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Full text of "Life and work of the Rev. E.J. Peck among the Eskimos"

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GEOLOGY, 

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SECTION JVC °"°°"^ 

^ SHELF 

PRESENTED BY M^^^uXj^ V Uy^^J^^it^ 



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THE LIFE AND WORK OF THE REV. 
E.J. PECK AMONG THE ESKIMOS 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Boston Library Consortium IVIember Libraries 



http://www.archive.org/details/lifeworkofrevejpOOIewi 




E . J . PECK 



S/icoa-e^S^.0%c^, ^c.,u>n_ 



THE LIFE AND WORK 
OF THEREV. E.J. PECK 
AMONG THE ESKIMOS ^ 

By the rev. ARTHUR LEWIS, m.a. Author 
of "A Memoir of G. M. Gordon," etc., formerly a 
Missionary of the Church Missionary Society. With 
Eighteen Illustrations 



NEW YORK : 

A. C. ARMSTRONG ^sf SON 

3 & 5 West Eighteenth Street 
1904 



Boston uniYeri2i.t;y 
Bchool of Ehsclogy Liijrar? 

ButUr and Tanner, The Selwood Printing IVorks, Frame, and London 



To the wives of our missionaries 
who, being compelled from various 
causes to remain at home, are un- 
grudgingly giving their husbands to 
the work of Christ in far-off lands, 
as well as to those who, in weariness 
and painfulness, in hunger and thirst, 
are constant partners with their 
husbands in different cHmes, this 
book is dedicated. 



PREFACE 

nPHE subject of Foreign Missions is so prominent 
on all sides in the present day that no apology 
is needed for the publication of a book dealing with 
a remote field, concerning which little is known 
beyond the limited circle of those who read Mis- 
sionary magazines and newspapers. Some apology, 
however, may be needed for the author who has 
compiled the following pages. Conscious of lack 
of power ; ignorant, as far as experience goes, of 
all the conditions of Eskimo life; personally un- 
acquainted, untn a short time ago, with any of the 
missionaries engaged in evangelistic work among 
the Arctic people ; the book was taken in hand at 
the request of the Rev. E. J. Peck, whose sole desire 
was to quicken interest in missionary work and to 
deepen the sense of responsibility in the Church of 
Christ concerning the great commission with which 
it has been entrusted. 



viii PREFACE 

A large amount of matter had previously been 
collected by one of Mr. Peck's friends, who wishes 
to remain anonymous. To this gentleman the 
thanks of the author are due not only for numerous 
selections from Mr. Peck's diaries, but also for 
many original passages which have been incorpo- 
rated in the narrative, especially in the earlier 
chapters. 

That there are many blemishes in the following 
pages the author himself is conscious, but he hopes 
that the reader will be lenient when he remembers 
that there was no possibility of consulting those 
who alone could have given help, had they been 
at hand — the missionaries. Working, as they are, 
among the Eskimos, they are hopelessly cut off 
from the outer world. How complete is their 
isolation may be well illustrated by what is passing 
in the author's mind as he writes this preface. In 
July, 1903, Mr. Peck sailed from Peterhead on the 
return voyage to Blacklead Island. About three 
or four weeks later, on August 13, his little 
daughter died at Boscombe. He has not yet 



PREFACE ix 

(August 3, 1904) received any news of his 
terrible loss. The annual ship has sailed once 
more, but still some weeks must elapse before he 
hears that Jesus has called the little child unto 
Himself, for " of such is the kingdom of heaven." 

Among other things, this isolation has made it 
necessary for the author to assrmie responsibility 
in certain matters which certainly would otherwise 
have been submitted for approval to those most 
concerned. One of them in particular is the title 
of the book. Mr. Peck's earnest wish was that his 
name should be kept as far as possible in the back- 
ground. His one desire was that all glory should 
be given to God, and the human instrument remain 
unhonoured. He had hoped that this volume 
would have gone forth under another title. 

But reasons which appeared to be irresistible 
were brought forward for overruling these wishes, 
and it was decided accordingly to make use of Mr. 
Peck's name. When, however, he discovers this, 
more than a year hence, it will probably be another 
cross added to his life, which, it is hoped, he will 



X PREFACE 

cheerfully bear for the Master's sake. And so, 
such as it is, this biographical sketch is sent forth 
to the public, with the earnest prayer that though 
mistakes of authorship and errors of judgment in 
editorship may be detected and condemned, God's 
Name may be glorified, interest in the extension of 
Christ's kingdom may be deepened, and the power 
of the Holy Ghost in convicting of sin and imparting 
newness of life may be recognised. 
Little Bredy, Dorset. 

PS. — It should be stated that a portion of the 
first chapter, illustrating the life of a seaman 
on a British man-of-war more than thirty years 
ago, has been printed, by kind permission, from 
Life's Look-out by Sydney Watson. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

The Early Life of E. J. Peck . . . i 

CHAPTER II 

The Eskimos : Their Origin, Government, and 

Religion 22 

chapter iii 
The Eskimos at Home and at Work . . 46 

chapter iv 
Hudson's Bay 68 

CHAPTER V 

Progress — Ordination 87 



xii CONTENTS 

CHAPTER VI 

PAGE 

Consolidation of Work loS 

CHAPTER VII 

Itinerations and Results .... 123 

CHAPTER VIII 

Gathering Fruit — Ungava .... 140 

CHAPTER IX 

Marriage — Fort George .... 162 

chapter x 
Changed Plans — Home 181 

CHAPTER XI 

A New Venture 201 

CHAPTER XII 

Daybreak in Cumberland Sound . . . 218 

CHAPTER XIII 

Ploughing and Sowing 236 



CONTENTS xiii 

CHAPTER XIV 

FAOB 

A Corn of Wheat 258 

CHAPTER XV 

Bearing Burdens 272 

CHAPTER XVI 

Behind the Scenes . . . . . . 288 

chapter xvii 
Sunshine and Rain 302 

CHAPTER XVIII 

Gathering up Fragments . . • . 321 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

To face page 
Map of the Diocese of Moosonee ... 20 



An Eskimo Iglo or Snow House 

Eskimo Women with Dead Seal 

Eskimo Women and Children 

In a Snow Shelter, Watching a Seal-Hole 

Little Whale River in Summer 

Eskimo Huts on Little Whale River 

Eskimo Children outside Tent 

The " Alert " in Sailing Ice . . . 

The Settlement on Blacklead Island, Cumberland 
Sound ...... 

Cutting up a Whale .... 

Building Blacklead Island 

A Group of Eskimo Children outside Mission 



47 
50 
54 
62 
90 

94 

178 
206 

210 
220 

226 
244 



xvi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

To face page 

A Snow-House with Tunnel-Porch Banked up . 250 

The Missionaries' Home, Blacklead Island . 274 
The Rev. E. J. Peck and First Converts, Black- 
lead Island ...... 310 

An Eskimo Building his House . . . 322 



CHAPTER I 

THE EARLY LIFE OF E. J. PECK. 

*' Whom shall I send, and who will go for us ? Then 
said I, Here am I ; send me," 

IN Caesarea, Cornelius and his household were 
seeking the truth. In Joppa, God was pre- 
paring Peter to impart the truth. Saul, on the 
road to Damascus, was in great need of sympathy. 
Inside Damascus, God was taking away the fears 
and doubts of Ananias, so that he might give the 
sympathy needed. 

Far away in Northern lands the Eskimos were 
waiting for the Gospel, silently yet eloquently 
making their claim on the Church of Christ. Thou- 
sands of miles away God was preparing the mes- 
senger who was to go to them carrying the tidings 
of salvation. 

Edmund James Peck was the chosen instrument. 

He was not by any means the first missionary 
from Christendom to the Eskimo race, for the 
Moravians have laboured long with great devotion 




2 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

among the inhabitants of the Greenland and 
Labrador coasts. 

He was not even the first representative of the 
Church Missionary Society to come in contact with 
the Arctic wanderers. Bishop Bompas, Bishop 
Horden and others had visited them at various 
points, but no one had hitherto devoted his life 
to them, 

A brief sketch of his life previous to his call to 
a most arduous and self-sacrificing work will be 
instructive, as showing what means God chooses 
for the preparation of a Peter or an Ananias in 
these days. 

Edmund James Peck was born on April 15, 1850. 
His parents at this time lived at Rusholme, near 
Manchester. His father was an energetic, con- 
scientious, straightforward man, occupied in a 
linen factory. His mother was a sweet, happy 
Christian woman, whose influence was largely 
exercised upon her son. Edmund was the eldest 
of the family. There were three other children, 
a boy and two girls, making up, to borrow Mr. 
Peck's joke, a bushel of them. When the eldest 
child was seven years of age the family moved to 
Dublin. About three years after their arrival at 
the Irish capital the mother died. Her death, 
as is the death of every good mother, was an irre- 
parable loss to the family, but she lived again in 
at least one of her children. 



THE EARLY LIFE OF E. J. PECK 3 

Soon after this, young as he was, Edmund Peck 
manifested a spirit of fearlessness and a desire for 
truth in matters of rehgion. He was surrounded 
by many Roman CathoUcs, and noticing among 
other things their great neglect of the observance 
of the Sabbath, though only eleven years of age, 
he would speak to some of them about it, and express 
a decided opmion that a religion which did not 
bring forth the fruits of holiness must be worthless 
in God's sight. In other ways also, especially in 
conversation with his father, the same kind of 
attitude was evident. And though this zeal for 
God was lost for some years afterwards in a careless 
life, it is interesting as pointing to the real bent of 
his character, and proving the truth of the old adage 
that " the child is father to the man." 

When he was thirteen years old another sore trial 
befell the boy — the death of his father. Speaking 
of that time, he says : " The most vivid and sorrow- 
ful picture of my life was when I stood by the open 
grave of my father, with the tears rolling down my 
cheeks, as I remembered that I was now left utterly 
orphaned in a lone, lone world." Perhaps this was 
a foreshadowing of his future loneliness in a world 
of ice. 

But help was at hand. Edmund Peck had at- 
tended the church of St. Matthias ; he had also been 
a member of the Sunday School of that church. 
The clergyman was the Rev. Maurice Day, after- 



4 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

wards Bishop of Cashel, and he interested himself 
so that the lad was enabled to enter the navy. The 
kindly action of this clergyman made a deep im- 
pression on the boy's mind. Many years later, 
he had the great pleasure of meeting him again. 
The Bishop was the chairman of a meeting in 
Dublin for the Church Missionary Society, at which 
his former Sunday School scholar was one of the 
speakers. Their joy was great and mutual. 

After having been received on board the guard- 
ship, H.M.S. A] ax, lying at Kingstown, Edmund Peck 
was very soon drafted to the training ship, Impreg- 
nable, stationed at Plymouth. Here he arrived on 
January 12, 1865, and remained until May 12, 1866. 
Then he joined H.M.S. Caledonia, which was under 
orders for the Mediterranean. It was in the Great 
Sea of the Old Testament, amid the historic sur- 
roundings of the ancient world, that the spiritual 
life of the future missionary was awakened and 
fostered. 

At the end of about two years he was laid low 
with Mediterranean fever, and was brought very 
near to the gate of death. In the weeks of prostra- 
tion that followed, one of the ship's officers used to 
come and see him frequently ; and though we do not 
hear of these visits causing the patient more than 
passing pleasure, we can hardly doubt that they 
had a permanent effect. 

As he returned to a slow convalescence, the young 



THE EARLY LIFE OF E. J. PECK 5 

sailor began to read a Bible which his sister had 
given him when they parted. Illness had awakened 
him to his need of spiritual and eternal things, and, 
in his own words, he " made great efforts to secure 
peace to his soul." These efforts, however, were in 
vain, for they were made in his own strength only, 
and " in the energy of the flesh." Mr. Peck con- 
cludes the review of this portion of his life with the 
expressive sentence, " While weakness lasted, I 
went on in what I may term the trying-to-be-a- 
Christian state." 

As his health did not improve, he was invalided 
home to England in the autumn of 1868. After 
some time on furlough he was sent to Nelson's old 
flag-ship, the Victory. Speaking of this time, 
Mr. Peck says : " Many strange thoughts stirred 
within me as I looked upon that spot upon the 
Vktory^s quarterdeck where England's noblest 
naval hero fell fighting the battle which freed Eng- 
land from her foes. But little did I think at that 
time that the Lord would call me to a conflict 
mightier than that of earthly battles, because 
eternal destinies hang upon the triumphs of the 
host of God." 

When drafted from the Victory he joined his old 
vessel, the Caledonia, though with a new crew. At 
this time there seems to have been some retrogression 
in the struggle for spiritual life. With returning 
health, as often happens, good resolutions grew 



6 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

weaker, so that we find him writing : " For a time, 
at least, I gave up private prayer and the study of 
the Scriptures." But the wanderer was not allowed 
to wander unwarned. " In the midst of life we are 
in death," and this is especially true in the case of a 
sailor. Dangers and accidents are always eloquent, 
even when we cannot hear the voice of ordinary 
passing events. One day he was ordered aloft with 
one of his shipmates. The latter got into the rigging 
a moment before him and a race upwards ensued. 
Suddenly a ratline gave way under the foot of his 
shipmate, who was dashed upon the deck a maimed, 
crushed mass of humanity. This roused thought 
in the one who was spared : " Why was it that I 
was spared ? Why was I led to the opposite side 
of the rigging to that which my poor shipmate had 
taken ? Why ? Because God had a life-task for 
me to perform." 

On another day, when a heavy sea was running, 
he was sent to the large wheel, which had three tiers 
of spokes. A mighty sea caught the rudder and 
wrenched the wheel from the grasp of all the men 
who held it, dashing upwards, against the deck 
above, one poor fellow who was on the weather side. 
We who were on the lee-side were saved from hurt. 
The injured man died soon afterwards as a result of 
the accident. 

Whatever effect these and similar accidents had 
upon the young sailor at the time, they were brought 



THE EARLY LIFE OF E. J. PECK 7 

to his remembrance later and used by the Holy 
Spirit for the guidance and moulding of his life. If 
it be true 

That not a worm is cloven in vain, 
That not a moth with vain desire 
Is shrivel'd in a fruitless fire, 

Or but subserves another's gain, 

how much more the sudden death of one with whom 
we are closely associated ! God's voice is always 
to be heard by those who have ears to hear. 

It was, as a matter of fact, some time after this, 
on board his next ship, the Excellent^ that the pearl 
of great price was found. Mr. Peck says, *' One 
evening, when reading i John v. 9-13, this glorious 
passage was made the means of bringing peace, 
perfect peace, to my troubled conscience. With 
what power and force did these words of God speak 
to my poor longing, trembHng heart ! What a mine 
of comfort they held for me, and still hold, not only 
for myself, but for all those who will accept them ! '* 

Truly, the spirit breatheth where He Hsteth. We 
understand readily enough that the whispered 
breath may be wafted to the weary soul in the hush 
of the sanctuary 5 in the stillness of the prayer- 
chamber; in the solemn hours of the night. We 
understand the louder message of God being heard 
in the inspired voice from the Church pulpit or the 
pleading tones of the Mission Room. We can under- 
stand the awful call of God to repentance coming 



8 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

from the earthquake or the thunder as on Sinai. 
There is a certain agreement and harmony between 
them. 

But we should be indined to say that the confused 
discords of Babel were no surroundings for the 
Spirit of Pentecost. And yet it was a veritable 
Babel on board ship between thirty and forty years 
ago, in which the Holy Breath came into the life of 
young Peck and took possession of him. 

There was no nook for quiet meditation where a 
seaman could be alone. Every place was public, 
every place was noisy. Here is a group playing a 
forbidden game of cards under cover of a barrier 
formed of piled-up " ditty hoxes^'' a mess kettle, and 
other unshoreUke obstacles. There is a man play- 
ing his banjo with his eternal tumma-tumma-tum- 
tum. In another part is a concertina in full swing 
playing " Jack's the Lad," while a score or more of 
step-dancers execute wonderful performances with 
their bare feet on the deck, their rough [soles sound- 
ing like the rasp of a knife being cleaned on a brick- 
dust board. In another part are seen two young 
fellows, locked in each other's arms in orthodox 
ballroom fashion, whirling gracefully round in the 
dreamy mazes of a valse, the music being hummed 
by the pair in turn. 

Yet again a sombre-minded sailor chants dole- 
fully that dreariest of all ditties, " Babara Allan,'* 
beloved of Jack years ago. Close by him, another 



THE EARLY LIFE OF E. J. PECK 9 

tar with a hammer is whack, whacking a leather 
sole before clumping it, as well as any shoemaker, on 
to the waiting boot, and thus proving that " a sailor 
can do anything." A little knot of men is in hot 
and fiery argument over the Tichborne Case ; another 
over the merits of a new gun. Here is a man writing 
to his sweetheart ; another is making a twine cabbage- 
net for the mess ; a third is mangling his washed 
clothes with the bottom of an enamelled basin or 
rolling-pin. The gangway is blocked here and there 
by men with fathoms of spun yarn and canvas- 
wrapped leaf-tobacco, " heaving " it into those 
huge cigar-shaped rolls much appreciated by sailors, 
envied and coveted by shore smokers — a hundred or 
two of men laughing, talking, skylarking ; this is the 
scene into which the Gracious Spirit enters, and seek- 
ing out amid the din of that deck the young sailor 
who, defying all opposition, sits reading his Bible, 
whispers to him the word of peace and assurance. 

On January 7, 1874, he was transferred from the 
Excellent to H.M.S. Hector, the guardship in South- 
ampton Water, and here he formed a friendship 
with John Martin, sailmaker, Sydney Watson, 
carpenter's yeoman, and Tom Yeadle, seaman. 
These four eventually came to be like-minded in 
spiritual things, and so were also inseparable, meet- 
ing together night after night for prayer and praise. 
But they could not remain satisfied with mutual 
edification. They must offer their good things to 



10 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

others also. Referring to these days, Mr. Feck 
writes : " A little band of the Lord's people, being 
thus brought together, we were almost immediately 
led to try and do something for our unconverted 
shipmates. Very soon we had interested one or 
two more seamen to join us, men for whose con- 
version we never ceased to pray. Then as the days 
went on, and our Httle nightly gathering grew more 
and more precious, we divided the hour spent, mak- 
ing the definite study of the Bible a part of the 
exercises ; for each felt the need of feeding in the 
green pastures.' " 

But they were not allowed much peace outwardly. 
They were himted about constantly from place to 
place by many in authority who seemed to take a 
pleasure in persecuting them. Among their bitterest 
enemies was a ship's corporal, who, though he drove 
them like partridges, was forced to give an unwilling 
testimony to the effect of their meetings. The 
corporals' mess was cleaned and cared for by a smart 
but ungodly lad, who held the rating in the ship of 
first-class boy. This lad came down on one occa- 
sion to a meeting which was being held in the seclu- 
sion of the carpenter's store room. He was decidedly 
impressed, and this proved to be only the first of 
many gatherings that he afterwards joined. For 
he came again and again. Whether he was truly 
converted or not was not manifest, but certainly 
his whole life was changed. One night, as three 



THE EARLY LIFE OF E. J. PECK ii 

of the band of men were emerging from the store- 
room, their old enemy the corporal saw them, and 
beckoned them to him. As they ranged up close 
to his table, he said : " What in the name of fortune 
do you do down there with the fellows ? They go 
down devils and come up saints." The words 
speak for themselves, and prove that God was mani- 
fested in these humble but happy gatherings. 

The petty persecutions directed against these 
men, who had banded themselves together for devo- 
tion and spiritual edification, after a time became 
so constant that they could find no cave of Adullam 
as a permanent refuge. Accordingly they sum- 
moned up courage enough to make an official appli- 
cation for a spot where they might meet, " none 
daring to make us afraid," and in response to their 
appeal they were granted the use of one of the bath- 
rooms. What precious times they spent there ; 
how sweet their memory still ! One of these even- 
ings stands out vividly to this day. The iron room 
is about twelve feet by nine ; along three sides are 
massive iron baths, surmounted by huge pipes, and 
great glittering brass cocks. The deck under foot 
is covered with three-inch wooden gratings, sodden 
with water which, swayed with every motion of the 
vessel, rushes up over the men's bare feet. There is a 
general sense of cold, chill damp pervading the place, 
but it does not damp or chill the ardour of the little 
band of ten or a dozen sailors gathered there. The 



12 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

little company are pitched (the Americanism " fixed- 
up " would be perhaps an appropriate word) in all 
sorts of odd positions ; some are seated on their 
low ditty boxes (ten inches long, eight wide, seven 
deep, their size) placed on the wet deck gratings ; 
some perch upon the cold, damp iron edge of the 
long baths ; some stand leaning against the rough 
iron plates of the walls of the room. The gathered 
drops on the iron plates overhead and on the plates 
which form the sides of the room, make the whole 
place a kind of " nautical dripping well." All the 
men have Bibles in their hands, and there is a look 
of eager interestedness upon the faces. The subject 
of the Bible Reading is " Heart Religion," the place 
of reading the latter part of Deuteronomy v., and 
the early part of the next chapter. 

" Listen to these words again, chums," says the 
old sailmaker as he repeats his reading. ' I have 
heard the voice of the words of this people, which 
they have spoken . . . they have well said all that 
they have spoken. O, that there was such an heart 
in them, that they would fear Me, and keep My 
commandments always." 

" Ah, chums," he goes on, " it makes all the 
difference whether a man has a head or a heart reli- 
gion. Head religion is like moonlight ; that is pretty 
and cold, and romantic like, good for courting 
couples and for pictures, for poets and book-writing 
fellows when they want to make a pretty scene, 



THE EARLY LIFE OF E. J. PECK 13 

but it has no notion of melting ice or warming the 
earth. And it is just like that with head religion — 
there's no warmth, no life in it. There ain't ne'er 
a one of us here as would be so green as to hold our 
hands out to the moon to warm them j but there are 
folks foolish enough to try and heal broken hearts, and 
to warm their cold souls with head religion. Then 
when they find it is all a failure, they blame God and 
the Bible. They say there's nothing in any religion, 
it's all a farce, and they'll have nothing to do with it. 
Poor things ! They're moon-blind, or they would 
see the truth as God tries to teach it all through the 
Bible, that ' it is with the heart man beheveth unto 
righteousness.' " 

Here the good old man tucked his book under his 
arm, rubbed his hands together with an almost 
boyish glee, as he continued : " Hallelujah ! for the 
sunshine — God's sunshine — the joy of theLord ! Why, 
look here. The other night when that little chap 
was singing his ditty on the upper deck, ' I love the 
merry sunshine,' you remember how everybody 
clapped him, and encored. I could not help wishing 
that a few of them would learn to love God's heart- 
sunshine. Thank God, He has made it so easy to 
have heart religion ! Everyone has the power to 
trust, to believe." 

A few more words from John Martin, and on 
they read : " And thou shalt bind them for a sign 
upon thine hand," 



14 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

" What does that mean ? " asked a young sailor. 
" How can we carry rehgion on our hands ? " 

" Well, the idea comes to me Hke this," rephed 
another : "If a gent has a regular tip- top ring, a 
diamond, or something like that, he's not only not 
ashamed of it, but he takes good care that everyone 
shall see it. You'll see, he'll stick out his finger 
when he lifts up his glass of wine to his lips ; an' if 
he's twistin' his moustache, somehow you don't 
see the twist of the hair, but you do the twirl of that 
diamond. And it strikes me that God means to 
say to us, if our religion is worth anything people 
will see it as readily as though it was a diamond 
ring bound upon our finger." 

Then, with a smile at the young sailor who had 
made the inquiry, the expounder continued : " Don't 
you remember, chum, when you an' me was ship- 
mates in the C , and we went ashore together 

at Madras, how we saw the different sects of Hindoos 
with their castemarks in their foreheads, and how 
proud they were of them, and how plainly the marks 
showed up to everyone ? " 

*' Right yer are, I remember ! But what's that 
got to do with religion on the hand ? " said the 
young sailor. 

" Nothing to do with the hand," replied the 
other. " But that same verse has something about 
the foreheads, too," and, Hfting his Bible, the sea- 
man expositor read, by the light of the lantern 



THE EARLY LIFE OF E. J. PECK 15 

which swung from the ceiling, " And they shall be 
as frontlets between thine eyes." " That is plainer 
still, chums ; a fellow might lose his hands or hide 
them in his pockets, but with God stamped on his 
brow, I suppose everyone will know he is born 
again." 

It will be seen from this faithful description of 
this meeting, which is but a sample of many Hke it, 
that though the men who were gathered together 
may not have had much critical knowledge of the 
Book of the Old Testament which they read, they 
had nevertheless grasped the simple truth of God's 
love, and reaHzing this they could give back love 
and praise to Him who had made them new creatures 
in Christ Jesus. 

Besides the sustaining of spiritual life there was 
another result in the case of Edmund Peck and one 
other member of this little society of godly men. 
These two determined to improve themselves from 
the educational point of view. Morning after 
morning they were up and dressed and at their 
studies by four o'clock. The first half hour or so 
was spent in private devotion and Bible reading. 
After that they would read and'write for the cultiva- 
tion of the mind and intellect. But just as the 
meetings of the original four men for spiritual edifi- 
cation found a wider expansion when they began to 
invite their shipmates to join them, so there was a 
similar result in this more secular 'matter. The two 



i6 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

friends found so great a delight in their books that 
it became their increasing desire to share their privi- 
leges with others. So they began to cast about 
in their minds for some plan of action. After much 
thought and prayer as to what they should do for 
their shipmates, they decided to send a few pounds 
to London to their friend, Mr. Wm. Cheshire, 
Engraver, of Holborn Viaduct, and of Stirling Villa, 
Sutton, Surrey, asking him to lay the money out in 
suitable books for lending to the crew. 

There was a ship's library, of course, on board 
the vessel, but it was a very small affair, and very 
dry, and very, very stale, so that scarcely any one 
thought of asking for a book. (Things in the Navy, 
in this respect, have somewhat improved, but 
in those days, a ship's Hbrary was an Ezekiel's 
Valley, " full of dry bones.'') 

On receipt of the letter and postal orders for two 
or three pounds, Mr. Cheshire was so dehghted with 
their notion that he started off to see Mr. Samuel 
Partridge, of the well-known Paternoster Row firm. 
Showing that good man the letter, he asked : "If 
two man-of-war's men can do this much out of love 
for the souls of their shipmates, I feel that some of 
us who are Christians and in the book trade ought 
to help them a little. What will you do, Mr. Part- 
ridge ? " 

*' Do ! " said that gentleman. " I'll do this : For 
every pound's worth of books you can get in the 



THE EARLY LIFE OF E. J. PECK 17 

Row gratis, I'll add a pound's worth at the same 
rate." 

Mr. Cheshire called upon other publishers, and two 
others specially helped him, Messrs. Shaw, of 48, Pater- 
noster Row, and Mr. Haughton, author of Heaven, 
and How to Get There, and other kindred books. 

The price of books thirty years ago bears no com- 
parison with that of to-day. They had supposed 
that a parcel in size about two feet by one would 
have been about the kind of thing they should 
receive ; their surprise when the parcel actually 
came was beyond all expression. The vessel was 
lying off Cowes at the time, in attendance upon her 
Majesty, who was at Osborne. The case was ad- 
dressed to Sydney Watson, carpenter's yeoman, and 
he was summoned on to the quarterdeck one after- 
noon, and was asked what that huge case contained 
which was alongside, and addressed to him, and 
who gave him permission to order goods to that 
amount, since he was not entitled by rank to have 
any box on board other than his tool chest ? 

He repHed that he had not yet seen the parcel, 
but that he and a chum certainly had sent for a few 
pounds' worth of books, to distribute on loan, to 
their shipmates in their messes. 

The officer fumed, and said that the Government 
found all stores needed for the men, and that the 
owner could order the case to be sent ashore again, 
as it certainly should not come on board. 

2 



i8 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

The carpenter's yeoman, dismissed from the 
presence of the irate officer, went to the gangway 
to see the parcel. It measured quite three feet each 
way — a stout, wooden case, iron-banded. 

Passing down into the lighter on which it lay, he 
explained the difficulty to the man in charge, gave 
him a tip for his trouble, and asked him to request 
his manager at Cowes to let the case stay in his 
warehouse until he could get ashore, which would 
probably be the next day. 

It was the commander who had refused permission 
for the case to come on board, and shortly after, when 
on shore, he was taken seriously ill with gout. This 
was the opportunity. Formal appHcation was 
made to the next in command, and he readily allowed 
the box to be brought on the ship. They had to 
put a stout whip on the mainyard end to hoist the 
box (all nautical readers will understand this allu- 
sion), and after some considerable excitement the 
thing was housed in the store-room, though it only 
just passed down through the square of the hatch. 
The unpacking and sorting of that box was a won- 
drous time, for the contents were altogether beyond 
their conception of book wealth ; and when, two 
days later, on the Sunday afternoon, immediately 
after dinner, the two chimis carried a number of 
books, on loan, to each mess, their shipmates were 
as delighted as they were amazed. Only one thing 
was needed to complete the joy of that first distribu- 



THE EARLY LIFE OF E. J. PECK 19 

tion of loan literature, namely, the presence of 
Messrs. Cheshire, Partridge, Shaw and Haughton, 
that they might have seen how the sailors appre- 
ciated their kindness and generosity. That case 
of books proved an untold blessing to the ship's 
messes. 

Interesting as are the scenes on this side of naval 
life, and tempting as they are to linger over, the 
narrative must hasten on to that which was in parti- 
cular one issue of them. We glance at Mr. Peck's 
notes, and he takes up the story which links the 
Eskimos and their spiritual destinies with a British 
man-of-war : — 

" About this time Tom Yeadle, the seaman gunner, 
informed me that he had heard from a clergyman, 
the Rev. T. Romaine Govett, Vicar of Newmarket, 
asking him to leave the Service and go, if possible, 
to Newmarket, as Scripture Reader. Tom Yeadle, 
for certain family and personal reasons, finding it 
impossible to comply with his friend's request, 
referred the clergyman to me (E. J. Peck), saying 
that he thought I might be able to go. After prayer- 
ful consideration and some correspondence with 
Mr. Govett, I was able — through the permission of 
the naval authorities, of course — to purchase my 
discharge, and I finally left the Navy on May 7, 
1875, and went to Mr. Govett a few days after. 

" The Rev. T. Romaine Govett was, in many 
respects, a remarkable man of God, and I could 



20 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

never, if I tried, tell all that I owe, under God, to 
his wonderful influence upon my life and thought. 

" My time at Newmarket was chiefly spent in 
study, visiting from house to house and reading 
God's word to the people, holding cottage meetings, 
and doing what I could for the racing men and 
others engaged in the ' horsey fever,' and all of 
whom Seemed to live only for pleasure and gain. 

" I had conceived a desire to be a missionary, and 
the desire grew stronger every day, while Mr. Govett 
rejoiced to foster it, offering to help me forward in 
my project in any way possible to him. One morn- 
ing he called me up into his study and informed me 
that he had thought deeply over my missionary 
wishes, so much so, that on the previous night he 
could hardly sleep, and spent much of the night in 
prayer and deep thought upon the matter. He also 
informed me that he had decided to write to the 
Church Missionary Society, Salisbury Square, and 
invite them to take me into their training institute. 
With feelings which I cannot describe I went up to 
London to see members of the committee, and after 
a very searching examination I was accepted for 
training, and entered the Society's preparatory insti- 
tute at Reading in the latter part of 1875. 

*' I had been studying some months, when one 
morning I was startled by receiving a call to pro- 
ceed to the Society's offices in London (SaHsbury 
Square). On my arrival I was ushered into the 




MAP OF THE DIOCESE OF MOOSONEE, 

[The map of the United Kingdom, on the same scale, has been inserted to show how vast are 
the distances to be traversed.] 



THE EARLY LIFE OF E. J. PECK 21 

presence of the Rev. H. Wright, and pointing to 
the shores of Hudson's Bay, he told me that Bishop 
Horden needed a man to go forward to preach the 
Gospel to the Eskimos. With the holy enthusiasm 
of the true missionary he reminded me that it might 
be the Lord's will to gather, through my instru- 
mentality, a people from these inhospitable wilds 
to be sons and daughters of God. 

" ' Will you go ? ' he asked. 

" Moved, doubtless, by the Holy Ghost, I imme- 
diately replied that I was wiUing to go. A short 
time was placed at my disposal to bid farewell to 
my loved ones, and to prepare for the voyage — a 
voyage, be it remembered, which can only be made 
once a year, at one special season. Mr. Wright 
and his family showed me not a little kindness, and 
it was from their never-to-be-forgotten home that I 
finally started for my port of embarkation in the 
beginning of June, 1876." 



CHAPTER II 

THE ESKIMOS — THEIR ORIGIN, GOVERNMENT AND 

RELIGION 

*' I am debtor both to the Greeks and to 
the Barbarians." 

" Come over into Macedonia and help us." 

NOW that we have seen the man whom God 
had prepared for His call and work, let us 
visit the people for whom he was prepared, and 
learn something of their needs. 

Shall we try to imagine a scene which may have 
taken place some 300 years ago or thereabouts ? 
The French had begun to colonise Canada. The 
city of Quebec was about to be founded. One 
day a French settler had penetrated perhaps further 
north than usual. He met a strange-looking man. 
He was broad-faced, flat-featured, smiling, good- 
tempered, sallow complexioned, rather short, quite 
unlike the Indians by whom the Frenchman was 
accompanied, and with whom he had been quite 
familiar. He asked his companions : 

" Who is this ? " 

With a contemptuous curl of the lip the Indians 

answered : 

82 



THE ESKIMOS : THEIR ORIGIN 23 

" leschimou," which being interpreted is, " He 
is a raw-flesh eater." 

As the French became more and more familiar 
with the people from the North, the word in a 
somewhat altered form passed into their language, 
and they became known henceforward to all 
Europeans as Esquimaux, or, as the word is now 
generally spelt, Eskimos. 

It will then be readily seen, if this be the correct 
derivation of the name, that a term of contempt, 
such as it is, would not be likely to be in use among 
the Eskimos. It is a mere nickname bestowed 
upon them by the outside world. They are quite 
satisfied about their own superiority over the rest 
of mankind, as were the Jews and Greeks of 
old. At least, we should be inclined to say so if 
we may judge from the name which they apply 
to themselves. This is Innuet, which may be 
translated by The People, though the root mean- 
ing seems to be owner. We are told in the old 
Hebrew record of the Creation that God saw every- 
thing that He had created, and it was very good. 
" No," say the Eskimo, " that is not true," if we 
may credit a tradition that is said to come from the 
region of the Mackenzie River : " God first made 
different tribes of Indians and different nations of 
White men, and He was not at all pleased. At last 
He made the Eskimos, and then rested from His 
labours perfectly satisfied." So they are the People, 



24 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

But after we know the origin of both names — 
the one by which they are known to the outside 
world, and that by which they speak of themselves 
— ^we wish to know more. Who are the Eskimos ? 
Where do they live ? Whence did they come ? 

It is easy to ask questions, as every parent of a 
three-year-old child knows. But it is not always 
easy to give satisfactory answers. And the first 
and last of the above questions in particular re- 
ceive by no means one and the same definite answer 
from different authorities. It is, of course, im- 
possible to deal exhaustively with the origin of the 
Eskimos here. It is altogether beyond the range 
of this book. 

A few facts, however, may be stated, and a few 
opinions, worthy of respect, may be quoted, which 
will, perhaps, be suggestive of a correct view to the 
mind of the reader who is interested in the subject. 

The extent of the surface of the earth which 
they inhabit is very wide. Professor W. Boyd 
Dawkins, F.R.S., says : " The Eskimos occupy 
the coldest parts of the earth in"America and Asia, 
and their civilization is of a rude and primitive 
type. To the south of the Eskimos in America is a 
debatable land belonging neither to them nor to 
the Red Indians, between which races a feud 
exists." A stretch of about 3,200 miles of con- 
tinent from East to West is occupied by these 
people, who claim to be the aristocracy of God's 
creation. But though their territory is so vast, the 



THE ESKIMOS : THEIR ORIGIN 25 

number of the occupants — as, perhaps, is natural, 
seeing that perfection can be attained by few — is 
very small. Various calculations make the total 
of all the Eskimos range from 20,000 to 40,000. 

Some authorities make five divisions of the 
Eskimos, according to the distributions of their 
tribes, extending from Greenland on the East to 
Alaska on the West, and going as far south as the 
Eastern and Western shores of Hudson's Bay. 
But there is not enough certainty about these 
divisions to make it worth while to discuss themi 
It is sufficient to say that those to whom the reader 
will be introduced are almost exclusively those of 
the central division on the Eastern shores of the 
Hudson's Bay and Cumberland Sound. 

Before the advent of the white man there was 
more movement of the tribes-men than now for 
purposes of barter and exchange. The peculiar 
stone used for making kettles, driftwood, ivory, 
and kindred articles were all objects of value and 
caused intercourse for purposes of trade. But 
now, owing to the establishment of whaHng and 
other stations, the geographical areas of the tribes 
are more circumscribed and confined, as each sta- 
tion is a centre of trade where most of the neces- 
saries of life can be obtained. 

As to their origin, it is extremely doubtful 
whether they came from Asia or America. There are 
different authorities of, perhaps, almost equal weight 
who support each theory. 



26 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

They are found on the east of the American Con- 
tinent at an early date. In the eleventh century 
Eskimos were met with there, according to the Saga 
of Eric the Red. The Norsemen of those days 
sailed forth from their Greenland colonies on voy- 
ages of discovery. After striking a fresh coast and 
saiHng southwards they arrived, we are told, at the 
mouth of a large river, which they entered at high 
tide. There are wonderful tales of their finding 
self-sown wheat fields and of vines growing on the 
hillsides. The voyagers remained where they landed 
for some time and fed on the fat of the land, until one 
morning a great number of natives paddling skin 
canoes made their appearance. These new-comers and 
the Norsemen exchanged 'signals of peace, which re- 
sulted in a friendly intercourse extending over some 
length of time. The description of these natives cor- 
responds with that of the modern Eskimos. They 
were evidently the tawny broad-featured Mon- 
golian type of men with whom we have become 
familiar. 

After a time, however, strife succeeded peace, and 
although the Norsemen defeated the^Eskimos, they 
resolved to evacuate the new country rather than 
live in continual conflict with the inhabitants. 
Accordingly they returned to their own land. 

At what time the Eskimos made their way to 
Greenland it is impossible to say. The colonists 
from Scandinavia do not seem to have come into 



THE ESKIMOS: THEIR ORIGIN 27 

collision with them for 400 years after they had 
effected their settlement, and, if an argument may 
be drawn from silence, they did not even meet any 
inhabitants. They did, however, find ruined dwell- 
ings and stone implements which had belonged to 
some previous occupants. On them they bestowed 
the name Skroellings, or Weaklings, for they thought 
that the people who had such possessions as these 
must have been but a feeble folk. 

It is probable that the Eskimos had their settle- 
ments further north, and that these ruined huts 
represented temporary sojourns only in the more 
southern districts of Greenland. 

Perhaps it may be safe to conclude that the 
Skroellings were established in the higher latitudes 
of Greenland by the eighth or ninth century. 

It is, however, in the fourteenth and the early part 
of the fifteenth centuries that they come forcibly 
into history. The Scandinavian colonies were then 
annihilated. This annihilation is said to have been 
due to the attacks of the Skroellings, though there 
were probably other causes at work as well, such as 
famine and plague. But whatever happened, 
Greenland became from that time forward an un- 
known land until it was opened up once more by the 
Mission of Hans Egede in the year 1721. The 
Arctic Wanderers, too, remained in obscurity until 
they were re-introduced to the larger world under 
the French name of Esquimaux. 



28 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

But this, of course, proves nothing as to their 
place of origin. Those who hold the view that the 
American continent was the first home of the Eski- 
mos believe that they must have been a tribe of 
fishing Indians who formerly lived on the banks 
of the rivers which flow into the Arctic Ocean, and 
that they were gradually driven northwards by the 
pressure of the Southern tribes. 

It is also said that their language bears some 
affinity to the Indian languages on the ground that 
it, like them, is agglutinative in character. But 
this, as Professor Boyd Dawkins says, is not suffi- 
cient proof to establish relationship. And the 
Rev. E. J. Peck writes : "I have had unusual 
facilities for comparing the language of the Eski- 
mos with those of various Indian tribes — at least, 
with those of the Indians living on the shores of 
Hudson's Bay and Ungava Bay — and there is no 
possibility of believing that these were originally 
an Indian tribe, who might have been driven north 
by war or other causes." 

Dr. Rink, who is a high authority, believes that 
many Eskimo weapons and implements are of 
American origin, and that this fact can form the 
foundation of a weighty argument. But we are 
hardly on firm ground here. 

There is one weapon, indeed, which is very re- 
markable, and if any argument for relationship 
might be based upon the possession of it, would 



THE ESKIMOS: THEIR ORIGIN 29 

go to prove the existence of cousinship between the 
Eskimos and some people who live in parts of the 
earth very widely separated from them. This 
is the throwing-stick, which, although most useful 
and ingenious, seems to be known only in two 
other countries. It is practically identical with the 
womera of the aborigines of Australia, and it is 
also said to be known to some tribes on the banks 
of the Amazon. It is probably safer, then, to 
assume that the mere possession of a weapon really 
proves nothing. This throwing-stick is a device 
for hurling a dart with far greater force than could 
be brought into play by the unaided arm. In 
fact, it practically lengthens a man's arm, and so 
gives him a vast amount of artificial leverage. It is 
eighteen or twenty inches in length, fitted with a 
pivot or loose hinge at one end upon which the 
detachable dart can work freely. It has a thumb- 
hole and finger-grooves so that it can be firmly 
grasped in the right hand. It is used both for 
harpoons and bird darts. 

On the whole, the weight of argument seems to 
be against an American origin for the Eskimos, and 
in favour of an Asiatic one. They are closely allied 
with the inhabitants of the Aleutian Islands, and so 
perhaps Keith Johnson is right when he believes 
that they crossed from their own continent to 
America by the "natural bridge, or rather stepping- 
stones," which these islands form. 



30 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

The word " Kayak," which is the skin-covered 
canoe of the Eskimo, may perhaps point to their 
origin. Dr. Isaac Taylor derived it from a primi- 
tive word common to the Yakut and Seljuk races 
in Asia. According to him the original meaning 
would be a birch-covered canoe, but in lands where 
skin has of necessity to take the place of other 
material, the name has been retained though the 
fabric does not exist. There may, to say the least, 
be some history contained in this very small nut- 
shell. 

Again, it seems Hkely that the perpetual feud 
existing between the various Indian tribes on the 
one hand, and the Eskimos on the other, as well as 
the debatable land which separates them, points 
to a difference of race. We should also bear in 
mind the tone of contempt which the former adopt 
in speaking of the latter — a fact of which use was 
made in opening this chapter. 

Perhaps argument from physical characteristics 
may not be worth much, for these may be influenced 
largely by cHmatic and other conditions. But 
whether worth much or little, the features of the 
Eskimos are in marked contrast with those of the 
Indians, and would seem to speak of Japanese and 
Chinamen being near of kin. 

