, President, Treasurer, and Secretary who shall perform their duties of their offices gratuitously.

2nd. -- Proposed by Joseph Simms, Esq., -- seconded by John Stark, Esq., and unanimously resolved, -- That this Institution shall be supported by voluntary subscriptions and donations; and that persons be appointed at different places to receive the same.

3rd. -- Proposed by John Stark, Esq. -- Seconded by Doctor Tremlet -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That the funds to be raised in support of /185/ this Institution, shall be at the disposal of the Vice Patron, President, Treasurer, and Secretary; and that an account of the receipts and disbursements shall be made out, and exhibited at the annual Meetings.

4th. -- Proposed by W.E. Cormack Esq. -- seconded by Joseph Simms, Esq. and unanimously Resolved, -- That the officers of this Institution shall meet on the 1st of June, in each year, at St. John's, and oftener, if necessary, upon special summonses.

5th. -- Proposed by W.E. Cormack, Esq. -- seconded by John Stark, Esq. and unanimously resolved, -- That the Honourable and Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Nova Scotia be requested to accept the office of Patron to this Institution.

6th. -- Proposed by W.E. Cormack, Esq. -- seconded by Doctor Tremlet and unanimously Resolved, -- That the Honourable Augustus Wallet Des Barres be Vice Patron.

7th. -- Proposed by the Reverend John Chapman, -- seconded by Thomas Slade, Esq. -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That W.E. Cormack Esq. be President and Treasurer.

8th. -- Proposed by W.E. Cormack, Esq. -- seconded by John Stark, Esq. -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That John Dunscomb Esq. be Vice President.

9th. -- Proposed by the Reverend John Chapman, -- seconded by Andrew Pierce, Esq. -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That John Stark Esq. be Secretary.

10th. -- Proposed by W.E. Cormack, Esq. -- seconded by John Stark Esq. and unanimously Resolved, -- That the following gentlemen be Honorary Vice Patrons--

Professor Jameson, President of the Wernerian Society.

John Barrow, Esq. one of the Secretaries to the Admiralty.

11th. -- Proposed by Mr. Bell, -- seconded by the Reverend John Chapman, -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That no additional officers be appointed, with the exception of Honorary Patrons, Vice Patrons, and corresponding Members, who may be chosen from time to time at the meetings of the Institution.

12th. -- Proposed by Charles Simms, Esq. -- seconded by David Slade Esq. -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That annual subscribers, to any amount, shall be entitled to a copy of the Report of the proceedings of the Institute.

13th. -- Proposed by Joseph Simms, Esq. -- seconded by W.E. Cormack, Esq. -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That every subscriber contributing an annual payment of Ten Pounds, or a donation of One Hundred Pounds, shall be Honorary Patrons; and that every subscriber contributing an annual payment of Five Pounds, or a donation of Fifty Pounds, shall be Honorary Vice-Patrons of this Institution.

14th. -- Proposed by the Reverend John Chapman, -- seconded by W.E. Cormack, Esq. -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That the Treasurer /186/ shall receive all monies collected in aid of the funds of this institution, and from time to time invest the same in Exchequer Bills except a competent sum for current expenses.

15th. -- Proposed by Thomas Lyte, Esq. -- seconded by the Reverend John Chapman -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That Shanawdithit(68) be placed under the paternal care of the Institution; the expense of her support and education to be provided for out of the general funds.

16th. -- Proposed by Doctor Tremlet -- seconded by Thomas Lyte, Esq. -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That the best thanks of this meeting are due, and hereby given to W.E. Cormack, Esq. the founder of this Institution, for the deep concern and great interest he has already taken in attempting a communication with the Red Indians, in his perilous journey across this Island, in the year 1822; and for his praiseworthy perseverance to establish, on a solid basis, the means of attaining the objects of this Institution.

17th. -- Proposed by James Slade, Esq. -- seconded by Andrew Pearce, Esq. -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That John Peyton, Esq. be Resident Agent and Corresponding Member at Exploits.

18th. -- Proposed by W.E. Cormack, Esq. -- seconded by Chas. Simms, Esq. -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That the thanks of this meeting are due, and hereby given, to John Peyton, Esq. for the valuable information afforded by him; and that he be requested to continue to use his best endeavours to promote the humane objects of this institution.

19th. -- Proposed by Joseph Simms, Esq. -- seconded by the Honourable the Chairman -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That the proceedings of this meeting, together with the statement made by W.E. Cormack, Esq. -- be published in the Newspapers of the Colony.

20th. -- Proposed by W.E. Cormack, Esq. -- seconded by John Stark, Esq. -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That the following gentlemen be corresponding Members of this Institution:

The Reverend John Chapman,(69) Twillingate.

Benjamin Scott, Esq., Harbour Grace.

Charles Simms, Esq., St. John's.

John Peyton, Esq., Exploits.

Thomas Slade, Esq., Fogo.

Robert Tremlett, Esq., Twillingate.

Joseph Simms, Esq., Twillingate.

Andrew Pearce, Esq., Twillingate.

James Slade, Esq., Twillingate.

David Slade, Esq., Fogo.

Thomas Lyte, Esq., Twillingate.

The Rev. Mr. Sinnott, Kings Cove.

Capt. Hugh Clapperton, R.N., the traveller in Africa.

/187/ 21st. -- Proposed by the Honorable Chairman -- seconded by W.E. Cormack, Esq., -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That an opportunity be afforded to such gentlemen as may be desirous of expressing their wish to support the objects of this Institution, of entering their names with the Secretary.

(signed) A.W. DES BARRES,

Chairman of the Meeting.

The Honorable Judge Des Barres having left the chair, and the Reverend John Chapman having been called thereto, it was proposed by Joseph Simms, Esq. -- seconded by W.E. Cormack, Esq. -- and unanimously Resolved, -- That the thanks for this meeting are eminently due to the Honorable A.W. Des Barres, for his able conduct in the Chair.

(signed) J. CHAPMAN.

The substance of Cormack's narrative of his second expedition is contained in McGregor's British America and was obtained direct from Cormack himself, according to the author. Bonnycastle copied it from McGregor, verbatim et literatim.

Extracts from the Edinburgh "New Philosophical Journal,"

Dec. 1827, pp. 205-206

Civilization of the Aborigines of Newfoundland. -- Our active and enterprising friend Mr. W.E. Cormack, whose interesting journey across Newfoundland appeared in a former Number of the Journal, is about to embark on another undertaking, which will, we hope, prove successful. He writes to us as follows: "Exploits Newfoundland, October the 27th, 1827. -- I have been looking forward to communicate with you on the condition of the Beothucks or Red Indians, the aborigines of Newfoundland. I am here with three Indians, -- a Micmack, a Mountaineer, and a Bannakee (Canadian) -- equipped and ready to set off into the interior, in search of some of the Beothucks, to endeavour to obtain a friendly interview with them as a step to commence bringing about their civilization. I leave the sea coast to morrow and intend to devote a month in traversing those parts of the country where they are most likely to be met with. The season of the year will not admit my traversing every place where they may be found, but I expect to come up with some of their encampments within a month hence. Government made one vain attempt to reconcile this tribe to the approaches of civilization about sixteen years ago; but to civilize a long persecuted tribe of savages requires repeated attempts of this kind.