Dr. Rink believes in an Alaskan origin, but after 
weighing the pros and cons carefully, Dr. Boas sums 
up : "I believe that an Alaskan origin of the Eskimo 



THE ESKIMOS : THEIR GOVERNMENT 31 

is not very probable. If pure type and culture 
may be considered as significant, I should say that 
the Eskimos west and north of Hudson's Bay have 
retained their ancient characteristics more than 
any others. If their original home was in Alaska, 
we must add the hypothesis that their dispersion 
began before contact with the Indians. If their 
home was east of the Mackenzie, the gradual dis- 
persion and seeming contact with other tribes 
would account for all the observed phenomena. A 
final solution of this interesting question might 
be obtained by means of archaeological research on 
the coast of Bering Sea." 

And there, as far as these pages are concerned, 
the problem must be left* 

As to government among the Eskimos, there is 
almost nothing to be said, except that outside the 
family it is practically non-existent. There are no 
chiefs over tribes, no rulers and no laws. It is 
true that sometimes a man will be recognized as a 
sort of leader, but this is due to his own personal 
character, his skill as a hunter, or some other 
almost accidental circumstance rather than to any 
hereditary right. 

Warfare, though perhaps not uncommon in former 
generations, is now really unknown, and disputes 
between tribes do not occur. Custom is the only 
ruler, and is the one unwritten law which is held 
up to be obeyed. ^Should a man make himself 



32 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

persistently objectionable by constant violation 
of what is regarded as right in this way, he is 
generally punished by a sort of ostracism ; but 
this is rarely resorted to. In extreme cases offend- 
ers have been known to be put out of the way 
by a sort of judicial murder. 

The love of peace characterises not only the 
tribes in their relations with one another, but also 
the individual members of each community. " I 
have known," says Mr. Peck, " cases where, rather 
than quarrel, the offended party has refrained from 
retaliation in the slightest degree, and, with some 
simple conciliatory remark, has walked away." 

It may be pointed out in passing that if the 
accounts of the extermination of the Scandinavian 
colonies on the Greenland coast in the fifteenth 
century, to which aUusion has already been made, 
be at all accurate, that chapter of history, as well 
as the records of tribal wars among themselves, 
would indicate that the temper of the modem 
Eskimo is vastly different from that of his Skroelling 
progenitor. 

Perhaps the most important inquiry we can make 
about any people is concerning their religion. 

And here a great deal might be said, for many 
facts are known, but we must content ourselves 
with a brief summary. 

There is no system of worship, and the religious 
ideas of the Eskimos are connected with the nega- 



THE ESKIMOS : THEIR RELIGION 33 

live position of propitiation rather than with any 
positive reverence or love for God or gods. The 
cause of this is perhaps that the world is regarded 
as governed by supernatural powers, each of which 
is the owner of some particular object, or animal, 
or passion. The unseen owner is the innua. We 
have had this word before as applied to the Eskimos 
by themselves. Now the innua seems to have a 
very intimate connection with its object, just as 
the soul with the body, and, supernatural though 
it is, it seems very ready to take offence if all its 
prejudices are not strictly regarded. And so the 
religion of these people consists chiefly in the 
observance of a vast number of taboos, wearing 
of charms, and other superstitious practices in 
order to avert misfortune. 

A very long list of the taboos might be written, 
but let a few, enumerated by Dr. Boas, suffice : — 

" No work on seal-skins must be done during 
the caribou hunting season. Seal-meat and caribou 
meat must not be eaten on the same day." 

" Hair of caribou-skins must not be cut during 
the musk-ox hunting season." 

" The tusks of walrus caught during the winter 
must not be taken out of the skulls until the latter 
part of April." 

"A person who has recently lost a relative by 
death must not pluck ducks, else the birds will keep 
awayfrom the hunters." 

3 



34 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

*' No work must be done for three days after 
a bear or a ground seal has been killed. The 
women must not comb their hair." 

" The bedding must not be disturbed until late on 
the day when a ground seal has been caught," and so 
on ad infinitum. The origin of these taboos is impos- 
sible to find, though in some cases there are stories 
concerning them. For instance, walrus and caribou 
must not come in contact any more than seal and 
caribou, as in the first taboo mentioned above. This 
is accounted for by the dislike of these animals for 
each other as indicated in the following tradi- 
tion : "A woman created both these animals 
from parts of her clothing. She gave the walrus 
antlers and the caribou tusks. When man began 
to hunt them the walrus upset the boats with his 
antlers and the caribou killed the hunter with his 
tusks. Therefore the woman called both animals 
back and took the tusks from the caribou and gave 
them to the walrus. She kicked the caribou's 
forehead flat and put the antlers on it. Ever since 
that time it is said that the walrus and caribou 
avoid each other, and the people must not bring 
the meat of these animals into contact." 

In further explanation why portions of the 
dead animals must not be brought into proximity, 
it is said that the soul or innua of some sea animals 
stays with the body that has been kiUed for three 
days. Then it goes back to the chief goddess 



THE ESKIMOS : THEIR RELIGION 35 

from whom it originally proceeded, Sedna. If 
during these three days any transgression of a 
taboo has taken place, the transgression becomes 
attached to the animal's soul and causes it pain. 
And, moreover, it is compelled to take this trans- 
gression back to the abode of Sedna. 

There are terrible accounts of starvation follow- 
ing as a punishment upon the violation of th^se 
taboos. No seals or whales or caribou or game 
of any kind can be bagged by the hunter. 

In their extremity the people call in the services 
of the angakok, who is the magician, sorcerer, or 
medicine man. This man is able to see the souls 
of people and animals, and he does so through the 
help of guardian or familiar spirits (tomak). These 
familiar spirits are themselves ruled by one supreme 
spirit. 

In the case of sickness, which has perhaps resulted 
from some unconscious transgression, the angakok 
seats himself in the snow-house or tent with a 
screen between himself and the people present. 
The lamp is almost extinguished. He takes off 
his outer fur coat, and begins to sway his body 
backwards and forwards in the most violent manner, 
at the same time making the most unearthly yells. 
Having worked himself up to a state of great 
excitement, he announces the arrival of his familiar 
spirit. The angakok then questions this spirit as 
to the cause of the present sickness and trouble. 



36 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

In return the spirit gives directions for the wearing 
of certain charms, abstinence from particular food, 
and other matters. Of these charms there is a 
considerable variety, bones and teeth of animals, 
pieces of deer skin in which are stitched up bits of 
deer flesh and sundry articles equally efficacious. 
It is worthy of note that in cases where the wilful 
transgression of a taboo has taken place, confession 
on the part of the offender invariably removes the 
calamity that resulted as a punishment. In the 
case of a famine, for instance, the guilty person is 
sought. If he confesses, the seals will allow them- 
selves to be caught. If he obstinately maintains 
his innocence, his death alone can appease the 
offended deity. 

Mention was made of Sedna as one of the chief 
deities. She has special dominion over the sea, the 
weather, and certain sea-animals the creation of 
which is attributed to her. There are variations 
in her story in different localities, but the main 
features are generally the same everywhere. 

*' Sedna lived with her father in the Eskimo 
country. She was a beautiful girl, and was wooed 
by many of the Eskimo youths. But to none of 
her lovers would she give her heart. At last, a 
fulmer, a kind of sea-gull, wooed and won her 
affections. The bird promised her a lovely tent, 
plenty of food, and everything that would gladden 
the heart of a fair Eskimo lady. Trusting his 



THE ESKIMOS : THEIR RELIGION 37 

promises, Sedna travelled far away with her fulmer 
lover, and at last came to its home. But she was 
grievously disappointed, for there was no suitable 
dwelling provided for her, and the food, which with 
great difficulty she obtained, was of the very 
coarsest, poorest kind. 

" Sadly she bewailed her lot, and regretted having 
rejected her many lovers in the far-off land of her 
birth. 

"At last her father, in the following year, and 
when the weather was fine, went to pay her a 
visit, and thus became aware of the bitter decep- 
tion practised upon his daughter by her worthless 
husband. Filled with rage the father killed the 
fulmer, and taking Sedna into his boat, he pro- 
ceeded over the sea to the place from whence he 
came. 

'*' The other fulmers on returning to their home 
beheld with sorrow and rage the body of their dead 
companion, and started in pursuit of Sedna and her 
father. 

" Flying with swift and vengeful wing across the 
seas they speedily overtook the two fugitives, and 
intent upon their revenge they caused a mighty 
storm to blow. Giant waves rose and threatened 
to engulf Sedna and her father. The father, 
thinking only of his own safety, cast the unfortu- 
nate girl overboard, but she clung desperately to 
the gunwale of the boat with both hands. 



38 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

"The inhuman father then took up a hatchet and 
chopped off the tips of his daughter's fingers up to the 
first joints. These finger ends dropped into the sea 
and turned into seals. 

" Again the girl gripped the gunwale of the boat, 
and again her father brought down the hatchet 
upon her fingers and severed the second joints. 
These mutilated fragments also dropped into 
the sea and became bearded seals. 

" Once more, in despair, the wretched Sedna seized 
the boat, and for the third time the unnatural 
father let his weapon fall and cut through the last 
joints. The stumps of the fingers in a similar manner 
were turned into whales. 

" The fulmers, supposing that Sedna was now 
drowned and settled with, caused the wind to cease ; 
and when the storm was thus suddenly stilled the 
father took his maimed child back into the boat. 

" But Sedna' s soul was now filled with hate of 
her father, and she nursed her purpose of revenge 
for all his diabolic cruelty. After they returned 
to their own land, she took an opportunity, when 
her father was asleep, to set a pack of hungry dogs 
upon him, who devoured the soles of his feet. 

" In a fierce wrath the father cursed Sedna, him- 
self, and the dogs, whereupon the earth opened and 
swallowed up Sedna, her father, and the dogs, and 
ever since they have lived in the lower parts of the 
earth." 



THE ESKIMOS : THEIR RELIGION 39 

The Eskimos thus not only attribute to Sedna 
the creation of the sea animals named, but they also 
believe that she is the cause of the storms which so 
often sweep over their icy land and prevent them 
from successfully pursuing their hunting expeditions. 

An annual festival known as the Sedna Ceremony 
is celebrated in the autumn. The object of this is, 
as the people say, " to order and command that 
there shall be no more wind, and that the weather 
shaU be only such as shall go to the making of a 
successful hunting season." 

There seem to be two parts of the festival, one 
for the maiming or driving away of Sedna, the other 
consisting of rejoicing in the accomplishment of this 
object. 

In this ceremony the angakoet play an important 
part. 

Proceedings commence in a tent by a line being 
coiled upon the floor in such a manner that the 
upper part of the coil forms a small circular hole* 
Over this hole two angakoet stand, one holding a 
harpoon, and the other the line which is attached 
to the harpoon. 

Another angakok, seated in another part of 
the tent, sings an enticing song with the object 
of alluring Sedna from the under world. Her 
arrival is known by a blowing noise, and the anga- 
kok then drives the harpoon into his victim, who, 
though grievously wounded, manages to escape, and 



40 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

to descend to her dreary abode in the nether re- 
gions. She is, however, supposed for a time to 
have power to hurt the Eskimos, so they don 
charms, which they wear upon their heads to 
counteract her sorceries. 

Sedna having been thus placed hors de combat, 
the event is celebrated next day by the perform- 
ance of the following ceremonies : — 

A circuit is made of the settlement by the people, 
those who were born in the winter wearing partridge 
feathers in their head-dresses, and those who were 
bom in the summer the feathers of the eider duck. 
Imitating the caUs of the birds which they severally 
represent, the people pass round from tent to 
tent. 

The keeper of the tents (a woman in every case) 
is expected to give them some presents, which 
she throws among the noisy crew, who scramble for 
the scattered gifts, and then pass on to the next 
tent. 

The next performance is the " Tug of War." A 
seal-skin line is used, and those having partridge 
feathers in their head-dress take one end of the 
line, and the eider ducks the other. 

The hauling and struggling begin, when, if the 
partridges win the day, fine weather for the winter 
wiU be the result. 

Next comes the ceremony of water sprinkling, and 
telling of the name and place of birth. Each person 



THE ESKIMOS: THEIR RELIGION 41 

holds his or her drinking cup ; the oldest man 
then steps forward, takes up some water, sprinkles 
a few drops on the ground, turns his face in the 
direction of the land where he was born, and 
speaks his name and the place of his birth. This 
is next done by a woman, and so on with the 
sexes alternately, until the whole of the community 
has performed this extraordinary rite. 

After this foUows the last part of the ceremony, 
of which the details are too revolting, by reason of 
their immorality, to place before the readers of these 
pages. Suffice it to say that they form an illustra- 
tion of St. Paul's indictment of the Gentile world 
in the opening chapters of his epistle to the Romans. 

In connection with this story of Sedna and 
religious doctrine generally, it is worthy of note that 
the Eskimo's conception of the Spirit of Evil is 
unlike that of any other nation. The devil is 
feminine instead of masculine. It may be sug- 
gested that possibly this is a distorted idea derived 
from the Biblical narrative in which Eve is the 
channel by which sin is introduced into the world. 

Notions of heaven and a future state seem to 
be somewhat hazy. There is a certain conviction 
that this life, with its limited sphere of action, does 
not represent the final end of existence. There is, 
probably, in the mind of every Eskimo some con- 
ception of a material heaven with abundance of 
seals and the absence of blizzards, and to this he 



42 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

may some day attain. For the good go to this 
place, viz., those who have been kind to their 
neighbours, those who have been drowned, those 
who have been killed while hunting ; also women 
who have died in child-birth. 

On the other hand, murderers, and those who 
have been angry with, and generally unkind to, 
their neighbours go to the land which is below. In 
this region storms rage ; the cold is intense, and 
animal life is scarce. 

Stories told by the people themselves illustrate 
their hopes of a better world more graphically 
than any words of explanation. An old Eskimo, 
who in his time had been a mighty hunter, told Mr^ 
Peck one day that many years ago he had seen a 
very wonderful seal. Its fat was so thick and it 
made the creature so buoyant that it could not 
dive when pursued by the hunters. This aged 
Nimrod explained matters by assuring his visitor 
that such seals fall down from heaven, and that the 
bliss of the future state consists in the number of 
fat seals, reindeer, and other coveted animals that 
will be found above. 

Another day an Eskimo woman narrated with 
evident sincerity how she had been away inland 
with a number of people who were hunting rein- 
deer. Suddenly they heard a wonderful noise close 
at hand, and, looking in the direction of the sound, 
they saw the carcase of a fat reindeer which, she 



THE ESKIMOS: THEIR RELIGION 43 

said, had fallen down from heaven. We use the 
phrase " it is raining cats and dogs." Is there 
any connection between this and Eskimo ideas ? 
Possibly some, though probably not many, among 
us hope to find heaven very thickly populated with 
our domestic pets. 

These fat animals, however, are special foretastes 
of what is coming. They are samples of the heavenly 
seals and reindeer. The ordinary sea monsters which 
the Eskimos hunt day by day have a lower, an earthly 
or watery origin, as we have already seen. 

Another interesting feature in the creed of the 
Eskimo is a shadow of the doctrine of propitiation 
by means of sacrifice. 

On the north-eastern shores of Hudson's Bay, 
parts of an animal killed in the chase are cut off, 
and the Eskimos speak of this slain one's akkinga 
[i.e. its pay or ransom], and it is considered to be 
a means of appeasing the creature for the life taken. 
This has doubtless a reference to the spirit or in- 
nua of the animal 

Again, in Hudson's Bay, in cases of sickness, the 
angakok questions the sick man as to his past life 
and deeds, and, after receiving the confession, 
he will order one of the sick man's dogs to be slain, 
in the evident belief that the life of the dog makes an 
atonement for the man's evil deeds, and that atone- 
ment having been made, the sick man will recover. 

*' I have known," writes Mr. Peck in this con- 



44 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

nection, " a sick man who was scarce able to crawl, 
and who had no angakok at hand, managed to load 
his gun and with great difficulty shoot his dog, 
hoping to recover by merit of his sacrifice, though 
the sequel to his act was not a cure, for he died 
of the malady of which he was suffering." 

Again, the Eskimo has a tradition of the flood. 
According to Dr. Boas, in his work on The Central 
Eskimos, the following account is given of their 
tradition of the Deluge : — 

" A long time ago the ocean suddenly began to 
rise until it covered the whole land. When the 
flood had subsided the ice stranded, and ever since 
has formed a cap upon the mountain summits. 
Many shellfish, fish, seals and whales were left 
high and dry, and their shells and bones may be 
seen to this day. A great number of Eskimos died 
during this period, but many others who, when the 
waters rose, had taken to their kayaks were 
saved." 

There is also a remarkable story of the creation 
of the first woman, which may be some hazy relic 
of the Biblical record. Though worthy of insertion, 
it must be stated that it seems to be a somewhat 
local tradition, and possibly it is not accepted by all 
Eskimos. 

" The man (no tradition is given of how man was 
created), feeling very lonely, went out one day when 
the sun was shining, and when the earth was in 



THE ESKIMOS: THEIR RELIGION 45 

some measure thawed. Taking some clay, he made 
an image Hke unto himself. He was not, however, 
satisfied with his workmanship, and blew upon 
the mass of clay with the object of blowing it down. 
But as he blew upon the clay image it suddenly 
became endowed with life and beauty, and he thus 
obtained a wife and companion." 

Enough has been said, perhaps, to give the reader 
some general idea, at any rate, of the religion of the 
Eskimos. It is impossible to be exhaustive, for 
volumes might be written upon this subject. The 
few incidents, stories, and practices here narrated 
tell us this much, that there is in the northern and 
desolate regions of the earth a man of Macedon 
raising his cry to the great Christian Church, " Come 
over and help us." 



CHAPTER III 

THE ESKIMOS AT HOME AND AT WORK. 

"Is not the life more than meat and the 
body than raiment ? *' 

** Work ... for the meat which abideth 
unto eternal hfe ? " 

" Give ye them to eat." 

IF we wish to make friends with people we must 
know them in the home circle and family life. 
Now we wish to become the friends of the Eskimos. 
Then we must enter their homes and live with them. 
We shall have to go down low on our hands and 
knees to crawl through the doorway, not much more 
than a hole, which is the entrance to the Eskimo's 
iglo or snow-house — ^his winter dwelling-place. 

Frozen snow is easy to work, and therefore very 
adaptable for building purposes. So this is the 
Eskimo substitute for bricks and mortar. When 
a man wishes to build his iglo he describes a rough 
circle and places his blocks of snow round in order. 
Then tier upon tier of blocks rises in circle after 
circle, each layer of smaller diameter than the one 
below, until at last one block fills up the empty 

46 




AN ESKIMO IGLO OR SNOW HOUSE. 



ESKIMOS AT HOME AND AT WORK 47 

space and the dome is complete. Interstices be- 
tween the blocks are filled up by the women and 
children, while the men build the walls. It is 
amazing how quickly a family will get under cover. 
A house capable of accommodating a family of six 
can be finished in two hours, while one to accom- 
modate one or two hunters when travelling, which 
is needed only for a long night's shelter, wiU rise, 
like a mushroom, in an hour. 

The sleeping place in such structures is formed 
by leaving a portion of the snow-drift out of which 
the blocks for the walls were cut. This original 
bank serves as a couch. On it is spread a mat 
made from a kind of willow. Two or three layers 
of thick reindeer skin are placed on top of the mat, 
and the blankets, made of softer reindeer skin, are 
wrapped round the sleeper. 
Speaking of snow-houses, Mr. Peck says : 
" I may say that they are fairly comfortable pro- 
vided the weather is calm, and when one is well 
provided with plenty of good reindeer-skin, socks, 
etc. But in stormy weather one's position in a 
snow-house is not to be envied. In any case, it 
stands to reason that, should the temperature with- 
in the house rise above freezing-point, the inmate 
has then the comfort of feeling drops of water cool- 
ing his head and face, and in cases of a pronounced 
thaw outside, I have known the whole roof to col- 
lapse. How delightful ! " 



48 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Such is the chief kind of winter dweUing of the 
Eskimos on the coasts of Hudson's Bay, Cumber- 
land Sound, and many other parts. Elsewhere 
different modes of building are met with. 

Into one of these houses let us enter and form 
part of the family circle. The head of the house, 
like every Eskimo, is a hunter. As the days are 
short, the hours must be economized. Long before 
the dim light makes itself evident the hunter is up. 
His wife puts a fresh supply of blubber into the 
lamp and trims the wick, and the sledge is made 
ready. Should the household larder contain any 
meat, the hunter takes a morning meal ; but if, as 
is often the case, the larder is of the Mother Hub- 
bard type, then the poor Eskimo has none. 

Fastening his dogs to his sledge he then drives 
over the frozen waste till he arrives at a favourable 
spot for sealing. 

During the time that the hunters are away the 
women employ themselves in making or repairing 
the clothing or footgear of their husbands and 
children. When we remember that every article 
of wearing apparel is made of the skins of the cap- 
tured animals, and that before they are fit to be 
sewn they have to be prepared at a great cost of 
time and labour by the women, it is easy to under- 
stand that, as in civilized England so in the land of 
snow-houses and skin clothes, " a woman's work is 
never done." 



ESKIMOS AT HOME AND AT WORK 49 

The women have other duties, however, besides 
making and mending clothes. There are the lamps 
to be thought of, and these make no small demand 
on their time. 

In many regions the Eskimo lamp is still made of 
stone ; the wick is generally prepared from moss, 
and is kept at a proper height by means of a stick, 
so that the lamp will not smoke. A vast amount 
of practice is needed before this object can be 
attained with any degree of certainty. 

Blubber supplies the oil that is needed. It is 
prepared by beating it with a large bone with a 
heavy end, and when beaten almost to a pulp, it 
is either placed in the lamp in this form or hung 
on a cross-piece of wood some little distance above 
the flame of the lamp. The heat of the flame then 
melts the blubber and causes it to drip into the 
lamp below. 

It must not be supposed that cooking is con- 
sidered to be a necessary accompaniment of food. 
An Eskimo can thoroughly enjoy a good meal of 
raw seal's flesh and blubber, as we inferred from 
the meaning of the name mentioned in the last 
chapter. But nevertheless the food, or a portion 
of it, is sometimes cooked, and if there is meat in 
the house, the wife often is engaged in preparing 
it against her lord's return. Kettles, like the lamp, 
made of stone, are kept for this purpose. 

The children spend most of their time in play. 

d 



50 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Out of doors they make miniature snow-houses, 
sHde down small inclines upon sledges, or engage 
in their favourite game of football. This last, how- 
ever, should more strictly be called hand-hall, for 
the seal bladder, which takes the place of the ball, 
is thrown from hand to hand. 

If the weather should be bad, and in consequence 
they should be confined to the hut, they have various 
games corresponding to our cup and ball, cat's-cradle, 
and others which will keep them amused for hours. 
The parents of smaller children make toy sledges, 
bows and arrows, garments (made of wood) for the 
dolls, and such like to keep the little ones happy. 

But amid all their play, whether it be out of 
doors or in, the return of their father from the hunt 
is scented long before he reaches the snow-house, 
when, if he should have proved successful, a very 
lively scene ensues. With shrieks of delight the 
children yell : " Netsu^kpok, netsukpok I " (He has 
caught a seal, he has caught a seal !) 

The wives turn out and help their husbands 
unharness the dogs. The harness is coiled up in- 
side the house, while the sledge is often put upon 
the top. The spoil also is hauled inside out of the 
way of the dogs. 

The seal is then skinned and cut up, quite a 
number of people sometimes congregating in the 
successful hunter's house, and partaking with very 
evident gusto of pieces of the gory meat. 







ESKIMO WOMEN WITH DEAD SEAL. 



ESKIMOS AT HOME AND AT WORK 51 

After supper the men generally have a chat about 
the day's hunting and their successes, and if they 
do not draw the long bow quite as strongly as the 
proverbial fishermen who, at the riverside inn, 
dilate upon their piscatorial successes, they at least 
prove that, when it comes to sporting talk, the 
Eskimo sportsman is very near akin to his civilized 
confrere. 

Over these chats the friendly pipe is smoked with 
evident relish, both women and men indulging in 
" the immortal weed." 

The Eskimos, like sailors, will endure any hard- 
ship, forego almost any necessary of life, if only by 
such means he can secure his much-loved tobacco. 

At these smoking concerts the people will sit up 
quite late, especially if there be plenty of meat in 
stock. 

When the last lingering visitor has taken his 
departure, a block of snow is fitted into the tiny 
door in the base of the house. This is done to keep 
the place warm ; a small hole, however, is made in 
the roof by way of a ventilator. 

These preparations for the night having been 
completed, the people strip off all their garments, 
then wrap themselves in fur blankets, and sleep as 
sound all through the night as a twelve-year-old 
boy at get-up time. 

In dealing with the home life it must not be for- 
gotten that the Eskimo is distinguished for hospi- 



52 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

tality. Most travellers agree that he will suffer 
almost any personal inconvenience rather than fail 
in this respect. 

Custom allows a man to make free with his neigh- 
bour's house. If he enter an iglo and there hap- 
pens to be seal's meat or blubber at hand, he will 
take his knife, cut off a huge piece, and eat away 
with perfect sang froid, and this, too, at times with- 
out the introductory remark of, " because I am 
hungry, therefore shall I eat.^^ 

Such are our friends in winter, and most of their 
year is winter. In summer they live in tents, and 
their outdoor life necessitates variations from the 
above descriptions. Searching for shellfish, netting 
salmon and trout, hunting reindeer, are all familiar 
occupations in different localities which fill the 
day. 

Let us next enter the outfitting department of 
the Eskimos and look round. With God's wondrous 
harmony of Providence, food and clothing singu- 
larly allied are found to hand, and of the most, nay, 
the only, suitable character for the climate. The 
most closely-woven woollen garments of the thickest 
and of the very warmest, choicest quality are at times 
utterly inadequate to keep out the piercing winds of 
those awful Arctic wastes, and this even if garment 
should be piled upon garment until the human 
form be almost mummified in its wrappings. 

But clothed in God's special provision, the skins 



ESKIMOS AT HOME AND AT WORK 53 

of reindeer, seal, eider duck, an Eskimo can brave 
the fiercest winds or the most piercing cold. 

Two suits of clothing are used, the inside suit 
being made so that the fur is turned inwards 
next the skin. The outer garments are made 
in the opposite manner, viz., with the fur turned 
outwards. It is necessary for warmth to have these 
two fur suits ; and not only so, no fastenings or 
openings are made in either the front or back, other- 
wise the penetrating cold would effect an entrance. 
The coat is slipped over the head in a sack-like 
fashion. Fur socks protect the feet, and over these 
are worn long boots made of sealskin. 

The only practical difference between the dress 
of the women and that of the men consists in a kind 
of tail, a flap-like appendage to the coats of the former, 
and in the addition of a large hood, which is fitted to 
the coUar, in which their babies are carried. This is 
the quaintest of infant perambulators. The little 
round, flat face, and the beady dark eyes of the baby 
peep upon the wintry wilds outside from the snug 
depths of the great fur hood of the mother. The 
latter shuffles along with a peculiar motion of the 
shoulders, humming all the time one of those lul- 
labies which only mothers know how to sing and 
babies to understand. If these efforts are not suc- 
cessful in pacifying the little one, a piece of raw 
seal's meat or blubber takes the place of the 
teething ring or the " lollipop" with us. The gory 



54 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

or oily morsel generally produces a magical effect. 

Skins of the eider duck, which are also made up 
into clothing, are reserved almost exclusively for 
the babies. 

The Eskimo displays a great accuracy of eye, 
as was experienced by Mr. Peck. He was in 
want of a new fur suit, and accordingly the 
tailor was called in. He took no measurement ; 
he simply turned Mr. Peck round and studied his 
figure, went away, and in due time brought the 
clothes, which proved to be an admirable fit. 

No picture of the home life perhaps ought to be 
regarded as complete without some few remarks 
concerning that which produces it — marriage. 
Children are usually betrothed by their relatives at 
a very early age ; but these engagements are some- 
times broken off later on. When the children 
reach maturity the girl learns the duties of a house- 
wife. As soon as the boy is able to provide for a 
family and the girl can do her necessary work, the 
couple are allowed to marry. In cases where no 
betrothal has taken place in childhood, men look 
out for wives as soon as they arrive at the age of 
maturity. Sometimes the services of a mediator or 
matchmaker are secured. After the marriage has 
taken place the young people generally begin life 
with the parents of the bride : and if the husband 
and his wife belong to different tribes the former 
must join that of the latter. It is not until after 




ESKIMO WOMAN AND CHILDREN. 



ESKIMOS AT HOME AND AT WORK 55 

the death of his parents-in-law that the man is com- 
pletely his own master. 

The list of things necessary for starting house- 
keeping is an extremely limited one. The lady 
needs her sewing materials — a circular knife for 
cutting out skin garments, a stone kettle, and a 
lamp. The gentleman's outfit consists of his 
dogs' sledge and hunting weapons. He joins no 
building society ; purchases no building site ; knows 
no landlord, no tax-gatherer, no rate-collector ; 
leases and agreements are farther removed from 
him than the myths of the Greeks ; he knows 
only one system of dwelling upon the earth, 
namely, that of God's freehold, and he builds his 
snow-house or pitches his tent, according to the 
season, where he will ; and when game is fairly 
abundant he appears to lead a very happy life. 

Polygamy is not common among the Eskimos ; 
it is not, however, regarded as improper. It is 
probably the difficulty of providing for more 
than one wife and family which keeps the prac- 
tice within bounds. Divorce is quite common, 
and wives are put away at times for the most frivo- 
lous causes. It may be readily understood that the 
sanctity of the marriage bond cannot be held in 
very high estimation when religion itself or friend- 
ship can not only sanction, but demand, a temporary 
exchange of wives. 

Widows are generally cared for by their relatives. 



56 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Orphans are often adopted by the relatives of the 
deceased. It is also by no means uncommon to 
find orphan boys adopted by those who have no 
male children of their own. The prospect of the 
boys being able to keep them in their old age is an 
incentive to this action. The treatment of children 
is generally very mild. They are not scolded, 
whipped, or subjected to any corporal punishment. 
Infanticide has been practised, but probably only 
female children or children of widows and widowers 
have been murdered in this way. The reason for 
it is the difficulty of provision only. 

We next turn to the outdoor life of the Eskimo, 
and examine it in some of its details. Let us look 
first at his means of locomotion. 

The sledge is his carriage ; dogs are his motor 
power. 

Speaking of the West Coast of Hudson's Bay, Dr. 
Boas says that in old time, when wood was scarce, 
sledges were sometimes made of walrus hide, cut 
lengthwise, rolled up tightly and then frozen. Now 
they are frequently made of w^ood where it can be 
obtained. They vary in size according to the 
material available. The authority just quoted tells 
us that they are about i6 feet long, and the runners 
are placed from i8 to 22 inches apart. These are 
sometimes made of steel, which is obtained from 
traders ; sometimes they are of bone. 

In extremely cold weather these runners are often 



ESKIMOS AT HOME AND AT WORK 57 

cased with clay, and over the clay water is poured. 
When the watered clay has been carefully smoothed 
with a knife, a glass-like surface is secured, which 
makes the travelling peculiarly easy. 

The runners are kept upright and in position by 
cross-bars of wood, which are lashed to them. The 
fore-part of the runner curves upwards about three 
feet from the front to prevent its sticking in the 
hummacks of snow or ice. 

It is almost needless to point out that sledging 
often makes the greatest demand upon one's powers 
of endurance, but the imperturbable cheeriness of 
the Eskimo is always equal to ft. Through blinding 
drifts and blasts of cruel cutting wind the traveller 
has to press on to his goal. 

Once a party of Eskimos started over the frozen 
sea for Little Whale River from an island fifty 
miles away. A terrific gale arose after their 
departure, and so blinding was the drift that they 
could not possibly see the route they should pursue. 
Knowing, however, the direction of the wind, they 
steered a rough course landwards. 

The first night they built themselves a rough 
shelter of snow, and made another start next morn- 
ing. The wind and drift were again against them, 
but still they pressed on, and finally succeeded in 
reaching a point some two miles to the north of 
Little Whale River. 

They were disappointed to find that thev had 



58 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

just missed the actual entrance to the river. 
Two miles out, of course, after so perilous and 
difficult fa journey, was a very trifling matter; 
yet, though very few, even natives would have per- 
sisted in facing the drift as they had done, their 
chagrin at missing the actual mark was great, and 
they were not spared the mirth of their chaffing 
countrjonen whom they found at the post, and to 
whom they frankly confessed their blunder. 

The dogs are a very important feature in the life 
and occupation of an Eskimo. They vary in num- 
ber, according to the wealth of the owner and his 
abiUty to keep them from starving. Each dog has 
a separate harness. This is generally made of seal- 
skin. One part is fitted over the dog's head : two 
other pieces go over the chest and under the fore- 
legs, and are joined together at the back of the dog. 
At the point of junction is attached the peto, which 
is a very strong line or trace, fastened to the sledge. 
These traces are not all the same length, but they 
are tied so that the leading dog is well in advance of 
the one coming after. 

" Dog driving," says Mr. Peck, " is certainly 
enough to try the patience of any man. The long 
seal lines by which the dogs are attached to the 
sledge often become a perfect tangle, caused by 
the habit of the animals of wildly rushing about 
from one side to the other, especially when they 
imagine the long whip, which the Eskimo driver 



ESKIMOS AT HOME AND AT WORK 59 

uses with such skill, is on its way through the air 
for their particular benefit. If the hauling lines are 
not cleared in time, a hopeless muddle ensues. One 
or more of the tails of the dogs wiU become entangled 
in the lines, another will get his foot tied up, and so 
on, until the howling and yapping becomes some- 
thing fearful, and the sledge is stopped, the dogs are 
liberated from their several plights, the lines are 
cleared once more, and all is fair sailing. 

The difiiculty a European experiences in driving 
a sledge and Eskimo team of dogs is well described 
by Kane in his book on Arctic exploration. 

" I have been practising till my arms ache. To 
drive such an equipage a certain proficiency with 
the whip is indispensable ; which, like all profi- 
ciency, must be worked for. In fact, the weapon 
has an exercise of its own, quite peculiar, and as 
hard to learn as single-stick or broadsword. 

" The whip is six yards long, and the handle but 
16 inches — a short lever, of course, to throw out 
such a length of seal hide. Learn to do it, however, 
with a masterly sweep, or else make up your mind 
to forego driving sledge ; for the dogs are guided 
solely by the lash, and you must be able to hit not 
only one particular dog, one of a team of twelve, but 
to accompany the feat also with a resounding crack. 
After this you will find that to get your lash back 
involves another difiiculty ; for it is apt to entangle 
itself among the dogs and lines, or to fasten itself 



6o THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

cunningly round bits of ice, so as to drag you head- 
over-heels into the snow. 

" The secret by which this complicated set of 
requirements is fulfilled consists in properly describ- 
ing an arc from the shoulder with a stiff elbow, 
giving the jerk to the whip-handle from the hand 
and wrist alone. The lash trails behind you as you 
travel, and when thrown forward is allowed to ex- 
tend itself without an effort to bring it back. You 
wait patiently after giving the projectile impulse 
until it unwinds its slow length, reaches the end 
of its tether, and cracks to tell you that it is at its 
journey's end. Such a crack on the ear or fore- 
foot of an unfortunate dog is signified by a howl 
quite unmistakable in its import." 

The average day's journey in the winter time is 
thirty miles, but in the spring, when the days are 
longer, and when the ice is in good condition, 
distances of sixty miles in a day have been 
travelled. 

Eskimo dogs are of a most pugnacious character, 
and if they think they can take liberties with 
the driver they will stop and engage in a kind of 
free fight among themselves — a sort of canine 
Kilkenny. This is particularly liable to occur should 
there be any strange dogs in the team. 

The dog is also remarkable for sagacity and 
powers of endurance. When travellers have thought 
themselves lost in blinding snow-drifts, they have 



ESKIMOS AT HOME AND AT WORK 6i 

been saved again and again simply by allowing the 
dogs to have their heads. With unerring scent 
they bring them safely to some encampment. 

And how cunning they are. One day, after he 
had been living among the people some time, Mr. 
Peck describes how he was travelling over the 
frozen waste. One Eskimo companion was with 
him. They had been spinning along at a capital 
rate, but then, he says : " As our feet became chilled 
we both (this was exceedingly unwise, I confess) 
got off the sledge at the same time. The leading 
dog, a knowing old fellow, realizing what the sudden 
diminishing of weight meant, looked back, and see- 
ing both of us running by the side of the sledge, 
suddenly set off at a flying pace, and in spite of all 
our cries to stop the runaway team and the use of 
all our racing powers, we were soon left far behind. 

" Our position was not to be envied. Everything 
we possessed was on that sledge ; we were far, far 
away from all human habitations or settlements, 
and the wind cut like a knife. Fortunately the 
weather was clear, and we could see the track of the 
sledge across the snow ; so, panting and blown, we 
followed the fugitives, hoping, praying that the 
sledge would get stuck up somewhere amid the 
hummocky ice, which, to our joy, as we pressed on, 
we saw piled up ahead in the immediate track of 
the runaways. We knew that our deserters could 
never draw the sledge unaided through that rugged 



63 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

ice mass that loomed in the distance, and sure 
enough, presently, the sledge got jammed under a 
boulder. 

"The dogs tugged and howled, but at last gave up 
the job in despair, and when we finally arrived on 
the scene they looked up at us in the drollest man- 
ner, as much as to say, ' You've got us, it's true, 
but it is not our fault.' " 

Then, too, how rapacious is the Eskimo dog. " I 
have known," writes Mr. Peck, " one of them die 
from the effects of eating a dishcloth. Another, on a 
certain occasion, actually made a good meal of a 
dress belonging to Mrs. Peck's servant, a girl we 
had at our first station, Fort George. The dress had 
been hung out to dry." 

We now glance at the hunter. He has to search 
for his chief game, the seal, over the frozen sea. 
The neighbourhood of his prey is indicated by a 
hole in the ice. While the ice is still thin the seal 
makes holes for breathing, and he keeps them open 
by repeated visits during the winter. 

Having discovered a hole (and each seal has 
several) the hunter builds a wall of snow to shelter 
himself from the piercing wind, and patiently sits 
watching, hour after hour, with his harpoon ready 
for use, until a peculiar, unmistakable blowing 
sound announces the arrival of the seal. 

Silently, stealthily he rises, poises his harpoon 
over the breathiner hole — which in the winter 



ESKIMOS AT HOME AND AT WORK 63 

time is not larger than a crown piece — and drives 
his deadly weapon down through the hole. 

If he is fortunate enough to have struck the seal 
(and they really make comparatively few misses), 
he clears away the ice round the tiny orifice with his 
tok (ice chisel) until the hole is large enough to haul 
the seal through on to the surface of the frozen 
sea. 

If the hunter possesses a sledge and has it with 
him, he loads his game upon it, and with the Eskimo 
equivalent for '' Now then, away with you ! " to 
his dogs, he is soon tearing homewards with a ten- 
pound-weigh t-of -seal-meat appetite. If he has no 
sledge with him, he secures his harpoon line to the 
game, and with the line over his shoulder he hauls 
home his catch. 

It is not at all an uncommon thing for an Eskimo, 
sheltered only by his waU of snow, to wait a whole 
day, and even through the night, at a seal-hole 
while the temperature is ranging from 30 to 40 
degrees below zero. 

Cases are not wanting where, sleep having over- 
taken the hunter, he has become partially or wholly 
lamed for hfe from frost-bite in his feet. 

After all his watching, should he not succeed in 
capturing his game he will even then return to his 
snow-house, bright, cheerful, philosophical, making 
some common, free-and-easy remark in reference 
to his non-success, and then proceed to repair or 



64 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

arrange his hunting-gear, or prepare his dog-harness 
for another journey. 

In some locahties, on account of the strength of the 
sea current and the winds, the ice floe does not ex- 
tend far from the land, and as the seals prefer to 
blow in open water, the Eskimos repair to the edge 
of the floe and shoot the seals that may happen to 
come within range. 

Besides hunting seals, the Eskimo lays himself 
out for the capture of reindeer, Polar bears, wolves, 
and in fact anything that he can by any means 
entrap. Bravery and daring characterize him in 
all his pursuits. If he does not possess a gun, he 
will lash a knife to the end of a stout staff and attack 
a bear with this rude weapon of offence. It almost 
reminds us of the stripling going to fight the giant 
with the sling and pebble from the brook. 

A man named Augeak, a native of Hudson's Bay, 
was walking along the coast one day in the vicinity 
of Little Whale River. He carried with him a single- 
barrelled gun, which fortunately happened to be 
loaded. Quite suddenly he noticed a large pack of 
wolves racing down the rock-bound coast direct for 
him. 

Perfectly cool he watched them, and saw that the 
leader of the pack was a very old beast, with a ragged 
and far from beautiful coat, and therefore anything 
but suitable game for purposes of the fur trade. Coolly 
noting all this, the Eskimo deliberately singled out 



ESKIMOS AT HOME AND AT WORK 65 

another wolf with a beautiful coat, and fired. The 
shot took effect, and the beast fell dead, when fortu- 
nately for Nimrod the whole pack of wolves, as though 
seized with panic, fled by the way they had come. 

Whatever our ideas of the ferocity of the wolf and 
Polar bear may be, the Eskimo evidently shares 
none of our fear or dread, as is instanced by the way 
he will sometimes lure wolves, which he sees in the 
distance, towards him, that he may have a shot at 
them. Lying down upon his back on the ice he will 
kick and move his legs about in a peculiar manner, 
imitating certain movements of the reindeer's antlers 
when the deer is browsing. The wolves, beguiled by 
the deception, come warily down, the hunter gets 
his shot, bags his game, and the scared and discom- 
fited survivors of the pack make off to ruminate 
upon the extraordinary power possessed by some 
reindeer. 

In summer the kayak is a necessary part of an 
Eskimo's equipment both for travel and the hunt. 
It is a roomy canoe, which is made by stretching seal- 
skin over a framework. Before the advent of the 
white man, this framework used to be made of 
whalebone. But as the natives learned the value 
of the bone in trade, a very inferior substitute took 
its place, and the skeleton was made of wood. The 
diminishing yearly catch of whales also helped to 
bring about this resrdt. Long and perilous journeys 
are often undertaken in these frail craft. 



66 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Dr. Nansen, in his book on Eskimo Life, gives a 
most spirited account of what can be done and is 
done every day in the use of the kayak in Green- 
land waters. The hunter attacks successfully from 
it the monsters and treasures of the deep. Some- 
times he will come home in triumph towing as many 
as four seals behind him — a good bag for a day's 
sport. Sometimes he will have had a battle with a 
walrus, or even a grampus. It needs a very cool 
head and no Httle daring to hold the weapon ready 
to seize the favourable moment for hurling it 
from the hand while a i6-foot ferocious monster, 
with formidable tusks, is coming upon him apace. All 
the time, too, there is the knowledge that others 
may rise up out of the deep at any moment, and 
the huntsman in his frail canoe may be surrounded 
by enemies on all sides. His method of catching 
seals is ingenious and exciting. A long line is 
attached to his harpoon. To the end of this line, 
remote from the harpoon, is secured an inflated 
bladder or sealskin. With this apparatus he paddles 
cautiously over the water towards the game he has 
sighted. With a well-directed aim he presently 
hurls his harpoon at the seal. If struck the animal 
dives, but the inflated sealskin soon brings the 
wounded, exhausted thing to the surface, when it 
is finaUy despatched with a kind of lance. 

Cheap firearms have found their way among the 
natives in many localities, and then they will 



ESKIMOS AT HOME AND AT WORK 67 

often hunt their seals with shot instead of har- 
poon. 

The Eskimo can brave any sea and any weather 
in his kayak. Should he capsize he can right him- 
self again with a stroke or so of his paddle, or even 
without his paddle, with his open hand, and some- 
times even with his closed fist. Indeed, his dex- 
terity is so great and his confidence so complete, 
that not infrequently, when he sees a heavy sea 
coming, he will deliberately capsize so that he may 
receive the force of the breaking water on the bottom 
of his vessel, and then right himself when the crisis 
is past. 



CHAPTER IV 



Hudson's bay 



" I was in prison and ye came unto Me." 

ABOUT half a century has elapsed since 
a Church Missionary Society's mission- 
ary first had the opportunity of presenting the 
Gospel of Christ to the Eskimos. On April 29, 
1853? 3- party of them visited Fort George, on the 
eastern side of Hudson's Bay, where the Rev. E. A. 
Watkins had lately arrived. That post, however, 
remote and solitary as it was, was too far south to 
be much frequented by them ; and subsequently 
Mr. (afterwards Bishop) Horden more than once 
travelled northwards to Little Whale River, the 
furthest point to which the trading agents of the 
Hudson's Bay Company have advanced, and was 
privileged to admit three or four into the Church. 
Three native teachers in succession were sent by 
him to work among them ; but all three died, and 
for several years nothing could be done. 

Here, then, we must return to Mr. Peck, whom we 
left in the first chapter responding to the call, 
" Who will go for us ? " The Eskimos had been 
waiting long, but at last a missionary was to be sent 



68 



HUDSON'S BAY 69 

to them. The new messenger left the Thames in 
the Hudson's Bay Company's ship Prince of Wales, 
on July II, 1876, with the object of making the 
Evangelisation of the Eskimos his life's work. 

Speaking of the voj^ge, Mr. Peck gives some 
interesting glimpses. The crew was of a decidedly 
cosmopolitan character, though nearly all could 
understand the English tongue. 

" Every one in the ship treated me with the 
greatest kindness, and I was permitted to hold 
meetings in the forecastle almost every evening. 
Some of the crew, as a result of these meetings, I 
believe, experienced spiritual blessings, and the 
voyage, in spite of the special dangers of naviga- 
tion encountered that year, was one of spiritual 
profit and blessing to others beside myself. 

" Before leaving England I was able to obtain 
from the Moravian Brethrens' office in London a 
copy of the New Testament which had been trans- 
lated by the Brethren labouring on the coast of 
Labrador. This, to me, great treasure I studied 
when on the trackless deep, and by carefully com- 
paring it with our English translation I was able — 
especially where there was a repetition of the same 
words, as in St. John, chap, i — finally to hit upon 
the meanings. 

" The words which I felt I had thus acquired I 
marked, and though on arriving at my station at 
Little Whale River I found some differences of a 



70 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

dialectical nature, still I never once regretted the 
time spent in that study of the Moravian trans- 
lation. 

" To return to that voyage. It was on entering 
Hudson's Straits that I saw icebergs for the first 
time, mountains of glacier ice that floated down, 
majestic to the eye, but dangerous for the ship, 
upon the Arctic current into the Gulf Stream that 
flows out by Belle Isle. Passing through the ice- 
berg region we came upon some fields of drift ice. 
Drift ice is ice which has become loosened, by the 
coming of the brief Arctic summer, from the frozen 
coast line, and has floated out from the more 
northern bays and inlets. Driven by the winds 
and currents, until miles upon miles of sea are 
covered with almost impassable areas of the frozen 
blocks, the drift ice becomes pack-ice, and forms 
a fearful danger to the vessel caught in its icy 
talons. For every ship is not a ' Fram,' fitted 
to crush her way through this hideous Arctic 
barrier. 

" But God was with us on that voyage, and 
though we had difficulties, we came safely through 
these seas of ice. 

" Our course was now shaped southerly, and we 
sailed right down Hudson's Bay. Navigation be- 
came very critical here, and oftentimes dangerous, 
on account of the number of shallows and shoals. 
The lead had to be kept going for soundings day 



HUDSON'S BAY 71 

and night, but finally, on September 7, 1876, we 
reached Moose Factory." 

The new missionary was warmly received by 
the Bishop and Mrs. Horden, but as winter would 
soon be coming on, and he had yet in front of him 
the most trying and difficult, not to say dangerous, 
part of his journey, he felt it impossible to remain 
long under their hospitable roof. After one 
week of refreshment, therefore, he set his face 
stedfastly to reach his Ultima Thule, Little 
Whale River. 

This last portion of the journey had to be accom- 
plished in a small sailing boat. It made what way 
it could during the day, but at night it was run 
ashore when the travellers pitched their tent on 
land until the morning light enabled them to re- 
sume their journey. 

The party consisted of Mr. Peck, an Indian crew 
and a Christian Eskimo, a native of Labrador, 
Adam Lucy by name, as interpreter. 

As in imagination we follow in the wake of the 
travellers, we realize that the modern apostle can 
apply to himself the words of St. Paul. For he 
too is "in journey ings often, in perils of waters . . . 
in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, 
in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and 
nakedness." 

This coasting voyage was not to be accomplished 
without serious mishap. On October 9 they had 



72 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

rounded Cape Jones, and were drawing near to a 
smaller cape when the wind shifted. On this 
account they could not make much progress, and 
as it was getting late they determined to make 
for the shore, which was reached by pulling. By 
the time they landed it was dark. Mr. Peck there- 
fore had to leave all arrangements to the Indians, 
who knew the coast, and would, he thought, take the 
boat to a place of safety. She was at last anchored 
in what seemed to be a sheltered bay or creek. The 
party then went to their tent in the woods, taking 
a few necessaries with them from the boat. 

It must not be supposed that a tent in this part 
of the world is similar to the beautiful and pictur- 
esque canvas structure we see at home. The tra- 
vellers light upon some old poles that have been 
used by previous parties of Indians. They then 
proceed to clear away the snow, or to beat it down 
with their feet. The tent poles are set up, and a 
rough shelter formed with deer skins, canvas bags, 
and sundry other articles all kept in place by ropes. 
A small hole is left at the top for a chimney, while 
at the southern and lower part is a space for a door. 
The door itself is another old bag, which can be 
lifted so that the men of the party can crawl in or 
out at pleasure. In the centre of the tent is placed 
a circle of stones for the fire-place. 

In such a place as this Mr. Peck and his party 
retired weary and cold. Realizing that they had 



HUDSON'S BAY 73 

no continuing city, but that they were pilgrims 
journeying to the mansions prepared for them, the 
evening service of prayer must have come home to 
them with special comfort, and they laid themselves 
down in peace and slept. 

But in the night sounds were heard of a sighing 
and moaning wind rising. But they were not 
sufficient to warrant the rousing of that tired band, 
but only just enough to cause the sleep of the sailor 
missionary to be broken by fitful dreams and slight 
misgivings. He woke up early, and with the morn- 
ing light went down to the place of anchorage. Alas ! 
a strange sight met his eye, for strewed along the 
rocks were portions of his goods ; the boat was also 
driven up high and dry on the beach. He saw the 
cause of the disaster. The place, in which the In* 
dians had anchored the boat, was exposed to the 
northward and westward ; the wind sprang up 
from this quarter during the night, which caused 
a heavy sea ; the boat grounded at low water, and 
then the sea had made a clean breach over her, 
sweeping the things out of her or else breaking 
them in her. Sad to say, the boat was much in- 
jured, her keel being driven out of its place, several 
of the planks being also started. Mr. Peck called 
his Indians and sent them to collect what they 
could. The contents of some boxes were considera- 
bly damaged, although most of his clothes were 
saved ; this was a great mercy. 



74 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

The next consideration was to repair the boat. 
Knowing that there was resin to be had from the 
small shrubs which grew here, the missionary sent 
the Indians to gather some ; they know how to 
gather and prepare it, as they use much for their 
canoes, and it does not make a bad substitute for 
pitch. Having got some nails by breaking up one 
of the boxes, and having a little spare canvas, 
he purposed mending the boat with these ma- 
terials. 

It was a trial of faith, and many a man of less 
persevering energy and trust in God might have 
given way under it. But knowing that the life of 
every one of the party might depend upon that 
boat, and that by obstacles to be overcome God 
intends the character of his servants to be devel- 
oped, Mr. Peck, nothing daunted, set himself to 
accomplish what may seem to us a hopeless task. 
The first day was spent in preparing the materials 
necessary, and it closed as before with prayer that 
faith might be deepened and patience given, and in 
confidence that God, who was the keeper of Israel, 
would supply all their needs out of His riches in 
Christ Jesus. 

On the next da}^ October ii, the actual repairs 
were taken in hand. A fire was lighted and the 
resin melted. The boat was turned bottom up- 
wards, and the damaged parts scraped. A coat of 
resin was put on, and canvas was placed on top of 



HUDSON'S BAY 75 

this and nailed to the boat. Again another coat of 
resin was laid over the whole, and it seemed to the 
sailor eye of the missionary to be a very fair bit of 
work. The next day they could not put to sea as 
the wind was contrary, and this caused a little 
anxiety, for provisions were running short. The 
flour had been most of it destroyed when the boat 
was swamped. Mr. Peck and Adam had saved 
only a very small quantity. Biscuits, though they 
had been soaked with sea water, had been saved. 
The flour was economised by being mixed with 
broken biscuits and made into cakes. The result 
was eatable, though not wholly palatable. In 
the afternoon of October 13, the wind changed to 
light and fair. So the boat was launched, and all 
made ready for the start. But to the grief and 
dismay of the party she leaked considerably, and 
was unseaworthy. So once more it was a case of 
unloading and going through a second course of 
repairs. Finally, on October 14, they really got 
away. There was heavy weather to face, especially 
for such a cranky, patched-up craft as this. But 
trust in God was not misplaced ; the winds and the 
sea were braved, and at last they were brought to 
Little Whale River in safety. 

This, as has been mentioned, was the extreme 
northern station of the Hudson's Bay Company. 
Consequently it was at that time the best base 
for operations upon the Eskimos. For they came 



76 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

in considerable numbers to this place for purposes 
of trade, exchange and barter. 

The officials of the company were most kind in 
their welcome to the newly arrived missionary. 
They hospitably received him into their own houses 
until his hut could be built. This, too, was 
built for him by the company. Trade, when it is 
thus the handmaid of Christ, is an unmitigated 
blessing. It is a pleasing duty to give a tribute of 
praise to men who bring the Gospel into the busi- 
ness life as in this case. If all the boundless trade 
of England went hand in hand with the spiritual 
welfare of the world, the mountains would soon be 
made low and the valleys,*exalted, and the highway 
for the Empire of Christ prepared. 

The logs of which Mr. Peck's hut was built had 
been brought from an immense distance. They 
were placed in a framework of other logs ; the 
spaces between them were packed with oakum. 
The whole of the hut was encased in weather board- 
ing. Inside, the place was warmed and cheered 
with a little stove, and as the hut had to be 
kitchen and drawing-room in one, all the cooking 
must needs be done at that stove. 

" Mine was a real bachelor's life," writes Mr. 
Peck, referring to this period, " and I had to learn 
to do all my own cooking, presently even mastering 
the mysteries of bread-making, though it is right 
to confess (and ladies will appreciate the confession) 



HUDSON'S BAY '^^ 

that the first two or three batches were Hke stones." 
A few articles of food, such as sugar, oatmeal, 
preserved meat, etc., could be obtained from the 
company's store at Moose, but nothing on the spot. 
Preserved milk could also be got, so that some- 
times he indulged in a rice pudding. The most 
venturesome and highest flight of ambition was 
a plum pudding. 

The first great work of every missionary is to 
acquire the language of the people as well as gain 
their confidence. With regard to the latter, Mr. 
Peck at once reaped some fruit from the seed sown 
in former years by the Rev. E. Watkins and Bishop 
Horden. For owing to the visits that had been 
paid to the Eskimos by them, he found the people 
most friendly and willing to receive him. One 
old man whom Bishop Horden had had the pleasure 
of baptizing, John Molucto by name, became a tower 
of strength both to the missionary and the mission. 
He would gather the people together in his iglo to 
be instructed by the missionary. As to the lan- 
guage, we have already seen Mr. Peck studying his 
Moravian Testament during the voyage. He used 
it with such effect, both on the journey from Eng- 
land to Moose Factory and thence in the sailing 
boat to Little Whale River, that he was able to set 
to work among the people without delay. Re- 
joicing in this, he says, " How soon God finds in- 
struments ! I Httle thought this Testament would 



78 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

be of such service as I studied its pages on the 
trackless deep or even when Adam assisted me to 
read it." 

The Testament, as has been stated already, was 
written in the Labrador dialect, and Adam, the 
interpreter, was also a native of Labrador. Conse- 
quently there were grave doubts as to how far it 
would be intelligible among the Eskimos of Hud- 
son's Bay. But it was found that the chief differ- 
ence lay in the pronunciation of certain letters 
rather than in words or idioms. And thus one 
difficulty which might have been a mountain was 
removed by the faith which caused Christ's servant 
to study the Testament though written for the 
Labrador Eskimos. But a great deal is necessary 
for the missionary beyond reading. An intimate 
knowledge of language is everything. It is pro- 
bable that a man can never be regarded as pro- 
ficient in a language until he is conscious of not 
translating his thoughts from his native tongue 
into the foreign one — or, in other words, until he 
thinks in the language of the people among whom 
he is living. For this result to be obtained daily 
practice in speaking, side by side with reading, is 
indispensable. 

This, by the arrangement of his domestic estab- 
lishment, Mr. Peck secured. For after a time he 
was so much oppressed by the utter loneliness of 
his life at which we have glanced, that he invited 



HUDSON'S BAY 79 

a little Eskimo boy about ten years old to come and 
live with him. This step, in his own words, proved 
an " incalculable blessing " to himself in the ac- 
quisition of the language, and the sequel shows 
that it was no less fraught with blessing to the boy. 
It is not difficult in imagination to paint a pic- 
ture of some scenes that must have taken place in 
that lonely hut. We see the wonder of the boy 
overcoming his shyness as he gazes upon each 
object of furniture or ornament new and strange to 
his native eyes. We see the missionary and the 
boy beginning to school each other by the only 
means in their power. Mr. Peck points to some 
article familiar to the lad and speaks its English 
name ; the boy, with a nod of his head and a smile 
upon his broad Mongolian face, repeats the English 
after him, and then in turn tells the Eskimo word 
for the same thing. We seem to hear the merry 
peal of laughter that breaks forth as the mutual 
teacher and scholar discover that they have been 
playing at cross questions and crooked answers — 
laughter bringing a ray of sunshine into the dark, 
lone, icy dwelling. But best of all we seem to see 
a holier light breaking in upon the dark, hopeless 
soul of the lad as he hears, and at last is able to 
understand, that he is the heir to a great inheritance, 
that there is an abiding city in which is prepared 
a mansion for him where there is no need of the sun, 
neither of the moon, to shine in it : for the glory of 



8o THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the hght thereof. 

The name of this Eskimo lad was Anoat, which 
means clothing. This seems appropriate in the 
light of his subsequent history. For the result of 
this life in close association with the Servant of 
Christ was that after many years in 1900 he put on 
the Lord Jesus Christ and was clothed with Him. 
The Rev. W. G. Walton speaks, in a recent report, 
of his power and influence. Though his name is 
Anoat, for some inscrutable reason he was known 
among the traders as Nero. Happily there is no 
likeness in character to justify this. 

The Eskimo language is by no means easy of 
acquisition. The chief peculiarity in it is its 
agglutinativeness, and this also causes the great diffi- 
culty which is not so much the learning to express 
one's own thoughts as understanding what others 
are saying. All manner of parts of speech may 
become joined to the verbal root, and then this 
compound may be conjugated in all moods and 
tenses like a simple verb. So great is the length 
to which words may grow under this treatment, 
that Mr. Peck has often exhibited to English 
audiences a canvas two and a half yards long which 
contains one word only — a good object lesson of 
some of the linguistic trials that missionaries have 
to face. 

Here we may anticipate a little, while speaking 
of the language, and say that whatever difficulties 



HUDSON'S BAY 8i 

had to be faced, the patient industry of the mission- 
ary overcame them all. About a month after his 
arrival, November 6, 1876, he wrote : " My plan is 
to write down over night some simple words and 
sentences. I then get the corresponding Eskimo 
words from Adam Lucy or Molucto ; the Indian 
words are gathered from one of the Company's 
men, David Loutett. I find all very willing to 
help me, for which I am indeed thankful. My 
daily collection averages from eighty to a hundred 
words. These are learned the following day and 
brought into actual use as soon as possible, thus 
impressing the same on my memory, as well as 
making me familiar with the peculiar sound. I have 
now got some thousands of words, mostly Eskimo, 
which I gathered by study of the Testament and 
from my different friends." At first it was mere 
gathering, massing little by little a great quantity 
of material. Then came both conscious and un- 
conscious sorting of the heap, nouns separated 
from adjectives, verbs from adverbs ; gender from 
gender, tense from tense ; until at last, after seven 
years of six hard, studious hours every day, not 
only is he master of the situation, but is able to 
produce a grammar of 200 pages, thus making 
the rough smooth and the crooked straight for 
those who come after and enter into his labours. 

But the missionary cannot rest satisfied with 
merely mastering for preaching purposes and con- 

6 



82 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

versation the language of the people among whom 
he lives. He must always remain sensible of de- 
ficiency until he has placed the Bible in their hands 
in such a form that they can read it for themselves. 
With this object in view, as soon as the first winter 
was over Mr. Peck determined on transcribing 
portions of the Moravian Eskimo Testament into 
what is known as the Syllabic character. 

This system was the invention of the Rev. James 
Evans, a minister of the Canadian Methodist Church 
and a missionary to the Indians at Norway House. 
Without such a method as this it is difficult to con- 
ceive how the roving tribes of Eskimos could ever 
have learned to read. By this means, however, an 
ordinarily intelligent native can be taught to read 
in eight or nine weeks. This would be quite im- 
possible with the Roman characters, especially con- 
sidering that many of the people come into the 
trading ports for a few days only at a time. In such 
high esteem is this system held, and so great a debt 
of gratitude is due to Mr. Evans for his work, that 
a few words in connection with its history will not 
be out of place. The Rev. Egerton R. Young, in 
his book, By Canoe and Dog Train, gives a full 
account. He says : " The great work of Mr. Evans' 
life, and that with which his name will ever be 
associated, was undoubtedly the invention and 
perfecting of what is now so widely known as the 
Cree-syllabic characters. 



HUDSON'S BAY 83 

" What first led him to think of this invention 
was the difficulty he and others had in teaching 
the Indians to read in the ordinary way. They 
are hunters, and so are very much on the move, 
like the animals they seek. To-day their tents are 
pitched where there is good fishing, and perhaps 
in two weeks they are far away in the deep forests 
where roam the reindeer, or on the banks of streams 
where the beavers build their wonderful dams and 
curious homes. The constant thought in the 
master missionary's mind was, ' Can I possibly 
devise a plan by which these wandering people can 
learn to read more easily ? ' 

" The principle of the characters which he adopted 
is phonetic. There are no silent letters. Each 
character represents a syllable ; hence no spelling 
is required. As soon as the alphabet is mastered 
and a few additional secondary signs, some of which 
represent consonants and some aspirates, and 
some partially change the sound of the main charac- 
ter, the Indian scholar, be he man or woman of 
eighty or a child of six years, can commence at the 
first chapter of Genesis, and read on — slowly, of 
course, at first, but in a few days with surprising 
ease and accuracy. 

" Many were Mr. Evans' difficulties in perfecting 
this invention and putting it into practical use, 
even after he had got the scheme clear and distinct 
in his own mind. 



84 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

"He was hundreds of miles away from civilization ; 
very little indeed had he with which to work. Yet, 
with him, there was no such word as failure. 
Obtaining, as a great favour, the thin sheets of lead 
that were around the tea-chests of the fur-traders, 
he melted these down into little bars, and from 
them cut out his first types. His ink was made out 
of the soot of the chimneys, and his first paper was 
birch bark. 

"After a great deal of effort and the exercise 
of much ingenuity, he made a press, and then 
the work began. 

" Great indeed was the amazement and delight 
of the Indians. The fact that the bark * could 
talk,' was to them most wonderful. Portions 
of the Gospels were first printed, and then some 
of the beautiful hymns. 

" The story of this invention reached the Wes- 
leyan Home Society. Generous help was afforded. 
A good supply of these types was cast in London, 
and, with a good press and all the essential requi- 
sites, including a large quantity of paper, was sent 
out to that mission, and for years it was the great 
centre from which considerable portions of the Word 
of God were scattered among the wandering tribes, 
conferring unnumbered blessings upon them." 

In later years, the noble British and Foreign 
Bible Society has taken charge of the work ; and 
now, thanks to their generosity, the Indians have 



HUDSON'S BAY 85 

the blessed Word scattered among them, and thou- 
sands can read its glorious truths. 

Perhaps a little more may be culled from the 
same source showing how greatly impressed Lord 
Dufferin was by this character. When he was 
Governor-General of Canada he had an interview 
with Mr. Young and Mr. Crosby, a missionary from 
British Columbia. The former says : " I showed 
him my Cree Indian Testament printed in Evans' 
syllabic characters, and explained the invention to 
him. At once his curiosity was excited, and jump- 
ing up he hurried off for pen and ink, and got me 
to write out the whole alphabet for him ; and then, 
with that glee and vivacity for which his lordship 
was so noted, he constituted me his teacher, and 
commenced at once to master the characters. 

" As their simplicity and yet wonderful adapta- 
tion for their designed work became evident to 
him — for in a short time he was able to read a 
portion of the Lord's Prayer — Lord Dufferin was 
much excited, and getting up from his chair and 
holding up the Testament in his hand, exclaimed, 
' Why, Mr. Young, what a blessing to humanity 
the man was who invented that alphabet ! ' Then 
he added, ' I profess to be a kind of literary man 
myself, and try to keep posted up in my reading 
of what is going on, but I never heard of this before. 
The fact is, the nation has given many a man a 
title, and a pension, and then a resting-place and a 



86 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

monument in Westminster Abbey who never did 
half so much for his fellow-creatures.' Then 
again he asked, ' Who did you say was the author 
or inventor of these characters ? ' 

" ' The Rev. James Evans,' I replied. 

" * Well, why is it that I never heard of him 
before, I wonder ? ' 

" My reply was, ' My lord, perhaps the reason 
you never heard of him before was because he was a 
humble, modest Methodist preacher.' 

"With a laugh he replied, 'That may have 
been it.' " 

The adaptation and use, then, of this method for 
transcribing the Scriptures was an early work for 
the missionary. So soon as April 9, 1877, Mr. 
Peck is able to write : — 

"I have succeeded in teaching several of the 
Eskimos to read in the Syllabic characters ; they are 
very eager to learn. One of them said that he was 
' mad to learn.' Let us hope that this unusual 
complaint may prove infectious. There are twelve 
Eskimos who can now read the 3rd chapter of St. 
John's Gospel in their own tongue." Molucto and 
his son were at this time able to read as much as 
five chapters, some parts quite fluently. 

Having experimented successfully in this way, 
Mr. Peck resolved as soon as possible — ^i.e., as soon 
as ever he should feel quite certain of the sounds 
himself — to transcribe the whole Testament. 



CHAPTER V 

PROGRESS — ORDINATION 

" Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the 
work whereunto I have called them." 

WRITING under date, April 9, 1877, Mr. Peck 
stated that the Eskimos who had up to 
then heard the Gospel message numbered about 
one hundred. 

It may be said that this is very small. Perhaps 
so, if we compare Eskimo work with that among 
the teeming millions of India or China or some other 
mission field. But it is a large proportion of the 
sparse population of seal hunters. And to be con- 
tinually teaching one hundred persons here and 
there, besides learning their language and doing 
literary work, is no mean record for the winter. 
And soon more were expected to come to the 
trading post. Before the break up of the ice at 
least as many again would arrive, and these from 
the distant shores on the north side of Hudson's 
Strait. And thus we see that the number of those 

87 



88 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

who hear the Gospel can never be measured by the 
number of those who come into direct contact with 
the missionary. By reason of the migratory and 
trading habits of the people, his influence spreads 
far and wide beyond the limits of the sea-girt 
portion of the continent in which he lives. Far 
over the frozen waters the traveller drives his 
sledge, so that from Little Whale River or any part 
of Labrador the tidings of salvation may sound forth 
to Baffin Land, and thence to Melville Peninsula, 
and so on down the west side of Hudson's Bay or 
elsewhere. The Word of God is not bound, and 
there is no limit to its free course. In northern 
regions we might put a new word into the mouth 
of the old prophet, and say. '' The knowledge of the 
Lord shall cover the earth as the ice covers the sea." 

Each man who has heard and valued the message 
for himself passes it on. Thus, as the widening 
ripples on the surface of the smooth waters show 
that there must have been a stone cast into the lake, 
so conversely the missionary finds evidence that, 
though hidden from vast numbers of those living 
in the regions beyond, the smooth surface of their 
careless lives has been disturbed by the vibrations 
of his teaching. 

Mr. Peck has found this in his own life. He has 
had the satisfaction and joy of discovering Eskimos, 
whom he has never met before, able to read as a 
result of his own teaching. He has instructed some 



PROGRESS 89 

one at Little Whale River. The man who has 
learned has then wandered away in pursuit of game 
or for trade, and has imparted to his friends that 
which he has received. 

The teacher should himself always be learning 
the lesson not to despise small numbers. Had the 
greatest of all teachers not appreciated this, the 
world would never have been evangelized. For it 
was not when Jesus Christ had the multitudes 
hanging on His words ; not when He was feeding 
the thousands in the wilderness ; not when He was 
entering in triumph into Jerusalem, that He was 
making a marked and permanent effect upon man- 
kind. But it was rather when weary and footsore 
by the roadside ; when storm-tossed on the sea ; 
when presiding over the last sad supper in the upper 
chamber, pouring His teaching into twelve ignorant 
fishermen who misunderstood Him, and saturating 
them with it, that He was fashioning the weapons 
to break down the opposition of sin and win the 
world for God. Let this be the comfort of the lonely 
worker, and a sufficient answer to the caviller con- 
cerning inadequate results to expenditure of energy 
and money. 

The experience of the first few months among 
them was distinctly favourable as regards the recep- 
tive temperament of the people. Mr. Peck is able 
to say, " I find nearly all the Eskimos eager to 
hear the things of God." This was, of course, largely 



90 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

due to favourable impressions that had been made 
upon the minds of the natives by the visits of former 
missionaries and Bishop Horden, as well as to the 
example and influence of some of the European 
traders. In this respect Mr. Peck's work began under 
very favourable auspices when compared with that 
of Hans Egede and the Moravians of the eighteenth 
century among the Eskimos of Greenland. 

But the sojourn of a new white man at the trading 
settlement called forth much comment from among 
the Eskimos, and especially among those who were 
constantly coming in for barter. They knew the 
Company's agents as men who had goods for 
exchange. But here was another most extraordinary 
agent who had no merchandise for traffic, but merely 
a wondrous message from which self-interest seemed 
to be entirely absent. " Ho ! come, buy without 
money and without price ! " 

Many were the surmises made by these heathen 
as to the origin of so strange a being. Where had he 
come from ? Why had he come ? etc. 

" Once, when speaking to a party of these people," 
Mr. Peck says, " I overheard a few of the newest- 
comers asking some of those who had first arrived 
where I came from. 

" One of the questioned, in the most sincere and 
simple manner, replied ; ' He fell down from heaven 
to save the Eskimos.' 

" Man}^ of them, when I entered their dwellings, 



PROGRESS 91 

would say to me : ' Thou art good to come to such 
loathsome creatures as we are ! ' referring to their 
peculiarly dirty dwellings and surroundings. ' 

" Others again would say : ' This is our father ; he 
has come to save us ! ' 

" Their inquiries about my country and my condi- 
tion were also sometimes very amusing. Some of 
the ladies were most desirous of knowing whether 
I was a married man or not. 

" I remember the blank amaze depicted upon the 
face of an Eskimo when I told him that in my 
country the sea was not frozen over, and that we 
had but little snow. 

" Their manifested surprise when they entered 
my little house, and beheld the many articles their 
eyes had never looked upon before, was very great. 
A looking-glass was a source of intense interest as 
well as amusement. 

" I remember one unusually grimy party of this 
far from cleanly race entering my little habitation. 
It is no exaggeration to say that somie of them 
were coated with dirt and grease — wore hides of it. 

" Taking them to the looking-glass I invited them 
to take a good look at themselves. Then, having 
set out a large tub with a plentiful supply of water, 
soap, etc., I further invited them to indulge in a 
bath. 

" With much fun and pleasant badinage one with 
the other, they managed, after much scrubbing, 



92 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

to get some, at least, of the filth from their greasy 
faces. 

"Another peep in the glass, and their surprise 
was unbounded as they began to realize the trans- 
forming power of soap and water. (Note.— What 
a picture here for PEARS ! An Eskimo, say, before 
and after a bath with PEARS' SOAP ! What a 
striking advertisement it would make !) 

" The people also manifested much desire to know 
how various articles, uncommon to them and to 
their own rude fashionings, were made. Earthen- 
ware jugs, tea-pots, etc, greatly excited their 
curiosity, and when I explained that such articles 
were made of a particular kind of clay baked in 
great heat, they would gaze at me with something 
of awe in their manner, as though they regarded 
the white man as the embodiment of all wonders. 

"Such an article as a watch, they could scarcely 
conceive as being made, but supposed it to be a 
living, sentient thing. Wlien it ticked they said 
it was alive ; when it ceased its ticking, they spoke 
of it as dead." 

But however receptive of teaching the people 
might be, or however curious about the stranger, it 
must be remembered that the first object they had 
in view was, of course, not learning from the mis- 
sionary, but trade. Consequently, their time was 
taken up with business pursuits during the day. 
There is a brief reference to this in Mr. Peck's 



PROGRESS 93 

notes. " I have accordingly to work much at 
night. God's workers must not give comfort the 
first place : Christ alone must have that." Simple 
as these words are they speak volumes to many 
at home who value the quiet rest of their evening 
fireside, and are reluctant to sacrifice it upon the 
altar of their service, even though they are sur- 
rounded b}^ thousands of luxuries, which they may 
consider necessaries, unknown to the dweller in 
frozen lands. Yet it is only Christianity with a 
Cross, and that Cross evident in the life of each 
professor that can make the world believe in Christ. 
It is no use now, any more than it was in 
Apostolic days, to preach the Gospel of love 
while we shut ourselves up in comfortable selfish- 
ness. Were it otherwise, we might evangelize the 
world by distributing tracts. 

And so a self-sacrificing love is rewarded, and in 
a letter written in July we read again : " God has 
helped and blessed me much in my work. I have 
already ministered to about 300 of the Eskimos. 
Most of these received the Word with gladness ; 
they always gave me a hearty welcome when I 
visited them in their snow-houses." 

The last words in this extract should not be over- 
looked. " In their snow-houses " is the locale of 
the evening work. We have spoken of the English 
fireside above. If that is sacrificed it may be for 
a well-warmed ventilated church or mission-room, 



94 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

or even for a clean cottage where a meeting is to be 
held. Mr. Peck forsakes his own room night after 
night through the long winter to go forth into the 
piercing cold, to crawl on hands and knees through 
the low tunnel or porch of snow that leads to the 
circular and domed dwelling chamber. Inside the 
atmosphere is hot, the stench is intolerable, for there 
is no ventilation, and the European visitor almost 
feels that he must turn back or be suffocated or 
be sick. The place is dirty and gory, and raw 
seals' blubber is lying about, the remnants of the 
family's dinner, or that which is to be to-morrow's 
meal. The scene is not appetising. But the 
missionary, constrained by the love of Christ, forgets 
these surroundings as he describes a gathering in 
one of these iglos : 

" Books in hand we bend low, and by the light 
of the Eskimo lamp sing praises to God, read portions 
of His Word, and commend ourselves with loved 
ones, far away, to the care of our God. Times of 
spiritual joy and blessing, of real refreshing from 
the Lord have we experienced on the icy waste." 

After the brief summer of 1877, we find Mr. Peck 
once more at Moose for the winter. There were two 
or three important matters on account of which 
his presence was required there. 

The foremost of these was the desire of the 
Bishop to ordain him. He had already learned to 
appreciate him, and to understand that he was just 



ORDINATION 95 

the man that the Holy Spirit had set apart for the 
Eskimos, for whose spiritual welfare he had long 
felt a deep concern. In the beginning of September 
it is pleasing to find Bishop Horden, as he takes a 
retrospect, writing to the C.M.S. : "A load of anxiety 
was removed from my mind by the occupation of 
Little Whale River as a mission station. I knew the 
needs of the poor Eskimos ; I knew their longing for 
the Word of Life ; and I knew too how very in- 
adequately I could fulfil towards them the duties 
of a spiritual father. So correspondingly great was 
my joy when I saw the long-expected messenger 
arrive, and knew that he was destined for the regions 
of the north. I thank the Committee for a man ; 
I thank them doubly for the man ; a better selection 
could not have been made. One would require to 
look and wait long before he could find another so 
weU fitted for the work. Patient, humble, prudent, 
loving, he wins the hearts of all with whom he 
comes in contact, while his diligence is patent to all 
b}^ the progress he has made in the difficult languages 
with which he has to deal. He is now with me, 
and will study divinity until February, "when I hope 
to ordain him ; after which he will proceed again to 
Little Whale River, to meet the Eskimos when they 
come in to barter their furs." 

And so a quiet time of preparation for the solemn 
dedication of himself to God was the first object of 
the winter's sojourn at Moose Factory. 



96 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Then, again, almost immediately after Mr. Peck's 
arrival at Little Whale River, Bishop Horden had 
written an urgent letter to the Church Missionary 
Society in England asking that an iron church might 
be sent out to him. 

" It is," said the Bishop, " quite indispensable. 
No wood grows near there at all fit for buildings, 
and he cannot preach to or teach his people in the 
open air with the thermometer at 40 degrees below 
zero. It should be large enough to accommodate 
150 people." 

Through the kindness of private friends, among 
whom were the Rev. Henry Wright and Miss Wright 
(now Mrs. Moule), a pretty little iron building of 
the size required had been purchased, costing alto- 
gether £300, and had been sent out in pieces in the 
Hudson's Bay Company's annual ship to Moose 
Factory. 

We can readily understand, after the preaching 
and teaching in snow-houses, how anxious Mr. Peck 
was to convey this iron building to Little Whale 
River. Writing on September 5, he says he hopes 
to take it back to his Eskimo station when the winter 
is over. But in this hope he was for a time dis- 
appointed. 

The winter passed in learning, reading with the 
Bishop, translating and transcribing. " While 
here," he writes, " I finished transcribing into the 
Syllabic character portions of the New Testament. 



ORDINATION 97 

Besides those chapters of St. John previously men- 
tioned, these portions included passages from St. 
Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and various texts 
which were specially arranged in triplicate forms. 
The object of this arrangement was to give the 
people a definite and clear idea of the Gospel before 
they had advanced very far in their powers of read- 
ing. They learned by heart three texts which con- 
tained consecutive thoughts or facts in the scheme 
of salvation. Thus, " All have sinned "; " God 
so loved the world that He gave His only begotten 
Son," etc. ; " We love Him because He first loved 
us," are three in proper sequence giving an intel- 
ligible reason for conversion and amendment of 
life. 

Many portions similarly arranged were, with the 
Bishop's hearty approval, sent home to be printed. 
The S.P.C.K., to the missionary's great joy, under- 
took the work, and sent them out the following year 
printed and ready for use. 

On February 3, 1878, came the ordination at 
Moose Factory. 

Twice in the year the Station, usually so 
quiet, becomes somewhat animated — in August, 
when the annual ship arrives from England, and 
again in February, when the long silence is broken 
by the arrival of our overland post. 

At the latter season teams of dogs may be seen 
coming in from the neighbouring stations, bringing 

7 



98 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

the Hudson's Bay Company's officers, who come here 
to await their letters. It was in order that these 
might have an opportunity of being present that 
Bishop Horden fixed Sunday, February 3, as the 
day for the ordination. The service began at 
eleven. The church, which seats a goodly number, 
was quite full ; indeed, only about two persons were 
absent without good cause. As soon as the voluntary 
had ended, the looth Psalm was given out, and sung 
with great spirit. Miss Horden leading at the har- 
monium. Then the Bishop went at once to the pulpit, 
and preached an excellent sermon on 2 Tim. iv. 2, 
" Preach the Word." After calling attention to the 
character in which St. Paul would have Timothy 
to go forth, viz., as a *' herald," he dwelt at some 
length on the signification of ^* the Word," and the 
manner in which it should be ministered. Then, 
addressing himself more directly to the candidate, 
he remarked on the peculiar features of the work 
before him ; 

" Your home is to be in one of the world's bye- 
places, where, except the priceless souls to be gathered 
in, there is nothing to attract you. Of ice and snow, 
of storm and tempest, of wild bleak hills, and an 
utterly unproductive soil, you will have enough 
and more than enough ; and amid those you will 
have, perhaps, to endure much hardness. Yet I 
think you are to be envied. For the missionary 
should not look so much to his surroundings as 



ORDINATION 99 

to his prospects in his ministerial work. And yours 
are glorious ! I think there is no mission in the 
whole country in which God has more people to 
be gathered in than in the Mission at Whale River. 
Long has the cry been raised, * Come over and help 
us ' ; but it met with a faint response ; an occa- 
sional visit was all that could be given. . . . But 
I longed for a shepherd, and at last the noble C.M.S. 
sent me you to be the Eskimos' missionary. . . . 
No people I have ever seen or heard of seem more 
ready to receive the Gospel than they, more ready 
to honour the bearer of Glad Tidings, or to lend him 
all possible assistance, so as to render his life among 
them as free from care as circumstances will permit. 
With the language you are partially acquainted ; 
make yourself a thorough master thereof. Be to 
them a father. Feed them with the milk of the 
Word ; and I trust that, by-and-by, you may be 
enabled to present one of your spiritual children 
as one fitted for, and anxious to become, a teacher 
of others also. A numerous body of Indians, and 
a few Europeans and half-castes, are likewise 
entrusted to your care. The soul of each one is 
equally precious in the sight of Christ, and must 
be so in yours. Neglect no opportunity of speaking 
a word for Christ. Think it no less important to 
speak to one than to five hundred. The deep 
spiritual sermons in John iii. and iv. were preached 
in each case to but one person. Preach the word to 



100 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

hundreds when you have opportunity. Preach to 
the single individual as occasion arises. In the 
house, in the iglo, in the tent, in the church, preach 
the Word." 

After the hymn, " The Church's one Foundation," 
the Bishop took his seat in front of the Communion 
table, and the candidate was presented in the usual 
way. After the laying on of hands, Mr. Peck read 
the Gospel. 

The winter was not over, and the newly-ordained 
missionary would not return to his station until 
the summer. The departure of winter was eagerly 
awaited for more than one reason. The old Greek 
proverb says, " One swallow does not make 
spring." In Hudson's Bay, however, the goose of 
prose might be substituted for the bird of poetry. 
Bishop Horden, writing soon after the ordination, 
says ; 

" But spring was coming, even though it came 
tardily, and by-and-by great excitement was caused 
by the announcement that a goose had been seen ; 
and now " goose " was the great subject of conversa- 
tion. When would the first goose be killed ? Who 
would be the lucky individual to kill it ? Goose 
stands were made at intervals of about half a mile 
all down the river. Decoy geese were in abundance, 
but the wild geese were very shy. They rewarded 
the hunter's patience and skill but moderately ; but, 
in the poor times we were experiencing, every single 



ORDINATION loi 

goose was a prize, and often a hunter sat in his stand 
two or three days without securing one. This year 
the birds could find no feeding in consequence of the 
great depth of snow, and on certain spots hundreds 
were found frozen, starved to death. I do not 
remember having heard of a similar occurrence." 

It was not until July, 1878, that the Rev. E. J. 
Peck returned to Little Whale River. En route he 
visited some of the trading posts of the Hudson's 
Bay Company. One of the places was Seal River. 
Speaking of this place, he says : 

" Here I met some twenty Indians ; these being 
Christians, they desired me to baptize their children. 
For this purpose they cleared one comer of their 
tent for my use, and made other preparations. Such 
acts showed their kindness and good wishes. What 
a curious sight, this Indian tent, with moss for a 
carpet, and dried fish over my head, together with 
the motley group who surrounded me ! But there 
was this sweet truth which gave beauty to all, viz., 
Jesus was near to bless us in our humble abode, 
just as much, I believe, as if we had the spire of some 
noble building over our heads." 

The next place visited was Great Whale River. 
" Here," Mr. Peck writes, " I met about fifty Indians ; 
they were eager to hear about Jesus. I told them 
the simple story of the Saviour's love, and exhorted 
them to have Jesus for their Friend and Guide. 
I have no doubt but God wiU, bless such feeble 



/ 




1 

\ 





102 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

efforts. I am sure He loves the Indians as much as 
any one else ; so I expect Him to save and bless them." 
On his arrival at Little Whale River he had a 
pleasant experience. If there is one thing that a 
missionary feels more anxiety about than another, 
it is the steadfastness of the faith of young converts 
and the permanent effect of his teaching during his 
absence. It may be said that the faithful servant 
of Christ should have more trust in his Master, and 
in the upholding power of the Holy Spirit. Be this 
as it may, St. Paul's feelings were very similar to 
those of a modern worker. Both alike may find no 
rest while they wait for the coming of a Titus. 
Both alike may exclaim, " Wherefore we could no 
longer forbear . . . and sent Timotheus our 
brother ... to establish you and comfort you con- 
cerning your faith." In the present case there was 
no Titus or Timothy to be the means of communica- 
tion between the teacher and the taught, and 
Marconigrams were as yet unthought of. And so, 
if a few anxious thoughts had entered his mind 
during the many months of his enforced absence, 
it was excusable. But on his arrival he says : 

" What has become of the poor Eskimos during 
their teacher's absence ? I have a pleasant answer 
to give, which is this : the same God who was 
pleased to bless them while I was with them, has 
done the same during my absence. This has been 
done through the medium of my helper, Molucto, 



ORDINATION 103 

and others : meetings were held by them which 
were well attended, and the Eskimos were very 
anxious to learn. 

** On my arrival at Little Whale River the 
people gave me a very hearty welcome, and some 
of them appeared quite delighted to see me. 