"New Philosophical Journal," Jan. 1828, pp. 408-9-10.

Mr. Cormack's Journey in search of the Red Indians. -- The following particulars of the expedition of our friend Mr. Cormack are extracted from the Newfoundland Journal (Ledger) of December last -- "The enterprising gentleman, W.E. Cormack, Esq., who, it will be remembered, left this place about the middle of Sept. last, for the purpose of taking an excursion into the interior of the country, with a view to discover the retreat of the Red Indians, and with the ultimate object of introducing them to civilized life, returned to this town on Wednesday last, in a small schooner, from Twillingate. We have had some conversation with Mr. Cormack, and the following may be regarded as a brief outline of the route which this gentleman has taken. -- `Mr. Cormack accompanied by three Indians, entered the mouth of the river Exploits, at the North West Arm, and proceeded in a North-westerly direction, to Hall's Bay, distant about forty or fifty miles. At about half way, namely, at Badger Bay, Great Lake, he was encouraged by finding some traces, indicating that a party of the Red Indians had been at that place sometime in the course of the preceding year. From Hall's Bay, a Westerly course into the interior was taken, and about thirty miles were traversed, towards Bay of Islands, and to the Southward of White Bay, when discovering nothing that could assist him there, Mr. Cormack proceeded Southwardly, to the Red Indians' Lake, where he spent several days, examining the deserted encampments, and the remains of the tribe. At this place were found several wooden cemeteries, one of which contained the remains of Mary March and her husband, with those of others; but discovering nothing which indicated that any of the living tribe had recently been there, Mr. Cormack rafted about seventy miles down the river, touching at various places in his way, and again reached the mouth of the Exploits, after an absence of thirty days, and having traversed 200 miles of the interior, encompassing most of the country which is known to have been hitherto the favourite resort of the Indians. Mr. Cormack is decidedly of opinion that the tribe have taken refuge in some sequestered spot in the neighbourhood of Bay of Islands, west of White Bay, or in the South west part of the Island; and having found where they are not, he apprehends very little difficultly in finding where they really are: Mr. Cormack has engaged three of the most intelligent of the other Indians to follow up his search in the ensuing year; and he feels persuaded that the pursuit will be ultimately attended with complete success.'"

A much fuller account of this last expedition of Cormack is contained in the Journal for March 1829, and as it is Mr. Cormack's own report I give it here in full.


"Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal," March 1829.

Report of Mr. W.E. Cormack's Journey in search

of the Red Indians of Newfoundland.

Read before the Beothuck Institution at St. John's,

Newfoundland. Communicated by Mr. Cormack.

Pursuant to special summons, a meeting of this Institution was held at St. John's on the 12th day of January 1828; the Hon. A.W. Desbarres, Vice Patron, in the chair. The Hon. Chairman stated, that the primary motive which led to the formation of the Institution, was the desire of opening a communication with, and promoting the civilization of, the Red Indians of Newfoundland; and of procuring, if possible, an authentic history of that unhappy race of people, in order that their language, customs and pursuits, might be contrasted with those of other Indians and nations; -- that in following up the chief object of the Institution, it was anticipated that much information would be obtained respecting the natural productions of the island; the interior of which is less known than any other of the British possessions abroad. Their excellent President keeping all these objects in view, had permitted nothing worthy of research to escape his scrutiny, and consequently a very wide field of information was now introduced to their notice, all apparently highly interesting and useful to society, if properly cultivated. He was aware of their natural anxiety to hear from the President an outline of his recent expedition, and he would occupy their attention further, only by observing, that the purpose of the present meeting would be best accomplished by taking into consideration the different subjects recommended to them in the President's report, and passing such resolutions as might be considered necessary to govern the future proceedings of the Institution.

The President, W.E. Cormack, Esq., then laid the following statement before the meeting.

Having so recently returned, I will now only lay before you a brief outline of my expedition in search of the Beothucks, or Red Indians, confining my remarks exclusively to its primary object. A detailed report of the journey will be prepared, and submitted to the Institution, whenever I shall have leisure to arrange the other interesting materials which have been collected.

My party consisted of three Indians, whom I procured from among the other different tribes, viz. an intelligent and able man of the Abenakie tribe, from Canada; an elderly Mountaineer from Labrador; and an adventurous young Micmac, a native of this island, together with myself. It was difficult to obtain men fit for the purpose, and the trouble attending on this prevented my entering upon the expedition a month earlier in the season. It was my intention to have commenced our search at White Bay, which is nearer the Northern extremity of the Island than where we did, and to have travelled Southward. But the weather not permitting to carry our party thither by water, after several days delay, I unwillingly changed my line of route.

/190/ On the 31st of October 1828 last, we entered the country at the mouth of the River Exploits, on the North side, at what is called the Northern Arm. We took a North-westerly direction to lead us to Hall's Bay, which place we reached through an almost uninterrupted forest, over a hilly country, in eight days. This tract comprehends the country interior from New Bay, Badger Bay, Seal Bay, &c., these being minor bays, included in Green or Notre Dame Bay, at the North-east part of the island, and well known to have been always heretofore the summer residence of the Red Indians.

On the fourth day after our departure, at the East end of Badger Bay Great Lake, at a portage known as the Indian path we found traces made by the Red Indians, evidently in the spring or summer of the preceding year. Their party had had two canoes; and here was a canoe-rest, on which the daubs of red-ochre, and the root of trees used to tie it together appeared fresh. A canoe-rest, is simply a few beams supported horizontally about five feet from the ground, by perpendicular posts. A party with two canoes, when descending from the interior to the sea coast, through such a part of the country as this, where there are troublesome portages, leave one canoe resting, bottom up, on this kind of frame, to protect it from injury by the weather, until their return. Among other things which lay strewed about here, were a spear shaft, eight feet in length, recently made and ochred; parts of old canoes, fragments of their skin-dresses, &c. For some distance around, the trunks of many of the birch and of that species of spruce pine called here the Var (Pinus balsamifera) had been rinded; these people using the inner part of the bark of that kind of tree for food. Some of the cuts of the trees with the axe, were evidently made the preceding year. The traces left by the Red Indians are so peculiar, that we were confident those we saw were made by them.