" It gives me great joy and encouragement to 
minister to these people, seeing they are so willing 
to learn, and so anxious to know the truth. I trust 
God will spare me to live with them for many years. 
Jesus is known to many : and the Spirit's sanctifying 
influence is felt, I trust, in some hearts. Let us 
press on in faith, nothing doubting, and God will 
give a stiU greater blessing. Let us pray and work, 
for life is brief and the souls of men are precious." 

The willingness and desire to teach and help 
others on the upward and heavenly path is surely 
the most Christ-like spirit that can be displayed, 
and the one most coveted for His people by those 
who themselves endeavour to act on the great com- 
mand, " Let your light so shine before men that 
they may see your goods works, and glorify your 
Father which is in heaven." This spirit had 
manifested itself among the Eskimos. 

Here might be mentioned the first incident of real 
encouragement as far as actual conversion is con- 
cerned. It was the case of a heathen woman who 
came to the trading station at Little Whale River 
with a party of her people. She listened most 



104 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

attentively to the great and wonderful truths which 
were brought to her notice, and Mr. Peck was glad- 
dened to see how earnestly she desired instruction. 

After a time she had to leave the station, moving 
out on the frozen sea. While living in a snow- 
house on that barren, icy waste, she was laid low 
by sickness. Her heathen neighbours tried to per- 
suade her in every possible way to listen to the 
conjurors. But the woman was firm, and did not 
heed their appeals. The heathen themselves brought 
in tidings to the station some time after that she 
had died trusting in her new found faith. 

" What a comfort this was to me ! " exclaims 
the solitary worker for Christ. " How it strengthened 
my faith, and enabled me to press on in the work 
of the Lord ! " 

And so we pass on through another winter. 
Trials do not become less, but they are cast more 
on Him who is ever ready to bear them. En- 
couragement becomes greater and gives increased 
energy and power of endurance to the missionary. 
For in March, 1879, he is once more able to speak 
of the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. " I 
have already met several strange Eskimos this 
year to whom I have ministered according to my 
ability. A number of the people were with me for 
some time. I had them with me about five hours 
each day, so that I was able to give them a good 
supply of spiritual food. One family, consisting of 



ORDINATION 105 

some twelve members, gave me their charms or 
idols, desiring to have Jesus only as their Saviour 
and Defender. Many of the Eskimos seem to have 
lost all faith in their conjurors, although they are 
not yet willing to part with their charms. I have 
told them plainly they cannot have Jesus and their 
idols also, so that they must leave them if they wish 
to be saved, I do not wish any one to imagine 
that these favourable results have been brought 
about solely by my agency, for if human agency is 
considered, I must say that my helper, Molucto, 
has done, and continues to do, a great work. He 
seems to have a deep love for the souls of his fellow- 
countrymen. 

" I intend to baptize four of the Eskimos who have 
been under instruction, and w^ho have forsaken 
their heathenism. In this matter I have earnestly 
asked God to guide and direct me. I shall be in 
no hurry to baptize inquirers, but I shall give them 
time to count the cost of their religion. It is right 
to build the Eskimo Church on a good foundation ; 
for if the people imagine that Christianity consists 
in being baptized, and having certain outward forms 
and ceremonies, while they cling to their sins and 
follow some of their heathen practices, I am afraid 
the blessing of God will not be manifest." 

Shall we look at the story of one who was baptized ? 
It is that of Neppingerok, and shows most 
strikingly some of the dangers of Eskimo life on 



io6 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

the one hand, and the mighty power of God's grace 
on the other. 

" Neppingerok was an Eskimo of much intelli- 
gence, and always showed considerable desire for 
instruction, though until he was laid low with 
sickness and affliction, he had never evinced any 
special spiritual desires. 

" One day in the autumn, when the sea began to 
freeze over, he ventured out upon the ice (which 
was not very thick yet), bent upon the capture of 
seals for food for his wife and little ones. 

*' When some distance from the land a gale of 
wind arose, and the ice was shattered by the fury 
of the storm, and Neppingerok was carried away 
on a floating island of ice. 

*' Every moment he expected the frozen piece 
upon which he stood would break. But God 
kept him from this awful fate. 

" The wind suddenly abated, then began again 
to blow, but this time in an opposite direction, 
urging the floe on which he stood towards the land. 
Tossed to and fro for twenty hours upon that floe, 
he succeeded at last in reaching the shore. But 
this fearful voyaging had been too much for him, 
hardy as he was by nature, and rapid consumption 
set in. 

" I could see," says Mr. Peck, " that he had not 
long to live, and patiently, prayerfully tried to lay 
before him the Gospel scheme. 



ORDINATION 107 

" He listened very eagerly, very attentively to the 
Glad Tidings of a Saviour's love, and applied himself 
most assiduously to learn to read the little book 
containing portions of God's Holy Word. 

" His anxiety to know the Lord soon deepened 
into a real, living trust in the crucified One, and a 
full confession of his faith. I had the joy of baptizing 
him. He took the name of John. 

*' Some little time after the poor fellow died. 
I was not with him when he passed away, but the 
last thing he did was to read the Word of God, 
especially St. John's Gospel, chapter xiv., which 
speaks of the Father's house with the many mansions 
for the disciples of Christ." 



CHAPTER VI 

CONSOLIDATION OF WORK 

" Now, my God, let, I beseech Thee, Thine 
eyes be open, and let Thine ears be attent unto 
the prayer that is made in this place." 

WHEN the summer of 1879 was advanced, the 
Rev. E. J. Peck was able to thank God and 
take courage both on account of S5mipathetic co- 
operation which he received in his work and for the 
consohdation, so to speak, of his teaching. 

The co-operation came from the newly-awakened 
earnestness in one of the officers of the Hudson's 
Bay Company. He not only dedicated himself to 
the service of God, but exercised all the influence 
which he possessed in the same direction, both among 
Eskimos and Indians. What an example of this 
kind means to the missionary none but the mis- 
sionary can tell. It is always one of the sorest 
trials to find the heathen pointing the finger of 
scorn at the un-Christlike lives of our fellow-country- 
men, and telling the preacher to convert them first. 

108 



CONSOLIDATION 109 

The logic of facts is always the most powerful, and 
one profligate life may keep out many waverers on 
the threshold of the Kingdom. And conversely, one 
earnest, consistent layman may be the means of 
drawing numbers through the Beautiful Gate. 

Besides this helper, who was in a position inde- 
pendent of the Mission, Bishop Horden sent an 
assistant to share the work with Mr. Peck. This 
was Mr. Edward Richards, a la5niian, who was, 
however, subsequently ordained, and is still labour- 
ing in the Diocese of Moosonee. He was not in the 
same station with Mr. Peck, but was set to the 
oversight of some distant parts of his wide " parish." 

Consolidation of work there also was. On Aug. 6 
we read : 

" The books sent last year have proved a great 
boon, and I have good reason for believing that 
God's Spirit has taken the written Word as the 
means of enlightening the souls of some of my poor 
people. I am happy to say that several can now 
read their books quite fluently. 

*' I have made it a practice during the time I have 
been at Little Whale River to instruct all the Eski- 
mos who live at this post daily, so that they can all, 
with few exceptions, read their books ; and I believe 
any of them would give satisfactory answers if ques- 
tioned upon mcst of the leading truths of Chris- 
tianity." 

But there was further joy also. For better means 



no THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

of teaching the people were at hand. In the last 
chapter it was pointed out that though the much- 
needed iron church had arrived at Moose in 1877, 
it had not been possible for Mr. Peck to take it back 
with him on his return to Little Whale River in 1878. 
Towards the end of August, 1879, it was reported as 
being at the trading station. The erection of the 
building was completed under difficulties, but by the 
latter part of October all obstacles had been over- 
com.e. A letter of December 20, written to the 
Rev. Henry Wright, gives a full account : 

" You will be delighted to hear that God has 
enabled me to erect the iron church. It is a nice, 
neat little building, measuring (exclusive of chancel) 
forty feet long by twenty wide. I was about eight 
weeks erecting it, the Eskimos being employed by 
the Hudson's Bay Company ; I was, therefore, only 
able to have their help for eight days, so that the 
lion's share of the task came to my lot. I had also 
plenty of puzzling work, as the ground plan could 
not be found ; but with experiments, perseverance, 
and hard work, we managed finally to get every- 
thing in its place. 

" The building was opened on Sunday, October 26. 
I preached in Eskimo, Indian, and English to my 
small flock. I spent a most happy day ; and I 
think our poor Eskimos, Indians, and others were 
very thankful for the gift which has been sent them. 
For my own part, I feel deeply thankful to God, 



CONSOLIDATION iii 

and God*s people, who have given me such a help 
in my work. You know how necessary it is to 
have a proper place wherein to worship God ; I 
shall now be able to speak to the people with some 
comfort, whereas formerly I was forced to pack 
them in my little house, or go into the open air, or 
have them in the Hudson's Bay Company's quarters. 
I have no doubt the Eskimos who arrive in the spring 
will be glad to assemble within the building ; they 
will see for themselves the gift which has been sent 
them, so that I hope their hearts may be inclined 
to receive Him who is willing and waiting to give 
them a still greater gift — even life eternal. As the 
church will be visible to aU, it wiU be a silent wit- 
ness for God. The Eskimos will also understand 
our desires for their welfare far better than if mere 
words were used, 

" I am happy to say that God is still helping and 
blessing me in this work. The Eskimos continue 
desirous to learn, and some of them show signs of 
spiritual life, for which blessings I am indeed thank- 
ful. I have a firm persuasion that God has a great 
blessing in store for the Indians and Eskimos. I 
have been led to plead much for them of late, and if 
the Holy Spirit has incited me to more earnestness 
in prayer, it is (according to my mind) that He may 
use and fit the weak instrument for a means of bless- 
ing to others. God, as you know, generally works 
upon our own souls when He intends to use us. 



112 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Oh ! may He often work within us, inciting us to 
more earnestness and devotion in His blessed work ! 

" May I ask you to make the month of May a 
particular time of prayer for the Eskimos ? It is 
then that the greatest number are near me ; then I 
am in the midst of the fearful battle against Satan, 
sin, and indifference, and I need particular grace. 
You know there are special seasons when we need 
to have our hands upheld by special prayer and 
S5mipathy. 

" The news of the iron church being erected 
will no doubt be a matter of much joy to Miss Agnes, 
yourself, and other friends who thought of the poor 
isolated Eskimos, and sent them such a token of 
love and sympathy. Gratefully yours in that 
blessed hope, " E. J. Peck." 

The surprise of the Eskimos who travelled to the 
post was unbounded. 

" The poor people walked around the outside of 
the building and tapped the corrugated iron with 
their fingers, wondering of what peculiar material 
such a building could be made. Others, again, 
wondered how we possibly managed to erect the 
steeple, which, after all, is a very tiny affair. 

" But when these simple folk saw the inside of the 
church, so nicely lined and varnished, their surprise 
knew no bounds, and they cried out ; 

" What a wonderful house ! " 

" Oh, how high ! " 



CONSOLIDATION 113 

" What wonderful seats ! " etc., etc. 

Again, writing to Miss Tolley of St. Leonards-on- 
Sea, Mr. Peck describes the iron building, and adds, 
" the Eskimos are delighted with it, and seem to 
think themselves the richest people in the world " 
on account of this great possession. 

How easy would it be for the wealth of Christian 
England to give joy to the world. If only we really 
believed that Christ spoke the truth when He said, 
"It is more blessed to give than to receive," and 
acted accordingly, there would soon be peace upon 
earth among those in whom God is well pleased. 
But, unhappily, the sayings of Christ are regarded 
as containing beautiful sentiments, albeit unsuitable 
for a practical and business-like age. 

It was not long before the new church was brought 
into full use and consecrated to the glory of God by 
the truest service. In the same letter, dated Feb- 
ruary 17, 1880, just quoted, we read, " I have been 
privileged to admit some of my people into the 
visible Church of Christ within its walls, and I hope 
to baptize more in the spring of this year." 

We have heard several times of John Molucto, 
and the help he was rendering to the missionary. 
We might here enlarge on what has been said before, 
and give Mr. Peck's account of his zeal and method 
under great difficulty in work. At the date above 
mentioned, we read; " He is about sixty years old, 
and almost a cripple. But still he does a great deal 

8 



114 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

of work for the Saviour. When the Eskimos are 
here at Little Whale River he speaks to them about 
their souls, and exhorts them to turn to Jesus. 
Sometimes, when he is not able to walk about on 
the ice, he manages to get other Eskimos to, haul 
him about on a sleigh, so that he may see them and 
speak to them. I have often found him with a band 
of his fellow-countrymen round him, teaching them 
to read and telling of the Saviour's love. Molucto 
has also proved a great help to me in the study of 
the Eskimo tongue. Although he can speak scarcely 
a word of English, he has a way peculiar to himself 
of making one understand what he means, so that 
I have found, and do find, him a great help when 
difficulties stand in my way. Another remarkable 
trait in his character is his perseverance in acquiring 
knowledge. In this respect I know not one to equal 
him. For hours he will study his book, and he has 
now as much fluency in reading as many of my young 
people who are hale and hearty. He is also very 
grateful to those who show him any little kindness, 
and I think he loves those who tell him of Jesus." 

Surely the people, of whom the man so described 
is a representative, are worth helping ? He may be 
called a representative, for perseverance in acquiring 
knowledge is quite an Eskimo characteristic. For 
instance, a young woman, named Agnes Anoat, is 
one who learned to read quite fluently, almost 
ntirely by her own exert ions, for she was away from 



CONSOLIDATION 115 

the Little Whale River while Mr. Peck was there, 
and therefore was independent of his help. Here 
is another case taken from Mr. Peck's diary : — 
" Some Eskimos arrived in the evening . . . One 
young fellow, whom I had never seen before, had 
almost learned to read, and had some knowledge of 
Christianity. It appeared that he had met another 
Eskimo who had done his best to instruct him. 
Other cases might be quoted, but there is no need 
to do so, in the light of the statement, which has 
already been made, that practically all the Eskimos 
at Little Whale River could now read." 

Isolation is always one of the great trials of a 
missionary's life. St. Paul felt it when he wrote : 
" Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him 
with thee." And from Apostolic days down to 
the present experience is the same. The spiritually- 
minded man needs the fellowship of the Spirit in 
others. But generally in these days of railways, 
telegraphs and telephones, though the missionary 
may be cut off from the sympathy and fellowship 
of personal contact, he has aids to realize communion 
in his regular mail service. The worker in 
Arctic scenes, however, has not this comfort. His 
isolation is complete, and if he has not learned to 
lean wholly upon his God for support, his lot is 
indeed a sad and hard one. 

We can understand this to some extent when we 
read Mr. Peck's words to Miss ToUey, a warm sup- 



ii6 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

porter of the Mission : " Your kind letter of May 6 
did not reach me until the 6th of December." 
Nearly eight months for a letter to reach its destina- 
tion ! In these days of the rapid movement of 
events dynasties might be overturned, his friends 
might be dead and buried, and the sojourner in 
Arctic regions be in the most profound ignorance of 
aU. And when the letter does at last reach its 
destination, then two months more have to go by 
wearily before there is any opportunity of sending 
an answer. No wonder, then, that the ambassador 
for Christ feels a hunger for the prayers of the faith- 
ful at home, knowing that these will help him to say 
with Christ, " I am not alone because the Father is 
with me." Speaking from the depth of the Arctic 
winter, Mr. Peck exclaims : " It is indeed a lonely 
and barren spot where God has called me to labour 
and live. But I must not fear nor be discouraged. 
God will, no doubt, give me grace to toil on, if I 
make Him my refuge and strength." 

Miss ToUey interested herself in getting together 
and sending out for distribution among the people 
many warm woollen garments and other useful 
things. The necessary delay in the delivery of these 
things well illustrates the isolation of the Little 
Whale River trading station. It is not until 
December 20, 1880, that the goods sent off in the 
early summer of 1879 are acknowledged as received. 
Then Mr. Peck writes, under this date, concerning 



CONSOLIDATION 117 

these things : " I am now able to speak of them. 
You could not have sent a nicer supply. The knitted 
vests were almost enough to make one warm to look 
at them. Some of the articles were almost too 
nice to give to the poor Eskimos and Indians, who 
spend much of their time in not very clean tents and 
houses. One poor woman seemed quite delighted 
to receive one of the vests. She looked and looked 
as if such a nice thing could never be intended for 
her." Some of the things thus sent were given 
as prizes either for teaching or learning, with a view 
to the encouragement of general industry and im- 
provement. 

A peep behind the scenes is always of interest. 
And lest the reader should imagine that the life of 
a Servant of God in these icy climates is one of deadly 
monotony and idleness, we can draw aside the veil 
for a moment and see how Mr. Peck describes his 
daily life at this time: 

" I suppose you sometimes wonder how I manage 
to live here, and how I spend the long winter months. 
I am very comfortable considering all the circum- 
stances, and I do not feel the cold so much as one 
might imagine. Having a snug house made of logs 
to live in, I am able to keep myself tolerably warm 
with the help of a stove. When I go outside I wear 
a good thick fur coat, which keeps out the cold 
wonderfully well. If I am away with the Eskimos 
and have to sleep in their snow houses, then I use 



ii8 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

a large fur blanket in which I can sleep with comfort. 
"It is true the air is very cold, but it is so clear 
and bracing, and tends so much to invigorate one, 
that it is not nearly so trying as might be supposed. 
It is doubtless owing to this cause that we are so 
free from complaints to which people in England 
are subject. Again, we are not nearly so badly off 
for food as some are apt to think. When the rein- 
deer are numerous we receive a good supply of 
venison from the Eskimos; and besides the deer, 
we are able to obtain partridges and hares, so we are 
not in much danger of starving, although we have 
no shops as in old England. 

" You may wonder how I spend my time, and 
what I do to keep my mind occupied. For one 
thing, I can always find plenty to do in the way of 
study, and for another I always have Eskimos near 
me whom I teach. And besides these things, I have 
to do cooking, etc., so that you can fully understand 
me when I say that I do not find time hang heavy 
on my hands. 

" The daily routine is somewhat as follows : — 
I rise at 6 a.m. Two hours until 8 a.m. are occu- 
pied with devotions and study. Then comes break- 
fast. At 9 a.m. I gather the children together for 
school. After school I study the languages. At 
I p.m. I have my dinner. Exercise takes up the 
afternoon till 4 or 5 p.m. Tea is the next event. 
After the tea the adult Eskimos are called for Service 



CONSOLIDATION 119 

and instruction. Then once more comes my own 
study and devotion, and bed at 10 p.m." 

All this represents a full life, but monotonous when 
lived day by day, week by week, year by year the 
same. But the monotony is relieved by the truest 
pleasure, viz., seeing the dawning faith, the growing 
trust, the brighter lives of those for whom the life 
is lived. Soul after soul is saved ; one after another 
is set as a jewel in the crown of Christ — that crown 
which He will wear as soon as it shines with the 
varied hues of all the lustre of the world ; not of 
Jerusalem or of Samaria alone, but of the uttermost 
parts of the world — the ice-bound shores of the 
Eskimos. 

It is probable, also, that the law of compensation 
operates in the life of every one who is willing to 
come under its influence. Monotony and isolation 
tend to their own rehef for the cheery disposition 
and the willing servant of God. The missionary 
who has constant opportunities of associating with 
his fdlow-countrymen, or whose life may be relieved 
by ordinary pleasures, as in the case of one resident 
in an [ndian station, has a certain amount of tempta- 
tion vhich may lead him to look upon association 
with latives of the country as irksome. But in 
such a position as Little Whale River, the English- 
man, cut off from his natural environment altogether, 
will dscover all the attractive qualities and char- 
acteristics he can in those by whom he is surroimded 



120 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

and form friendships among them. And so Mr. Peck 
is able to look on the bright side, and find plenty to 
admire in the Eskimos. There is certainly no tone 
of depression in such a description as he gives. " As 
regards the people themselves, they are far from 
being the stunted race they are generally repre- 
sented to be. It is true they are not tall, but they 
are stout and strongly built. Besides this, they are 
a remarkably happy, good-natured people. It 
would do you good, I am sure, to see a group of 
them after they arrive at Little Whale River. They 
look very hearty and contented. The women 
present a strange appearance, with their children in 
their hoods and the little ones peeping out in such 
an artful manner. I sometimes wonder how it is 
their children are not frozen, but, strange tc say, 
they seem to feel the cold less than their pai*ents. 
When the little ones are able to walk they are dressed 
in warm fur clothes. Some of them are so fat, and 
are altogether so bulky in their winter cos:umes, 
that one could almost roll them about like baljs with 
little fear of hurting them." ! 

Then, again, not only is the exterior pleasi:ig and 
interesting, but the Eskimos are such kind, teachable 
people that one seldom does anything for them 
without being cheered in soul. | 

Perhaps this chapter cannot be more appropriately 
brought to a close than by giving the story of one 
whose conversion belongs to this period. It is a 



CONSOLIDATION 121 

story which tells of character, opposition, gratitude 
and salvation. Charlotte Ooyaraluk was, during 
the early portion of the missionary's residence at 
Little Whale River, much opposed to the Gospel. 
Her opposition was, curiously enough, largely based 
upon what she considered to be an indignity offered 
to woman. It seemed to her a most monstrous and 
absurd thing that in the story of the Fall a woman 
should play the leading part, and be the first to fall 
into transgression. And for a long time she seemed 
to have no desire for spiritual things. 

" As far as I can remember," writes Mr. Peck, 
" her heart seemed to be first really moved when 
one of her children fell dangerously ill and was 
brought very near to the gate of death. I visited 
her, and did what I could to help and comfort her. 

" The little one recovered, and now the mother 
began to listen with great attention to the glad 
tidings of salvation. She joined our reading class, 
and showed a remarkable and dogged perseverance in 
acquiring the art of reading. Her little book was 
constantly in her hands, and she grew quickly in 
the knowledge of God. 

" Shortly after this she was admitted by baptism 
into Christ's visible Church, and she lived a remark- 
ably consistent life on the whole." 

She did not live long, for a year or two later, during 
the missionary's absence, she was attacked by a 
fatal disease. The officer in charge of the Hudson's 



122 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Bay Company's Station kindly visited her, and 
reported that she had persevered to the end, and 
had met death calmly and joyfully, realizing, like 
St. Paul, that " to depart and be with Christ is 
far better " than the weary pilgrimage and warfare 
of this world. 



CHAPTER VII 

ITINERATIONS AND RESULTS 

" Many shall come from the East and West, 
and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." 

IN the beginning of 1881, Mr. Peck heard that 
there was some probabiUty of a large number 
of Eskimos having come into the trading post at 
Great Whale River. This was about sixty miles 
south of his own station. He determined, therefore, 
to make the journey, which would take two days, 
travelling with sledge and dogs. 

We picture to ourselves, perhaps, the delight of 
such a trip. The merry bells tinkle in our ears ; the 
ruddy faces of the travellers glowing with health 
and happiness appear before us ; the smooth, 
swift, exhilarating motion of the sledge seems to 
impart itself to our own bodies ; as in fancy we com- 
pare it with the animated scenes that we have 
witnessed among those who seek their pleasure in 
this fashion on the sometimes frozen snow of our 
own well-laid, even roads. 

123 



124 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

But we must not allow fancy to lead us astray by 
making us think that Arctic journeys are pleasant 
picnics. There are other things to be taken into 
account, and these also must be placed in the 
picture as objects to form a very dark background. 
•Endurance has been spoken of in an earlier chapter 
as necessary. We understand this, for the road 
is not smooth ; the ice is piled in great heaps and 
hummocks ; the jolting is so great as to make it diffi- 
cult to sit on the sledge ; occasionally the oscillation 
is too much for the centre of gravity, and the occu- 
pant is pitched out without ceremony. Then, again, 
the dogs are not always amenable to discipline, as we 
have seen; they think it right at a critical point of 
the journey to settle some argument among them- 
selves ; they fight, and become hopelessly entangled 
in their harness ; one or two break away and can- 
not be caught again until the march for the day has 
been brought to an end slowly and underdogged. Or, 
once more, there is the keen, biting wind, often laden 
with snow drift. It penetrates the thickest fur. 
Nothing can keep the traveller warm, and when he 
arrives at his destination, no fire, no prepared food, 
no loving faces welcome him, but only bare snow 
walls. No ; Arctic life is not aU picnic. 

Well, on February 17, 1881, Mr. Peck left his log 
home at Little Whale River and started for G.W.R., 
as he calls it in his diary, but we must be careful 
not to interpret the initials as meaning the Great 



ITINERATIONS AND RESULTS 125 

Western Railway. Enterprising as our companies 
may be, they have not found trade amongst the 
Eskimos encouraging enough to induce them to 
penetrate their country with iron roads. The mis- 
sionary had one traveUing companion, an Eskimo. 
They accompHshed only some twenty-two miles the 
first day, and encamped for the night. At least, 
this is what Mr. Peck describes himself as doing ; 
but it may be allowable to object to his description, 
seeing that the travellers are up again soon after 
midnight to resume their journey. They reached 
Great Whale River the next day in spite of a heavy 
head wind, which made it almost impossible to keep 
warm. But on arrival a disappointment awaited 
Mr. Peck, for it was found that only a small number 
of people were encamped there instead of the many 
he had expected. He consoled himself, however, 
in a very characteristic way, for he says he was glad 
as a consequence to be able to minister to them 
with so much the more individual care. 

The sojourn was a short one — only five days. 
On February 23 the missionary started again on a 
tour of discovery, to seek and save those who were 
ready to perish from spiritual cold and starvation. 
The dogs were fresh and the snow quite hard, so, 
getting away at 6 a.m., a good day's work was done 
before night. Then the two encamped, cooked 
their supper, had prayers, and tried to make them- 
selves snug and comfortable. They lay down to 



126 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

sleep, but it was only a trying to sleep after all. 
The cold was so intense, that to become insensible 
to it in the land of slumber was out of the question. 
Consequently, they w^ere glad to make an early start 
again the next morning. The course was now 
diverted seawards, to some islands some three or 
four miles from the coast. There some snow-houses 
were found, and happily they were not empty. The 
inhabitants gave IMr. Peck and his companion a 
welcome. One of the women soon put oil in the 
lamp in order to heat water for tea. It was rather 
a tardy process, but the warm drink was most 
welcome when it was ready at last. Next the 
children were gathered together and taught. 

" Then," we read in the missionary's diary, " I 
went out to the other igloet and spoke to the people 
inside. One of the men was just on the point of 
going out to hunt seals, so I determined to accom- 
pany him. After walking over the ice for some 
time, we came to a place where there was a seal hole. 
At the upper end it was small, about the size of a 
crown piece, but the lower portion was larger. The 
hunter looked into the hole to see if it were frozen 
over. If it is not he knows that the seal has been 
blowing there quite recently. Being satisfied that 
there was some prospect of harpooning a prize, he 
next arranged his weapons and sat down near the 
hole to wait for his prey. 

" It was not long in this case before a seal came to 



ITINERATIONS AND RESULTS 127 

the hole, and the hunter struck it with his harpoon. 
The hole was immediately made larger with the 
chisel which is always attached to the shaft of the 
harpoon. The seal was soon after brought up on 
the ice and hauled into the iglo, where Mr. Peck had 
taken up his abode for the time being. Here it was 
at once cut up, and pieces were handed round to the 
Eskimos. One little fellow was given a piece of the 
gory blubber and meat, which he seemed to enjoy 
most wonderfully." 

This kind of diet is said to be very heating to the 
system, and after eating a good meal of raw seal's 
flesh the natives are able to endure the cold much 
better than would be the case with other kinds of food. 

" In the evening," resumes Mr. Peck, " we sang 
hymns, read God's Word, and I addressed them, 
speaking of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead, 
and pointing out the power of the Saviour in Whom 
we are invited to believe. I am sure it would have 
been an interesting and attractive sight to any of 
God's people could they only have had a peep at us 
in our snow-bound dwelling and listened to our 
praises. For my part I felt most happy, and the 
little privation I endured seemed nothing compared 
with the joy of doing even a little for these Arctic 
wanderers. 

"Before we retired to rest one of the men blocked 
up the opening which served for a doorway with a 
large piece of snow, and made a small hole in the 



128 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

upper part of the iglo, which acted as a sort of 
ventilator or air escape. Having wrapped myself 
up in a deer-skin robe I soon went to sleep, my 
quarters being far warmer than one would imagine. 
This is accounted for by the number packed together 
in the small space of one tiny house, and the way 
in which we were encased with the snow, which, 
however cold and windy the weather may be, acts 
as a capital screen from the piercing blast. 

" The next morning we left our friends at about 
6 a.m. The wind was extremely cold and piercing, 
but I managed to keep myself warm by running and 
helping to guide the sledge through the rough ice. 
In some places there were pretty large cracks in the 
ice, but we managed to get across them with but 
little difficulty. 

" After going in close to the coast we made our way 
to a river, where we hoped to see some more Eskimos. 
We were not disappointed, as we soon had the 
pleasure of seeing an iglo, and of making the ac- 
quaintance of some more of our hardy friends. 

" After I had settled down I gathered the people 
together and spent some time in teaching them 
the Syllabic characters and in ministering to their 
spiritual wants. One of these Eskimos (a woman) 
has of late shown a great desire for instruction, and 
she seems to be ashamed of her ignorance." 

Early in March Mr. Peck returned again to Great 
Whale River. " During my absence," he writes, 



ITINERATIONS AND RESULTS 129 

" two Eskimos had arrived, and they had succeeded 
in kilHng three white bears on their way in. These 
they had attacked with knives, as they had no guns 
with them. They seem to have Httle fear in attack- 
ing any animal they may meet with, providing there 
is some chance of kilHng the game." 

And so through the month of March, 1881, Mr. 
Peck continued to make Great Whale River his 
headquarters, itinerating from there among the 
encampments and snow villages of the wandering 
Eskimos. We find him always hopeful, always 
cheery, always encouraged by the attitude of the 
people to whom he is ministering. At one time, we 
read : " They take as much interest as ever in the 
truths which are laid before them, and there is a 
marked spirit of devotion in our little meetings. 
How cheering and soul-refreshing this is ! Who 
would murmur at solitude or trial after this ? " 

At another time, as he is making a night journey 
in his sledge, the Aurora, the brilUant northern 
lights, made the heavens a wonder to behold. Waves 
of light of every conceivable colour flitted across 
the clear blue sky, while the moon, God's great 
night-light, shone brightly upon the white expanse 
of snow beneath. *' Often have I gazed with wonder 
upon an Arctic night, and while looking up have 
thought of the Psalmist's words, ' The heavens 
declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth 
His handiwork.' At such times my soul seems held 

9 



130 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

in silent contemplation of the wonderful works of 
God." And so, whether by faithful work and its 
results or by the glories of nature, each a revelation 
of the presence of God, the solitary messenger is 
cheered, and finds a very bright side indeed to his 
life. 

In April the missionary is again back at Little 
Whale River, settled down in his summer work. 

In a former chapter we saw something of the 
anxious thoughts that come into a missionary's 
mind concerning his converts from whom he has 
been separated some time. 

In this connection an extract from Mr. Peck's 
diary is of interest. It shows the value of being 
able to read : " Experience teaches me that those 
who have no help while away from the means of 
teaching generally fall back into their former state 
of ignorance. With those Eskimos who can read 
God's Word for themselves I find a great difference. 
These are nearly always the most encouraging and 
the most desirous of knowing more about Jesus." 

There is one case of a man who was met on May 9 
that is worthy of mention. For it speaks of the 
growth of the leaven of the Kingdom, imperceptible 
in the process, but perceived in the result. He was 
present at a meeting where " the people listened with 
attention, and he showed a marked desire for 
instruction. He had met a Christian Eskimo who 
was a convert from one of the Moravian Mission 



ITINERATIONS AND RESULTS 131 

stations on the Labrador coast. From him he had 
learned a simple prayer. He had been in the habit 
ever since of using that prayer daily, and he had 
still some knowledge of Christianity, although he 
had been for years without an instructor." Surely 
here we find a man feeling after God, if haply he 
may find Him. 

At this time Mr. Peck was accompanied in his 
journeys and helped in his work by a Christian 
Eskimo named Thomas Fleming. This man owed 
his conversion to Mrs. McLaren, the wife of one of 
the ofiicers of the Hudson's Bay Company. She 
had lived for a time at Little Whale River, and her 
influence through her life and words had made a 
deep impression upon several of the Eskimos. In 
former years she had lived at various Moravian 
stations on the Labrador coast, where she gained 
her knowledge of spiritual things through the in- 
struction of the Brethren there. vShe spoke the 
language fluently, and after she had learned she 
was ready to impart to the heathen by whom she 
was surrounded. Thomas Fleming, one of these, 
was baptized by the Rev. T. Fleming, who was for 
some years a colleague of Bishop Horden's, and from 
him he received his name. The baptism took place 
at Little Whale River, which the missionary visited 
one winter long before the arrival of Mr. Peck. 
The latter writes concerning this convert : 

" After my arrival T. Fleming soon learned to 



132 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

read. His knowledge of spiritual things increased, 
and he became in many respects a most helpful 
man. Several times he addressed the Eskimos in 
the church, and when I was away he often carried 
on the services during my absence. 

" One day the poor fellow went out on the ice to 
catch seals. He waited long and patiently at a 
seal hole — waited too long, in fact, for he caught a 
severe chill. Inflammation of the lungs set in, and 
he finally succumbed to this terrible malady, and 
soon he passed away to be, we trust, for ever with 
the Lord." 

In May, 1881, Mr. Peck had to journey south to 
Fort George, in order to visit the Cree Indians. 

At Great Whale River Mr. Edward Richards 
joined him, and the two started on their itinera- 
tion together, having Fort George as their ultimate 
goal, on May 18 : " The weather was fine, and the 
ice in tolerably good condition, so we made good 
progress. We saw several seals on the ice basking 
in the sun. This is a favourable time for seal hunt- 
ing with the Eskimos, and great numbers are cap- 
tured by the wary men, who creep up to them as 
they lie on the ice and then shoot or harpoon them. 
But this is no easy matter, as the seals are remark- 
ably acute in hearing, and when alarmed soon dis- 
appear through their holes, by the side of which they 
generally lie. 

" In crawling to a seal the hunter must use the 



ITINERATIONS AND RESULTS 133 

greatest caution. An Eskimo generally crawls along 
the ice and watches the seal as closely as possible. 
Should the seal raise its head, then the hunter re- 
mains still ; but when the seal indulges in another 
nap, then the hunter crawls a little nearer until 
the seal again lifts its head, and so on, until 
the hunter is near enough, and the unfortunate 
animal is shot. Many of the seals which we saw 
slipped down through their holes as soon as they 
heard the noise of the sledge ; others were some- 
what bolder, and waited until we were almost 
within gun-shot of them. 

" A drive of about forty miles brought us to an 
Eskimo encampment. In the evening a meeting 
was held in the largest tent, after which one man, 
in the course of conversation, told the missionary 
how his wife during her illness in the summer had 
found the greatest possible comfort in her know- 
ledge of the Saviour, and in repeating the few hymns 
she knew, and that she had died trusting in Him." 

The missionary, as well as the angels in hea\'en, 
rejoices over one sinner that repents, and takes new 
courage for persistent preaching of the Gospel. 

And so the journey continued, with ministering 
to the wanderers here and there, until May 30. 
Then the travellers decided that they must be 
making their way as quickly as possible to Fort 
George, as their provisions were beginning to run 
short. The officer in charge of the station had 



134 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

kindly promised to send up some provisions from 
the south to meet them. And they were anxious 
to fall in with these supplies. But the days that 
followed were not altogether pleasant. We read 
extracts like this : " We had quite an excitement, 
for about midnight our tent was blown down, and 
as the snow was falling we were in a predica- 
ment. I could not help indulging in a good laugh 
in spite of the cold. Edward Richards managed 
somehow to dress and crawl out from underneath 
his stiff, frozen casement, and we succeeded in getting 
our frail tabernacle up again." 
? Or, again, after his companion had gone out to 
look for the expected Indians who were to bring 
their supplies from Fort George, we read the not 
encouraging words : " Edward Richards returned 
to-day. The news he brought is not at all cheer- 
ing. There were no Indians, and the coast is blocked 
with ice. I have no doubt we shall find something 
to eat. We must rest in God and not be afraid." 
Three days later Mr. Richards succeeded in killing 
a duck, "so we are provided for at least another 
meal. I have a few provisions left, but I wish to 
keep them until the last extremity." 

At last, on June 7, the long looked for Indians 
arrived. They had been delayed, as the ice had 
prevented them bringing in their canoes. On that 
day we find the note : " We shall (D.V.) start to- 
morrow and go some distance inland, and then 



ITINERATIONS AND RESULTS 135 

journey to the south, making the best of our way 
over the lakes and land until we arrive at some place 
where we can again go down to the coast, which, we 
hope, will be clear of ice by the time we arrive." 

Perhaps one of the greatest trials to dwellers in 
Arctic scenes is the bare expanse of land or ice, with 
no sign of trees or verdure. We can sjnnpathize 
to some extent when we read of the joy of the 
travellers coming to some lakes which were free 
of ice and were surrounded with trees. *' There 
was no great beauty about them, but to my eyes 
the scenery was charming, for barren rocks and ice 
had formed our landscape for months." It was 
not until June 13 that the coast was again reached. 
" We were surprised to find large quantities of ice 
blocking our way, but we determined to try and 
push through. It was rather exciting work, as at 
times the passage was very narrow, and large boulders 
of ice rose up on each side, which would soon have 
crushed our frail craft had we come into collision 
with them." 

On June 16 Fort George was at length reached. 
Mr. Peck made a sojourn here of more than a month. 
A site for a church was cleared with the help of the 
Indians. Two adults were baptized. " One of 
these had for a considerable time followed Satan in 
conjuring and other evils. He at last began to try 
and learn, and to give heed to the things of God. 
When questioned, his answers were very satisfactory, 



136 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

and he has for some time been in the habit of pray- 
ing to God. These are the first adult Indians I have 
been privileged to baptize. May they continue to 
cleave to Jesus, even to the end." 

Other causes for satisfaction and encouragement 
there were. Inquirers came forward from among 
the Indians, giving hope of increase in the future. 
And there was a prospect of the continuance of the 
work after the missionaries should have left. 

Mr. Peck writes : " The gentleman in charge will 
continue to do what he can for the English-speaking 
people. There are also three helpers as regards the 
Indians, all of them being good speakers in the 
Indian tongue and able to read the Indian books ; 
and more than this, they all, I believe, know Jesus 
and try to serve Him." 

The second chapter of this book told of the con- 
tempt of the Indian for the Eskimo. The Jew 
despises the Gentile ; the Greek the barbarian ; 
the Brahmin the Chuhra. But in Christ the waUs 
of separation are broken down. We realize this 
when Mr. Peck again tells us, on July 22 : " Before 
I left I got aU the Indians and Eskimos together. 
Each party sang a hymn. I then asked them to 
kneel down, and prayed for them all. 

" What a sight was this ! Some years ago these 
people were the most deadly enemies — now they can 
praise God together. After leaving them we paddled 
a long distance, and then encamped for the night." 



ITINERATIONS AND RESULTS 137 

After this, the only entry in the diary for this 
period is : " The journey to Whale River was ac- 
complished quickly and safely." 

We might go on dwelling upon details of work 
and itineration, but it is better here, probably, to 
endeavour to have a complete picture before us of 
the result of the labours into which we have had 
some insight. There is an interesting summary 
from Mr. Peck's own hand, dated July 31, 1882, 
which will probably give us what we require, and 
show clearly the establishment of the living Church 
of Christ. 

" As nearly all the Eskimos came to trade at 
Little Whale River, instead of going to both Great 
Whale River and Little Whale River as in previous 
years, I was able to minister to them far more 
efficiently than before. The meetings in the iron 
church have been well attended, and the people are 
now becoming somewhat used to a regular place of 
worship, although with some of the wild heathen 
Eskimos one has to use some tact to keep them 
quiet and orderly. 

"They seem to think the building so wonderful, 
and the meeting of so many of their fellow-country- 
men appears to them so novel, that they often give 
vent to their feelings in quite a demonstrative man- 
ner. I find all our pupils, as usual, very ready to 
listen to a friendly word when visited in their snow- 
houses. It is true an Eskimo iglo is not a very 



138 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

inviting place. What with seal's flesh, blubber, 
the awful smell, and the continual uproar of dogs 
and children, one's quarters are certainly not to be 
envied. On the other hand, the kindly spirit of 
the people, their desire for instruction, and the 
prospect of leading them to life eternal, these 
things surely ought to make amends for all. The 
classes for children and adults have been very well 
attended. Several of the children can now read 
their books, and can give very fair answers when 
atechized on the leading truths of Christianity. 
As regards the adults, some of the younger members 
have learned to read very well, but several of the 
elderly people do not seem to make much head- 
way. They often deplore their ignorance, and some 
tell me, in their own simple style of speech, that 
because their heads are thicker than the young 
people's therefore they cannot learn like them, etc., 
etc. The number of baptisms during the year is 
another bright, cheery point which contrasts favour- 
ably with last year. There have been nineteen 
adult and some ten infant baptisms since sending 
last year's report. The number of adult Eskimos 
now baptized is sixty-four, and that of the children 
forty, to which may be added the forty candidates 
for baptism, making the total of Eskimo Christian 
adherents 144. This doubtless is but " a little 
flock " ; let us pray the Lord to increase it. Let 
us ask Him to add many living members to the 



ITINERATIONS AND RESULTS 139 

Church amongst the Eskimos. Such members we 
want, and for such we must toil and pray. 

"As regards Hterary work, I have spent a goodly 
portion of my time in the composition of an Eskimo 
grammar. This will take time yet to finish ; but 
when completed we hope it may prove useful, and 
be found simple. 

" I am glad to say that the native teachers con- 
tinue to do good work, and we have been able to 
add one to the number since last year. One of 
the heathen Eskimos has also done much to spread 
the Gospel amongst his fellow-countrymen. This 
man (who is named Titikgak) heard the Gospel 
some three years ago ; he then returned to his 
hunting-grounds, which are about eight hundred 
miles from Little Whale River, and through his 
instrumentality many of the heathen Eskimos are 
leaving their pagan customs and are desirous of 
instruction. This fact, I need hardly say, is a 
source of much joy and comfort to one's soul." 

This review then goes on to speak of another visit 
paid to Fort George and of the conditions of the 
Indians. 



CHAPTER VIII 

GATHERING FRUIT — UNGAVA 
" My sheep hear My voice." 

THE last chapter closed with Mr. Peck's sum- 
mary of a portion of his work. We were told 
that there were sixty-four baptized adult Eskimos. 
We wish to know more about these. What kind 
of Christians were they ? Were they true followers 
of Christ ? or were they what the scoffer some- 
times calls " bread-and-butter " Christians ? 

Well, some have already been brought incidentally 
into the narrative that has gone before. The lives 
of two or three more may serve as examples to prove 
that now, as 1,900 years ago, the Gospel is the power 
of God unto salvation. 

"Apakutsuk was a man who came to the station 
an utterly ignorant heathen. He was suffering 
from some complaint which was gradually dragging 
him down to the grave. He was naturally an 
intelligent man, and soon learned to read, and very 
readily grasped the meaning of Scripture truth. 

" The disease with which he was afflicted increased, 

140 



GATHERING FRUIT 141 

and presently focussed itself in his hip ; he became 
lame, and was obhged to use a rudely-fashioned 
crutch to move about at all. 

" Poor Apakutsuk ! His sufferings abounded, but 
so also did God's grace ; and with much joy I 
was able to formally receive him into Christ's 
flock. 

" He was baptized, and was in such wonderful 
earnestness for the faith in his Saviour, that he 
began to preach Him to his own people who came 
to the station. 

" On every hand he was listened to with the deepest 
attention, and some of those who heard his earnest 
appeals were much impressed. 

" The ravages of disease at last wore him to a 
shadow. I helped him as far as lay in my power, 
giving him such nourishments from our limited 
stock of provisions as he could take. But the 
Lord needed His ransomed one, and the call came, 
' Come Home ! ' 

" One morning I crept into his little house. His 
wife was weeping, and as I entered she pointed to 
the form of her husband, cold in death. The Spirit 
had returned to Him who gave it. 

" We tried to give this dear saint in God Christian 
burial. We made a coffin out of some rough boxes, 
and a grave was dug. 

" How did we dig it, since the sandy soil was 
frozen for many feet down ? The Eskimos, with 



142 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

some bars of iron and one or two rough spades, 
literally chiselled out a space for the dead. 

" We then lowered the body into its icy tomb, 
and so bitter and piercing was the wind, that all 
I could do was to ask the sorrowing relatives to 
kneel down while I offered up the Lord's Prayer, 
and afterwards spoke to them of Him who by His 
death and resurrection has plucked out the sting 
of death. 

" As I looked upon the gloomy waste around, and 
that icy tomb, with the little band of sorrowing 
ones near me, I thought of the joy of the ransomed 
soul which had escaped the chill horrors of the body. 
We had sown the silent form, in corruption, to be 
presently raised in incorruption. It was sown in 
weakness, to be raised in power. 

" Oh what mighty, far-reaching issues depend upon 
preaching the full Gospel of the grace of God ! 

" How earnest we ought to be in giving to the 
nations that wonderful message which can alone 
lead men's souls to God, and bring life and immortal- 
ity to light through the story of a Saviour's love 1 " 

We have previously had some account of a lad 
who lived in Mr. Peck's hut, and who as a result 
was brought to be a disciple of Christ. The history 
of another might also here be given as being both 
interesting in itself and typical of the vicissitudes 
of Arctic life. 

" Joseph Ratynrok was one of the lads," the 



GATHERING FRUIT 143 

journals tell us, " whom I had the pleasure of keeping 
in my little house and instructing in the Word of 
God. His parents were both very respectable and 
intelligent. His mother died during the early years 
of my sojourn in Little Whale River. 

" His father married again, and Joseph, with his 
father, step-mother, and brothers, left the station. 

" Their after experiences were terrible. Wandering 
over the frozen sea, never meeting with any who 
could help them, and finding no game of any kind, 
hunger pressed them hard. 

" Weak and faint and despairing, delirious 
doubtless with starvation, the poor mother at last 
sank down by the side of a rock, and taking her 
infant child from the hood (in which Eskimo 
women always carry their babes) she strangled it, 
and then laid herself down to die. 

" The father, with the three remaining children, 
when all was over, pressed on. Thinking, in their 
desperate state, that by crossing over a bight in 
the coast they might meet with some of their 
fellow-countrymen, they ventured out upon what 
proved to be unsafe ice. 

" One by one they broke through the icy sheet 
and perished. Joseph alone remained. 

" Retracing his steps with a dogged persever- 
ance, he travelled on by the longer route. He fell 
in at last with a wandering band of Eskimos, but 
only just in time, for he was ill and spent. 



144 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

" He was tenderly cared for, and was at last 
brought by his succourers into Little Whale River. 
It was then that I took the poor boy, now so abso- 
lutely orphaned, and kept him with me. 

" Being a lad of much natural intelligence he 
soon learned to read, and in a clear and decided 
way grasped the great truths of the Christian faith. 
He was also of much use to me in preparing my 
addresses, etc., and some of his sayings still help 
me greatly in speaking to the people. 

" The poor lad suffered from a disease of the knee 
joint, and hoping that he might receive permanent 
benefit from being under proper medical treatment, 
he was sent to Moose. 

" Here, however, the terrible disease developed. 
Then rapid consumption set in, and it was evident 
that poor Joseph was dying. My friend, the Rev. 
H. Nevitt, was then at Moose, and as Joseph knew 
something of the English language he was able to 
understand some at least of the comforting truths 
spoken to him. 

" From the tesitmony of Mr. Nevitt, it is evident 
that the lad died fully trusting in the Saviour." 

John Angatansage was an instance of the power 
of Christ to save the very vilest of sinners and to 
cast out devils. "When a heathen he had been a 
murderer of the deepest type. He had not only 
killed an enemy of his, whom he had hunted about 
for years, but when he had speared his wretched 



GATHERING FRUIT 145 

victim he turned upon the wife and children, and 
although the poor wife pleaded most pitifully 
for mercy for herself and her dear little ones, he 
would not listen, but murdered them all. 

" This incarnate fiend was dreaded and loathed 
for years by his own countrymen, and was, as he 
justly deserved to be, morally excommunicated by 
the whole community. 

" After my arrival at Little Whale River, and 
when the Eskimos came together to hear the Word 
of God, he inquired what these things meant, and 
was told in reply that a white man had come 
to tell them of one named Jesus, who died for 
sinners. 

" Fearing to come near me, he inquired through 
my old friend and helper, John Molucto, if such a 
wretch as he would be allowed to listen to the 
Gospel. 

" I sent him word that if he was really sorry for 
his awful deeds, and wished to hear the glad tidings 
of Jesus, he might certainly come. 

" Come he did, time after time, and began to 
inquire most earnestly regarding heavenly things. 
His hard heart was softened, and he confessed, 
with the most abject sorrow, his awful sin, and 
declared solemnly — and oh, how truly ! — that before 
he had seen the Gospel light, while he was in heathen 
darkness, he had been moved by Satan to kill and 
destroy. 

10 



146 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

" Believing this man to be truly penitent, I 
baptized him, after a long probation. 

" His life and conversation ever after exhibited 
the mighty change which God's pardoning grace had 
wrought in his heart." 

Another case will tell of the power of Christ to 
enable a man to meet pain and physical trial in his 
own life. 

Henry Oochungwak was a mighty hunter, and a 
man of much force of character and intelligence. 
He was looked up to by the other Eskimos, and was 
generally recognized as a chief among them. 

" My old friend and helper, John Molucto,*' 
writes Mr. Peck, " being on the most friendly terms 
with Oochungwak, often spoke to him regarding the 
wonderful tidings of a Saviour's love. The result 
was that he, while at the station, began to 
attend our meetings, and his inquiries showed 
that the Holy Spirit was moving him con- 
siderably. 

" Poor fellow ! How fiercely was his faith to be 
tried ! Satan desired to sift him like wheat. While 
out upon the frozen seas an old and painful com- 
plaint began again to develop itself in him, and his 
suffering became most intense. 

"It is the custom of the Eskimos, when they 
suppose that they are suffering from an incurable 
complaint, either to commit suicide or get a neigh- 
bour to kill them. 



GATHERING FRUIT 147 

" Suffering as this poor fellow was, he asked a 
man named Akpahataluk to strangle him, but the 
man refused to do it. News of this was brought 
into the station, and the gentleman in charge of the 
Hudson's Bay Post (D. Gillies, Esq.) and I went 
off on the frozen sea to visit the sufferer. 

" When the awfulness of the deed which he had 
contemplated was explained to him, his sorrow was 
most acute. Great scalding tears rolled down his 
pain-worn face as I reasoned with him, and re- 
minded him of the strength and grace of Jesus to 
meet his deepest need. 

" Through the kindness of Mr. Gillies he was taken 
to the station and cared for. So I had constant 
opportunities of speaking to him of divine things. 

" John Molucto also spoke tc him most lovingly, 
and through his few remaining days, before he 
finally succumbed to the fell disease that killed 
him, his soul was cheered and solaced, I believe, 
by the comforting, sustaining presence of Jesus." 

These few short narratives of personal life help 
the reader to generalize and to picture with con- 
siderable truth not only the success of the Gospel 
when faithfully preached and lived, but also the 
character of the Eskimos, the hardships they have 
to endure and the dangers to brave. Others might 
have been given, varying slightly according to the 
characters of the individuals who are brought into 
the great drag-net of Christianity and the circum- 



148 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

stances of their lives. Sometimes they are converts 
from heathenism ; sometimes the children of converts, 
baptized in infancy, and growing up in the calm atmo- 
sphere of the Spirit of God. We read in one place of 
a little girl : "I spoke to her many times of the 
Saviour's love, and I was constantly encouraged by 
the beauty and consistency of her Christian life 
when once she had yielded herself to Jesus." 

In another case we find a bright, intelligent man, 
born Christian, who not only learns to read the little 
books printed in the Syllabic character, but actually 
masters the Moravian New Testament in Roman 
type. We must not suppose that perfection is 
attained all at once, that the missionary never has 
to lament a fall on the part of one who has given 
himself to God, or a yielding to old temptations 
amid the surroundings of the new life. English 
Christians after many hundreds of years of the 
Gospel can still find flaws in their own morals. 
Then it is hardly to be wondered at if the Eskimo 
Christian of yesterday causes his teacher sometimes 
moments of anxiety and hours of prayer. But 
enough has been said to show that thus far work 
among the Eskimos was full of joy and encourage- 
ment, and spoke of the truth of the promise, ' I 
will not leave you comfortless ; I will come unto 
you." *' I am with you always, even unto the end 
of the world." 

And now, having given these individual introduc- 



UNGAVA 149 

tions, the first seven years of Mr. Peck's missionary 
life must be drawn to a close. 

In December, 1882, he was contemplating a visit 
to England in the following summer. 

After so many years he had undoubtedly earned 
his rest and a return to civilization for a season. 
But nevertheless he was willing to forego his own 
pleasure and refreshment for the sake of those to 
whom he had been sent. Rather more than a year 
later, on January 3, 1884, he again wrote to Miss 
ToUey : " You will doubtless have heard by the time 
you receive this the reason of my not having gone 
to England as I intended. We were anxious to see 
some heathen Eskimos living at Ungava Bay, and 
not being able to push north on account of the 
very severe weather, we were obliged to give up 
the journey. Thinking then that there might be 
a more favourable opportunity the following year, 
I determined to remain and make another trial." 

It is easy to sit at one's writing-table and make 
extracts of this kind from Mr. Peck's letters and 
diaries ; it is easier for the reader to sit in his 
easy chair and read them. It needs, however, some 
effort on the part of both writer and reader to 
appreciate, or in any degree realize, the missionary's 
position and work. Here he was voluntarily 
giving up his hard-earned leave. And none but 
the exile knows what home-hunger is. He was 
also contemplating a most difficult and adventurous 



150 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

journey to Ungava, over a country rarely, if ever, 
traversed by an Englishman before. The unknown 
only lay before him in this deserted, icy road of 
some 700 or 800 miles. And as the apostolic party 
of old " assayed to go into Bithynia ; but the 
Spirit suffered them not." So it might also have 
been written of him. No less than three times did 
Mr. Peck fail to accomplish this journey. Three 
times, from some cause or another, he was driven 
back. His first attempt has already been mentioned 
as having taken place in the summer of 1882. " In 
the following summer," he writes, " we started 
again, but could not force our way along the coast 
on account of the vast piles of ice which lay in our 
track, and we were again with reluctance obliged 
to postpone our arduous undertaking. 

" In the winter of the same year we tried once more 
with sledge and dogs, thinking to cross the Labrador 
Peninsula by this means. We were not, of course, 
able to carry a large supply of provisions, as the 
load would have been too heavy ; but we expected 
to meet with reindeer and other animals which 
sometimes frequent those parts. In this, however, 
we were disappointed. For eleven days we struggled 
on over the frozen waste, but not a vestige of 
animal life could be seen. We were, therefore, 
obliged with heavy heart to retrace our steps or 
perish by starvation. The next attempt, through 
God's help and guidance, proved successful, and 



UNGAVA 151 

great was our joy when at last Ungava was reached, 
and our trials and disappointments were at an end." 
The start was made on July 17, 1884. The party 
consisted of Mr. Peck himself and four Indians with 
a canoe. It was about 8 a.m. when they commenced 
their journey. At first they took the coast line 
of the open sea from Little Whale River to Rich- 
mond Gulf on the north. They entered the latter 
about I p.m. Here they found themselves off a 
dangerous, rocky shore. Fish are plentiful in this 
region, especially in the summer and autumn. So 
the travellers were able to some extent to husband 
their provisions — an important matter with a long 
journey ahead, and the possibility of carrying 
nothing but light loads. When in the Gulf the wind 
freshened and a sea sprang up, and as the shore 
was inhospitable and impossible of effecting a 
landing in heavy breakers, they determined on 
camping for the night while the opportunity offered 
itself. 

The next day the wind was fair, and they made 
an early start. The sea was running high, and was 
almost too much for the frail craft ; but the Indians, 
as usual, handled her admirably, and they were able 
to accomplish the whole distance, 30 miles, across 
the southern portion of the Gulf without any 
mishap. About 2 p.m. they entered a small river, 
but close to its mouth an obstacle faced them in 
the shape of a large rapid which they were unable 



152 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

to surmount. So there was nothing for it but to pack 
up bag and baggage, shoulder the loads, and carry 
them for more than a mile. After this a halt was 
called, and the travellers encamped for the night. 
They could hardly say, however, with the Psalmist, 
*' I will lay me down in peace and take my rest," 
for the mosquitoes and other insects of torture were 
quite unbearable. 

How glad one is on the morrow of a bad night in 
camp to say farewell to the camping ground — a 
dirty-smelling camp, a noisy camp, an insect- 
pestered camp, a low-lying damp camp. These are 
the lot of the pilgrim who travels through strange 
lands. He tosses and turns in his not too 
luxurious bed and waits for the day, thankful 
when it comes to make a new start, hoping for better 
things when next he pitches his tent a day's march 
nearer home. Such, doubtless, were the feelings of 
this little party when we read that in the morning, 
" We passed from the river into a small chain of 
lakes lying about east by north. We had a hard 
day's work carrying our loads from lake to lake, 
or in other words, making portages. The country 
was hilly, and in some places even mountainous. 
Partridges were numerous near the shores of the 
lakes, and we saw several deer tracks during the 
day." 

Each day closed with prayer and Bible reading, 
with a simple exposition of the passage read. On 



UNGAVA 153 

Sunday we find the note, " We rested according to 
the commandment." 

Those who are marching day after day appreciate 
the rest of the seventh day more, perhaps, than any 
one else. They understand what is beyond the 
comprehension of the present-day pleasure- seeker — 
that the dull old Sabbath is a God-given institution. 

Probably the best way to give an adequate 
impression of this journey will be to transcribe 
some of Mr. Peck's notes, merely inserting a few 
words to make the sentences complete for publica- 
tion : — 

" Monday, July 21. — We had another heavy day's 
work carrying our canoe and baggage from lake 
to lake. 

'* Tuesday, July 22. — We passed through another 
chain of lakes lying about east by north, then we 
camped for the night. We shot several partridges 
during the day, and caught some fine white fish and 
trout in the lake. The country was hilly, and 
vegetation scanty. 

" Wednesday, July 23. — We made our long portage, 
and then passed into Clear Water Lake. This is a 
fine, deep lake, about forty miles in breadth and 
fifty long. True to its name, the water is surprisingly 
fresh and clear. As the wind was fair we pushed 
out into the lake, and had made some thirty miles 
when a heavy storm came on. We then made the 
best of our way to a large island which was for- 



154 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

tunately close at hand, and camped for the night. 
We saw some reindeer on the island, but did not 
succeed in shooting any. The wood growing on the 
island is rather large, but not fit for building purposes. 
The storm continued the next day, making 
it impossible for the travellers to venture in their 
canoe ; but on ** Friday, July 25, the wind mode 
rated, though it is still heavy. We ventured, 
however, to cross from the island to the northern 
shore of the lake. Our little craft rode the sea 
admirably under the skilful guidance of our steers- 
man. We reached the shore, thank God, safely, 
and then passed into a small river. We made a 
few portages, and then camped. The country about 
here is much lower than that hitherto seen. We 
have been more or less troubled with mosquitoes 
ever since leaving Little Whale River. They some- 
times attack us in great force, and sting in a most 
unmerciful manner. 

" Saturday, July 26. — Made a few portages, and 
then passed into Seal Lake. This is about seventy 
miles long, but varies much in breadth. In the 
middle it is quite narrow, but in other places it 
measures perhaps from thirty to fifty miles in 
width. It is quite studded with islands which are 
the favourite haunts of reindeer, especially in the 
winter months. The wind was fair and strong, 
so we made a good run and then camped. We saw 
a seal, some gulls, and a few ducks during the day. 



UNGAVA 155 

" Sunday, July 27. — We rested during the day and 
had a pleasant reading and conversation. There is 
something appaUing and solemn in passing through 
these desolate regions. Day after day one looks 
upon the same little band and hears the same few 
voices. How well to look upward to Jesus who sits 
upon the throne, and to remember that one is never 
really alone if we are His and He is ours. 

" Monday, July 28. — We reached the south-eastern 
boundary of the lake, and then made portage into 
a small river. 

" Tuesday, July 29. — We passed from the river 
into a rather large lake, the river from which con- 
tinues its course to Fort Chimo. The country is 
very mountainous. Trees and willows grow by the 
banks of the rivers and lakes. Partridges are very 
numerous. We frequently saw deer tracks from two 
to three feet wide. 

^' Wednesday, July 2^0. — We continued our journey 
on a small river which runs from the lake. It was 
very shallow. We had to lighten our canoe by 
carrying portions of our goods. This is terrible 
work, especially when clouds of mosquitoes attack 
one from every quarter. The country is still 
mountainous. Fish are plentiful in the river. 

*' Friday, August i. — The current was strong, but 
the river shallow. We had to be very cautious, as 
our canoe has been broken three times since starting. 
We had a narrow escape once. We struck a large 



156 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

stone in passing down a rapid, but we were for- 
tunately carried into shallow water before the canoe 
filled. We were able to patch up our shattered craft 
and proceed on our way." 

Enough has been written in the transcription of 
these notes to convey some impressions to the mind 
of the reader. The appalling solitude, the merciless 
swarms of insects, the danger, the toil continuing 
for three and a half weeks, must rouse a certain 
amount of sympathy in even the most apathetic. 
That it was a journey worthy of consideration from 
other than the missionar^^ point of view is attested 
by the fact that it was noticed by the Royal Geo- 
graphical Society, and Mr. Peck's notes were repub- 
lished in its journals. 

At last, on August ii, the travellers found the 
tide flowing with such force in the afternoon that 
they were unable to make headway against it. 
This was a clear indication that they were nearing 
their goal, as the coast could not be very far distant. 
It turned out they were twenty miles from the mouth 
of the river, and as the rise and fall of the water 
at Ungava Bay is about sixty feet, it can be readily 
understood that to stem its adverse torrent was 
out of the question. So they waited for the turn 
of the tide, and then went down the river at a 
swinging pace. Towards evening Fort Chimo was 
reached. A hearty welcome was given them by the 
officer of the Hudson's Bay Company in charge of 



UNGAVA 157 

the station, and so they " were glad because they 
were quiet, for He had brought them into their 
desired haven." Three weeks were spent at this 
port, during which the Eskimos were instructed 
and the few Europeans ministered to. And what 
was the result ? Mr Peck had written, " Our 
object in taking the journey was to reach the Eskimos 
living in those parts, and to lay before them the 
glad tidings of salvation." 

Did they receive the Gospel ? is the all-important 
question from the missionary's point of view. To 
this we have the answer given : 

*' Several of these people heard with amazement 
of that Saviour who came to save and bless. Many 
of them showed a great desire to learn, and some 
of them crowded in my little tent and asked over 
and over again various questions bearing on the 
things of eternity. Not a few of them, I trust, have 
received into their hearts seeds of saving truth 
which will, under the influence of God's Holy Spirit, 
draw them to Jesus for pardon and peace. Surely 
this fact ought to speak in no silent tone to the 
Church of God. Where is our faith and self-denial 
if a people so eager to learn are left without a teacher 
to point them to Jesus, the Fountain of Life ? " 

There are, however, no particular details given 
of this sojourn and the work accomplished, and it 
was not for years afterwards that anything more 
was heard of it. In 1899, after Mr. Peck had been 



158 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

at work for some years in Cumberland Sound, he 
received a letter from Bishop La Trobe, of the 
Moravian Church. It is so important, and so full 
of encouragement for the lonely worker for God, 
that it is given here in extenso as a completion to the 
sojourn at Ungava Bay. 

" Moravian Mission Board. 

Herrnhut, 

Saxony. 
November 13, 1899. 
Rev. E. J. Feck, 

Blacklead Island, 

Cumberland Inlet. 
My dear Friend, — I have a story to tell which 
is of special interest to you who have sown the Seed 
of Life in Ungava Bay. It seems as if God wiU now 
give a reaping time. Having heard of " a great 
awakening " at Kangiva and Ungava,our missionary, 
Stecker, at Ramah, went thither last April by invita- 
tion of Mr. Guy, the Hudson's Bay Company's 
agent at Kangiva. He was accompanied by Ludwig, 
a Christian Eskimo, and joined at Nachwak by 
Mr. Ford, the H.B.C. trader at that post, and an 
Eskimo, who is still heathen. 

I will not linger on their journey across the lofty 
ridge of that northern point of Labrador, but only 
say that its experiences were of daily perils and daily 
preservation and mercies. A southerly wind brought 



UNGAVA • 159 

a sudden thaw, and part of the journey was through 
melting snow and flowing water, instead of over the 
frozen surface of land and river and sea. The men 
and dogs and sledge often sank deep into the soft 
snow, and some of the streams they came to were 
well-nigh impassable. 

Arrived at length at Kangiva, Mr. Stecker found 
that there was a real awakening, and that it is to 
be traced to the Divine blessing on your own work 
at Ungava. From thence it has spread northward 
to Kangiva, the Island of Akpatok, and even to the 
other side of Hudson's Straits. It was soon plain 
to him — and he says it would be plain to every one — 
that the work is of God. No doubt some of the 
Eskimos are going on with the stream, but its flow 
is towards Christianity. The Eskimos have fully 
broken with heathen practices and sorcery, and their 
countenances showed the cheerful character of the 
change. They were quite candid and open with 
Mr. Stecker. They are eager to observe the Sabbath, 
counting the days week by week to the seventh day, 
when they rest from work. All the Eskimos, even 
the old people, are learning to read and write in the 
Syllabic character, and your extracts from the Bible 
and the Catechism are highly prized. It is astonish- 
ing what progress the Kangiva people have made in 
one year, since they began to learn from those of 
Ungava. They are diligently instructing their 
children to the best of their ability. They are hungry 



i6o THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

for instruction in the things of God, and could not 
hear enough from Mr. Stecker. They repeatedly- 
said : " O, if we only had a missionary ! " Again 
and again they begged him to come again next year, 
and he plans to do so in March, 1900, when he will 
visit Ungava as well as Kangiva. At the latter 
there are some 70 Eskimos, at the former more, and 
also some Indians living separate from, and some also 
among, the Indians from the interior, and Eskimos 
from Akpatok also come thither to trade. Mr. 
Stecker says there is really an open door. He thinks 
Ungava the best centre for a station. Kangiva can 
be reached from thence in two or three days. 

The agents of the Company bear witness that the 
Eskimos are quite different to what they used to be, 
and really in earnest to live anew life. The traders 
at both posts would welcome and assist a missionary, 
and think there would be no difficulty in his getting 
provisions by the Company's ships. It remains to 
be seen how the H.B.C. authorities in Canada and 
London will view the matter. 

The Eskimo dialect used in Ungava Bay differs 
in accent and in some words from that used along 
the Atlantic coast, but not so much that one of our 
missionaries would find any difficulty. If he were 
already firm in the language his ear would soon be 
accustomed to the new sounds. 

And now, dear Brother, whose is the privilege 
and duty to take up the work thus begun in the 



UNGAVA . i6i 

Divine leading of Providence ? Personally, I feel 
that it is laid on our Church as an extension of her 
existing work among the Eskimos, and I believe 
that you and the C.M.S. Committee will acquiesce 
in this. Being in London in 1897, I called on Mr. 
Baring-Gould at Salisbury Square, and spoke with 
him especially about Ungava. He expressed the 
hope that the way might be made clear for our 
Church to enter on work there. May God show 
us His will for Ungava. I do hope you are blessed 
and cheered in your work at Cumberland Inlet. 
I wonder if you ever come across any trace of our 
Missionary Warmow's visit there in 1858. 

In sincere Christian regards, 
I am, dear friend, 

Yours most truly, 

B. La Trobe. 

The allusion in the end of the above letter is to a 
Moravian missionary named Warmow, who wintered 
on the northern shore of Cumberland Sound in a 
whaling ship in 1858. He was sent out to see what 
openings existed for missionary work. 



II 



CHAPTER IX 

MARRIAGE — FORT GEORGE 
" Thy people shall be my people." 

MR. PECK'S sojourn at Ungava Bay lasted 
until the arrival of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany's steamer. Then he embarked on the vessel 
which sailed to a port on the Labrador coast. After 
various changes he reached St. John's, Newfound- 
land. Thence taking passage in a ship sailing for 
England he arrived in Liverpool on the 15th of 
October, 1884, to enjoy a sojourn in the old country. 
This English sojourn has no place in an account 
of work among the Eskimos save for one fact which 
influenced that work considerably. This was 
Mr. Peck's marriage. He had known the Rev. W. 
Coleman, the present vicar of Moreton Morrell, in 
Warwickshire, before he went to Little Whale River, 
and when on a visit to him after his return home, 
he found his friend's sister. Miss Coleman, ready 
to share his life of privation and danger for the sake 
of Christ. They were married in St. Paul's Church, 
Greenwich, where Mr. Coleman was curate at that 

162 



MARRIAGE 163 

time. Nothing need be said except that she was 
worthy in every way to be the partner of the servant 
of God, and to cheer his solitude. A braver and 
more devoted help-meet was never given to a man. 
" Fear did not enter into her calculations where 
the Lord's work and His glory were the object." 

"Is it His will that we should prosecute this 
work ? " would be the only question, and when 
the answer was affirmative : Then let us go for- 
ward " Strong in the strength which God supplies 
through His eternal Son." 

We are reminded as we read this of the patient 
persevering faith of the first woman who had any- 
thing to do with Eskimo missionary work. When 
Hans Egede embarked at Vaagen for Bergen 
before proceeding to Greenland nearly two hundred 
years ago, his friends who had been estranged from 
him for some time owing to his madness, as they 
deemed it, in leaving home for unknown perils and 
hardship, found their love for him revive. They 
flocked in crowds to see the ship sail and to wish 
him God-speed. This sympathy and demonstration 
of affection proved almost too much for his stead- 
fastness of purpose. Then it was that his wife stood 
by his side bidding him be brave, play the man and 
not look back after having laid his hand to the 
plough. And so it is that not only on the day of 
Calvary but all through the history of Christianity, 
women stand closest to the Cross of the Saviour. 



i64 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

In May, 1885, almost immediately after their wed- 
ding, the newly-married pair left Liverpool for 
Hudson's Bay. They travelled by way of Quebec, 
Montreal, through Lake Huron, and a portion of 
Lake Superior as far as Michipicoten, and from the 
last-named place, about 500 miles to Moose, in a 
frail birch bark canoe. 

Novel were the experiences for the young bride 
almost before the days of the honeymoon were over t 
lakes and rivers abounded in rapids which had to be 
"shot." The sensations of many in these positions of 
excitement, not to mention danger, would have 
been such as those experience " who go down to the 
sea in ships and occupy themselves in great waters." 
The Psalmist describes them in the expressive words : 
" Their soul melteth away." 

The Indian guide who accompanied them, and 
who could speak a quaint, broken English, hoping 
to amuse and interest the travellers, gave detailed 
accounts of all the thrilling events which had 
occurred in the past, when voyagers had essayed 
to shoot these rapids. 

One place he called " De Frenchman's rapid," 
and in response to the question, " How did it acquire 
that name ? " he replied, for the special comfort 
and edification of the two travellers, that three 
Frenchmen had recently been drowned there, while 
attempting to shoot that particular rapid. 

*' But shooting these rapids," writes Mr. Peck, 



MARRIAGE 165 

" though attended with danger, has its pecuhar 
excitements, and quite ecstatic experiences, and 
often we almost yelled with excited delight, when 
after a few minutes of breathless suspense, we 
suddenly found ourselves rushing safely through 
the white, foaming waters at the foot of the roaring 
torrent." 

After six weeks of travel the journey came to an 
end on July 4, 1885, by the arrival of the travellers 
at Moose. 

Almost immediately after reaching the last- 
mentioned place, Mr. Peck found a small vessel of 
the Hudson's Bay Company sailing for Little Whale 
River. He accordingly embraced the opportunity 
of paying a somewhat flying visit to his Eskimos. 
Mrs. Peck had met with an accident and was unable 
to accompany her husband. Concerning this visit he 
writes : " They gave me a most hearty welcome, and 
seemed so glad to see me back again safe and sound." 

*' As regards the work, I am glad to say that two 
of the native teachers have done what they could 
to instruct their fellow-countrymen during my 
absence, and on the whole we saw reason to be 
thankful that so much had been done." 

This journey occupied a very short time, and 
Mr. Peck's intention was to return to Moose only 
to take his wife away. But this proved to be im- 
possible. The doctor decided that she must remain 
where she was through the winter. 



i66 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Happily the effects of the accident soon passed 
off. On February 8, 1886, Mrs. Peck writes to 
Miss Tolley : " I am so very glad to be able to tell 
you that through the blessing of God, I am quite 
recovered. The fine bracing weather we have had 
has done me much good, and I am looking forward 
with great pleasure to the summer when we hope 
(D.V.) to go on together to our Eskimos, who have 
been so long without their minister. I am very 
happy out in this lonely land. The days pass 
quickly and pleasantly with a little study of the 
language, a walk and work of some kind. I have 
experienced for the first time the intense pleasure of 
receiving letters after a long silence. The whole of 
the day on the receipt of our letters was spent in 
reading them and thinking of the home friends . . . 
On the arrival of the annual ship, we had much 
pleasure in looking at the bale of things sent out by 
so many kind friends. Our pleasure was a little 
spoiled because we knew we should not distribute 
them ourselves. I hope next year to know all the 
people a Httle, and more as years pass on, should 
it please God to spare me to work with my husband 
amongst his people. I am longing to get to the 
work and shall try to learn both Indian and Eskimo. 
The latter seems the most difficult ; it is hard to get 
the right pronunciation." 

Nine days later, i.e., February 17, 1886, Mr. Peck 
writes ; " As Mrs. Peck is now so well, I shall (D.V.) 



MARRIAGE 167 

leave for Little Whale River in a few days. I shall 
have to walk about two hundred and fifty miles ; 
the remaining three hundred and fifty will have 
to be done with sledge and dogs." In this same 
letter we hear for the first time of the prospect of 
easier joumeyings in the near future on account of 
a useful gift to the Mission : "My little steamer 
will, I trust, be put together in the coming summer. 
I shall (D.V.) return to Moose in the beginning of 
July, and shall, perhaps, use the steam launch in 
taking my wife on to our own little home." 

The postscript to this letter is : " The dogs have 
just arrived, and I start to-morrow morning early 
on my long journey." 

It needs no words from an editorial pen to enable 
us to read between the lines, of the patient self- 
denial of both man and wife, who in the first year 
of wedded happiness give up one another for long 
periods of separation and of the faith that trusts 
God with all that is dearest in privation and 
danger. 

The stay at Little Whale River lasted from 
March 18 to May 5. No details of this visit are 
forthcoming, but the general summary is ; 

" I was kept busy teaching the Eskimos. I was 
glad to see that many of them had taken care of 
their little books, and had continued to read them 
during my absence in England. Others, again, were 
as anxious as ever to hear the message of salvation, 



i68 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

while some, I am sorry to say, have gone back to 
their heathen ways, and their hearts seem closed 
against the truth. But to counteract this last 
saddening fact God has given us a mighty token of 
His power in the happy, yea, triumphant, death 
of one of Christ's little flock. 

" Having remained at Little Whale River as 
long as possible, I took an Eskimo, with sledge and 
dogs, and travelled on to Fort George. One remark- 
able incident ought to be mentioned here in connec- 
tion with this journey. When we approached the 
Fort George River, the ice, which was very weak, 
began to break up ; but fortunately the portion on 
which we were standing held together until the 
people at the post came and took us away in a 
canoe. The rush of water and ice near us was 
really alarming, and nothing, humanly speaking, 
could have saved us had the whole force of the 
current borne down upon us ; but, thank God, it 
was carried in an opposite direction, and we were 
able to keep afloat until succour arrived. 

" Had I known the real state of the ice I should 
not, of course, have gone near it ; but neither my 
Eskimo companion nor I had any conception of its 
weakness, and we thus unconsciously ran into 
danger. May this remarkable preservation be 
written upon my inmost soul ! May gratitude to 
God for His goodness incline me to real devotion in 
His service ! " 



FORT GEORGE 169 

Mr. Peck reached Moose again somewhat earher 
than he had at first contemplated, on June 23. 
Here he found all well and the steam launch within 
a few weeks of completion. So it was determined 
that the start should be made almost at once for 
their own station. 

It should be mentioned that on his return from 
England Mr. Peck received instructions to make 
Fort George his base instead of Little Whale River. 
They started, then, for this station,which is about two 
hundred miles south of his old quarters. Mrs. Peck 
travelled in company with a medical gentleman, 
Dr. Dobbs, who was most kind and helpful. 

" I went on," says Mr. Peck, " with our supplies, 
which were shipped in a boat, the gift of kind friends 
in England, which had been sent out in the annual 
ship the previous year. 

" In due time, after my arrival, Mrs. Peck also 
arrived, and shortly after gave birth to our first- 
bom, a fine boy, who I trust will himself become, in 
God's good time, a messenger of peace to the heathen. 
" Our home at Fort George was a log-house, 
thirty-four feet long by sixteen feet broad. This 
area was divided into three rooms, one being our 
dining, the other a sitting-room, and the third my 
study. Our bedroom was on the second floor, but 
in cold and stormy weather, we found it practically 
impossible to use this upper room, and were glad 
to make any shift in the lower rooms. 



170 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

" The house was warmed by means of two large 
stoves, one being for use downstairs, the other up. 
Wood was burnt in these and a goodly supply was 
needed to last us through the long, long winter. 

" This fuel was obtained from the woods bordering 
the bank of the river, and was mostly cut in the 
summer time, made up into rafts, and floated down 
the river, to a point not a great way from our house. 
From the river's bank it was carried up conveniently 
near to the house and stacked in piles for the winter 
consumption. 

" All food, such as flour, oatmeal, tea, sugar 
and every other kind of grocery and kindred sup- 
plies, had to be obtained from England, and this 
only once a year, by the annual vessel. At Fort 
George, however, we never saw this vessel, for our 
supplies reached us by a smaller craft. 

" Now it is a remarkable fact, and one for which 
I would never cease to give praise to our covenant- 
keeping God, that during the whole of our experi- 
ence at this isolated station, the vessel never failed 
to reach its destination. 

" At Fort George, in certain more favourable 
years, we were able to grow a few stunted, diminutive 
vegetables : we have even grown a few potatoes, 
though it is not possible to say much about either 
their size or quality. 

" Turnips, as being more hardy, were our stand- 
ing crop. Our little daughter, who was born at 



FORT GEORGE 171 

Fort George (and no medical man was near us), when 
she was big enough to toddle about, used to make 
her way to the garden and pull up a turnip, and 
devour it with the keenest relish. 

" An amusing incident in connection with this 
child and her love of raw turnips, occurred in 1892, 
seven years after, on my return to England. We 
had just landed, my wife and children and myself, 
under circumstances that will find their own place 
later on in this narrative. While waiting at the 
railway station, previous to the starting of the 
train, and having seen some apples at a fruiterers 
near by as we entered the terminus, I thought 
they would be a treat to my children, who had never, 
of course, seen an apple. 

" Returning to the carriage where I had left them, 
I dropped some of the apples into the lap of my 
little girl, waiting curiously to hear what remark 
she would make concerning the (to her,) strange 
fruit. 

" With wonder in every line of her sweet little 
face, she looked up into her mother's, and with 
beautiful, childlike simplicity, cried ; ' Oh, mother ! 
what big turnips these are.' 

" To return to Fort George. Besides the food 
supplied from England, we could, in most years 
obtain a fair supply of fish, rabbits, partridges, and 
sometimes a little venison. But there were years 
when these things could not be got, then the anxiety 



172 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

and strain to provide for one's loved ones was very 
great and sore. 

" Mrs. Peck did wonders in the way of making 
our log-hut bright and cheerful. Our little sitting- 
room was most tastefully arranged, and our meal- 
times were ordered with as much regularity as if 
we had been living in England. 

" We had Indian girls from time to time, as ser- 
vants, and one of these especially became very 
useful and helpful. 

" Mrs. Peck's daily life was somewhat as follows. 
After the Indian maid had lighted the fires so that 
the rooms were fairly warmed, the little ones were 
washed and dressed. 

" Breakfast followed this, consisting often of 
fried fish, porridge, etc. Then came the morning 
family devotions, reading and prayers. 

" After prayers, various domestic matters were 
attended to, dinner prepared, children's clothing 
looked over and mended or newly made. Then at 
I p.m. came dinner. 

" After dinner, our little ones were amused and 
taught, and during my absences from the station, 
Mrs. Peck held school for the children belonging 
to the Hudson's Bay Company's employes. 

" Tea came at 5 p.m., after which our little ones 
were read to, and put into bed." 

After the little ones were tucked into bed, in 
that icy northern home of the Pecks, a few other 



FORT GEORGE 173 

matters employed husband and wife until 9 p.m., 
then came prayers, and retiring. 

" My time," writes Mr. Peck, " was taken up 
with teaching bands of Indians and Eskimos who 
came into the station to trade, and who made visits 
of various lengths. School was also held for the 
children of the Hudson's Bay Company's people, 
while tuition was also given to one or two Eskimo 
boys whom we kept at our house. These were not 
only instructed, but Mrs. Peck did everything 
possible for them as regarded food and clothing. 

" In the winter, we made a high, thick, wall-like 
bank of snow (three to four feet wide) against the 
walls of our house, which proved a great help in 
keeping it warm, shutting out the piercing wind, 
and enabling us to keep it snug. 

" Our little ones were clad in warm English gar- 
ments, and in wintry weather were, of necessity, 
kept indoors. Toys and picture-books, which kind 
and thoughtful friends sent out from home, with 
others which we ordered ourselves, helped to amuse 
them, and make their little lives bright. 

" When we were all in good health our lives passed 
very happily, but when sickness invaded our little 
home — with the nearest doctor three hundred and fifty 
miles away — our only real hope was in the loving 
mercy of the Great Physician, the sympathising 
Jesus, and in the use of the limited medical know- 
ledge we possessed. 



174 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

" The greatest strain which Mrs. Peck felt during 
these years at Fort George, was during my absences 
when visiting the distant Eskimos. As these people 
visited Whale River in the months of March, April, 
and May, I travelled from Fort George early in the 
month of March, and sometimes in February, to 
Great Whale River, and did not return until the 
beginning of May. 

" It was at these times that Mrs. Peck found her 
missionary life most trying. She was not abso- 
lutely alone at Fort George, as Mr. Miles Spencer 
was in charge of the station. Both he and his wife 
were in many ways real friends and helpers. Still, 
for all that, the general monotony of life at the 
station, when alone in our little house, far from her 
English home, and friends, and associations, needed 
a brave heart to face brightly the inseparable trials 
of such a position. 

This chapter cannot have a better finish than a 
few extracts from diaries and letters which will 
enable the reader to picture to himself the lives of 
Mr. and Mrs. Peck during the next year or two, 
whether they are together or in their enforced 
separations. 

On January i8, 1887, Mr. Peck writes : " I start 
(D.V.) for our more northern station, Little Whale 
River, on Thursday, the 20th. There I hope to 
see many bands of Eskimos in the three or four 
months during which I shall probably remain there. 



FORT GEORGE 175 

In^my absence my brave wife is determined with 
God's help to do what she can for the people here. 
May our gracious Saviour be near to cheer and 
comfort her in her loneliness." 

On the same day Mrs. Peck writes : " And now my 
husband is again preparing for his visit to Little 
Whale River. This is a very quiet spot, but I shall 
not be quite alone. Our little son is getting a very 
good companion. He has a great deal to say some- 
times, and is very amusing." 

Thus we see the sympathy of the one and the 
cheerful patience of the other making the best of a 
trying position — a true picture of union in and for 
Christ. 

Again, a year later, we have a glimpse into the 
snug log home which is very charming. It is in a 
letter to Miss Tolley from Mrs. Peck, in which the 
annual bale of goods is acknowledged. " Please 
accept our most hearty thanks for all the presents. 
The davenport is very nice and so useful. My 
husband is quite delighted with it. And the book- 
shelves too make a nice httle addition to our room, 
and so suitable, as all our things are small. The 
room is tiny but quite English looking, with carpet 
and papered walls. The wall paper sometimes gives 
a very loud report, caused by the frost bursting it 
at the seams in the boards. But in summer we 
shall mend it again, as we did last year, and it will 
scarcely show. I like our little home so very much 



176 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

that I would not change it. And then we have our 
work out here. It is true I cannot do much outside 
work — I mean, I cannot help a great deal with 
teaching the people, but I try to keep the home 
bright . . . Our Christmas and New Year were 
spent very happily. We had about sixty Indians 
come to see us and twenty Eskimos. We gave them 
all coffee or tea and cakes. With that they were 
very much pleased. They all like to shake hands 
with us and kiss the boy. They say that he will be 
their minister by and by, so that they will always 
have some one to teach them. We should very 
much like him to be, if it is God's will. The Indian 
for little minister is ' lyumehowooche-mashish,' 
that is what they generally call him. My husband 
is called ' lyumehowooche-mow,' and I am called 
' lyumehowoochemashwow.' " 

All this sounds cheery enough, and we can under- 
stand the need of cheeriness and brightness within 
that cabin home when we read at the same time in 
Mr. Peck's letter : " Our winter here is passing very 
pleasantly, and we feel quite snug in our little log- 
house. True the vast expanse of snow outside 
looks cold, and at times, perhaps, makes one feel a 
little gloomy. Still we feel that we are spending 
our lives here for some purpose, and this, after all, is, 
I think, the great fact to bear in mind. Life spent 
in the Saviour's service is life well spent." 
I In the summer of 1888, Mr. Peck started on a 



FORT GEORGE 177 

journey to Moose, and intended to be away from 
home at least six or eight weeks. His wife was 
surprised, however, to find him returning very soon 
after his departure. What had happened ? Was 
he ill ? Had he changed his mind ? No, it was 
simply that a serious accident had happened, but 
happily unattended by any loss of life. " I had," 
he says, " rather a serious mishap when going from 
Fort George to Moose in my boat. We had got 
some eighty miles on our way when we were obliged 
through stress of weather to anchor the vessel 
on the lee side of an island. We then thought it 
wise to camp on shore. Shortly after a fearful 
storm came on and drove the boat from her anchor- 
age. She finally foundered amidst the heavy seas. 
We had a small canoe with us on the island, and so 
when the weather moderated we were able to go to 
the spot where the boat had sunk. With much 
difficulty we managed to get her afloat again. Un- 
fortunately my box was on board containing nearly 
all my clothes and several of my books. This was 
shattered by the violence of the waves, and many 
of the things were lost. Some few, however, were 
eventually found packed amongst the seaweed and 
sand. What a mercy that matters were no worse ! 
How thankful one ought to be that I and all that 
were with me should have been on shore when the 
storm came on. Had we been in the boat, not one 
of us, humanly speaking, could have been saved." 