This spot has been a favourite place of settlement with these people. It is situated at the commencement of a portage, which forms a communication by a path between the sea-coast at Badger Bay about eight miles to the North-east, and a chain of lakes extending Westerly and Southerly from hence, and discharging themselves by a rivulet into the River Exploits, about thirty miles from its mouth. A path also leads from this place to the lakes, near New Bay, to the Eastward. Here are the remains of one of their villages, where the vestiges of eight or ten winter mamateeks or wigwams, each intended to contain from six to eighteen or twenty people, are distinctly seen close together. Besides these, there are the remains of summer wigwams. Every winter wigwam has close by it a small square mouthed or oblong pit, dug in the earth about four feet deep, to preserve their stores, &c. in. Some of these pits were lined with birch rind. We discovered also in this village the remains of a vapour-bath. The method used by the Beothucks to raise the steam, was by pouring water on large stones made very hot for the purpose, in the open air, by burning a quantity of wood around them; after this process, the ashes were removed, and a hemispherical framework closely covered with skins, to exclude the external air, was fixed over the stones. The patient then crept in under /191/ the skins, taking with him a birch rind bucket of water, and a small bark dish to dip it out, which by pouring on the stones, enabled him to raise the steam at pleasure.(70)

At Hall's Bay we got no useful information, from the three (and only) English families settled there. Indeed we could hardly have expected any; for these, and such people, have been the unchecked and ruthless destroyers of the tribe, the remnant of which we were in search of. After sleeping one night at a house, we again struck into the country to the westward.

In five days we were on the highlands south of White Bay and in sight of the highlands east of the Bay of Islands, on the West coast of Newfoundland. The country south and west of us was low and flat, consisting of marshes, extending in a southerly direction more than thirty miles. In this direction lies the famous Red Indians' Lake. It was now near the middle of Nov. and the winter had commenced pretty severely in the interior. The country was everywhere covered with snow, and for some days past, we had walked over the small ponds on the ice. The summits of the hills on which we stood had snow on them, in some places, many feet deep. The deer were migrating from the rugged and dreary mountains in the north, to the low mossy barrens, and more woody parts in the south; and we inferred, that if any of the Red Indians had been at White Bay during the past summer, they might be at that time stationed about the borders of the low tract of country before us, at the deer-passes, or were employed somewhere else in the interior, killing deer for winter provision. At these passes, which are particular places in the migration lines of path, such as the extreme ends of and straits in, many of the larger lakes, -- the foot of valleys between high or rugged mountains, -- fords in the large rivers, and the like, -- the Indians kill great numbers of deer with very little trouble, during their migrations. We looked out for two days from the summits of the hills adjacent, trying to discover the smoke from the camps of the Red Indians; but in vain. These hills command a very extensive view of the country in every direction.

We now determined to proceed towards the Red Indians' Lake sanguine that, at that known rendezvous, we would find the objects of our search.

Travelling over such a country, except when winter has fairly set in, is truly laborious.

In about ten days we got a glimpse of this beautifully majestic and splendid sheet of water. The ravages of fire, which we saw in the woods for the last two days, indicated that man had been near. We looked down on the lake, from the hills at the northern extremity, with feelings /192/ of anxiety and admiration: -- No canoe could be discovered moving on its placid surface, in the distance. We were the first Europeans who had seen it in an unfrozen state,(71) for the three former parties who had visited it before, were here in the winter, when its waters were frozen and covered over with snow. They had reached it from below, by way of the River Exploits, on the ice. We approached the lake with hope and caution; but found to our mortification that the Red Indians had deserted it for some years past. My party had been so excited, so sanguine, and so determined to obtain an interview of some kind with these people, that on discovering from appearances every where around us, that the Red Indians, the terror of the Europeans as well as the other Indian inhabitants of Newfoundland, -- no longer existed, the spirits of one and all of us were very deeply effected. The old Mountaineer was particularly overcome. There were everywhere indications, that this had long been the central and undisturbed rendezvous of the tribe when they had enjoyed peace and security. But these primitive people had abandoned it, after being tormented with parties of Europeans during the last 18 years. Fatal rencounters had on these occasions unfortunately taken place.

We spent several melancholy days wandering on the borders of the east end of the lake, surveying the various remains of what we now contemplated to have been an unoffending and cruelly extirpated race. At several places, by the margin of the lake, small clusters of winter and summer wigwams in ruins. One difference among others, between the Beothuck wigwams and those of other Indians, is, that in most of the former there are small hollows, like nests, dug in the earth around the fire place, one for each person to sit in. These hollows are generally so close together, and also so close to the fire place, and to the sides of the wigwam that I think it probable these people have been accustomed to sleep in a sitting position. There was one wooden building constructed for drying and smoking venison, in still perfect condition; also a small log house, in a dilapidated condition, which we took to have been once a store-house. The wreck of a large handsome birch rind canoe, about twenty-two feet in length, comparatively new, and certainly very little used, lay thrown up among the bushes at the beach. We supposed that the violence of a storm had rent it in the way it was found and that the people who were in it had perished; for the iron nails, of which there was no want, all remained in it. Had there been any survivors, nails being much prised by those people, they never having held intercourse with Europeans, such an article would no doubt have been taken out for use again. All the birch trees in the vicinity of the lake had been rinded, and many of them and of the spruce fir or var (Pinus balsamifera) Canadian balsam tree, had the bark taken off, to use the inner part of it for food as noticed before.

Their wooden repositories for the dead are in the most perfect state of preservation. They are of different constructions, it would appear, according to the character or rank of the person entombed. In one of them, which resembles a hut ten feet by eight or nine, and four or five feet high /193/ in the centre, floored with squared poles, the roof covered with rinds of trees, and in every way well secured against the weather inside, and the intrusion of wild beasts, there were two grown persons laid out at full length on the floor, the bodies wrapped round with deer skins. One of those bodies appeared to have been placed here not longer ago than five or six years. We thought there were children laid in here also. On first opening this building, by removing the posts which formed the end, our curiosity was raised to the highest pitch, but what added to our surprise, was the discovery of a white deal coffin, containing a skeleton neatly shrouded in muslin. After a long pause of conjecture how such a thing existed here, the idea of Mary March(72) occurred to one of the party, and the whole mystery was at once explained.

In this cemetery were deposited a variety of articles, in some instances the property, in others the representation of the property, and utensils, and of the achievements, of the deceased. There were two small wooden images of a man and woman, no doubt meant to represent husband and wife; a small doll, which was supposed to represent a child (for Mary March had to leave her only child here, which died two days after she was taken); several small models of their canoes; two small models of boats; an iron axe; a bow and quiver of arrows were placed by the side of Mary March's husband; and two /194/ fire-stones (radiated iron pyrites, from which they produce fire, by striking them together) lay at his head; there were also various kinds of culinary utensils, neatly made, of birch rind and ornamented, and many other things some of which we did not know the use or meaning.

Another mode of sepulture which we saw here was, where the body of the deceased had been wrapped in birch rind, and with his property, placed on a sort of scaffold about four feet and a half on the ground. The scaffold was formed of four posts, about seven feet high, fixed perpendicularly in the ground, to sustain a kind of crib, five feet and a half in length by four in breadth, with a floor made of small squared beams, laid close together horizontally, and on which the body and property rested.

A third mode was, when the body, bent together, and wrapped in birch rind, was enclosed in a kind of box, on the ground. The box was made of small squared posts, laid on each other horizontally, and notched at the corners, to make them meet close; it was about four feet by three, and two and a half feet deep, and well lined with birch rind, to exclude the weather from the inside. The body lay on its right side.