12 



178 1 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

There is a bright side to every gloomy position, 
and it is pleasant to see the missionary take cheer- 
fully the spoiling of his goods. 

We do not often hear of Mrs. Peck accompanying 
her husband on his journeys. But sometimes she 
was able to do so. In 1889, on March 17, a little 
daughter was born, and in the summer following, 
when the baby was only two or three months old, 
she and the two children went with Mr. Peck to 
Great Whale River. Here she remained while he 
went on to Little Whale River. A few graphic 
touches come from her pen : " Baby was fastened 
up in a bag called in Indian, ' waspasuian.^ It is a 
strange-looking thing, laced up in the front. I 
always think babies packed in that way look like 
small bolsters. It is, however, the best method 
of taking them, for the weather, even during the 
summer, is very changeable. The coast to the 
south of Cape Jones is very pleasant. There are 
many islands on which one can go ashore to camp 
or for meals. To the north of the Cape the coast 
is open and when the wind was strong we had to lay 
the canoe up close to the shore for fear of being blown 
out to sea in our frail craft. This was in some places 
rather dangerous on account of the shoals. When 
we left the point of Cape Jones we had to travel in 
this way. We went about eighteen miles in two 
hours, and then were very thankful to put ashore 
on a barren point of the Cape where some Eskimos 




ESKIMO CHILDREN OUTSIDE TENT. 



FORT GEORGE 179 

and Indians were staying. These were very pleased 
to see us, and came down to the beach to help carry 
our things to a suitable camping place. We had 
only a tiny tent made as there were no long poles. 
The wood and water we used had to be brought in a 
kayak, and, of course, was not plentiful. It was 
rather awkward with a young baby. The evening 
we arrived was pleasant, and our boy enjoyed a 
game with the Eskimo children. 

" The following day, Sunday, my husband was 
busy reading and speaking to the people. We were 
kept in the tent on account of the rain which fell 
almost continuously the whole day. Monday also 
was very wet and we could not think of going on, 
so we had to make the best of our surroundings. A 
poor little Eskimo child died on Sunday night, and 
was buried on Monday morning. A grave had to 
be made with large stones. 

" The Eskimos are such cheerful people. Al- 
though it was such dull weather, they seemed to be 
happy and contented. 

" The following morning was very foggy, but we 
thought it weU to try and get on our way. The 
poor people were sorry to part with us, and watched 
until we were hidden by the mist which hung so 
heavily over the sea. On our tenth day we reached 
our destination, after travelling about sixty-eight 
miles in nine hours. Sometimes the waves looked 
as though they would cover us, but God watched 



i8o THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

over us. The Indian we had as guide was very 
skilful in his management of the canoe and never 
seemed the least daunted by wind or waves. It 
was to me very comforting to see him so brave. 
We stayed at Great Whale River two weeks. We 
were only four days returning to Fort George." 



CHAPTER X 

CHANGED PLANS — HOME 

" I will call them my people which were 
not my people, and her beloved which was 
not beloved." 

THE period to which we have very briefly 
alluded in the latter portion of the last chapter 
was one of distinct progress and hopefulness. About 
the close of it Mr. Peck mentions the baptism of 
two adult Eskimos, one of whom had learned to 
read with almost no help in the way of teaching. 
He also speaks of the triumphant death of another 
convert. In the hour of supreme trial he turned 
to his sorrowing relations and told them not to 
weep as he was going to live with Jesus. 

There were, however, two matters which caused 
some temporary check to the work and necessitated 
a certain re-adjustment of the Mission machinery. 
The first was that the Eskimos had been suffering 
great losses through their dogs dying. As a con- 
sequence they were unable to travel south to the 

181 



i82 THE LIFE OF E, J. PECK 

trading post. The second was the decision of the 
Hudson's Bay Company to abandon the trading 
station at Little Whale River and concentrate on 
Great Whale River. Although this was only sixty 
miles further south, there was no probability that 
the Eskimos, for some time at least, would journey 
there in the same numbers that had congregated 
at the more northern station, " Under the cir- 
cumstances," writes Mr. Peck " I have, after prayer- 
ful consideration, made up my mind what to do. 
With God's blessing and help, I shall go to the 
Eskimos if they cannot come to me. With a 
Christian Eskimo as companion, and sledge and 
dogs, I shall doubtless find many on the vast fields 
of ice, and God, I am sure, will be with me, and He 
will bless me." 

But perhaps the most encouraging feature in the 
work at this time was the fact that there was a 
prospect of self-help among the Eskimos themselves. 
Youths there were coming forward ready to work 
for Christ, and fit also to be trained as leaders in the 
evangelization of their heathen fellow-countrymen 
and instructors in the Christian church. Of them 
Mr. Peck writes : — " I am glad to say that I am now 
able to do a little in the matter of preparing Eskimo 
lads as teachers (D.V.) for their fellow-countrymen. 
One, a very promising youth indeed, was appointed 
teacher by our Bishop, and I believe, with God's 
blessing, he will become a real help in the work. 



CHANGED PLANS 183 

I have another with me now who is able to read and 
understand a goodly portion of St. Luke's Gospel. 
I shall (D.V.) go on teaching him, and trust that 
God will fit him for His own work." 

It should be borne in mind that at the same 
time all this work was being done Mr. Peck was 
also not forgetting the Indian Church, and as re- 
gards literary work he says, " I have been busy en- 
larging our Eskimo grammar. This work wiU, I 
trust, prove useful to others who may come in 
contact with the Eskimos." 

Shall we now accompany our missionary in one 
of those " joumeyings often " which became more 
frequent for the reasons given above ? We shall 
find ourselves the very first night in rather cold 
quarters — no soft feather beds, though it is true 
there is a fire in the bed-room. It is on March 13, 
1891, that we have to make our start. We are 
off by 7 a.m. It is dreadful at the very start. It 
has been snowing heavily during the night and the 
drifts are so deep that it is with the greatest diffi- 
culty we can get our sledge along. However, we 
resolve to push on with stout hearts for we are 
buoyed up by the hope of reaching a tent in which 
we took refuge a year ago. Mile after mile goes by 
slowly enough. It is all we can do to keep up our 
spirits. 

" At last ! there it is ! " we exclaim as a dark ob- 
ject comes into view. " No, I am afraid there is 



i84 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

something wrong," says Mr. Peck. " There is no 
tent there." 

When we approach we find to our dismay that 
the tent has been practically destroyed. There 
are only a few remains, altogether insufficient, con- 
trive as we will, to make a shelter for the night. 

"Well" continues Mr. Peck "this is not cheerful, 
but we must make the best of it. We will make a 
barricade." 

" And what do you mean by that " we ask shiver- 
ing and inwardly lamenting that we have left our 
own snug home for such a journey as this. 

" Oh, we will dig a hole in the snow about twenty 
feet in circumference and then just make a little 
shelter with some tentcloth on the weather side. 
And then, for I promised you a fire in your bed- 
room, we will try to find a little wood to light a 
fire." 

And so we did. When we had completed our 
barricade it was dark. We went in search of wood. 
It was difficult enough to find. But in time we 
managed to collect enough to make a fire, and then 
we had the pleasure of drinking a cup of tea. Oh, 
the pleasure of that cup of tea. It may not have 
been over strong ; it may have had a little flavour 
of wood smoke. But it was hot tea. Nothing 
ever tasted half so well. 

An American writer who tried the experiment 
of cutting himself off from his luxurious home and 



CHANGED PLANS 185 

private means and earning his living by manual 
labour declares that the ordinary man or woman 
in the environment of modem artificial civilization 
cannot possibly know the keen pleasure that can 
be got out of eating and drinking. We eat when 
we are not hungry, we drink when we are not thirsty, 
merely because our meal time is come round. But 
if we throw off conventionality, live on sixpenny- 
worth of bread and cheese a day, and earn it by 
our physical labour, we shall gain a perfectly new 
experience. 

Probably our experience was similar that night. 

After prayers we managed to coil ourselves up 
near the fire in our warm rabbit-skin blankets and 
were soon fast asleep. 

We fancy by this time the imaginary companions 
have had enough of this trip, and so we will allow 
Mr. Peck and his faithful friend to pursue their 
course unimpeded. 

The next morning in spite of a strong wind and 
heavy drift they determined to face the road and 
try to reach some Indians who were about ten miles 
away. 

" After about three hours' battling with the 
blinding drift," Mr. Peck writes, " we were more 
than glad to meet an Indian who kindly guided us 
to the people we were in search of." 

On March 17, Cape Jones was passed, and again 
we might find our sympathies awakened as we read : 



i86 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

*' The country about here is dreary in the ex- 
treme — not a tree or Hving thing to be seen, noth- 
ing but one vast expanse of ice and snow as far as 
the eye can reach. But it is well to be here amidst 
these lonely wastes to spread the knowledge of a 
Saviour's love. Surroundings are nothing com- 
paratively. The use we make of our life is the 
great reality." 

Little Whale River was the intended limit of 
this itineration. The record of the last day's 
journey northwards is, " March 25, we reached 
the Eskimos we were in search of in good time. 
We found four snow houses, each inhabited by one 
family. We visited them, after which they all 
gathered together in the largest house where I 
instructed them. 

**After staying some time we passed on to Little 
Whale River. We got on nicely until within seven 
miles of the post, when our way was almost blocked 
up with vast boulders of ice. We knew, however, 
it was no good sitting still and looking at each 
other, the only way to get through before dark 
was to press on ; so urging our dogs over the frozen 
masses we worked away with a will to keep the 
sledge moving as the dogs wended their way through 
the rugged road. After some three hours' hard 
work we arrived at Little Whale River, where we 
found some Eskimos living in an old shanty. We 
put up with them, and made ourselves as comfort- 



CHANGED PLANS 187 

able as possible. We had short service for our 
friends, when I laid before them, as usual, the 
Gospel of the grace of God. 

One object which Mr. Peck had in view in visiting 
the northern station at this time, was not a cheer- 
ful one. It was to pull down and remove the iron 
church, which had been erected there with much 
joy and which had proved to be of very great ser- 
vice. Owing to the change of plan of the trading 
company previously mentioned, there was no use in 
allowing it to remain at Little Whale River. 

On March 26, he is busy with this work and 
writes : 

"It was with feelings of sorrow that we took 
down the house of God in which so many of the 
Eskimos have heard from time to time the message 
of salvation, but we hope before long to get it 
shifted to Great Whale River, where I have no 
doubt it will be found most useful. It was my 
intention to ask the Eskimos to haul it over the 
ice to Great Whale River, but the rough state 
of the ice, which was piled up in great heaps in 
the vicinity of Little Whale River, together with 
the scarcity of dogs, made this plan entirely 
impracticable." 

So the actual removal had to be postponed for a 
favourable opportunity. 

Good Friday and Easter Day were spent at this 
place (Easter fell on March 29) ministering to the 



i88 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

few people who were there. We cannot do better 
than take one day as a sample and follow the lead 
of the missionary himself and creep into some of 
the snow houses with him. We must get down 
low on our hands and knees in order to do so. 

" March 31, We rose early and went in search 
of some Eskimos. These we had the pleasure of 
meeting in good time, and hearing that there were 
some more of the people living out to seaward, I 
started to see them, intending to return in the 
evening. 

" After a brisk-drive, we saw our Eskimo friends, 
whose snow houses were built in close proximity 
to some vast boulders of ice. Such a desolate- 
looking scene, these vast piles of ice with the mound- 
like dwellings which look like large balls of snow 
scattered amongst the frozen mass. 

" After a glance at the surrounding scene I crawled 
into the first snow house. I found three inmates, 
one of whom I discovered had fallen away from 
Christ. I spoke to him faithfully but affection- 
ately, and then prayed with him. May God in 
His mercy turn him from the path of death ere it 
be too late ! 

" Entered next iglo ; here I found a man and 
his wife whom I had not met for years. They 
told me they had been far out to sea somewhere, 
and had not been able to come near the white 
people. Although they had been away so long. 



CHANGED PLANS 189 

I was most pleased to find how well they had kept 
up their knowledge, and how glad they were to 
hear more of Jesus. After prayer with them I 
passed on to the next iglo. Here I found some 
people whom I can hardly call encouraging ; true, 
they say they believe, but I am afraid their hearts 
are far from God. Exhorted them to really turn 
to Jesus ; we then knelt down together and I prayed 
for them. 

" In the next iglo I found occupants who are on 
the whole encouraging ; one man has given me 
much sorrow, but I trust he is now desirous of 
turning again to the Saviour who loves him still. 
In the last snow house I found some candidates 
for baptism. These received me in a very hearty 
manner, and listened with much attention when 
I spoke to them. After shaking hands with the 
people I returned to the Eskimos whom I had left 
in the morning. 

" On entering the iglo where I lodged for the 
night, the first thing that met my gaze was a large 
seal stretched along the floor. This had just been 
harpooned by one of the Christian Eskimos, who 
very kindly offered me a portion to feed our dogs. 
I gathered all the people together before retiring 
to rest, and had a very pleasant little meeting with 
them." 

And in this way the itineration was continued, 
the lost and wandering sheep were sought out, until 



190 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

after an absence of two months Mr. Peck found 
himself back once more at Fort George. In a 
private letter about this time he says : "I found 
some who wished to follow the Saviour and who 
showed me every kindness during my stay with 
them. One would boil my kettle over his oil lamp 
so as to make tea to warm me : some would help to 
feed and otherwise attend to our dogs, while others 
would try and stop up aU the crevices of our snow 
house so as to make it as snug as possible." 

Reviewing in general terms his plan of living 
with the people and going from iglo to iglo in order 
to teach them, Mr. Peck says : " The children I gener- 
ally gathered together in the largest snow house I 
could find. They were then taught to read, in- 
structed in the simpler truths of the Christian Faith, 
and afterwards catechised to test their knowledge 
of the truths they had heard. In the evening, after 
the men returned from hunting, general meetings 
were held, when, by the light of an oil-lamp, we 
sang h5mins, read alternately, had prayer, and I 
then gave them a simple Gospel address. Friends 
may, perhaps, think that such work is extremely 
trying and depressing. True, the cold is very 
intense, but then one should be willing to " endure 
hardships " for the Master's sake ; besides which, 
strange as it may appear, the Eskimos are the heart- 
iest and happiest of people, so it is quite my own 
fault if I feel dull amongst them.'* 



CHANGED PLANS igt 

By August 1891 Mr. Peck is able to report that 
the work has not suffered so much as he had feared 
it would by the abandonment of Little Whale 
River. The people began to come to the more 
southern station in far greater numbers than he 
had expected them to do, though there were many 
who would not or could not move so far. Some 
owing to the loss of their dogs, mentioned in the 
last chapter, were obhged to leave their families on 
the ice. The men would then band together and 
haul their trading goods to the place. The more 
fortunate, i.e., those who had a few dogs, would 
arrive with what my Eskimo friends call "loaded 
sledges " — a very suggestive and appropriate name 
indeed, especially when one remembers that an 
Eskimo not only piles on his sledge his bedding, 
clothing, and trading goods, but the younger mem- 
bers of the family may often be found lashed on top. 

Altogether it was an encouraging retrospect 
which the missionary was able to take from this 
point of time. " There have been " he says " four 
adult baptisms during the present year. All of 
these were in earnest about their souls, and each 
one was closely questioned regarding his know* 
ledge, faith, and life before being admitted into 
the visible Church by baptism. We tried, with 
God's help, to give them a clear knowledge of the 
Saviour's work, and to teach them the depravity 
of their fallen nature, and their lost, sinful state 



192 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

before God. I am more than ever convinced 
as the years roll on, that this is what they need to 
know. We should not, of course, neglect to teach 
them to read, and to do all we can in other ways 
to pour light into their dark minds, but after all 
the fact remains that salvation is alone to be found 
in Christ. If we can only draw our poor people 
to Jesus, we know they will be safe both now and 
for ever." 

And besides these baptisms there was great en- 
couragement in the fact that he was able to report 
two young Eskimos newly installed as teachers to their 
own people and engaged in active work. It is the 
greatest possible satisfaction to the missionary to 
find a spiritual effective native ministry rising into 
being. For it matters not how able a man he may 
be himself, how learned in their language, he is 
always conscious of being a foreigner and of speak- 
ing more or less with stammering lips and a stutter- 
ing tongue. And just as the heart of St. 
Paul must have rejoiced when the time had come 
to bid Titus ordain a native ministry in Crete, 
or as Hannington, Parker and Tucker were en- 
couraged when they found the Uganda Church 
naturally expanding by the birth of a native minis- 
try, so Peck was able now to thank God and take 
courage because the new wine was fermenting in 
and expanding the new wine-skins of the Eskimo 
Church. 



CHANGED PLANS 193 

But whatever causes of rejoicing there were, 
faith does not go untried. Sunshine and rain are 
for ever alternating in this life. And so we read : 
*' One of our students, who, I hoped, would in time 
be useful in God's work, died at Moose last year. 
I sent him to this post for medical advice and 
treatment, but, sad to say, the disease from which 
he was suffering developed into consumption, from 
the effects of which he soon passed away. Al- 
though this member of our small community had 
given me much sorrow by having fallen into sin, 
yet I am thankful to say he showed signs of real 
repentance, and it gave me comfort to know that 
he passed away with a simple trust in the merits 
of Jesus. In connection with this sad event I may 
say that the fearful mortality amongst our poor 
people retards our efforts to raise up suitable teach- 
ers from among them. No less than three of our 
helpers have died during the last ten years, and 
their places can scarcely be filled before others 
are cut down. We can only look up to Him who 
holds the keys of death in His hands. He can 
help us in our seasons of difficulty." 

About this time the shadow of a great trial 
was beginning to move over the waste towards the 
mission. It was, however, altogether unseen as yet 
by Mr. and Mrs. Peck, as wiU be understood by 
his words in which he is contemplating fresh efforts 
in the service of God and his adopted people. " I 

13 



194 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

have asked," he says, " our Bishop to allow me to 
go to Ungava Bay this next summer, and to this 
request he has readily assented. You will be sorry 
to hear that the Roman Catholics in Canada are 
trying to get a footing there, and it behoves us 
to do all that lies in our power to spread the pure 
Gospel of God's grace and love in that region at 
once, 

" I only wish we had a man stationed there. All 
the Eskimos living on the southern shores of Hud- 
son's Straits assemble in the winter months at 
Fort Chimo (the Hudson's Bay Company's post 
at Ungava). There are also some five hundred 
Indians connected with the post, together with a 
large party of English-speaking residents. Noth- 
ing, I am sure, would give our Bishop greater joy 
than to see this station occupied, and we might 
then look forward to the time when the whole 
Labrador peninsula would be won for Christ. We 
have not as yet an Eskimo fitted to commence work 
there alone. To start the work we need a man 
from home, and, with God's blessing, native help 
will follow." 

And the shadow fell in this way. In August 
1891, a third child was bom. Mrs. Peck contin- 
ued in fairly good health until the following Christ- 
mas. Then the great strain of exceptionally trying 
circumstances broke her down. A dreary winter 
came on. It was unusually severe and the food 



CHANGED PLANS 195 

supply failed. Mr. Peck writes : " No fish, no par- 
tridges, no other native fresh food could be got, 
and my dear one's illness assumed an alarming 
aspect which came to a crisis in the month of Febru- 
ary. I tried every possible means to restore her 
strength, but without avail. 

" Shut in as we were with ice and snow, we had 
to wait until the month of June before we could 
think of attempting the journey to Moose, where 
only we could secure medical advice and help. 

" But when June at last arrived, through the 
unfailing kindness of Mr. Miles Spencer a boat was 
prepared for the voyage. We made a kind of tent 
in the central part of the boat, in which we arranged 
some bedding as best we could in the narrow 
cramped quarters, and on this we laid Mrs. Peck 
and the children. 

" The journey south was an awful one for an 
invalid. We travelled as far as possible each day, 
then made close in for the shore, and pitched our 
tent on the land. 

" At some points we found the driven ice packed 
so close into the shore, that we had to hack a way 
in for the boat with axes. 

" We made a short stay at Rupert House, one 
of the posts of the Hudson's Bay Company, and 
at last arrived at Moose. We had traversed 350 
miles in the way described, and then it was found 
to be absolutely necessary, on account of Mrs. 



196 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Peck's health, that we should proceed to England 
at once." 

Here then was the hand of God closing the door 
for a time. The missionary had his plans of work, 
these had to be abandoned ; he had again essayed 
to go to Ungava Bay, but the Spirit suffered him 
not. 

And as events turned out it was very possible 
for Mr. and Mrs. Peck to see that it was God who 
was guiding them home. They could rest in Him. 

It has been mentioned that Mr. Peck was most 
anxious that a European missionary should be 
sent out to commence and organize work among 
the Eskimos living at Ungava Bay. He had writ- 
ten home to this effect, and now a young man, the 
Rev. W. G. Walton was on his voyage out in re- 
sponse to this request. But in the meantime the 
Hudson's Bay Company had expressed its unwil- 
lingness to allow a mission to be started in that region. 
So it happened that the travellers from Fort George 
arrived in Moose in time to greet Mr. Walton on 
landing. We are not then surprised to find Mr. 
Peck writing : 

" How wondrous are God's ways of provision 
for His work. The same vessel on which we em- 
barked for home had brought out a young man 
(Mr. W. G. Walton) who, it was intended, should 
accompany me to Ungava, and commence work 
in that region. 



HOME ^ 197 

" As I, however, had to go home, and as the way 
to Ungava was closed, Mr. Walton became God's 
real provision for our old stations, arriving just at 
the moment of my compulsory departure. 

" He has since shown a wonderful energy and the 
true missionary genius, and his efforts at our old 
stations have been crowned with blessing. 

" But to return to ourselves, that voyage home 
was one of exceptional danger and delay. For 
eight weeks we were tossing about on the mighty 
ocean, the sport of gale after gale, when the strong 
and terrible ocean seemed ever to mock us, crying : 

' I threw my fleecy blanket up over my shoulders bare, 
I raised my head in triumph, and tossed my grizzled hair ; 
For I knew that some time — some time — 
White-robed ships would venture from out the placid bay. 
Forth to my heaving bosom, my lawful pride and prey ; ' 

" But He who of old time spoke the words, * Peace, 
be still ! ' bade the Atlantic gales cease. When 
finally the winds moderated, we found ourselves 
275 miles further from England than when the 
gales assailed us. 

" During that awful time another danger threat- 
ened us, for our ballast shifted ; and once we 
were all but run down by a passing steamer. But 
at last we were brought home in safety, and our 
feet stood once more on our native soil." 

Every returned missionary of the Church Mis- 



198 THE LIFE OF E. J. FECK 

sionary Society reports himself to, and is inter- 
viewed by, the Committee in SaUsbury Square. 
The work and prospects in the missionary's parti- 
cular sphere naturally come under discussion. 
In the present case we have an interesting sum- 
mary published by the Society. 

" The Committee had the pleasure of an inter- 
view with the Rev. E. J. Peck, recently returned 
from Fort George. Mr. Peck regretted having 
been compelled by family circumstances to come 
home earlier than he had expected. He had 
searched out the Eskimos to the utmost of his power ; 
140 adults were now under instruction, of whom 
eighty are baptized. He had trained five Eskimo 
teachers, of whom three have died, and two are 
now at work. He had translated many portions 
of the New Testament into the local Eskimo dia- 
lect. The Indians had been nearly all baptized 
before he went there. He urged on the Committee 
the spiritual needs of the Eskimos north of Hud- 
son's Bay ; and expressed his willingness to go 
amongst them in whaling vessels, if a younger man 
would take his present work." 

In the light of subsequent events we can see that 
his steps were directed to England for God's pur- 
pose to be fulfilled. He was, as a matter of fact, 
being led like Abram, who was to go forth to a 
land that God would show him, or like Paul who 
was to be sent " far hence to the Gentiles." He 



HOME 199 

was to be taken at his word. For some time pre- 
vious to his home coming he had written : 

" In my last letter I alluded to the need of more 
active measures being taken by the Church of God 
at large for the evangelization of the whole Eskimo 
race. The most I can do is to grapple with the 
people living on this coast, the extent of which is 
six hundred miles. It is true the Eskimos do 
travel great distances, but there are certain geo- 
graphical features of their country, or, I should 
rather say, countries, which confine them, as it 
were, to particular localities, and which make 
further intercourse impossible. Thus we have 
the Eskimos of many regions out of reach of our 
influence, viz., those living on the northern shores 
of Hudson's Strait, Davis Strait, Baffin Bay, the 
lands visited by Franklin, McClintock, Parry, 
Kane, and others, together with Alaska and por- 
tions of the northern shores of Russia. But, it 
may be asked, how are these isolated, scattered 
people to be reached ? The answer is plain. The 
Church of God must show as much zeal and perse- 
verance in seeking these lost souls as others do for 
purposes of trade and objects of discovery. It is 
a fact that nearly all the places named are visited 
by whaling-vessels, some of which (I have been 
told) winter in the countries they visit. Various 
Arctic explorers have come in contact with the 
people from time to time, and much might have 



200 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

been done by this agency, had God's people in 
England and other countries been really in earnest. 
Again, surely it is not too much to expect that in 
God's good time we may see an Arctic expedition 
fitted out expressly for the object of seeking out 
these poor lost Eskimos ! Various criticisms have 
been made regarding the practical utility of a 
North-West Passage, even if discovered by the 
brave men who from time to time have pressed 
into these frozen regions ; but there is something 
tangible and real in following the example of Him 
who * humbled Himself, and became obedient 
unto death, even the death of the Cross,' to seek 
and to save that which was lost." 



I 



CHAPTER XI 

A NEW VENTURE 
" Launch out into the deep " 

T was clearly stated in the last chapter that 
Mr. Peck held strong views about the duty of the 
Christian Church to obey the simple command 
of Christ and to seek and save the lost whether in 
Arctic wilds or arid desert. But when a man 
holds strong views and is himself perfectly earnest, 
it is but a step from advocacy to practice, and so 
we are scarcely surprised, although we admire, 
when we are told that Mr. Peck himself began to 
contemplate going further north among Eskimos 
who had never been reached before by any Christian 
effort. 

The possibility of doing this was presented to 
him by the impossibility for some years to come 
of his wife being able to return with him to mis- 
sionary '^work. Thus he argued that he might 
leave the old field for other workers and explore 
new regions where as yet no lady could go. 

Under these circumstances Mr. Peck opened up 




202 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

his mind to the Rev. David Fenn, one of the Secre- 
taries of the Church Missionary Society. The latter 
entered with much S3niipathy into the proposal, and 
advised him to write to the Rev. Sholto Douglas, 
incumbent of St. Silas, Glasgow, as being likely 
to put him in touch with merchants and others 
who had dealings with the more distant Eskimos. 

The result of this was that Mr. Douglas gave the 
missionary an introduction to a member of his 
congregation, who was intimately connected with 
the shipping interest, and ultimately he became 
acquainted with Mr. C. Noble. 

It so happened in the providence of God that 
this gentleman about a week before had completed 
the purchase of a whaling station, Blacklead Island, 
in Cumberland Sound, and now he was pleased 
to offer a passage free of charge for the missionary 
and his goods to this spot, and to allow him to take 
up his residence there. 

And so with this opening before him Mr. Peck once 
more went back to Salisbury Square, and there the 
Committee sanctioned this new departure on con- 
dition that a colleague could be found to join him 
in this newest venture of faith. 

If the work be of men, it will come to nought. 
We may say this with Gamaliel. And God showed 
that it was not of men, for He had simultaneously 
with the happening of these events been preparing 
the necessary colleague. 



A NEW VENTURE 203 

The anniversary meetings of the Church Mis- 
sionary Society in Exeter Hall came on. Mr. 
Peck was one of the appointed speakers. No 
wonder with all his fire of love for the Arctic wan- 
derers, he put forth a fervent appeal for young 
men. There was in the audience listening to his 
words a former student of the Society's Institution 
at Clapham, Mr. J. C. Parker, who had received 
a medical training. He had felt constrained to 
abandon his intention of being a missionary on 
account of the state of his father's health. He 
had concluded that his duty was at home. But 
now things had changed. Since he had left Clap- 
ham his younger brother had grown up and was 
able to take his place. So when he heard the 
appeal, " Who will go for us ? " his heart responded 
with a complete surrender. " Here am I, send me." 
And so the last link in the chain was forged. The 
project was acknowledged of God, and the Holy 
Spirit who centuries ago had said, " Separate me 
Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have 
called them," said the same thing in eq.ually clear 
terms now in the case of Peck and Parker. 

It was said that the last link in the chain was 
forged. But it must not be forgotten that the 
chain would have been useless without another 
worker who must not be forgotten. This was Mrs. 
Peck. She worked and suffered as truly as 
those whom the Church was about to send forth. 



204 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

It was no small thing for her in her weak con- 
dition, and with her little children round her, 
heroically to face the prospect of separation 
and her husband's utter isolation from the 
world. But she did face it, and argued that God 
who was calling her husband forth would not only 
go with him but would also remain with her and 
her family. Mr. Peck writes concerning this 
time, " I may truly say that I never could have 
gone forward to prosecute this new work but for 
the prayers, the hearty sympathy, and the cordial 
consent of my dear wife." 

On May 8, 1894, the two brethren were com- 
mended to God by the Committee in Salisbury 
Square, and on May 11 Mr. Peck writes to their 
supporters : 

" As many friends have expressed a wish to foUow 
us definitely in prayer when we (D.V.) go forward 
to our new work at Cumberland Sound, may I 
mention the following particulars ? 

" The vessel will leave Scotland on the 20th of 
June, and the voyage out will probably take about 
eight weeks. 

" After landing cargo the vessel returns to Scot- 
land in the autumn of this year, and there is a 
probability of our not hearing from the outer 
world untH the vessel returns to Cumberland Sound 
in the summer of 1896, viz., in two years' time. 



A NEW VENTURE 205 

" In going forward into the very Arctic regions 
to seek out the scattered sheep in the wilderness, 
we feel we shall have in a very special manner the 
prayers and sympathy of many of God's dear people. 
Great has been the kindness and great the sympathy 
shown to me as I have gone to many a bright 
Christian home in England, and it will be a tower 
of strength when far away to remember that one 
is compassed about with a host of praying friends. 
And then, best of all. ' God is with us.' His pro- 
mise shall never fail : ' Behold, I am with thee, 
and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, 
and will bring thee again into this land ; for I will 
not leave thee until I have done that which I have 
spoken to thee of." 

The ship was, however, somewhat delayed, and 
it was not until June 27 that Mr. Peck finally 
separated from his loved ones. 

About the start, he writes : 

" At Euston Station, near the time of departure 
(8 p.m.), we had quite a company present to bid us 
God-speed, for not only were my dear wife and 
her brother, the Rev. W. Coleman, and Mr. Parker's 
dear ones there, but, to our great astonishment, a 
large band of the brethren from Islington College 
had gathered to speed our going and to wish us every 
joy and blessing in the work. 

" As the train left the station, these dear brethren 
ran along the side of the train and cheered us most 



2o6 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

lustily. I do not, of course, know what a certain 
titled man, who had a stately saloon and a large 
retinue of servants, all to himself, thought of these 
strange proceedings, but certainly we felt greatly 
cheered and comforted by knowing that so many of 
the servants of our God and King had forgotten 
neither us nor our work — our work which is His. 

" Once clear of the station the mighty express 
swept on at terrific speed on its long journey north. 
All that we loved and held dear were now left be- 
hind, and one's heart grew full, and there were 
moments which were overwhelming. 

" Then one took up the parable against oneself 
and cried : ' But why art thou disquieted within 
me, O my soul ? For whose sake art thou leaving 
all ? Hope thou in God. Remember the ex- 
ceeding love of Him who died for thee upon the 
Cross of shame and for His sake cheerfully bear 
the Cross.' " 

The travellers arrived at Aberdeen about 8 a.m. 
the following morning, but they were doomed still 
to some days of waiting. The time of sailing of 
a vessel for a whaling station is not characterized 
by the precision of the P. and O. or a great Atlantic 
line. It must have been somewhat trying to the 
missionaries to reflect that they might have spent 
these days with the loved ones from whom they 
had parted in London. But there is no sound of 
a far-off murmur or sign of irritation. They went 




- -' **miaSm^ 







THE "ALERT" IN SAILING ICE. 



A NEW VENTURE 207 

on to Peterhead, and there made use of their time 
in making preparations, in prayer, in gaining in- 
formation and also in open air preaching. Of 
the last Mr. Peck says, *' The attention was very 
marked, and we have reason to believe that God 
blessed the Word to some souls." 

During these days of waiting Mr. Peck was 
interviewed by a representative of the Sentinel 
newspaper. The report of this interview occupied 
a whole page and contained a vast amount of 
interesting matter, but as it was taken up almost 
entirely with a retrospect of work on the shores 
of Hudson's Bay, it is not necessary to reproduce 
it here. It is mentioned here only as additional 
evidence bearing upon the fact which has become 
abundantly evident of late years, viz., that the 
work of foreign missions has more and more 
assumed a position of importance in the eyes of 
the general public. 

It was not until Monday, July 9, that the two 
missionaries signed articles at the Customs House 
and so became members of the ship's company. 
The vessel, which was called the Alert, a whaling 
brig, registered to carry 129 tons, was only 
ninety feet in length and twenty-one in breadth. 
The crew numbered eight men, exclusive, we presume, 
of the chaplain and surgeon. vShe was not chartered 
to carry passengers and so Mr. Peck signed for 
the voyage as chaplain and Mr. Parker as surgeon. 



2o8 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

" On Tuesday, July lo," Mr. Peck writes, " every- 
thing being ready we went down to the vessel. 
We met several friends who wished us every bless- 
ing on our voyage and work. As the mouth of 
the harbour is very narrow we had to employ a 
tug, which had not towed us very far before she 
broke down, one of her boiler plates having given 
way. This necessitated our return to as near 
our old berth as we could get. God is doubtless 
overruling aU for His glory and our good." 

At last on Friday, July 13, a fortnight after 
the arrival of the two missionaries at Peterhead, the 
Alert finally cleared the port. Numbers of people 
gathered to see them off, who sped them on their 
way with three resounding British cheers. Nothing 
further could be heard of or from the travellers 
until the return ship brought letters in the autumn. 

Mr. Parker's letter, which was written on Sep- 
tember 14, 1894, is interesting as giving the freshness 
of impressions made on one who had never sailed 
in Arctic seas before . 

" We made a good passage, a possible average 
of five knots an hour. August 6 gave us an intro- 
duction to the ice in the shape of some immense 
bergs. A just description of them is beyond me. 
They fill one with admiration by day, but at night 
their presence creates fear. We met a pack of 
ice in Davis Strait. When in latitude 65° N. we 
came to an immense field of it. A skilful navigator 



A NEW VENTURE 209 

is required in these high latitudes, for the ice is 
very uncertain and treacherous in the summer 
season. To me saihng among the ice is very ex- 
citing, and adds that feehng of dignity which arises 
from a sense of danger. How shall I describe 
to you the loud report of the ice when breaking up ? 
I call it that of Arctic artillery. The snow-clad 
heights of the distant land, when bathed in the 
light of an evening simset, were a sight most lovely, 
and in their ever-var}dng shades of colour defy 
description. 

" On Saturday, August 18, we sighted and wel- 
comed the gigantic old rocks of Cape Mercy. As 
seen from off the sea the land here is high, bold and 
rugged, with much of the iron-rust look about 
it, while the total absence of trees, so essential to 
our English eyes, strikes one painfully. Still these 
have a beauty all their own at daydawn and sunset, 
besides the glory of their primaeval ruggedness. 

" We dropped anchor off Blacklead Island on 
August 21. Eskimo boats were soon alongside, 
and we had an early introduction to the Arctic 
aristocracy. The island, as its name indicates, 
contains the mineral blacklead. It is a small, 
high, barren rock. It is a two hours' walk round 
it on the frozen sea. Its vegetation is very meagre. 
I can find no shrub six inches high ; there is a little 
grass, moss, lichens, and the berry-bearing heath 
[Andromeda tetragona),'*'' 

14 



210 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Mr. Peck also writes about his first impressions 
of his new home. After talking of the voyage 
generally, and of his ministrations to the crew of 
eight hands, he goes on ; " Speaking of the nature 
of the country near Cumberland Sound, it has a 
decidedly forbidding and desolate aspect, and the 
rugged mountain tops rise hundreds of feet above 
the level of the sea and are still in many 
places covered with a white mantle of snow. On 
landing we had the pleasure of finding in the shel- 
tered spots some signs of vegetable life. These, 
however, were chiefly of the nature of grasses ; 
not a tree or a shrub could be found." 

First impressions were confirmed by after ex- 
perience, for a little later on Mr. Peck wrote : 
" In very truth this island is a gloomy-looking 
spot, almost absolutely nothing to be seen but 
rocks, and the bones of whales which strew the 
place everywhere. Sometimes in a particularly 
sheltered spot, one may come across a tuft of 
coarse, stunted grass." 

After landing the missionaries and their property, 
the Alert sailed on Monday, August 27, for Kikker- 
ton, another whaling station belonging to Mr. Noble, 
on the opposite side of Cumberland Sound. To 
avoid delay, however, and possibly to retain her 
ballast, she did not discharge the coal belonging 
to Mr. Peck, amounting to fifteen tons. The 
arrangement was that she should return to Black- 



■ e- . A^^^'H^M^i¥M?^:i>»^V^^,pif^^M:^^0^^M/j^^^ 




THE SETTLEMENT ON BLACKLEAD ISLAND, CUMBERLAND SOUND. 



A NEW VENTURE 211 

lead Island a little later, deliver the coal and pick 
up her own stores and cargo for the return voyage. 

She came back in three weeks' time on September 
20, but in a sorry condition. During a heavy gale 
she had struck a huge piece of ice, and it was only 
with the greatest difficulty that she was kept 
afloat long enough to reach Blacklead Island. 

The first thing now to be done was to lighten 
the vessel in every possible way, and Friday, the 21st, 
was a busy day with everyone, Eskimos, missionaries, 
and vessel's crew unloading the Alert of all that 
could be taken out of her. The fifteen tons of coal, 
among other things, were safely landed and stored, 
and with a burst of very natural gratitude, Mr. 
Peck writes in his diary, under that date : 

" To God be the praise for His exceeding kind- 
ness to usward in this matter ! What a mercy that we 
were not left without fuel in this miserable region ! " 

On September 22 they were able to get the Alert 
round to a place on the mainland, caUed Niatalik. 
In a few days she returned fitted as far as was 
possible for the voyage to Scotland. In this in- 
terval Mr. Peck writes : " We have now to spend 
some time writing our home letters,as it is more than 
probable that we shall have no other opportimity 
for two years, so we must make the most of this." 
St. Paul spoke of loneliness among the trials that 
he had to undergo. What words can describe 
the solitude and isolation of Blacklead Island ? 



212 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

On September 29 we find the entry, " Alert sailed 
to-day. We went on board, and bade farewell to 
everyone. May God bless them and give every 
one His presence and a safe passage. What thoughts 
crowded into one's mind as this one last connecting 
link with the homeland and dear ones was severed ! 
But God is near. He is true and faithful." 

And so when the Alert had brought those home 
letters to their destination, the receivers imagined 
that the curtain had fallen upon that little comer 
of the great vineyard, and that it would not be 
lifted to reveal the fruit of the labour or any details 
of the lives of the solitary workers until two years 
should have rolled by. 

But on October 10 the unexpected happened. 
Two whaling vessels called at the station, and the 
missionaries were enabled to send later letters by 
them. By these, as well as by those sent on the 
earlier date, we have a good insight given us into 
the commencement of the work. 

It has been remarked in an earlier chapter that 
the language of the Eskimos all over their wide 
range of territory, from Behring Straits to Greenland, 
is the same with only slight dialectic differences. 
Happily, on going among the people on Blacklead 
Island, Mr. Peck found the truth of this. He writes 
in his diary : " The people seemed perfectly amazed 
to find that I could speak their language, for I found 
practically no difference in the speech of these 



A NEW VENTURE 213 

people and that of those to whom I had ministered 
in Whale River and Fort George. 

" I shook hands with many of them (for they 
do not rub noses now as they did when first the 
white man discovered them). I explained why 
we had come, not as traders, but as tellers of God's 
good news. 

" This was too wonderful for them to compre- 
hend, but the time was soon to come when they 
would understand our meaning." 

On the arrival of the two missionaries a hut 
belonging to Mr. Noble was lent them. It con- 
sisted of two rooms, each about ten feet square. 
One was used as kitchen and schoolroom, the other 
as bed, sitting-room, and study combined. Mr. 
Parker wrote that their first work was the repairing, 
fitting up and arrangement of this abode. " Our 
aim," he adds, " has been to make it throughout 
as bright and home-like as possible. The newly- 
fallen snow lies on all the surrounding hills — sweet 
emblem of purity and of the sin-cleansed soul 
through the blood of the Lamb. vSo now we are 
looking for God's blessing to rest on us as we begin 
this real Arctic Mission to these ''other sheep " who 
belong to Jesus in this cold, lone land. Brethren, 
pray for us, that our faith fail not." 

The list of stores needed to start their house- 
keeping is at first sight somewhat appalling. It 
is — 



214 



THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 



Coal . . . . . 


15 tons. 


Wood 


I ton. 


Flour 


I ton. 


Sugar . . . . . 
Tea ...... 


8 cwt. 
180 lbs. 


Preserved meat, with desiccated 




and preserved vegetables 
Oatmeal . . . . , 


800 lbs. 
6 cwt. 


Ship's Biscuit . . . . 


I ton. 


Jams ...... 


I cwt. 


Soap ...... 

Paraffin Oil ... . 


2 cwt. 
I barrel. 


Methylated Spirits, 
tides of barter, such as knives, pipes, 


tobacco, scissors. 


etc., etc. 





Some items in this list may seem to be excessive, 
but several things have to be borne in mind. Firstly, 
everything, even down to the sticks for burning, 
had to be imported from home. Then there was 
the probability that they would be cut off from 
home for two years, as it was not thought likely 
that there would be enough produce from the 
whale fishery to justify the vessel coming from 
Scotland to fetch it oftener than every other year. 
So they must be provisioned for that time at least. 
Lastly, there was always the possibility of their 
Eskimo friends being actually in distress from time 
to time from scarcity of food. In such cases the 
missionaries must have the means of succouring them. 

As soon as they had taken possession of their 
hut, the two brethren settled down into a systema- 
tic life. The usual routine, Mr. Peck tells us, was as 
follows : Rise 6.45 a.m., light fires, prepare break- 



A NEW VENTURE 215 

fast ; breakfast 8 a.m., prayers 8.30 a.m. ; study of 
Eskimo language with Mr. Parker from 9 a.m. 
to 10 a.m. ; visiting and preparing Eskimo addresses 
from 10 a.m. to noon. Then came the preparation 
of dinner. Dinner i p.m., private reading and study 
from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., school for children from 
3 p.m. to 4.15 p.m., visiting and exercise from 
4.15 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., tea 5.30 p.m. ; after tea, 
prepare for evening meeting, which is at 7.30 p.m. ; 
after the meeting, study of the language with 
Eskimos ; family prayer at 10 p.m. ; then private 
reading and devotion tiU 10.45 p.m. This ended 
the day and bed had been earned. 

" God blesses the days," Mr. Peck continues, 
" as they roll on, and one feels time too short to 
do all that ought to be done." 

School for the children, it will be noticed, occu- 
pies a recognized place in the day's routine. This 
was one of the first things taken in hand. As 
early as September 9 this entry is found in Mr. 
Peck's diary : " Visited several of the tents, and 
asked the parents if we might have the children to 
teach them. To this proposal they readily assented, 
and to our dismay the little ones came in such 
numbers that we could hardly find room to stow 
them all away." They proved to be very intelligent 
and eager to learn, and the missionaries were much 
encouraged. Frequently notes are found to the 
effect that the children were very attentive, learning 



2i6 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

their hymns, repeating verses of Scripture, or en^ 
deavouring to master the syllabic character. 

At an early date after their arrival the mis- 
sionaries took a census of the population of Black- 
lead Island. They found there were forty tents, 
and the people inhabiting them numbered 171. 
Perhaps the reader will exclaim, What a handful 
of persons to caU forth two men from home 
comforts to the drear}^ surroundings of an Arctic 
whaling station. Surely there is waste of energy 
and time and money here ! 

Well, the fewer and more degraded the people, 
the more is our admiration compelled for those 
who will go forth to care for them. For they are 
far removed from any hope of honour or distinction 
in this world. Anyhow, we should bear in mind that 
Jesus Christ before He came to earth was not moved 
by specious arguments about waste. He left count- 
less realms of glory to come to our poor, dark, 
fallen comer of God's great universe. Mr. Peck, 
too, did not view his position as wanting in im- 
portance. His exclamation about the 171 persons 
is, " Quite a number of precious souls for which to 
give an account to the Master ! May He fill me 
with a burning zeal for their salvation ! " 

One thing the new mission stood in need of, and 
that was a place of meeting where the people could 
assemble for worship and instruction and the 
children could come together for school. This 



A NEW VENTURE 217 

want was supplied by the Eskimos themselves. 
As early as October 3, Mr. Peck writes in his diary : 
" Two Eskimos are busy making the frame of a tent, 
which we hope to have ready by Sunday " ; and two 
days later we hear of its progress, and of the great 
interest which the men are taking in its construc- 
tion. This true tabernacle of witness to the presence 
of God in Cumberland Sound was ready in time, and 
when Sunday, October 7, was over, we read that it 
had been " a very happy but wearing day. We visited 
the people from tent to tent, and invited them to 
come to our opening meeting. Many came, and 
they joined heartily in the few hymns they knew. 
On the whole we have much cause to thank God. 
The tent is about twenty feet long and ten feet 
broad. Two long seats are placed along the sides 
on which the people sit. The women, quite by 
choice, like to sit together on one side. 

" It is an encouraging fact that the tent was made 
and the greater part of the material provided by 
the Eskimos themselves." 



w 



CHAPTER XII 

DAYBREAK IN CUMBERLAND SOUND 
"There shall be no night there" 

HEN the two whalers, that called unexpectedly 
at Blacklead Island on October lo, sailed 
away to more genial climes, the weather began to 
wax more severe ; the nights became longer, the 
days shorter ; the ice formed and came closer and 
closer round the island, and silence, as far as the 
outer world was concerned, fell upon the little 
station. " Quis separabit '* may be a good motto 
for the largest shipping company of the world, but 
the question will hardly bear a satisfactory answer 
as regards the navigation of Arctic seas in the winter. 

The long dreary winter, the darkness that over- 
shadows an Arctic station, and the complete isola- 
tion in which it is cut off, might almost be taken as 
symbolic of the degradation of life of the inhabi- 
tants, of the spiritual darkness of the kingdom of 
Satan, and of the power of sin to separate from the 
joys of the Sun of Righteousness. 

And as the two messengers of Light settled down 
to their work in this condition of things, we can 

318 



DAYBREAK IN CUMBERLAND SOUND 219 

readily suppose that the words of Christ after His 
Resurrection, " As my Father hath sent Me, even 
so send I you," must have been comforting to them. 
Whether or not they recognized the hkeness between 
Him, Who left His home on high for a world of dark- 
ness, and themselves, it is possible for the onlooker 
or the reader to do so. 

In Mr. Peck's diary we find entries concerning 
the weather from time to time, which certainly 
would not encourage the pleasure-seeker to shape 
his course for Cumberland Sound. In the begin- 
ning of November we read of six degrees below zero, 
then of twenty. Again, by November 23, twenty- 
eight degrees below zero are registered, and then is 
the significant note : " I am told that over fifty 
degrees below zero is not uncommon here." A few 
days later the sea was frozen over near " our island 
home, and we can now walk on the ice. This is a 
great treat, as the walking on our rocky island is 
really most trying." 

The darkness and the cold ran a race together. 
It is a constant thing to read of lamps being required 
nearly the whole day. In the latitude of Blacklead 
Island the sun is not wholly obscured for the whole 
of any one day in the winter ; or perhaps it would 
be more correct to say that on the shortest day he 
does just rise above the horizon, for he may be 
obscured by bad weather. On December 19 : " The 
days are very short now ; the sun was first seen at 



220 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

11.25 a.m., and set again at 12.30 p.m." And once 
more, early in the following month, it is : ''No sun 
to-day. We do miss his genial rays. But Jesus, 
the Sun of Righteousness, does not leave us without 
His soul-reviving presence." 

Mr. Peck's notes on December 21, when the 
weather happened to be bright and clear, were ; 
*' On this the shortest day I was able to watch the 
course of the sun and take observations. At no 
time of day did we see the full orb of the sun. The 
upper portion could be seen altogether for about 
one hour and ten minutes ; the half orb was visible 
about fifteen minutes, and threequarters for about 
ten minutes." The weather was very cold ; the 
thermometer stood about 25° below zero, and there 
was a strong wind. During the night the sky was 
ablaze with the Aurora and countless brilliant stars. 

But cold and ice and darkness were not the only 
trials of life in that little Arctic community. Want 
of provisions, owing to the failure of the fishing, 
had brought the Eskimos and their dogs to a con- 
dition of starvation. There is, however, a joyful 
entry on November 3 : " A whale has been caught 
to-day. Thank God for it. This monster of the 
deep will more than supply the needs of all." 

The total length of this huge creature was about 
50 feet, the height was fully 15, and the breadth of 
the tail was 12 feet. The thickness of blubber in 
some places measured 12 inches. 




CUTTING UP A WHALE. 



Page 226. 




BUILDING AT BLACKLEAD ISLAND. 
The Rev. E. J. Peck is in the foreground. 



Page 304. 



DAYBREAK IN CUMBERLAND SOUND 221 

Soon the dogs and people were feasting away to 
their heart's content, and the latter were quite 
elated at the prospect of having many a good meal. 

Whale-skin, which is called muktak, is considered 
to be a dainty dish, and when the whale was caught 
the missionaries looked forward with pleasure to 
their first meal of this delicacy as likely to give them 
an agreeable change of diet. But the result was 
not apparently so pleasurable as had been antici- 
pated. The only remark Mr. Peck makes about it 
is : " Mr. Parker and I had our first meal of muktak. 
It is about an inch thick and of a dark colour. When 
boiled, it is fairly palatable." 

A little later, in the middle of November, several 
seals were caught. The Eskimos seemed to be 
always ready to share their good things with their 
European friends. On November 16 the diary says : 
" They very kindly brought us several pieces of 
seal's meat. We cut this up in steaks and then fry 
it. As it is considered a capital preventive of scurvy 
we think it wise to use it freely, and when well cooked 
it is certainly more digestible than canned meats." 
But though the wants of the Eskimos were thus pro- 
vided for a time, the food supply seemed to be pre- 
carious. Bad weather did its work continually in 
bringing the people to the verge of starvation. 

It has been mentioned that early in the year 1895 
the sun failed them altogether. The date of that 
entry in the diary is January 8. Well, for days and 



223 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

weeks after that there are gloomy reports of the 
weather. " Blowing and drifting again. I could 
not go far in the driving snow, but managed to 
crawl into four Eskimo dwellings which were close 
to our house, and speak a few words for the Saviour." 
Again, on January 19, it is " a wild day. So 
heavy was the storm that we could not gather the 
people together, so we spent the day in study and 
communion with God." 

Not only was this continuously stormy weather 
a hindrance to the teaching of the people, but time 
after time it prevented the fishing, and caused much 
anxiety to the missionaries and great suffering from 
hunger to the Eskimos. It is perhaps difficult for 
us who dwell in the lands of regular sowing and 
reaping to realize that we live in dependence upon 
the promise of God that seed-time and harvest 
should not cease. But if our lot were cast in the 
icy lands above the latitude of 65°, we should pro- 
bably put our hearts into the petition : " Give us 
this day, and day by day, our daily bread." 

Who is proof, under the pressure of continued 
gloom, against despondency ? Elijah was not ; 
John the Baptist was not ; Timothy was not. Thus 
we need not be surprised, but all our sympathy 
should be awakened when we read : " From Sunday 
the 20th to Saturday the 26th was a season of much 
trial and deep spiritual conflict. We have had such 
a number of wild days lately that our poor people 



DAYBREAK IN CUMBERLAND SOUND 223 

(some 170 being now on the island) were not able 
to catch seals, and consequently were in great need. 
Some of them, wishing to propitiate their evil 
spirits, commenced their conjuring practices, think- 
ing their incantations would have the desired effect 
of changing the weather. I spoke to them at our 
meeting of the power and love of God, and exhorted 
them to repent and turn to Jesus if they desired His 
great salvation. Thank God, some gave heed to 
the word spoken ; hut no one (I imagine) except 
ourselves can fully understand our position. We 
are here in the depth of a trying winter, in the midst 
of a starving and heathen people, without human 
sympathy or support. No wonder the Prince of 
Darkness tries to shake our faith. No wonder at 
times anxious thoughts rush into our minds." 

Again, towards the end of January, the people 
were reduced to straits from hunger. The mis- 
sionaries brought the needs of the people before 
God in prayer, and asked Him, who brought the 
fishes to the net of the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, 
to give the people of Blacklead Island success in 
hunting. " We had," Mr. Peck writes, in conse- 
quence, " the joy of seeing five seals brought home." 
But the joy was balanced by anxiety of a fresh kind. 
" To our great sorrow and dismay we were told that 
some of the people had been driven out to sea on a 
field of ice. We are praying earnestly to God for 
them." But a trial of this kind was but the leading 



224 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

of God for those who were in danger. They re- 
mained on their ice-floe all night, and one of them 
at least, as a result, was thus led to pray to the God 
of whom the messengers of the Gospel had spoken. 
His prayer was repeated : " O God, save me, for 
I am in great danger." In the morning they noticed, 
to their great joy, that new ice had formed between 
them and Blacklead Island, and although it actually 
bent under their weight, they succeeded in escaping 
from their perilous position. 

During this time of privation the missionaries 
adopted the plan of inviting one family to tea every 
day. This alone must have made some consider- 
able inroad upon their stores, and shows the need 
of a plentiful supply such as was to some extent men- 
tioned in detail in the last chapter. " After tea,'* Mr. 
Peck writes, " I take our large English Bible and 
explain to them that this is the Book which God has 
given to teach men the way to heaven. A suitable 
portion is then translated and explained. Before we 
part they kneel down, and we have prayer together. 
Poor people ! they do seem so grateful, and we may 
well believe that their hearts are being drawn to Jesus." 

The Eskimos were not the only living creatures 
that suffered from hunger. Their dogs as well were 
brought near to starvation. This the missionaries 
found to their cost. The dogs had not been invited 
to tea with their masters, so they thought it well to 
help themselves. 



DAYBREAK IN CUMBERLAND SOUND 225 

On January 23 "we were startled," writes Mr. 
Peck, " at about 3 a.m. by a pack of hungry dogs. 
These creatures had managed to chmb up on the 
roof of our skin church, and to our dismay were 
tearing the edifice to pieces. Hastily slipping on 
our fur coats, Mr. Parker and I rushed out in the 
bitter cold. Here in the dim light we could make 
out our position. We were literally besieged by 
dogs, and they must in all have numbered over a 
hundred. Most of them were on the roof, some 
had fallen through, others were devouring pieces of 
sealskin, and altogether such a confused mass of 
dogs — young, old, bruised and wounded — it would 
be hard to find an3Avhere else. After a sharp battle 
we managed to put these unwelcome visitors to 
flight, and then we had the pleasure of contempla- 
ting the mischief the starving brutes had done." 

We have heard fairly often of churches being 
destroyed by fire or tempest, or even by earth- 
quake, but probably this instance is unique when 
one was devoured by dogs. Some years after, when 
the incident was told to a class of girls in Scotland, 
one lassie remarked " Now that we have heard of 
a kirk being eaten by dogs, it is not hard to believe 
that a whale could have swallowed Jonah." 

Happily the damage was speedily repaired, and 
the church was, at least, rendered sufficiently 
proof against wind and cold for services to be held 
there on the next Sunday. 

15 



226 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Though the darkest days of the year were days of 
trial, there was much cause for thankfulness. The 
people had learned to regard the missionaries as 
friends ; they had taken in a great deal of instruc- 
tion, and some at least had, as far as the eye of man 
could see, been drawn nearer to God in Christ. 

Of a party of Eskimos who left Blacklead Island 
on February 25, Mr. Peck mentions one, a woman 
named Padlo, who had been a regular attendant at 
the services, and could read in her own tongue 
portions of God's Holy Word. In her case he ex- 
presses the earnest hope that she may become a 
missionary among her own people wherever her 
journeyings may take her. 

A little later, too, we are told of the progress of 
the children ; how several can read and answer 
correctly when questioned about the leading truths 
of Christianity. And so, as days lengthened, hope 
was strong that the true spiritual light that light- 
eth every man that cometh into the world was 
really shining. Even though the nights were long, 
yet Arctic darkness had its special hope, as on 
March 10, a glorious night, when an eclipse took 
place. After that phenomenon *' the stars shone 
with a wondrous lustre, and the northern lights 
(Aurora Borealis), which were of every conceivable 
tint of the most exquisite colours, flitted across the 
heavens." Such a scene as this seems to speak 
promises of the time when there shall be no night 



DAYBREAK IN CUMBERLAND SOUND 227 

over the frozen wastes of the Eskimos, when the 
people who sit in darkness and the shadow of death 
shall see a great light, when those who are blinded 
by sin shall have their eyes opened to behold Him 
who said, " I am the Bright and Morning Star " ? 

By the end of April Mr. Peck felt that Mr. Parker 
had made such progress with the language and in 
knowledge of the people that he could be left alone. 
Accordingly, he made preparations for a journey to 
Kikkerton, Mr. Noble's second whaling station. 
Forethought was very necessary, for many things 
were wanted to make a prolonged absence possible. 
The list is given by Mr. Peck : — 

" Preparing for journey. As I shall have to live 
in the open-air for some considerable time, I have 
to provide various requisites : (i) A tent. This we 
are having made of canvas, and will be about 8 feet 
long, 6 high, and 6 broad. (2) Provisions. (3) 
Cooking appliances. As there is no firewood to be 
found in these parts I am taking a small lamp and 
some methylated spirit. (4) Clothing and bedding. 
These consist of a complete suit of fur and a sleep- 
ing-bag, the inside of the latter being made of rein- 
deer skin, and the outside of sealskin. (5) Sledge 
and dogs, together with supplies for my Eskimo 
companion." 

The start was made on May 4, although there 
was a strong wind blowing from the north to impede 
progress. However, after a hard day's travel a 



228 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

group of snow-houses between some rugged rocks 
was reached in safety. Mr. Peck took up his quarters 
with an old man and his wife. Their iglo was hospi- 
table, but not pleasant for a fastidious taste. The 
house was in a most filthy state, blood, blubber, 
and pieces of seal's meat being thrown about in all 
directions. " I made, however," the missionary 
says, " the best of my not over-comfortable abode, 
and tried to make the portion of the house allotted 
to me as clean as possible." 

Experiences among the Eskimos, as was seen 
when we looked into their homes in Hudson's Bay, 
were not always pleasant ; and at a later date 
during this Kikkerton journey, Mr. Peck again 
remarks : — 

" I witness strange sights in these Eskimo dwell- 
ings — an Eskimo feast, for instance, being by no 
means uncommon. Imagine a seal, fresh from the 
sea, laid on the floor of a hut, surrounded by a num- 
ber of hungry people all armed with knives ready 
for the fray. The seal is cut open down the middle, 
the skin taken off, and the carcase roughly cut up ; 
pieces of the gory flesh and blubber are then de- 
voured with the greatest avidity, and soon the mass 
of meat vanishes away." 

Sunday, May 5, was spent in working among the 
people of this village. There were six houses in all, 
and we are given some description of the inhabitants 
of each of them ; 



DAYBREAK IN CUMBERLAND SOUND 229 

" Spent the day in work for my Saviour. Six 
snow-houses formed our Eskimo village. The in- 
mates of the house in which I lived showed little 
desire for instruction, but I tried to lay before them 
God's message of love and mercy. In the next 
house a conjuror with his wife and family resided. 
Spoke to them about God's love and goodness. They 
listened with some attention to our message. The 
next dwelling contained four inhabitants ; one, a 
young woman, was very encouraging. The mother 
of this young person also spoke very nicely, and I 
felt really thankful to God for inclining their hearts 
to listen to the Gospel. In the next house I found 
a poor man with his wife. The former is suffering 
from a painful and incurable disease. I tried to 
point him to Jesus, the Fountain of life, blessing, 
and comfort. In the next habitation I found 
another conjuror with his wife and family, and 
spoke to them of the Saviour's love. I passed into 
the next dwelling, where I found a man with his wife 
who were very favourably disposed, and who listened 
to our words with evident interest. I gathered 
the children together during the day, and found 
them bright, intelligent, and most eager to learn." 

On May 6 Kikkerton was reached about 7 p.m., 
and Mr. Mutch, who was stationed here, kindly 
received Mr. Peck. He had, however, no sleeping 
accommodation to offer him, so it was a case of 
living in his tent during his stay. 



230 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

The visit to this station was distinctly encou- 
raging and interesting. The people came together 
in large numbers to hear the Word of God and for 
instruction. And there was unlimited room in the 
church for all to gather together who would. It 
certainly was Catholic in the sense that none need 
be shut out. We have looked into the iron church 
at Whale River, and we have seen the skin and 
whalebone church of Blacklead Island, and we have 
read the fate that overtook it. But at Kikkerton 
we see one which was more commodious than either 
of these, cheaper to erect, and proof against attacks 
of dogs, or fire or earthquake. We will hear Mr. 
Peck describe his own edifice : " Having no house 
in which the people could assemble, I requested 
some Eskimos to build a large circular wall of snow, 
about 6 feet high, to keep out the piercing wind. 
The seats — if such I may call them — were made of 
square blocks of snow, which were placed close to 
the snow wall. This was our Arctic church. Our 
service consisted of hymns and prayer, and I then 
told them some simple Scriptural truths. What a 
strange sight these walls of snow, with nothing 
between us in an upward direction but the blue 
heavens ! Truly the angels of God might look 
down upon such a gathering with wonder and joy.'* 

Here then the people met on Sunday. " Many 
came, and we had a grand time. Services gene- 
rally lasted about an hour. Some friends might 



DAYBREAK IN CUMBERLAND SOUND 231 

perhaps be disposed to blame me for remaining so 
long in the open-air with only a wall of snow for 
protection ; but there is no alternative. There is 
not a fragment of wood or anything else here to 
make a more suitable meeting-place ; but God has 
not failed to strengthen me wonderfully to bear 
the cold." 

But it must be admitted thai : church of this 
kind even has some disadvantage, for on May 27 
it was snowing all day. 

" I could not, therefore, hold meetings in the open- 
air, and so visited from house to house. In one 
dwelling I had the pleasure of meeting one of the 
Eskimos who had heard the Gospel at Blacklead 
Island during the winter. When I spoke to the 
people he warmly seconded my remarks, and spoke 
very kindly of our work." This is not a solitary 
instance of the effect of work previously done. 
For on another day, " I was cheered by meeting 
two of the people who had heard much of Jesus 
from one of the Blacklead Island Eskimos." . . . 
" There are wonderful signs from time to time of 
God's blessing and ready help, and one would be 
faint-hearted indeed to doubt the power and pre- 
sence of our God." 

The missionary had been taking his meals with 
Mr. Noble's agent. But after some days Mr. Peck 
writes : " Mr. Mutch left to-day, so I am, in a 
measure, thrown on my own resources. Had tea 



232 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

in tent this evening. Bread was frozen .quite hard, 
so I had to chop off pieces, and altogether I made 
but a poor meal." 

But the next day " I had a more satisfactory 
meal than that of previous day, experience having 
taught me a lesson. The frozen bread I wrapped in 
a towel and took to bed with me the previous night, 
and through the heat generated in my fur hag it was 
quite thawed by the morning. Snow was melted by 
one of the Eskimo and brought to me ; this was 
finally, by means of my methylated-spirit lamp, 
brought to the boiling point, and I soon had the 
pleasure of drinking a cup of hot cocoa, which 
beverage, by-the-bye, is most acceptable in these 
cold regions. It is certainly preferable to either 
tea or coffee, on account of its sustaining properties." 

Towards the end of May : " The weather is now, I 
am thankful to say, getting warmer, and I slept 
quite comfortably last night in my tent. The bread 
in my box is also beginning to thaw, so there is much 
to be thankful for.'*'' 

It is indeed well for the dwellers in Arctic regions 
that the kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink. 

So the nights became shorter, or practically did 
not exist, for on May 28 the sun was actually shining 
about eighteen hours out of the twenty-four, and 
the remaining six hours were bright twilight, scarcely 
distinguishable from day. But this meant weak- 
ness of ice, and consequently the near impossibility 



DAYBREAK IN CUMBERLAND SOUND 233 

of travelling across the sea. So on June 6 Mr. Peck 
had to make a start on his return journey to Black- 
lead Island. 

His account of the journey is as follows : " We 
made our way over the vast ice-field which stretches 
right across the Sound. We followed in many places 
the track of sledges which had passed over the same 
ice. But at last, to our dismay, we saw that the ice 
had been carried away, and that the open water ex- 
tended in a more northerly direction. We were 
therefore obliged to alter our course, and after a 
hard day's travelling we succeeded in reaching the 
edge of the ice floe on the opposite side. Here we 
found two boats, the crews of which were engaged 
in the whale fishery. The boats were secured to 
the edge of the ice, and we were almost inclined to 
go and sleep in them for the night. After prayerful 
consideration, however, we thought it wiser to go 
to some Eskimos who were encamped close to the 
land. These people received us very kindly, and, 
with the help of our methylated-spirit lamp, a cup 
of tea was soon ready, and we attacked our evening 
meal with an appetite which only an Arctic traveller, 
perhaps, can understand." 

On the next day " there was a strong wind blow- 
ing from the north. We looked for the boats we 
had seen the previous day, but the ice, to which 
they had been fastened, had all disappeared. What 
a mercy we did not carry out our intention of stay- 



234 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

ing in the boats ! For, although we should probably 
have been safe enough, what would have become of 
our sledge and dogs ? As the wind was strong we 
rigged up a sail, and drove along before the gale at a 
brisk rate. After going some distance, however, 
we had to haul close to the wind and keep in near 
to the land, as we found the ice weak in many places. 
We almost caught a seal which was basking in the 
sun. The creature was asleep, and allowed us to get 
nearly within gunshot before it awoke. When it 
raised its head my Eskimo companion began yelling 
in a most unearthly manner, and the seal, quite sur- 
prised with the noise, and looking about to see what 
was the matter, almost forgot his own means of 
safety. However, he slipped into his hole in the 
ice just as the dogs were on top of him. 

" We did not reach Blacklead Island before two 
a.m. on Saturday morning. I was surprised to see 
many people out and about, and they gave me a 
warm welcome. Right glad I was to meet my 
friend and brother, Mr. Parker, and to hear good 
accounts of his welfare and work." 

And so this tour and sojourn of a month's dura- 
tion came to an end, and there is a pleasing retro- 
spect : " I think of my stay at Kikkerton with 
feelings of gratitude to God. Many have heard the 
Gospel, a few can read, and several have reading 
sheets in hand which they have promised to learn 
during my absence." The great difficulty in deal- 



DAYBREAK IN CUMBERLAND SOUND 235 

ing with Eskimos, as with all people, is to overcome 
the first obstacle, and convince the people that they 
are sinners who stand in need of a Saviour. 

" Often when I speak of man's lost, fallen state 
to the Eskimos they make remarks which show that 
they — if any people under heaven — ought not to 
be placed in the list of sinners. Some remark, when 
I mention the various sins to which they are addicted, 
* But I do not steal,' ' I do not commit adultery,' 
etc., etc. Others, again — not, I must confess, with- 
out just cause — refer to the sins of white men who 
have visited them from time to time, and they 
naturally reason that if they are specimens of the 
religion we have come to teach the Eskimos might 
just as well remain as they are." 

Happy it is for the missionary to reflect that all 
things are possible with God, and that it is not his 
work to convince of sin, but the work of the Holy 
Ghost whom Christ sends into the world through 
the medium of His willing messengers. 



CHAPTER XIII 

PLOUGHING AND SOWING 

** Most gladly therefore will I rather 
. glory in my infirmities that the power of 
Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take 
pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in 
necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, 
for Christ's sake." 

AX the end of June, 1895, it was decided that 
Mr. Parker should start with some Eskimos 
who were going to visit a whaHng station near Fro- 
bisher Bay, and on July 2, Mr. Peck accompanied 
him to the boat to say farewell. We are reminded 
of a sea-shore scene painted in the Acts of the 
Apostles when we read : " We had prayer together 
by the beach. I feel lonely here now, with not one 
soul to speak to in my own tongue. But Jesus is 
near, and why should I repine while His promises 
are true and faithful." 

Mr. Parker did not return until August 27. 
One result of this journey was to show that the 
movements of Eskimos seemed to bring many dis- 
tant places near to one another, and Mr. Peck was 
brought almost into touch with his former districts. 

230 



PLOUGHING AND SOWING 237 

For the traveller had met Eskimos who had jour- 
neyed from the northern and western shores of 
Hudson's Straits, and "we may well believe that the 
Gospel of God's grace and love will soon spread 
over these Arctic wastes, and that God's name will 
be glorified amongst the Eskimos." 

There is something pathetic in words which record 
some of the smaller trials of life in Cumberland 
Sound, and as we read them we have to remember 
that after all life is made up generally of apparently 
petty details of daily routine. " The weather is 
now (in the middle of July) very warm, and the 
scanty vegetation is beginning to look green. I 
have planted some mustard and cress, together 
with other vegetable seeds, in two boxes. I man- 
aged with difficulty to get some soil, which I worked 
up as fine as possible. I hope these efforts may be 
successful, one does miss a few fresh vegetables." 

In due time a small harvest was reaped, for on 
August II : "I had the pleasure of eating some 
mustard and cress ; the other seeds I planted are 
coming on, but slowly." 

On August 20, there was great excitement. "While 
having dinner, some of the people rushed into our 
little house, and cried out, ' Oomeakjuak ! oomeak- 
juak ! ' (' A ship ! a ship ! '). / could hardly credit 
the news for joy. Went out, and saw a vessel bear- 
ing up for our island home. She had evidently 
been driven to leeward of the island during the 



238 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

stormy weather we have had lately, and was now 
(as sailors say) beating to windward. But, alas ! 
when she was almost close to us a thick fog settled 
over everything, and the wind began to blow with 
great fury. We knew the vessel could not make 
the land, so we returned to our solitary dwelling 
and committed the ship and her crew to God's care, 
and then felt quite at rest." 

The next two days the weather continued very 
foggy and stormy and nothing could be seen of the 
ship. However, on the 23rd the fog cleared away 
and " we had the joy of seeing her again, but some 
considerable distance to leeward of the island. 

" The vessel, which on approaching we found to 
be Mr. Noble's brig, the Alert, succeeded in reaching 
her anchorage in the evening, I immediately went 
on board, and, of course, our first inquiries were con- 
cerning loved ones far away. My heart overflowed 
with thankfulness to God when I read their letters. 
How great His mercy in having kept my dear wife, 
and our four little children, in health and strength, 
for it is now over thirteen months since I heard a 
word about them. Truly our God is a covenant- 
keeping God, who will fully keep that which we 
commit to His trust. Other letters, both from the 
Society and dear friends, are full of comfort, and 
one feels more than repaid by such tokens of love 
and sympathy for leaving all to come to this desolate 
place." 



PLOUGHING AND SOWING 239 

Beyond the joy of receiving letters from home, 
the missionaries had the pleasure of unpacking their 
annual supplies. Among them were a large number 
of towels and a quantity of soap. Alluding to 
these, Mr. Peck remarks : " Won't our Eskimos be 
clean by and by." And in a private letter he 
writes : " I am trjdng to teach the children to be 
clean. At first they came to me with hair a literal 
mat of filth and grease, so that it was difficult to 
tell which was hair and which was dirty grease. 
Their skins were thickly coated with cakes of dirt. 
With the towels and soap now sent us, and which I 
have served out to the children, we are giving an 
incentive to cleanliness by offering thirteen prizes, 
at the next Christmas festival, for the uniformly 
cleanest children." 

Towards the end of September the Alert left again 
for Scotland and winter once more began to encircle 
Blacklead Island. A time of spiritual warfare 
followed, concerning which some interesting details 
are given. Perhaps it may have struck some 
readers that, as far as teaching by the missionaries 
and the reception of their teaching by the Eskimos 
were concerned, there had, up to this time, been a 
remarkable absence of conflict. Well, we must 
expect that this state of things cannot go on for 
ever. Even in earthly things innovations, however 
good, inevitably stir up opposition. How much 
more must the messenger of Christ expect to 



240 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

be opposed when he seeks to carry Christ right into 
the enemy's stronghold. Indeed, probably no 
missionary ought to be satisfied with his work until 
he sees Satan fighting for his own. 

And so we are not surprised that the course of 
the Gospel did not run altogether smoothly among 
the Eskimos when the conjurors began to find out, 
like the silversmiths of Ephesus in former days, that 
their craft was in danger. 

In the early days of October, Mr. Parker had been 
attending a sick man, but he did not improve so 
rapidly as he had hoped he would. This then was 
an opportunity for those who had been ousted. 
The ignorant sick man is seldom satisfied with any- 
thing short of a miracle ; he cannot bear to wait 
for the slow development of medical science. So 
one of the conjurors was allowed to come in and 
practise his art through one night. These practices 
have been more or less described elsewhere, so noth- 
ing need here be said in detail. Mr. Peck deter- 
mined to speak to the people about this matter 
when they should come together for instruction. 
At the evening meeting, however, but few were 
present when the instruction commenced. " I 
was, therefore," he said, - " half inclined to leave 
the matter for what I thought would be a more 
favourable opportunity. But I was moved by a 
strong inward impulse to speak from the First Com- 
mandment, and just as I commenced, who should 



PLOUGHING AND SOWING 241 

enter our meeting but the very conjuror who had prac- 
tised his demoniac art. After I had gone on some 
time he interrupted me by sa5ang that we were both 
conjurors, or, in other words, that there was no 
difference between my preaching the Gospel and 
his heathen incantations. I was led, therefore, 
to speak to him very plainly and to point out, in no 
unkind spirit, I hope, the real difference between 
our objects. All the people present listened with 
the greatest attention, and I felt sure that God by 
His Holy Spirit was speaking to them." 

Again, later in the same month, the weather was 
very stormy, and hunting was consequently a failure. 
The heathen Eskimos, then, headed by their con- 
jurors, organized a series of heathen abominations 
in connection with their worship of Sedna (or Senna, 
as the name seems to be pronounced in Cumberland 
Sound). These ceremonies were to propitiate the 
goddess so that expeditions for game might become 
possible and successful. As has been mentioned in 
a former chapter, some of their practices in this 
worship are of a terribly immoral nature. So the 
missionaries set their faces against them and opposed 
them all in their power. This incensed many of 
the people very greatly, and, as Mr. Peck expresses 
it, " thinned out our stony-ground hearers." Many 
stood firm under this trial, " but in others I was 
sadly deceived. I cannot, however, but rejoice in 
God. Satan is evidently stirring up his agents, and 

16 



242 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

this is in itself a sign of life. Again we see the real 
state of people's hearts and shall be able to deal 
with them, I trust, with more wisdom. Last, but 
not least, the people are realizing that to follow 
Christ means more than a mere assent to the truths 
they hear." And yet once more, a few days later, 
concerning the same matter we are told : " Some 
of the heathen appear utterly ashamed of their vile 
ways, and will not, therefore, come to our meetings. 
Indeed we have had quite a thinning out of late. 
I am waiting patiently and asking God for special 
guidance." 

There was yet another instrument which Satan 
used during this season, one which is alwaj^s power- 
ful, especially with barbarous peoples, i.e., drink. 
One of the Europeans was greatly to blame for 
having supplied it to the Eskimos. He, however, 
promised Mr. Peck to be more careful in the future. 
The winter set in with unusual severity. The 
journals speak continually of *' storms raging," of 
" a week of stormy weather," of gales, of heavy 
snow and such like. 

From Sunday, November lo, to Sunday the 17th, 
it was " a fearful week, wind blowing and snow 
drifting. The people are in want, and spiritually, 
there have been some discouraging events. On 
November 19, we had our house banked up with 
snow. A wall of some five feet thick and ten feet 
high was built all round. This was the work of 



PLOUGHING AND SOWING 243 

some twenty Eskimos who cut out and hauled 
several large sledge loads of frozen blocks of snow." 
And this protection was arranged not before it was 
wanted, for the next day a very heavy gale was 
blowing, indeed the heaviest " we have experienced 
since landing here. One of our fires could not be 
kept alight as we were nearly suffocated with sulphur 
and smoke. So we spent a miserable day. How 
we should have fared I hardly know if we had not 
been led most providentially to encircle our house 
with what proved to be a real shelter. A snow 
wall, five feet thick, keeps out not a little wind." 

Christmas approached, but it did not come upon 
the Missionary Station without preparation. Work- 
ing parties of one sort or another are the correct 
thing in every weU-ordered parish. It is true they 
are generally set on foot and managed by ladies. 
But the fact that no ladies were present at Black- 
lead Island was not going to deter so orthodox and 
energetic a pastor as Mr. Peck. He had organized 
his working party some time before. It was really 
a knitting class. He found some Eskimo women 
who had been taught to knit years ago by a whaler's 
wife. These were appointed as instructors. Wool 
and needles had been sent out by kind friends in 
England. The class had been regularly attended 
by thirteen women and thirteen girls. The result 
was a very respectable out-turn of articles, number- 
ing 42 woollen caps, 113 pairs of mittens, and 35 



244 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

pairs of gloves, and all these things were to be used 
as Christmas presents for the Eskimos. 

So Christmas Day came, the day of all the year 
for rejoicings tempered by some sad and solemn 
recollections. " The dear ones at home were very 
much in our thoughts, on our hearts and in our 
prayers. How near, and yet how far they seem to 
us at this hallowed season. 

'* A large number of Eskimo friends gathered to- 
gether to-day. Several brought presents of things 
which they had knitted and desired me to take 
them for my own use, and thus be able to show 
them to the kind friends who had sent the wool. 

" I was very pleased to see such a kind, thoughtful 
spirit among them, and the presents were an utter 
surprise, as I had no idea they had been making 
these special articles for our use. 

" After friendly greetings we entertained the 
donors of the gifts with coffee and cake, and I 
pointed out to them the true reason why we should 
rejoice on this day. Poor souls ! one does so long 
to see them take a firm hold of Jesus, as a living, 
personal Saviour." 

** Thursday, 26th. — Decided to give the married 
people a treat to-day. Each family was supplied 
with flour and grease, which they cooked in their 
own dwellings over their lamps in pans, or in other 
ways. 

" In the evening we had a magic lantern lecture 



^^'SO^Si^l&Xif-i^id**"^^^^ ,»4?-¥S«J&-'^^^^p 



m. 




A GROUP OF ESKIMO CHILDREN OUTSIDE MISSION. 



PLOUGHING AND SOWING 245 

for adults in our little church. The place was 
crammed to suffocation, and the malodours arising 
from the greasy clothing, and the filthy persons of 
such a congregation, baffles all description. How- 
ever, we got along very nicely. Mr. Parker is a 
splendid manipulator of the lantern, and I gave a 
few words explanatory of the passing slides, which 
depicted scenes in our Lord's life on earth ; and, as 
ever when the magic lantern is shown, the people 
went away full of a deep delight." 

" Friday, 2jth. — Children's day. Tried to make 
the little ones happy. Gave them a feast at 3 
p.m. This consisted of plum pudding, cake, tea 
and coffee. Oh ! how those little dears did eat ! 
Oh ! what capacious stomachs these Eskimos have ! 
But, at last they had to ' cease firing,' and then I 
advised them to carry off the fragments that re- 
mained for their mothers and fathers ; a hint, by 
the way, which they were not slow to take advan- 
tage of. 

" At 7 p.m. came the great event of the 
season — distribution of the prizes and a display of a 
Christmas tree. This latter, made by Mr. Parker, 
was a great success. With the hoops of a flour 
barrel, tastefully decorated with coloured paper, 
etc., and arranged ingeniously on a pole, which was 
lashed top and bottom, he contrived a very pretty 
affair. The gifts were in nice little bags (the bags 
dso the work of Mr. Parker's ingenious fingers) and 



246 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

hung on the hoops, around which Hghted candles 
were distributed in the most orthodox Christmas 
fashion, and with the further aid of various httle 
ornaments, our tree, when lit up, looked quite a 
grand affair. 

" Mr. Hall (Mr. Noble's agent here) took the 
chair at 7 p.m., the place being crowded, for 
every one was anxious to see so novel a sight. 

" After singing and prayer, the distribution of 
prizes took place. These were, f^rst, for some of the 
most regular attendants and best behaved at school, 
and second, for the most cleanly. 

" Fourteen prizes were given to the most regular 
attendants ; one girl named Roopenwak, had not 
missed a day ; another named Ropvidliak, had only 
missed one day ; while a third named Rillukvuk, had 
only missed two. Fourteen also won prizes for 
cleanliness, and I had a singular pleasure in handing 
these to the recipients, as one does appreciate cleanli- 
ness among a people of this naturally filthy type. 

" After the prizes had been distributed, the tree 
was stripped and each member of our tiny flock was 
presented with some nice article. 

" After a closing hymn had been sung, and prayer 
offered, we separated, thanking God for the happy 
time He had given us ; and for the materials 
supplied, which are also His gifts, and placed at 
our disposal for His glory." 

There is very much for encouragement in this 



PLOUGHING AND SOWING 247 

account of the great festal season of the Christian 
year, and even allowing for some being attracted to 
the Mission from false motives, there is a solid 
foundation of Christianity and an indication of 
progress. It is then very saddening to find a note 
of the worst kind of discouragement soon after, 
discouragement such as has been experienced too 
often, and with which every missionary is pro- 
bably more or less familiar. 

" I felt constrained to speak to a white man 
who is here as to the immorality of his life. He 
listened, but got no further. How much one longs 
to see him, and others here, on the Lord's side. It 
seems almost a hopeless task to do any real good 
amongst this people while our fellow whites exhibit 
such a terrible example, and thus wield so awful an 
influence on the side of Satan. 

" However, we are not here to fight God's battles 
in our own strength, neither shall we prevail by any 
so-called wisdom or might of our own. The Lord 
Himself is fighting for us, and we know that He 
will be victor in the end. So we go on patiently, 
and, I trust, cheerfully with our work." 

We seem able to read between the lines of Mr. 
Peck's notes. We picture a man who comes 
to these inhospitable regions for money making, for 
his own aggrandisement and ultimate ease. In- 
fluenced by no high motive, but purely selfish in his 
aims, he makes the native Eskimos minister to his 



248 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

every vice. Circling lower and lower in the indul- 
gence of his passions, he becomes a centre from 
which radiate hellish forces. He lends himself to 
the devil as a satanic agent. 

What a contrast to this is presented in the picture 
of the Christlike life of patient endurance of the 
messengers of the Gospel. Like the Master they 
came not to be ministered unto but to minister, 
and to live not only among but for the people to 
whom they are sent. Soon after the occurrence 
above mentioned, both Mr. Peck and Mr. Parker 
undertook a tour on the ice in the neighbourhood 
of Kikkerton, to work among the Eskimos of that 
station and any others they might find. It is im- 
possible for us at home fully to grasp what these 
missionary trips mean. The cold registered was 
often from 30° to 40° below zero. When night 
came no hut of any kind would be found to welcome 
them. The frozen sea was their flooring. They 
would pile up blocks of frozen snow and spread their 
canvas over the open top and thus shut out the 
elements as best they could. '* When the shelter was 
completed our spirit-lamp was lit, our kettle 
fiUed with snow, and patiently we waited till the 
water boiled. Parker made some cocoa, and in the 
midst of a vapour, which froze as soon as it reached 
our canvas roof, we drank with avidity the warm 
and refreshing beverage. 

" After shutting up the tiny hole, which we had 



PLOUGHING AND SOWING 349 

used for a door, with a block of snow, we managed 
by the light of a candle to wriggle into our sleeping 
bags and thus to secure a considerable number 
of shivery little dozes through the night, in spite 
of the excessive cold." 