A fourth and the most common mode of burying among these people, has been, to wrap the body in birch rind, and cover it over with a heap of stones, on the surface of the earth, in some retired spot; sometimes the body, thus wrapped up, is put a foot or two under the surface, and the spot covered with stones; in one place, where the ground was sandy and soft, they appeared to have been buried deeper, and no stones placed over the graves.

These people appear to have always shewn great respect for their dead; and the most remarkable remains of them commonly observed by Europeans at the sea-coast, are their burying places. These are at particular chosen spots; and it is well known that they have been in the habit of bringing their dead from a distance to them. With their women they bury only their clothes.

On the north side of the lake, opposite the River Exploits, are the extremities of the two deer fences, about half a mile apart, where they lead to the water. It is understood that they diverge many miles in north-westerly directions. The Red Indian makes these fences to lead and scare the deer to the lake, during the periodical migration of these animals; the Indians being stationed looking out when the deer get into the water to swim across, the lake being narrow at this end, they attack and kill the animals with spears out of their canoes. In this way they secure their winter provisions before the severity of that season sets in.

There were other old remains of different kinds peculiar to these people met with about the lake.

One night we encamped on the foundation of an old Red Indian wigwam, on the extremity of a point of land which juts out into the lake, and exposed to the view of the whole country around. A large fire at night is the life and soul of such a party as ours, and when it blazed up at times, I could not help observing that two of my Indians evinced uneasiness and want of confidence in things around, as if they thought themselves usurpers on the Red Indian territory. From time immemorial /195/ none of the Indians of the other tribes had ever encamped near this lake fearlessly, and, as we had now done, in the very centre of such a country; the lake and territory adjacent having been always considered to belong exclusively to the Red Indians, and to have been occupied by them. It had been our invariable practice hitherto to encamp near hills, and be on their summits by dawn of day, to try to discover the morning smoke ascending from the Red Indians' camps; and to prevent the discovery of ourselves, extinguishing our own fire always some length of time before daylight.

Our only and frail hope now left of seeing the Red Indians lay on the banks of the River Exploits, on our return to the sea coast.

The Red Indian's Lake discharges itself about three or four miles from its north-east end, and its waters form the River Exploits. From the lake to the sea-coast is considered about seventy miles; and down this noble river the steady perseverance and intrepidity of my Indians carried me on rafts in four days, to accomplish which otherwise, would have required probably two weeks. We landed at various places on both banks of the river on our way down, but found no traces of the Red Indians so recent as those seen at the portage at Badger Bay, Great Lake, towards the beginning of our excursion. During our descent, we had to construct new rafts at the different water-falls. Sometimes we were carried down the rapids at the rate of ten miles an hour or more, with considerable risk of destruction to the whole party, for we were always together on one raft.

What arrests the attention most, while gliding down the stream, is the extent of the Indian fences to entrap the deer. They extend from the lake downwards, continuous, on the banks of the river at least thirty miles. There are openings left here and there in them, for the animals to go through and swim across the river, and at these places the Indians are stationed and kill them in the water with spears, out of their canoes, as at the lake. Here, then, connecting these fences with those on the north-side of the lake, is at least forty miles of country, easterly and westerly, prepared to intercept all the deer that pass that way in their periodical migrations. It was melancholy to contemplate the gigantic, yet feeble efforts of a whole primitive nation, in their anxiety to provide subsistence, forsaken and going to decay.

There must have been hundreds of the Red Indians, and that not many years ago, to have kept up these fences and pounds. As their numbers were lessened so was their ability to keep them up for the purpose intended; and now the deer pass the whole line unmolested.

We infer, that the few of those people who yet survive have taken refuge in some sequestered spot, still in the northern part of the island and where they can procure deer to subsist on.

On the 29th November we again returned to the mouth of the River Exploits, in thirty days after our departure from then having made a complete circuit of about 200 miles in the Red Indian territory.(73)

/196/ I have now stated generally the result of my excursion, avoiding for the present, entering into any detail. The materials collected on this, as well as on my excursion across the interior a few years ago, and on other occasions, put me in possession of a knowledge of the natural condition and production of Newfoundland and, as a member of an institution formed to protect the aboriginal inhabitants of the country in which we live, and to prosecute enquiry into the moral character of man in his primitive state, I can at this early stage of our institution, assert, trusting to nothing vague, that we already possess more information concerning these people than has been obtained during the two centuries and a half in which Newfoundland has been in the possession of Europeans. But it is to be lamented that now, when we have taken up the cause of a barbarously treated people, so few should remain to reap the benefit of our plans for their civilization. The institution and its supporters will agree with me, that, after the unfortunate circumstances attending past encounters between Europeans and Red Indians, it is best now to employ Indians belonging to the other tribes to be the medium of beginning the intercourse we have in view; and indeed, I have already chosen three of the most intelligent men from among the others met with in Newfoundland, to follow up my search.

In conclusion, I congratulate the institution on the acquisition of several ingenious articles, the manufacture of the Boeothicks, some of which we had the good fortune to discover on our recent excursion; -- models of their canoes, bows and arrows, spears of different kinds, &c. and also a complete dress worn by that people.(74) Their mode of kindling fire is not only original, but as far as we at present know, is peculiar to the tribe. These articles, together with a short vocabulary of their language, consisting of 200 to 300 words, which I have been enabled to collect, proved the Boeothicks to be a distinct tribe from any hitherto discovered in North America. One remarkable characteristic of their language, and in which it resembles those of Europe more than any other languages do, with which we have had an opportunity of comparing it -- is its abounding in diphthongs. In my detailed report, I would propose to have plates of these articles, and also of the like articles used by other tribes of Indians, that a comparative idea may be formed of them; and when the Indian female Shanawdithit arrives in St. John's I would recommend that a correct likeness be taken, and be preserved in the records of the institution. One of the specimens of mineralogy which we found in our excursion, was a block of what is called Labrador Feldspar,(75) nearly 4 1/2 feet in length, by about three feet in breadth and thickness. This is the largest piece of that beautiful rock yet discovered anywhere. Our subsistence in the interior was entirely animal food, deer and beavers which we shot.

Resolved, -- That the measures recommended in the President's report be agreed to; and that the three men, Indians of the Canadian and Mountaineer tribes, be placed upon the establishment of this Institution, to /197/ be employed under the immediate direction and control of the President; and that they be allowed for their services such a sum of money as the president may consider a fair and reasonable compensation: That it be the endeavour of this institution to collect every useful information respecting the natural productions and resources of this island, and, from time to time, to publish the same in its reports: That the instruction of Shanawdithit would be much accelerated by bringing her to St. John's, &c.: That the proceedings of the institution since its establishment be laid before his Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, by the President, on his arrival in England.

(signed) "A.W. DES BARRES,

Chairman and Vice-Patron."

Letters of W.E. Cormack, Esq., addressed to John Stark, Esq., Secretary of the Beothuck Institution, relative to affairs of the Institution, &c.

Mr. Peyton's Exploits.

26th October, 1827.

John Stark, Esq.

My Dear Sir,

Since you left me I have been at Gander Bay, and engaged two more Indians into my service, a Micmac and a Mountaineer. They are all here now ready and equipped for the expedition and I expect to sail from here to Hall's Bay tomorrow, to enter the country there; traverse from thence to White Bay, thence traverse towards the Red Indian's Lake, thence return traversing to and about Badger Bay Ponds and River. The season will be too late to go over any more of the country in search of the Red Indians, but I expect to discover them in this circuit. Whether I succeed now or not in forcing a friendly intercourse with any of them, I am determined to bring about in a few years an intercourse between them and the Europeans.

Enclosed is a copy of the statement I made for the meeting of the friends of the Boeothuck Institution at Twillingate. I sent Judge Des Barres a copy of the same by the last opportunity for St. John's. In it there was a mistake in the first page, -- nearest part of the New World to the Old, "say nearest part of the New World to Europe &c." -- at the beginning of page fourth for "more independant &c. say such independant &c." You know what place in the report of the proceedings to put my statement. I give the Indians I have employed five pounds per month, and five pounds each if we succeed in obtaining an interview with the Red Indians. To carry objects into effect, the Boeothuck Institution will require about 250 pounds per annum. All the officers must exert themselves in raising funds sufficient. I am in hopes of meeting some of the Red Indians within a fortnight hence. Dr. Tremlett has come to Exploits with me and is here now.

The Gazette has seemed to take more interest in Indian affairs than any of the other N.F.L. papers, and I think you should give the report of the proceedings of the meeting at Twillingate to it for insertion.

/198/ I hope you have introduced Capt. Clapperton as a corresponding member of the Boeothuck Institution. I have employed John Lewis, who you saw on board the Dewsbury, to visit the Red Indians after he returns with me from this visit, to take them in some presents, and otherwise make advances to them to come out to some of the European settlers. I will by degrees have them civilized.

I remain,

My dear sir,

Yours truly,

(signed) W.E. CORMACK.

Second Letter (in reply to Mr. Stark 21st December).


24th December, 1827.

John Stark, Esq.

My Dear Sir,

I have regretted day after day, before as well as since the recipt [receipt] of your esteemed letter of the 21st. inst. that occupations sometimes of one kind and sometimes of another have prevented me the pleasure of telling you that I had returned from my visit to the territory, the ancient territory, of the Boeothucks. You have seen the gleaning of outline of my route in the newspapers. We found traces at Badger Bay Great Lake, convincing us that they had been there last year, a party of them with two canoes: It buoyed us up with expectations; but at the Red Indians' Lake, between two and three weeks afterwards, we had to suffer bitter disappointment from the loss of hopes of seeing any of them alive on that excursion: They had totally deserted their favourite Rendezvous, -- the Great Lake, -- five or six years appeared to have had elapsed since any of them had been there: their wooden cemeteries -- tombs, deserted wigwams: The banks of the noble River of Exploits we afterwards also found abandoned. -- Again referring you to the Gazette I have the strongest hopes that next summer will tell us how many and where they are: I have employed three Indians to go direct to White Bay and Bay of Islands next spring in search of them; they are not to relinquish the pursuit until they succeed in making brothers of them; and when they bring a Red Indian man to Peyton's or other English house, as a brother, they are to receive 100 pounds: Before they succeed in this, some expense will necessarily be incurred. Reports about the Red Indians I now set aside. The Indians employed now know where to go for them, putting reports and assistance from any but ourselves at defiance.

Accept my thanks, and I was much pleased at the report of the formation of the Boeothuck Institution, as well as, for your other services, subsequent to that event. Judge Des Barres has been so occupied lately, that I have hardly seen him; but we are to meet to-morrow morning on business. Boeothuck is the pronunciation of the word in question, -- or Beo-thuck, or Boe-thick, the emphasis being on the diphthong oe and almost dropping the o. The report is yet only in embryo, but in a few days will have this pleasure again with something on that point. &c. &c.

Remaining my dear sir, in the meantime,

Yours very truly,

(signed) W.E. CORMACK.

P.S. I sail for England on the 10th prox. in the Brig. Geo. Canning.


Third Letter written after his return from England 1828.


20th May, 1828.

My dear Stark,

I am, &c. . . . then follows a lot of personal matters of no importance, and references to various friends &c. Only one paragraph refers to the affairs of the Boethuck Institution, as follows, "I have read with great interest the proceedings relative to the Boeothuck affairs, during my absence. We may expect to here [hear] from John Louis, from North part of the island in August or September. I have every expectation, that an interview, as desired would be obtained.

Enclosed are two Liverpool papers, besides in these, the Boeothuck Institution and its objects were noticed in several other English and Scotch papers, Edinburgh Philosophical Journal &c. &c."

I remain my dear sir,

Yours very truly,

(signed) W.E. CORMACK.

Fourth Letter to Mr. Stark.

dated May 21st, 1828.

(This contains no references to the Beothuck Institution or its affairs.)

Fifth Letter to Mr. Stark.

dated ST. JOHN'S,

May 24th, 1828.

My dear Sir,

He first refers to the previous letter and then goes on to say. "It gives me much pleasure now to tell you that I received this morning from Fortune Bay a very agreeable report of the progress of our Indians; John Louis had been joined by the two Indians we were so desirous of getting into our service." The following is extract of Mr. Crude's letter (Mr. C. of Newman and Cos. Gaultois) "John with two other Indians (Peter John and John Stevens) left this 27th March in pursuit of the Red Indians, -- they seem to be almost confident of finding them." Please to communicate this to our worthy member Mr. Scott. I expect to hear from the party themselves in a month or so.

(signed) W.E. CORMACK.

P.S. I will see Judge to-morrow and write you on the subject of our meeting on 1st June.

26th May, 1828.

In anticipation of the first of June, Judge Des Barres and I had some conversation on the subject of our meeting on that day: It is not imperative that our Secretary be here on Monday next, but it will be imperative on him to attend when a meeting of the Boeothuck Institution is called in consequence of the Boeothucks having been met with by the party in search of them. We intend to have a meeting on that day, and will thank you previously to send in a list of subscriptions to the future welfare of the Institution, that we may publish them.

In truth my

Dear Sir,

Yours &c.



Sixth Letter to Mr. Stark


21st June, 1828.

My dear Stark,

The three Indians John Louis, John Stevens and Peter John returned here last night, in a schooner from river Exploits. They travelled from Bay of Despair to St. George's Bay (Harbour) -- thence W. 70 degrees N. to Bay of Islands -- over the Bay of Islands Lake(76) -- thence S.E. to the Red Indian Lake, and down the River Exploits: the only place left unsearched (and that above all others where they are most likely to be found is White Bay). They ought to have gone there before they returned. We think of sending them now, in a vessel going that way, to White Bay and settle the question as speedily as possible, whether any of the Boeothucks survive or not. This vessel goes hence on Tuesday. We are to have a consultation to day &c.

I remain my dear Sir,

Yours very truly,

(signed) W.E. CORMACK.

Letters of John Stark, Esq., Secretary of the Beothuck Institution.

Addressed to W.E. Cormack, President.

First Letter (in reply to W.E.C.'s of 26th October).


21st Dec., 1828.

My dear Sir,

I congratulate you most sincerely upon your safe return to your friends and am very glad to find from Mr. Lilly that you are in good health and spirits, which I hope you will long continue to be blessed with. You will have seen the Gazette of the 13th ulto. I regret that being so very busy prevented my more close attention to the publication of our proceedings. I have sent one copy to Mr. Barrow, privately, and one copy to a Liverpool Newspaper, also a copy to Sir Charles Hamilton,(77) but I have not, nor shall I, take any steps publicly to gain subscriptions without your advice. I think when you have had time to sound the St. John's folks you should appoint some one to go round for subscriptions, apprise me of that fact and I shall instantly set about it in Conception Bay. I shall on the other hand, most readily attend to any suggestion of yours to further your views and ultimate proceedings which every nerve of mine shall be strained to promote to the very summit of your wishes, and to the best of my ability. You will also I suppose write to the Bishop, Doctor Jamieson, and Mr. Barrow, and if necessary a memorial should be drawn up to Government after we shall be able to shew to the world what our subscriptions are. News I have none to communicate, notwithstanding which I shall hope to hear from you when you have had a little respite.

I remain

My dear sir,

Yours most faithfully,

(signed) JOHN STARK.

P.S. Pardon this hasty scrawl.

If the word "Boothick" is wrong and should be Boethick, pray tell Mr. Winton and see him correct it before his Almanack comes out &c.


Second Letter (in reply to W.E.C.'s 26th May).

28th May, 1828.

Dear Cormack,

I last night received your kind letter of the 26th. I have only time now to say that I delayed calling for subscription for the Boeothuck Institution in the hope of a successful Seal-fishery, thinking by that mode to get more money than I can now reasonably expect. -- I last night wrote Mr. Cozens and to Mr. Pack on the subject, and I shall myself go round Harbour Grace one day this week and get all I can, but I beg you will not publish anything till all our lists reach you. I cannot possibly come to St. John's till after the 7th June, but I shall be with you soon after that day. I am proud, very proud to hear of Lewis' success so far and I augur much good from his exertions.

I shall leave no stone unturned to serve you in the pursuit of the benevolent object you have in view. Judge Des Barres is also a warm friend of the cause.

In great haste

(signed) J. STARK.

Third Letter. (Reply to W.E.C. June 21st.)

23rd June.

My dear Cormack,

I duly received your letter of the 21st and regret very much indeed the result of the trip of the Indians. I think with you that it is the duty of the Society to try the only spot remaining unsearched, and you are surely the best judge of the means that ought to be adopted, for my own part I will second any measure you may propose in order to carry into full effect the designs of the Society. &c. . . .

Yours very truly,

(signed) J. STARK.

Fourth Letter.


12th September, 1828.

8 P.M.

Dear Cormack,

We proceed to Peyton's at One o'clock to-morrow in Mr. Pearce's Yacht for the express purpose of bringing Shanawdithit down with us and if we arrive back in time I hope she will accompany this letter in Clarke's schooner to sail on Monday. The more I thought of her deplorable and dark situation, the more I have been impressed with the great importance of her education being proceeded in forthwith, in addition to every other consideration, I feel that individually and collectively the Boe-othuck Institution are doubly called upon to take that unfortunate creature under our own immediate protection for shall it be said that we have held out to the public hopes which cannot be realized, or shall we permit ourselves to be accused of lukewarmness in a cause likely to be so glorious in the results, nay but setting aside these propositions, shall we not as members of society do all in our power to reclaim a very savage from the verge of continued ignorance. I am sure you will heartily join with me in the opinion I have now expressed of her speedy removal to St. John's not only as a measure calculated to do her a real service, but a measure which will /202/ afford you and me the satisfaction of knowing that we have contributed our mite in the general cause of humanity. I find I am running on and classing myself with you, in your efforts to reclaim from ignorance a portion of your fellow creatures, but when I reflect I deny that I have any right whatever to do so, I leave you all the credit and may the palm be thine, &c. . . .

Believe me to continue,

Your sincere friend,

(signed) JOHN STARK.

W.E. Cormack, Esq.

Fifth Letter.


11 P.M. 16th September, 1828.

My dear Cormack,

As I advised you by Mr. Clark's schooner, we came away without her. Mrs. Peyton however very kindly sent us a boat with her this day. She is now at Mr. Chapman's, both Mr. and Mrs. C. have been very kind to her indeed. This will be handed to you by Mr. Abbott who carries round Shanawdithit for you. Mr. Abbott if he charges anything for her passage will not demand more than twenty shillings, but I have not paid him anything, you can therefore arrange with him, I think if he gets credit for 20/- subscription that will pay her passage, I proposed this and he did not seem to object. Thus you have at last arrived at something tangible, and I should by all means recommend her being immediately placed under the care of some steady woman, and placed at school every day, by the bye have her vaccinated at once. She wants new clothes but I thought it better to send her to St. John's for there she can get clothes much cheaper than here. Let me suggest that a stout watch should always be kept over her morals and that no one should be allowed to see her without special permission. You will I dare say tell me it is in vain for me to suggest these things to a man of your sound sense and discriminating knowledge of human nature, yet I feel that if I were to neglect doing so, I might perhaps blame myself when it would be too late. The great interest taken in this unfortunate creature by the Attorney General renders him peculiarly well fitted, being a married man, to advise you what to do upon the occasion. I ought to say that Mrs. Peyton was quite willing for her to come away and I hope Mr. Peyton will not be displeased. To please Nancy I shall give her a separate note for you. She says the found arrow never could have been made by an Indian. An old fellow named Dale of Exploits says positively that he saw the smoke of the Red Indians' wigwams last winter, but I fear that if there are any left they must be very few indeed in number.

Mr. Willoughby has generously subscribed Ten pounds to form a fund for the support of Shanawdithit, but exclusively for that purpose. I think if we cannot find out any more of the Aborigines she ought at all events to be educated and supported for life by the public, and an annuity might be purchased and settled upon her, of this however more when we meet or when I shall have more leisure to write you. Nancy sails at 8 to-morrow morning if the wind is fair. We also sail for Fogo early to-morrow mornign but I shall see her first if possible. Judge Des Barres sends her a little sea stock on board, &c. . . .

Yours very faithfully,

(signed) JOHN STARK.


Sixth Letter.


16th September, 1828.

Dear Cormack,

This note will I trust be handed to you by the Red Indian Shanawdithit herself. She asked me if you had any family, I told her that when I left St. John's you were single but that I could not tell how long you would remain so. Above all things I request you will get her vaccinated by Doctor Carson upon the very day she reaches Saint John's, pray let nothing prevent this.

Yours faithfully,

(signed) JOHN STARK.

The following letter from the Micmac Indian, John Lewis, to Judge Des Barres, is so characteristic of those people, I deem worthy of insertion here.

CLOD SOUND March 6th 1828.

Sir The Barer Peter John he could not go Without any assistance from that you or your order which is much in need of want few Articles one Barrill of flour and 1 wt Bread and some Clothing 3 yds. of Braud cloth

10 yds. of Bleue Sarge

4 yds. of Callico

30 lbs. Sugar

and sended first opportunity in Silvage or in Clod sound if possible because it will be no body it in Clod sound but Peter Johns wife & 4 Chielderens all the rest of Indians be in the country for Beaver hunting or other thing else Family and all and it will be no body saport or stay with peters wife childrens. as for John Stevens-s-family the father he tak care of.

Sir your humble servant


Letter from Prof. Jameson.

(Enclosing copies of letters from John Barrow, Esq. and Lord Bathurst.)

Dear Sir,

I send for the information of your brother(?) copies of letters I have received in regard to his Newfoundland journey which you may have some opportunity of forwarding to him. I am pleased to find both Lord Bathurst and Barrow interested and think their good wishes may be of service to your brother in Newfoundland. Pray present to him my kindest remembrance and tell him from me that we expect from him on his return still more information in regard to Newfoundland.

I am dear sir

Yours faithfully,

(signed) R. JAMESON.


From Dr. Barrow to Prof. Jameson.

ADMY. 18th September.

My dear Sir,

I have sent the chart, memoir and letter of Mr. Cormack together with your letter to Lord Bathurst, who however is just now out of town, and when he has seen them I have desired to have them again for the purpose you mention of making them public; they appear to be very creditable to the zeal and enterprise of Mr. Cormack in a difficult country of which we know little or nothing.

I am dear Sir,

very truly yours,

(signed) JOHN BARROW.

From Dr. Barrow to Prof. Jameson.

ADMY. 22nd Sept.

My dear Sir,

I now send you Lord Bathurst's letter to me in return to Mr. Cormack's communication through you, which I hope will encourage him to add to the information he has already procured. I am strongly for making public every addition to our knowledge of the globe.

I am my dear Sir,

very truly yours,

(signed) JOHN BARROW.

Letter from Lord Bathurst to Dr. Barrow.

My dear Sir,

I am much obliged to you for having transmitted to me Mr. Cormack's account of his Route through the interior of Newfoundland -- a country of which we are very ignorant, as I think that with one exception it has not been traversed before. The state of the Red Indians had attracted my attention many years ago, as there was reason to believe that our people had frequently put them to death without sufficient provocation, and in some instances I am ashamed to say, they were shot at in mere sport. There was no wonder that they flew from all our approaches, and it is not impossible that the Micmac Indians may have contributed to this indisposition to accept the advances which have been made them. Mr. Cormack's attempts to conciliate them could not be otherwise than interesting, and you will have the goodness to desire Professor Jameson to convey to Mr. Cormack my thanks for the communication.

I can have no objection to the publication of the account particularly under so respectable an editor as Professor Jameson.

Yours very sincerely,

(signed) BATHURST.


Letter to Mr. Cormack relative to his journey across country and

his reply thereto.

My dear Sir,

Will you oblige me by informing me in what year you made your journey into the interior, and whether the particulars were transmitted to the Secretary of State.

Very faithfully yours,

(signed) W.A. CLARKE.

31st July, 1827.


My dear Sir,

I made my excursion across the interior of the Island in the months of September and October 1822: A few general remarks and an outline of my route, were in the following year transmitted to Earl Bathurst, by my friend Prof. Jameson of Edinburgh. My journal with particulars, I have not yet been either contented or at leisure to revise.

Yours very truly,

(signed) W.E.C.

31st July, 1827.

Letter from Judge Des Barres.


6th August, 1827.

My dear Sir,

I have just heard from good authority that the Northern Circuit Court will be opened at Twillingate on the 11th of September ensuing and I can only repeat that I shall be most happy in offering you a passage or in any manner to facilitate the very humane and praiseworthy expedition which you have in comtemplation.

I am my dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully

(signed) A.W. DES BARRES.

Letters from the Bishop of Nova Scotia, Dr. Englis, to

W.E. Cormack and replies.


PLACENTIA, August 10th, 1827.

My dear Sir,

You expressed a wish that I should communicate to you the result of my reflection upon an attempt to have a friendly conference with the remnant of the Red Indians, if after due search, it shall be ascertained that such remnant exists.

I cannot hope to offer anything worth your consideration, but fulfil my engagement by occupying part of the leisure which a thick fog has given me, in writing this letter.

/206/ That an attempt at such conference is due to any of the unhappy tribe that may have survived all the efforts for their destruction by English, French, Esquimaux, Micmacks and Mountaineers, must be granted by all who have any feeling; in the hope that they may be brought into the neighbourhood of protection from their numerous destroyers; and cherished and instructed.

It has appeared to me that no pains should be spared in giving immediate instruction to Shanawdithit or Nancy that she may thoroughly understand the object of the proposed conference, and be well prepared to explain it in her native language -- and this may be more difficult than she imagines, in consequence of her long disuse of her own dialect.

The party attempting the conference should not be so large as to create much alarm. Yourself, Mr. Peyton, Shanawdithit, your Mountaineer and one other, would in my opinion, be sufficient, but great pains should be taken in selecting such a person as could be depended upon for coolness and discretion. As the Boeothucks have only bows and arrows a defence might easily be provided by light shields, which might be so constructed as to form good pillows. Two folds of skin, with light wadding between them would be sufficient, but they should be proved. Shanawdithit should be dressed and painted, as when she was first taken, and the sound of their own language from her, would probably induce any of them to stop. But I repeat she is not yet sufficiently instructed to be a good interpreter. She must learn more English, and keep up a knowledge and practise of her own language.

Although your services are kindly offered gratuitously, Peyton has lost so much by the Indians that it would be unreasonable to expect the same from him. I would therefore recommend that a plain statement should be drawn up of the intended rational attempt, and subscriptions would be obtained here and in England to defray the expense and recompence Peyton, and any balance might be appropriated to the Instruction and provision for Shanawdithit if none others should be found, and if others should happily be found, I would place them near their best hunting ground, and under protection, intelligence of which should be communicated with unsparing pains, to our own people, the French, and Mickmacks and all other Indian tribes. A little assistance in clothing, food, fishing gear and arms; and amunition to be periodically issued, would enable them to live. The expense would be small, and Government would defray it. Civilization we may hope would gradually follow. Capt. Canning and Mr. McLauchlin of the Rifle Brigade, who can endure more fatigue in forest walking than any persons I know, and are alike cool and intrepid would delight to share in the undertaking, and if you will let me hear from you particularly of your plan, I think it would be greatly assisted, if it should be possible to have their personal aid.

It is needless to say that I shall be glad to hear from you and that you have the best wishes of my dear Sir,

Your faithful servant,


W.E. Cormack, Esq.

Second Letter.

HALIFAX, September 11th, 1827.

My dear Sir,

I was glad to learn from your letter of the third that you were so near the commencement of your benevolent journey, to which I cordially wish the fullest and most gratifying success.

Your plans appear to be judicious, and I wish it were in my power to assist them by any suggestions worth your attention. All savage Nations, whose language /207/ is necessarily defective, are accustomed to symbols; ingenious in the use of them, and quick in ascertaining their meaning. Some are of a general character, and could be suggested by Mountaineer or Micmac. Any that more particularly belong to the Boeothuck may probably be painted out and explained with Mr. Peyton's help by Shanawdithit. She may also assist in depicting her own tribe and their dress and habits as she is clever with a pencil. Friendly feasts between the Europeans and the different Indians -- paddling in the same canoes -- presentation of gifts -- laying down or burying offensive implements. -- A marriage ceremony, if they have one. -- Feeding their children, occur to me; but they seem so obvious that you will hardly have passed them over; but I should have more dependence on anything suggested by Shanawdithit as known, and in use among her tribe. -- She can also perhaps supply peculiar marks on trees, and the shores of lakes and rivers.

I shall be very anxious to hear of your progress, and shall feel an interest in the whole of your undertaking -- repeating my best wishes, and my prayers for your preservation, and a blessing on your efforts. I remain my dear Sir,

Your faithful servant,


W.E. Cormack, Esq.

Third Letter.

HALIFAX, Dec. 21st, 1827.

My dear Sir,

I was much gratified to receive your letter of Oct. 25th written at Mr. Peyton's. You have excited my warm interest in the expedition in which you were just embarking, and great anxiety for its success. Your plans seem to have been formed with great judgement, but it is certainly to be regretted that Mr. Peyton could not attend you. In case of severe trial, I should fear the steadiness of your Indian companions would not be sufficient, and when they fancied their own lives in danger, I should be equally afraid of their firing and flying.

Should the Boeothuck be found and not brought in, I should think Shanawdithit might very well go to them on the second visit.

The report of your expedition will I hope be printed immediately. It might be well to add to it a detail of expenses to be defrayed by the Institution. If a few copies are sent to me, I will endeavour to make them useful both here and in England. I shall request my friend Mr. Dunscomb to do my part for me.

Allow me to thank you for the honour I have received in being nominated as Patron of your benevolent Institution; but I would beg to suggest the propriety of leaving this office open for His Excellency Sir Thomas Cochrane, who will promote our object. I shall be sufficiently distinguished if I may be permitted to occupy a part of the Vice Patron's chair, where I would hope to find myself near the Chief Justice.

If you should see Mr. Peyton after you receive this, be so good as to assure him I enquired &c. . . .

I hope this letter will find you safely returned to St. John's, where as well as elsewhere you have my best wishes for every success and blessing.

I remain my dear Sir,

with much esteem

your faithful servant,



Fourth Letter.


Sept. 18th, 1828.

My dear Sir,

I was happy in receiving your letter of August the 8th a few days ago at Quebec. That which you were so good to write from Liverpool has not yet reached me, owing probably to my absence from Halifax since the early part of May.

You have my best thanks for an account of the efforts already made for the discovery of the Boeothick, if any remain. The good work should be continued, until it becomes morally certain that none remain, and I have requested our excellent friend Mr. Dunscomb to do all that may be proper for me in the renewal of subscriptions as they may be expedient. The prospect of success seems clouded, but however late the effort, it will be a consolation to have done all that was now possible.

I am now on my way to Boston, and will make the enquiries you desire respecting Fisheries, with the result of which you shall be duly acquainted.

You speak of a change of profession, but do not name the line to which you look forward. I can only say you have my wishes and my prayers for right direction, and a blessing upon your course; and that I am with much regard and esteem,

Your faithful servant,


W.E. Cormack, Esq.

Cormack's Letter in reply.


26th October, 1828.

My Lord,

I was favoured by yours of Sept. 18th from the River St. Laurence, and I hope since that time your journey has been as agreeable to you as you could wish. I regretted you had not received my letter of April written in Liverpool, England, because I stated to you therein the reason that I for one, could not name either our Governor or Chief Justice Patron or Vice Patron of the spontaneous Boeothuck Institution.

The party of Indians sent in search of the Beothucks have again returned, without finding any traces of these people so recent as those I met with last year. The Red Indian woman Shanawdithit has been at length brought to St. John's, and for the present is staying in my house: I really apprehend since the return of the party, and from Shanawdithit's testimony, that the tribe of the Red Indians not only reduced to a mere remnant, but are on the very verge of extinction. Reports of some European settlers, make them to have been seen this summer at a place called Nippers Harbour in Notre Dame Bay about 20 miles S. of Cape St. John. The instructions of the party sent in search were that they should not return to us, without unequivocally ascertaining that the Red Indians were or were not totally extinct and not having done so, to save themselves from further censure, one or two of the party have volunteered to go to Notre Dame Bay again without reward to put the matter at rest. It is a melancholy reflection that our Local Government has been such as that under it the extirpation of a whole Tribe of primitive fellow creatures has taken place. The Government and those whose dependence on it overcame their better feelings still withhold their countenance from the objects of the Institution, and protection from the unfortunate female dropped off among us /209/ from the brink of the extermination of her tribe. Most of the Officers of Government and respectable civilians however feel humanely.

Shanawdithit is to leave me in a week or two to stay with Mr. Simms the Attorney General. This gentleman has been one of the warmest advocates here for humanity towards her people and I know it will be a gratification to him to take care of her and have her instructed. As she acquires the English language she becomes more interesting; and I have lately discovered the key to the Mythology of her tribe, which must be considered one of the most interesting subjects to enquire into. Looking forward, I entreat you to learn from time to time how she is coming on; for it is to such feelings as yours and Mr. Simms' that this unprotected creature will owe her value(?), and be prevented from sinking into abject dependance. She is already a faithful domestic servant. I say these things merely from the fear that she might be cast on the mercy of the Local Government of N.F.L., under which all the rest of the tribe have suffered.

To have this pleasure again soon I remain my Lord with the highest esteem,

Yours faithfully,

(signed) W.E. CORMACK.

To His Lordship, The Bishop

of Nova Scotia.

Bishop Englis's fifth letter.

HALIFAX, Nov. 13th, 1828.

My dear Sir,

Upon my return to this place on Saturday last, I found your missing letter from Liverpool, and I have since been favoured with that of Oct. 27th.

I am greatly obliged by your interesting accounts of the search that has been made for any remnant of the Boeothucks, and although there is too much reason to apprehend that no remnant is left there is some little satisfaction in having caused the best possible search for them, however late. I am glad that poor Shanawdithit is in such good hands, where due regard will I trust be given to her moral and religious instruction. I shall enquire for her with interest, and shall be glad if I can contribute to her welfare.

While at Boston I made the enquiry respecting the fisheries. I found generally that upon an average of five years the value of fish caught has been about 1,500,000 dollars, the export about 600,000 so that nearly two-thirds are consumed in the country. The reports I forward will I hope supply the greater part of the details you wished.

With sincere wishes for your happiness, and with kind regards to many friends around you

I am, My dear Sir,

Your faithful servant,


W.E. Cormack, Esq.