But when we read details of this kind we should 
have suggested to us not merely a contrast between 
the messenger of the Gospel and the godless trader. 
We should also in relation to our own lives consider 
the meaning of such sacrifice as this. If we are 
true in the contemplation of our own lives, we shall 
discover that the vast majority of those things 
which we have been accustomed to regard as neces- 
sary to us were at first mere luxuries, and by degrees 
they have insidiously wormed themselves into our 
lives so as to seem indispensable. Every thing will 
acquire a new aspect and will begin to cry, " How 
much owest thou unto thy Lord ? " 

Our tables loaded with a variety of costly foods, 
of delicacies to tempt a pampered taste, of choice 
wines, will cry out against us, " How much owest 
thou ? " 

Our curtained walls, our easy chairs, our deep 
carpeted floors, will take up the cry and echo back 
the words, " How much owest thou ? " 

Our soft warm beds and downy pillows, so different 
from an Arctic couch of frozen snow and ice, will 
cause our dream palaces to resound with the cry, 
" How much owest thou ? " 



250 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

To return to that Kikkerton journey. After 
some time it was decided that Mr. Parker should 
return to Blacklead Island, while Mr. Peck remained 
to minister to the Eskimos around him. He then 
took up his temporary abode in an Eskimo village. 
His own pen gives a description which is worth 
recording as giving a vivid picture of his surround- 
ings and his life. 

" A sketch of my present surroundings, etc., may 
be of interest, especially as, by geographical com- 
putation, I am now situated almost on the Arctic 
circle. 

" Item one is the Eskimo village. This consists 
of fourteen snow-houses. These are built amongst 
huge boulders of ice, and look like large bee-hive 
shaped piles of snow. This peculiar little * town,' 
the inhabitants of which number in all fifty-five 
souls, is situated on the frozen sea, some four miles 
from the mainland. 

" The coast here is rugged in the extreme, and 
the mountain peaks rise covered with a deep white 
mantle of snow, sharply silhouetted against the 
clear blue sky. 

" The whole picture is one of utter desolation, 
though not devoid of a certain bold and rugged 
grandeur, which fills the soul with a solemn and 
wondrous sense of awe, as one remembers that all 
this is ' the work of His hands.' 

" My snow-hotel is inhabited by three persons 




't'' f '^, '^,- '^ . ^-^'""<*i 



A SNOW-HOUSE WITH TUNNEL-PORCH BANKED UP. 



PLOUGHING AND SOWING 251 

besides myself. My host, who is, or rather has been, 
a noted conjuror ; his wife, a young person remark- 
ably cleanly in her person for an Eskimo ; and the 
third person is a little foster son, about six years of 
age, a nice, hearty little fellow. 

" They are all very kind to me, and as I do not 
notice their not over-inviting habits, we get on 
famously together." 

" Thursday, April 2. — Very busy teaching and 
visiting all day. A striking illustration of God's 
power to answer prayer was given to-day. The 
Eskimo in whose house I am living asked me quite 
spontaneously to pray with him, and to ask God to 
give him success in his hunting. For some time 
past he had not caught a seal, and was therefore 
short of oil for his lamps. God answered the prayer, 
for the man brought back with him with great joy in 
the evening two seals — just the number we ashed for^ 

" Friday, ^rd. — Prayed again with our friend ; 
and he returned this time with three seals." 

Mr. Peck continued his ministrations at this 
time under great difficulty for he says : " My old 
throat trouble is very bad. But the Lord stands 
by me, and strengthens me. giving me to realize 
that my seasons of weakness are His times of power 
and blessing." 

Some simple extracts from the journal will best 
close the chapter. 

" Saturday, 11th. — Started this morning to visit 



252 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

another band of Eskimos living somewhere on the 
ice floe. After a drive of some hours over very 
hummocky ice, I found our friends. They received 
me with much joy, put my kettle over their oil 
stove, filled it with snow-water, which they had 
previously made for their own use, and indeed they 
were altogether most kind and hospitable. 

" Having made a kettle of coffee, I invited them 
to have a cup with me, and a right jolly party we 
were as we eagerly devoured some hard biscuit and 
warmed our chilly frames with the coffee. 

" Towards evening it came on to blow and drift 
furiously. One of the men who has been gone since 
early morning to catch seals has not returned, and 
with this gale abroad the people are somewhat 
anxious regarding him. 

" During the night the storm increased, and our 
little dwelling seemed almost to rock with the vio- 
lence of the wind. Fortunately the snow-house is 
situated on the lee side of a large boulder of ice 
some eight or ten feet high, and this acts as a break 
to the wind. What would become of us should 
the ice — the frozen sea on which we are encamped — 
break up, I hardly know. For the season is advanc- 
ing, and there can hardly be more than three feet of 
ice between us and the sea beneath, a thought which 
does not add to one's comfort when trying to sleep 
in the snow-house, four miles from the land and with 
a gale of wind raging without." 



PLOUGHING AND SOWING 253 

" Sunday, 12th. — Storm moderated, and the 
missing man arrived about ten a.m. Both dogs, 
sledge and driver were Hterally covered with driven 
snow. He told us that he had quite lost himself in 
the storm, and was obliged to remain in the snow- 
drift during the whole of that bitter night. 

" Had a profitable day with the people. Taught 
them several times, and sought the Lord's presence 
for my own comfort and support. 

" Tuesday, 14th. — Desirous to taste a new phase 
of Eskimo life, and to be one with the people whom I 
seek to win, I started with one of the Eskimos who 
was going young seal catching. 

" Our conveyance was a small sledge, drawn by 
four dogs. 

"After reaching the actual hunting ground, the 
dogs were continually driven in a windward direc- 
tion. If they scented a seal-hole, they raced away 
for it at full speed, for they know as well as their 
owners — sometimes even better — ^how to find the 
game. 

" When the dogs arrive at a seal-house, which is a 
cavity made in the snow on top of the ice, the driver 
leaps off the sledge, and then, as swiftly as possible, 
breaks through the crust of snow which forms the 
roof of the young seal's residence. Shoiild the 
young seal be inside, he is soon hauled out with a 
hook attached to the end of a stout stick and is 
quickly despatched. 



254 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

" But these little creatures are very wary, and are 
by no means easily caught. Even on the day of 
their birth they are able, if alarmed — and their hear- 
ing is remarkably acute — to slip down into the sea 
below ; this acuteness of hearing makes it exceed- 
ingly difficult to get near their dwellings without 
being heard. 

" The mother seal, also, uses every precaution 
for the safety of her baby ; and should she hear any 
noise on the top of the snow, as she will probably be 
in the vicinity of the little dwelling, if not actually 
inside suckling her little one, will take hold of her 
baby with her teeth, as a cat will carry her kitten, 
and plunge down through the escape hole into the 
sea. She then swims to another hole, for she has 
several others in the neighbourhood, constructed 
as means of retreat in times of danger. 

" Young seals that are captured are generally 
those which the mother has left for a short time 
while she is diving in search of food ; or again, others 
may be captured when the crust of snow becomes 
soft by mild weather or the mid-day rays of the 
sun, and the hunter is able then to remove the snow 
roof of the house noiselessly and quickly. 

" The Eskimos use the skins of the young seals 
for their inside coats and trousers, and the flesh is 
considered a delicacy. 

" As regards the trip on which I went, nothing 
came of it; we were quite unsuccessful. Several 



PLOUGHING AND SOWING 255 

seal-houses were broken open, but the cry of my 
companion was invariably the same — ' Akkangmut ! 
akkangmut ! i.e. ' He (the seal) has gone down, he 
has dived.' 

" Thursday, 23rd. — A fearful day I Heavy storm. 
Could not have the people together, but managed 
to crawl into several of their abodes and spoke to 
the inmates concerning their souls. 

" But this visiting in bad weather is no joke. To 
enter the snow-house one has to struggle through 
a mass of growling, snarling dogs, who generally 
congregate in the outer passage or porch which 
leads into the main building. On getting inside I 
am generally covered with snow, which the Eskimos 
kindly hut vigorously try to knock off with fiat kind 
of sticks which they keep for this purpose. After 
a good ' lambasting,' and many efforts on my own 
part to shake off the mass of sticky snow, I shake 
hands with them, and have a friendly chat for a 
minute, before plunging into the matter of the 
teaching. 

" As the knowledge and intelligence of the people 
varies very much, one has to be careful to use the 
right matter for their various needs, never, of course, 
forgetting to put Jesus Christ before them as the 
Saviour of sinners, the One who can in the fullest 
sense of the word save them from the guilt and power 
of sin. 

" I generally stay about twenty minutes in each 



256 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

house, and then, after a hearty shake hands all 
round, I commence my exit, once more crawling 
on hands and knees, and am heartily glad when I 
have again safely passed through the growling dogs 
and have reached the outer world." 

On Monday, May 4, Mr. Peck left the Kikkerton 
neighbourhood. vSeveral of the people brought him 
a parting gift of young seal skins before he started. 
" Then as the sledge moved over the frozen waste," 
he writes. " I heard some of the little band I had 
left behind singing hymns. What a joyful sound 
to hear in this frozen land ! 

" Our dogs, numbering fourteen in all, pulled 
away with a will, and we speedily lost sight of the 
station and its inhabitants. Two men accompanied 
me on this occasion, which is unusual, seeing that I 
usually help with the sledge on all my journeys 
thus saving the use of a second man." 

There is a touch of drollery about this affair that 
makes it worth recording. All the able-bodied 
men were at this time in the boats employed in the 
whale fishing by Mr. Mutch, Mr. Noble's agent, 
consequently there had been a difficulty in finding 
a wholly sound man to drive and guide the sledge. 
The man who owned the larger number of the dogs 
was almost blind, he therefore needed another man 
with good sight to point out the way. The only 
other man available at the station was lame in one 
leg, it was necessary therefore for the two men to 



PLOUGHING AND SOWING 257 

accompany the sledge, for the lame man could not 
drive, and the blind man could not guide, but be- 
tween them both they managed to do the work of 
one sound man. 

After travelling about thirty-five miles, they met 
a party of Eskimos living near some islands, and 
Mr. Peck essayed a visit to the " chief residence." 

" But," he writes, " the smell inside was so awful 
that I was compelled to beat a hasty retreat, and 
fixing my little canvas tent, was glad to make the 
best of out-door quarters rather than attempt to 
pass a night in such an inferno as that which I had 
begun to enter." 

Tuesday the journey was continued, and again 
on Wednesday, in spite of the fact that it was snow- 
ing heavily throughout the greater part of the day. 

"Arrived at Blacklead Island about ten p.m.," 
writes Mr. Peck, " and was most warmly received 
by the people, and was thankful to meet again my 
fellow-labourer and loved friend, Mr. Parker, who, 
I was delighted to find, was well and hearty. Thank 
God for His upholding and sustaining grace shown 
so freelv to us both." 



17 



CHAPTER XIV 

A CORN OF WHEAT 
"In deaths oft" 

NOT a great deal has been said about Mr. Parker 
in these pages. The reason, of course, is that 
a young missionary cannot, in the nature of things, 
at first figure in the active work of the Mission so 
prominently as his elder colleague who has had 
many years of experience. His time is necessarily 
taken up with learning the language, the habits, 
and ways of the people to whom he is sent. 

Mr. Parker, however, had made very rapid ad- 
vance. On Mr. Peck's return from Kikkerton he 
tells us that his companion is fairly proficient in the 
language, and is able to take the meetings and 
instruct the people. 

He had previously won his way to the hearts of 
the Eskimos through his medical skill and sympa- 
thetic manner. They called him " Lukta," which 
was their corruption of our word Doctor. But 
more than this, as he was somewhat short in stature, 
they had bestowed upon him a diminutive of affec- 
tion, " Luktakuluk," which is " the kind little 
doctor." The native children had also become very 
much attached to him. 

Altogether, he seemed to be becoming now daily 



A CORN OF WHEAT 259 

more useful to his colleague and more necessary to 
the Mission. But God sees differently from man, 
and His ways are not our ways. It was quite 
impossible to foresee the blow that was about to fall. 

Everything was looking bright, the dark and cold 
of winter were things of the past. " We spend as 
much time as possible in the open air and enjoy the 
sun's genial rays. Grasses and other small plants 
in sheltered nooks are looking beautiful in their 
summer garb. How I do admire them, and thank 
God for giving us these tokens of His bounty and 
goodness." The night was as bright as the day, 
and sometimes even the heat would be excessive. 
The longest day came and went ; every day was 
busy. Mr. Parker was working especiall}^ hard 
upon an Eskimo dictionary. In the beginning of 
August an opportunity for a holiday and recreation 
was offered him. Mr. Hall, Mr. Noble's chief 
agent, made arrangements to go to a river some 
twenty miles away in order to catch salmon. It 
was proposed that Mr. Parker should join the 
fishing party and really enjoy a holiday expedition. 

Mr. Peck cordially endorsed the proposal. " As 
my dear brother really needs a change and rest, I 
quite agree with him that the trip will be (D.V.) 
beneficial, and I gladly offer to remain and hold the 
post while he is away." 

On Sunday evening, August 9, Mr. Parker addressed 
a very attentive gathering, and the following day 



26o THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

was chiefly occupied with preparation for the 
journey. But here we will allow Mr. Peck to tell 
the story of what happened almost in his own words, 
as the entries are made in his diary. 

" On Tuesday, August ii, we rose early, and after 
breakfast had our usual reading and prayer to- 
gether. The portion of God's word for the morning 
was Luke xiii., from verse 31 to the end of the 
chapter." The last verse is the solemn one which 
here seems to have a peculiar adaptation, " Behold, 
your house is left unto you desolate : and verily I 
say imto you. Ye shall not see me until the time 
come when ye shall say. Blessed is he that cometh 
in the name of the Lord." 

The boat was ready, and " I went out to see Mr. 
Parker start. There was a fresh breeze blowing, 
but nothing to cause anxiety. After a hearty shake 
of the hand, and watching the boat out of sight of 
the island, I returned to our little house. The 
passage of Scripture which came that day in my 
ordinary consecutive study happened to be the 
20th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, which 
speaks so touchingly of Paul's farewell to the Elders 
of the Ephesian Church. While reading this portion 
I was almost overcome with a strange, overpowering 
emotion which I cannot describe, but which par- 
took of the nature of a hallowed but awfully solemn 
and tender sense of love to the Lord Jesus, and of 
strangely drawn-out affection for Mr. Parker." 



A CORN OF WHEAT 261 

On Wednesday the weather became cold and 
windy, but on Thursday it calmed down again, and 
" I went to see Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Noble's agent, 
who remained at the post. He had intended to 
go with the others on the salmon-fishing expedition, 
but he changed his mind at the last moment, as 
he was feeling unwell. There were consequently 
seven men in the boat instead of eight, viz., Captain 
Clisby, Mr. Parker, Mr. Hall, and four Eskimos. 
The object of my visit to Mr. Sheridan was to arrange 
for a trip to-morrow to a place called Noujakhalik, 
some three miles from here. 

" The people were anxious to get some shell fish 
which are found in the sand at low water at Nou- 
jakhalik, and I was feeling the need of one day's 
change. 

" On Friday, August 14, the weather was very 
fine, and we got together a crew of Eskimos and 
made a start. We reached our destination, and 
had been ashore about three hours when an Eskimo, 
who had been to the north in his kayak hunting, 
came to us with the awful news of his having found 
a boat with a dead body inside ; he also stated most 
positively that the boat was the very one in which 
our friends had sailed on the Tuesday. 

" I was utterly overcome with the horror of the 
news, and could only kneel down and try to cast the 
awful burden upon the Lord. 

" Gathering the people together, we pulled some 



262 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

miles in a northerly direction, and there we found 
the ill-fated boat, not bottom up as we expected to 
find her, but quite upright and almost full of water, 
with a dead body, face downwards, across the 
thwarts. The body was that of Captain Clisby. 

" As the weather was calm, and the boat did not 
appear much damaged, I got one or two of the men 
to help me bale her out. After some time spent 
in hard baling we got the water under, and managed 
to plug up some of the holes in her with oakum. 
Then taking her in tow, we succeeded in reaching 
Blacklead Island late in the evening. 

" Our arrival caused, as may well be imagined, 
great consternation and grief. The relatives of some 
of the men were on the island, and then all the 
people knew what a friend they had lost in Mr. 
Parker. 

" Captain Sheridan, a Captain Marshall, and 
myself carried the body of Captain Clisby up to 
Mr. Noble's store. 

" Here, on examining the body, and from the 
marks and wounds discovered, together with the 
position in which we found the deceased, we are 
led to infer that after the boat left Blacklead Island 
(the wind was quite fair when she started) the boat's 
boom-end, through the motion of the craft, was 
rolled under the water, and while the boat was 
thus held down the sea rushed into her. 

" In this emergency Captain Clisby, knowing 



A CORN OF WHEAT 263 

that the only way of saving his companions was to 
get the boat upright, bravely rushed for'ard, cut 
the halyards of the sail and the rigging on one side 
of the mast. He then evidently managed to get 
to the other side of the boat, and was engaged in 
clearing away the remaining stays which held the 
mast when the boat must have suddenly righted 
herself, the mast toppled over, tore away the socket 
in which its heel was held, caught Captain Clisby 
(on what would then be the lee side of the boat), 
and there the brave, devoted fellow must have been 
held, pinned down as in a vice by the weight and 
pressure of the mast, etc., and so perished, partly, 
we think, by the injuries he had received, and partly 
by the cold seas which must have washed continually 
over him. 

" The others, as we surmise, must have held on 
to the boat as long as possible, but were finally 
overcome with the cold and washed off. 

" Oh, the utter sadness of the awful catastrophe ! 
What can one do in this trying hour ? Our refuge 
is in God ! We know His love never fails ! What 
He doeth we know not now, but we shall know 
hereafter." 

On August 15 " I consulted Captain Sheridan, 
and it was decided that he should take the few 
men now on the island, and look for any further 
signs of wreckage. We also thought (although the 
chances are slight indeed) that some of the party 



264 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

might possibly have reached one of the islands 
about here. 

" As Captain Sheridan knows all the land there- 
about, it was arranged that he should take the 
search party, and that I, with the help of an Eskimo, 
should make a coffin for the remains of our friend, 
Captain Clisby. 

" Captain Sheridan returned in the evening with 
the sad intelligence that not a vestige of anything 
or any one had been seen." 

" Sunday, i6th. — the remains of Captain Clisby 
were laid to rest. Nearly all the people attended 
the funeral. Two boats were manned, and the 
coffin being placed in the stem-sheets of one, we 
then proceeded to an island some four or five miles 
from here. This island has been used as a burial 
place for many years for men who have died in the 
country. I counted some twenty-five graves, 
several of which contained the remains of men who 
had died on board the whaling ships. 

" Some of the graves had boards erected over 
them, giving the name, age, etc., of the deceased. 
One I particularly noticed gave the names of three 
poor fellows who had died of scurvy. Another 
board gave the mournful record of two men who 
had perished in a snow-storm. Altogether it was 
a sad and touching sight to see all these tokens of 
loving remembrance in this barren and lonely spot. 
It was a scene which thrilled one's soul with a 



A CORN OF WHEAT 265 

solemn sense of the nearness of God and of the great 
unseen world. 

" After the Eskimos had cleared away sufficient 
sand and some large stones, the body was lowered 
into the grave. I then called them together, and, 
standing close about the open grave, we all sang, 
'Safe in the arms of Jesus.' 

" The Burial Service was read in English (Captain 
Sheridan being present). I then read a portion of 
the same service in Eskimo, and afterwards spoke 
to the people of the need of our being ever ready — 
through faith in Jesus — to meet our God. 

" Poor people ! They seemed deeply touched. 
May the Lord speak to them and to us all through 
this pressing sorrow ! 

" After returning to Blacklead Island a boat's 
crew of Eskimos arrived. They had picked up a 
few articles belonging to the boat, but nothing had 
been seen of any of the bodies. 

" Captain Sheridan is sending off another search 
party as soon as possible, though we all feel that there 
is little hope of finding either of our friends alive, 
for the current where we believe the boat was 
swamped is so rapid, and the water so cold, owing 
to the immense quantities of loose ice about, which 
has remained with us this summer, that no one could 
possibly have survived." 

" Monday, lyth. — Wind too strong to despatch 
the search boat, as intended. I feel the loss of my 



266 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

brother Parker intensely. He was so strong and 
reliant a companion, so useful with the people, so 
ever willing to do anything. How lonely the little 
dwelling looks and feels now ! How everything I 
look upon and touch reminds me of him who is now 
at rest with his Lord. I flee unto Jesus in this 
trying, lonely hour ! Thou loving Lord Jesus, how 
steadfast Thou art ! To whom should I, to whom 
could I, go but to Thee ! " 

" Tuesday, the iSth. — Climbed the rocks that I 
might be alone with God. Had a season of very 
special prayer for support and guidance. Lord, 
let Thy will be made clear. Yea, Thou wilt make 
it clear. Thou has never failed me yet, and why 
should I doubt Thee now ? 

" Search party started to-day. They are to go 

along the coast and islands, and return in a week's 
time." 

" Saturday, 22nd. — The Alert arrived to-day. 

All on board were much distressed to hear of the 

death of our friends. The arrival of Mr. Sampson, 

whom the Society has sent to re-inforce, and make 

it possible for me to go home and see the translated 

Gospels through the press, greatly cheered my heart 

and strengthened my faith in God, and gave me the 

assurance that God wished this work prosecuted. 

He has heard the petitions of our many praying 

friends, and has guided the committee to their 

decision. 



A CORN OF WHEAT 267 

" I gave Mr. Sampson a hearty welcome, and the 
first thing we did on reaching our little house was 
to commend ourselves, the work, and the people to 
our covenant-keeping God. Surely He will keep 
that which we commit to His tnist. 

" Letters from loved ones and friends were all 
encouraging, so there is much to thank God for. I 
am naturally much exercised in mind, now that 
dear Parker has been summoned home to his Lord, 
to know what the will of God is regarding myself at 
this critical time. 

" One fact the Lord seems clearly to have im- 
pressed on my mind, viz., that He does not will my 
going further North in whaling vessels next year, 
which I had hoped to do. 

" If I go home this year, I have a strong desire to 
return to Mr. Sampson next season. But before 
deciding anything I must know more of my dear 
brother, and ascertain if arrangements can be made 
with Mr. Noble's agent here, that, if necessary, Mr. 
Sampson can live with him, before even I can con- 
template leaving him even for the winter. 

" Of course, I dare not forget the great responsi- 
bility connected with my dear wife's health, and 
what might result from a further heavy mental 
strain, especially considering the terrible nature of 
the complaint from which she previously suffered. 
Our God will surely guide me ! I ask Him for an 
absolutely single eye for His glory. I ask for wis- 



268 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

dom, and we have the promise that if we commit 
our works (ways) to the Lord, our thoughts shall he 
established. ' In all thy ways acknowledge Him, 
and He shall direct thy paths.' " 

For the next three or four weeks our missionary 
was often alone in prayer for the very special guid- 
ance he needed, while at the same time he had long 
consultations over the position with his new col- 
league, Mr. Sampson. 

The people had taken to Mr. Sampson, and his 
medical knowledge gave him a ready access among 
them. Then, too, he showed a marked linguistic 
capability, and began to study the language with 
much diligence. 

Mr. Sheridan readily agreed to board and lodge 
the new young missionary if necessary, and to help 
him in every way possible, if Mr. Peck finally de- 
cided to go home. 

The Alert, which would be the only known 
means of return to England, was, however, much 
hindered by successive gales, and it was evident 
that she would be unsually late in starting on her 
return voyage. 

Then, while still waiting upon God for guidance, 
the Divine hand was shown to our Missionary in a 
remarkable manner. 

About 9 a.m. on Thursday, September 17, there 
were sounds of excitement outside the little house, 
and news was brought that a steamer was close to 



A CORN OF WHEAT 269 

the island, and that already some of her people had 
come ashore. 

The steamer proved to be the Hope, with 
Lieutenant Peary and his Arctic exploring party on 
board. When the leader of the expedition learned 
the position of affairs, he very kindly offered Mr. Peck 
a passage in the ^o/>5, which was bound for Sydney 
Harbour, Nova Scotia. 

From thence the traveller would be able easily 
to get to Halifax or some other large port, and from 
there could ship by liner for home. 

After renewed prayer, careful consideration, and 
a final consultation with Mr. Sampson, Mr. Peck 
decided to take Lieutenant Peary's offer and 
return home, three special considerations weighing 
with him in all his deliberations over the matter : 
First, the absolute and pressing need for the Gospels 
to be seen through the press, that the people might 
have the Word of God in their hands ; second, the 
condition of Mrs. Peck's health ; and, third, the 
critical condition of his own throat, which, if not 
treated, threatened to stop all his work by actually 
rendering him unable to live in the land. 

It was on Thursday that the Hope arrived off 
Blacklead Island, and on the same afternoon she 
steamed into Nanyaktalik harbour. 

On the Friday, Mr. Peck, having now decided to go 
home, went to Nanyaktalik to see Lieutenant Peary 
and the commander of the Hope, Captain Bartlett. 



270 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

The Hope was just starting for Blacklead Island, 
and Mr. Peck returned in her, landing at 6 p.m. 

From that moment until midnight he was busy 
packing and entertaining the numerous callers. 

After a few hours' rest, rising again at 4 a.m., he 
had to go on board the Hope, as she was to start 
early that morning. The two recently united col- 
leagues commended each other to God and started 
for the ship. 

A touching and interesting farewell then took place. 
The sorrowing Eskimos, fearing that they would 
see the face of their beloved teacher no more, 
crowded on board for a sad good-bye. Some of the 
old women produced knives, and requested Mr. 
Peck to cut their flesh deeply, so that they might 
always have a scar to look at and remind them of 
him. It is only fair, however, to say that they did 
not mean or expect their friend to take them at their 
word. It was merely a form of expressing their 
love and sorrow, and an indication of the wound 
that the separation would cause in their hearts. 
^ It is needless to say that Mr. Peck was deeply 
touched by these tokens of affection, and full of 
sadness as well as bright hope, he watched his island 
disappear as the steamer forged ahead. 

We do not know that Mr. Peck ever had any real 
intention of sa5dng a final farewell at this time to 
his Eskimo friends at Blacklead Island. We do 
not think he seriously contemplated such a step, 



A CORN OF WHEAT 271 

though perhaps a sentence in his diary might lead 
to such a supposition. But whether he did so or 
not, the death of his colleague put it quite out of 
the question. He recognizes this when, in speaking 
of his future return, he remarks, " the path of duty 
is the path of safety." He saw his path of duty 
plainly marked out for him ; he heard the voice of 
God telling him that his sojourn in England woiild 
be brief, no matter how the ties of relationship and 
earthly affection might seem to bind him to the 
old country. 



CHAPTER XV 

BEARING BURDENS 

" We lose what on ourselves we spend, 
We have as treasure without end 
Whatever, Lord, to Thee we lend, 
Who givest all." 

WE need not follow Mr. Peck in his work during 
the months he was permitted to spend in 
England. The chief thing that concerns this record 
of his missionary efforts is that he had brought 
home in manuscript the four gospels in the Eskimo 
language. These were printed by the Bible Society, 
and when he returned to Blacklead Island in the 
summer of 1897 he was able to place these invaluable 
aids to his work in the hands of the people and teach 
them to read them for themselves. 

The Alert sailed once more early in July. The 
voyage was a particularly bad one. Even an old 
sailor like Mr. Peck was troubled with sea-sickness 
for days together, and the reader of his journals is 
inclined to think that there was a considerable 
amount of danger^for the brave little ship that faced 
the Arctic seas. At last, however, on Sunday, 
August 22, Blacklead Island was sighted, and the 
next day Mr. Peck was able to land. A very warm 

273 



BEARING BURDENS 273 

greeting and welcome awaited him from Mr. C. G. 
Sampson, whose coming, as recorded in the last 
chapter, had enabled the senior missionary to go 
home the year before. 

The report Mr. Sampson was able to give of the 
work of the past year was most encouraging, and 
he himself had made such progress in the language 
that he had been able to conduct meetings and teach 
the people regularly. 

When Mr. Peck and Mr. Parker first went to 
Blacklead Island, a two-roomed hut, as was men- 
tioned in a previous chapter, had been assigned 
them as a dweUing-place. Now a more commodious 
dwelling had been brought out, and the first work 
was to find a site for it and fit it together. To 
find a site among the rough rocks was no easy task, 
and the erection of the building in the absence of 
aU skilled labour occupied the two missionaries 
many days, aided as they were by Eskimos only. 

They were at this time working daily, in various 
ways, seventeen hours out of twenty-four — a fairly 
high pressure. 

But when their nice new building was ready it 
was devoted to another purpose. It had been 
Mr. Peck's intention to move into the new abode 
and then adapt the old house for Church purposes. 
But there were so many Eskimos at this time on 
the island that " we have decided to use the building 
which was intended for our dwelling-house for a 

18 



274 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

church, and later on, when we can get the house in 
which we are now Hving enlarged and properly 
fitted up, we shall be able (D.V.) to go to our more 
comfortable and capacious quarters. Certainly I 
cannot say that I look forward (speaking of one's 
own bodily comfort) with any feelings of pleasure 
to spending another season in a bedroom (for two) 
not ten feet square. There is neither room for 
privacy nor common decency in such a place. 
But these facts must not weigh against the spiritual 
good and comfort of the Eskimos. And Mr. 
Sampson and I will, through God's grace, be able 
to live at least for one winter in our limited quarters." 
When we read an extract of this kind in any 
man's diary, perhaps we understand why the house 
occupies so prominent a position in the prohibition 
of the Tenth Commandment. 

The opening services in this building thus freely 
given up were most encouraging. Mr. Noble's 
agent and the crew of the Alert were invited. In 
the morning more than a hundred Eskimos were 
present. In the evening about the same number 
gathered together and all the white men as well. 
" It was indeed a happy time, made so by the pre- 
sence and blessing of God, and by the fact that severa 1 
of the Eskimos held in their hands and read with me 
a portion of our Saviour's precious words from the 
gospels which had been printed by the Bible Society." 
And so in settling down to their winter work 



BEARING BURDENS 275 

there seemed to be a bright prospect before the 
missionaries. 

But once more the devil showed them that he 
did not intend them to have things all their own 
way, and by his opposition he gave them the satis- 
faction of knowing that he considered their work a 
serious invasion of his own dominions. 

Difficulties arose, chiefly from an unusually 
stormy season setting in and the consequent scarcity 
of provisions. Time after time we read of a " tr5dng 
week," and that the people on the island were 
" almost starving " because they were unable to 
catch any seals ; or again it is " no whales seen, 
and the outlook is anything but pleasant." 

The effect of this continued bad state of things 
was two-fold. First, numbers of the Eskimos 
" moved by the powers of darkness, commenced 
their heathen practices again." The conjurors 
met together and started their incantations on 
behalf of fine weather. 

This was on a Saturday, and they kept up their 
ceremonies during the following Sunday, making 
the island " more like a pandemonium than a place 
where Christ's Gospel had been preached." But 
even this was a crisis not without its encouraging 
side. For the missionaries, determined that Satan 
should not have it all his own way, summoned the 
people to morning and evening services, and their 
hearts were rejoiced to^find that many who had held 



276 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

aloof from their heathen neighbours, and had not 
bowed the knee to Baal, responded to the call. 
Then again a second result was that the men had 
to be away so much of their time, Sundays included, 
seeking for their bare means of subsistence, hunting 
seals, that they had but few opportunities of meeting 
together for instruction. If they did return at 
night they were too weary and tired for anything 
but to take such food as was available and turn in 
for a night's rest. We find frequent laments in 
Mr. Peck's diaries that Sunday was not better 
observed by those who had attached themselves 
to Christian teaching, but in the face of dire necessity 
he found it quite impossible to forbid the men 
going. It certainly was a case of endeavouring to 
pull the ox or the ass out of the pit on the Sabbath 
day, and the action of the hunters would come under 
the sanction of our Lord : " To do good on the Sabbath 
day is lawful." 

But there is at least one note of thankfulness 
in this connection. On one occasion " the weather 
was nice and bright, and some of the men refrained 
from hunting so as to join us at our meetings. 
Thank God for this token of His help and blessing.'* 

Great perils had at times to be faced in hunting, 
as we have seen in previous chapters, and generally 
it might be said that the greater the scarcity, the 
greater the danger. For naturally the men in their 
need would go further afield and brave all kinds 



BEARING BURDENS 277 

of difficult positions for the sake of supplying the 
wants of themselves and their families. 

One account is given of a party of Eskimos who 
arrived at Blacklead Island in a most famished 
condition. Their sufferings had been very great. 
They had travelled inland, before winter had set 
in, for nearly a month and succeeded in reaching a 
lake called Augmakruk. Here they found a con- 
siderable number of reindeer. After a time they 
retraced their steps to a place some little distance 
from the coast where they had left their boat. 
On the return journey they saw no reindeer, and 
only succeeded in keeping themselves ahve by the 
greatest economy in using the limited supply of 
deer's meat they had on hand. On reaching the 
coast they found the ice had formed there, but 
it was not strong enough to bear the weight of 
the boat, so that they were unable to convey it at 
once to the open sea. It took them ten days to 
overcome the innumerable difficulties and launch 
their boat. During this time they were compelled 
to eat their dogs. At last, in a sorry phght, they 
managed to reach Blacklead Island. 

At another time Mr. Peck records, " I saw two 
men on a piece of ice which they used as a kind of 
boat, and on which they made their way to a large 
body of ice near the island. It is by no means 
unusual for them — in the event of a seal being shot 
in the open water — to break off with their harpoons 



278 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

a large fiat piece of ice from the main fioe, and on 
this they make their way to the seal, often using 
the butt ends of their guns for paddles. As might 
be expected terrible accidents sometimes occur 
through these dangerous exploits. Several men 
have been carried out to sea by the force of the 
wind and have thus been lost." 

The day following this last entry in the diary 
there occurs another : "A few Eskimos arrived 
to-day from the north. They brought sad news. 
No less than four of the band who left here to go 
to the reindeer country have been starved or frozen 
to death." 

Hunger was not the only suffering that followed 
the failure of seals. Cold also was a result. " A 
fine day, but only one seal caught. Some of the 
people keep in bed all day, as they have no oil to 
warm their snow dwellings." 

One's sympathy is called forth by these records, 
and one feels a great sorrow for those who eke out 
such a precarious existence as that of these ice-dwellers. 
At the same time, however, it is possible that the 
inhabitants have brought on themselves to some 
extent the trials which they have to suffer. For 
in a time of plenty Mr. Peck mentions in his diary 
that " the people seem to have got what we might 
almost call the seal fever. Morning, noon and night 
they seem to delight in slaying these creatures, 
and although in some cases the meat is actually 



BEARING BURDENS 279 

rotting in their tents they go on destroying anything 
they can lay their hands on. I spoke to some of 
them pretty plainly, and pointed out their ingratitude 
to the Giver of every good gift." 

Perhaps after this we are not very much surprised 
to read in a later note, " Here we find that the seals 
are pretty nearly exterminated." 

So probably the spirit of kill, kill, kill is ingrained 
in man wherever he lives, south or north, west or 
east. Laws for the protection of the lower creation 
over which he is tyrant are needed universally. 

It is not to be supposed that the missionaries 
sat all this time in their hut with their stores around 
them unconcerned at the sufferings of the Eskimos. 
We have, in the course of these pages, learned to 
know Mr. Peck and his colleagues better than that. 
If a brother or a sister were naked and destitute of 
daily food, they did not say, " Depart in peace, 
be ye warmed and filled," without giving them those 
things that were needful for the body. They both 
preached and acted the Gospel. 

There was plenty of use for the seeming abundance 
of stores that we saw in a former chapter had been 
laid in at the Mission station. " We made a large 
kettle of porridge and gave the very needy ones a 
good meal," is a note that seems just to introduce 
a coming time of distress. It becomes more serious 
when " a deep and soft coat of snow makes travelling 
about almost impossible. We did what we could 



28o THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

by making large kettles of soup, and feeding in this 
manner about twenty families a day. I think the 
people, in some cases at least, appreciated our 
kindness. In any case we must do what we can 
for Christ. Too often we expect to be, as it were, 
propped up by the good wishes and gratitude of our 
fellow creatures. But it is wiser to look to Jesus 
and to do what we do for Him. He certainly never 
disappoints us." 

Times of real anxiety were not unknown to the 
missionaries lest their own stock of provisions should 
fail. This was not at all impossible, humanly 
speaking. For it must always be borne in mind 
that their food supplies depended upon the 
arrival of one small sailing vessel, which had to 
accomplish a perilous voyage. If by any chance 
she failed in her mission, the season would be too 
far advanced with ice for any other to make the 
attempt. So the diary says : " We have a heavy 
drain on our limited stock of provisions, and alto- 
gether our surroundings are far from pleasant. 
However, we seek to stay our minds upon God, 
and to take our cares to Him." 

In 1899 the danger just spoken of seemed really 
to threaten. In May, "the people on the island 
were very much in need of food. We can do little 
for them as we have given away nearly all our stock. 
The weather has been most changeable of late, and 
the distress is great. May the Lord in answer to 



BEARING BURDENS 281 

prayer soon stay the winds and storms. I am, at 
this season, reminded often of the green fields at 
home. Here we see nothing but rocks and snow, 
and we seem to Hve in an everlasting winter." 

August at length came, and when it was well 
advanced, " we are now beginning to look out for 
the Alert. May God keep the little vessel and 
bring her safely here with our supplies." 

From Sunday, August 20 to August 27, almost 
every day " we climbed the rocks and gazed at the 
horizon anxiously expecting the Alert with our 
supplies, and news from loved ones. The poor 
people on the island are in a sad state. Most of 
them are living on the shell fish which they dig 
out of the sand. We can do nothing for them ; 
our stock of provisions is exhausted." But still 
day after day went by so that they were almost 
fearing the worst. At last, however, on September 7 
the joyful news was passed round that a vessel had 
been sighted in the distance. " We can just make 
out her masts. God be praised. The Lord is 
gracious and kind to us ! " is the entry in the diary. 
Two days later, on September 9, the Alert was 
safely anchored off the island, and discharging her 
precious cargo. 

We have seen enough to understand that alto- 
gether the second sojourn of Mr. Peck at Cumberland 
Sound was a time of great trial and one that called 
for a great amount of faith, as far as the things of 



282 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

this world were concerned. But we know that 
trials in things temporal are intended to teach us 
to look more away from them to the eternal. So 
we ask what was the progress in things spiritual 
during this period. 

That the people were united to the missionaries 
by ties of affection there could be no doubt. We 
have seen the farewell that they took of Mr. Peck 
when he was leaving for England and the love that 
was shown him then. We know something of the 
warm welcome that was invariably shown him when 
he visited the people in their homes and was enter- 
tained by them when on tour for days together. 

We know that these cords of personal attachment 
must have been drawn tighter when he ungrudgingly 
gave out his stores of provisions for their relief in 
time of need. But we also know that in these 
closer bonds of affection and association he was 
always finding more and more opportimities of 
pressing the claims of Christ upon them. 

That there was response we can see. A straw 
will show which way the wind blows, and so when 
we read of men abstaining from hunting, although 
the weather was favourable, in order that they 
might attend meetings for Christian instruction, 
we can infer a great deal. 

Besides this, a man named Kukkak, who had been 
instructed first some two years previously, began in 
the spring of 1898 to show signs of spiritual life. 



BEARING BURDENS 283 

He was overcome by a sense of his sin in the past, 
and had a desire to know more of the Saviour. 
Mr. Peck met him at this time during a journey to 
Kikkerton. 

Again, at the end of April many of the men left 
Blacklead Island to go to the edge of the ice floe, 
about 18 miles distant. They were to be away 
some time, as the object of the expedition was to 
catch whales. A few words in the diary seem 
to bring the scene before us. " The whaling boats 
which were to be taken to the open sea were placed 
on large sledges, which were hauled along by all 
the dogs on the island, numbering, I should think, 
over one hundred. The men remain at the floe 
edge some two months, and should any whales be 
seen, they start in pursuit from the edge of the main 
body of ice." 

But what concerns us here is that this seemed 
to be a point for marking progress in spiritual things. 
The night before the men started the meeting was 
very full, and the note in the diary tells us that they 
were most attentive, and seemed much impressed 
as Mr. Peck spoke to them of the power of the Lord 
to keep us anywhere and everywhere, and exhorted 
them to place their trust in Him. 

Towards the end of 1898 a blow fell upon the 
Mission, but at the same time it was one of encourage- 
ment. For it spoke of a soul saved and trusting in 
Christ. Mary Ikherah was a woman who, when Mr. 



284 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Peck landed in Cumberland Sound, was sunk in a 
most degraded life. Gradually, however, but surely 
she became interested in the Gospel teaching, and 
the Holy Spirit led her at last to the true Light. 
She was then always ready to help the missionaries 
in any way she could. But God saw fit that she should 
glorify Him by her death rather than by her life. 
Consumption set in, and she was on her death-bed. 
" Never shall I forget the day," writes Mr. Peck, 
" when Mr. Sampson and I drew near to her dying 
couch. Weak as she was, she tried to raise herself, 
and looking up in our faces, and thinking of the 
message of God's love which we had brought, said, 
* I love you, I love you ! ' Yes, it is love that wins. 
Jesus, the greatest conqueror the world has ever 
known, has won all along the line by the power of 
His love. Has His wonderful love conquered your 
hearts yet ? If not, why not ? " 

And what a picture of desolation is that which 
the funeral presented when the body was committed, 
not to the grave, but to the rocks ; for there was 
nothing but these and big stones to be found, no 
soil anwhere. A rough coffin, made from old boxes 
and boards, had been put together by the loving 
hands of the missionaries, and the corpse was placed 
on an empty sledge. This was hauled over the 
snow by many of the men who had come together 
to the spot selected for the last resting-place. 
" During the morning a snowstorm had been threat- 



BEARING BURDENS 285 

ening, and shortly after we started it burst out in full 
fury, and in the midst of the blinding drift we hurried 
on. The people joined me in saying the Lord's 
Prayer, and we then returned battling again with 
the furious wind and driving snow. Such a picture 
of gloom and desolation it is quite beyond my 
powers to describe. But one thought that seemed 
uppermost in my mind was this, Christ the King who 
rules over death is as real and loving and gracious 
here as anywhere else. It is not for the servant 
to question the Master's will regarding the particular 
post which is allotted to him. Enough for him to 
know that Christ is near and all must be well ! " 

All the people felt keenly the loss of this one 
who was practically the first-fruit of Cumberland 
Sound. It was fitting that as the first-fruit she 
should be given to the Lord. Mr. Peck sums 
up all by saying, " She being dead, yet speaketh.'* 

By March 16, 1899, we read the encouraging note 
of audiences being very attentive. " I am much 
cheered by the improvement in some of the people 
who attend our meetings. God, by His Holy Spirit, 
is touching some hearts." A month later there is 
more hope. " The Word seems to lay hold of some 
of their hearts. Now surely the time is not far 
away when some will come out boldly for Christ." 

But still the season of sowing the seed had to 
be prolonged ; the time of harvest was not yet 
come. Mr. Peck's second sojourn at Cumberland 



286 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Sound was to terminate by his starting for England 
on October 9., 1899, and it was not till his third 
sojourn was in progress that many sheaves were 
gathered in. His last note on this subject was 
written some weeks before embarking. " Many 
of the people," he writes, " left the station to-day. 
Tjiey nearly all came to see us before they left. 
Some seemed evidently sorry that I should be 
going home this year. They remarked that the 
words they had heard were good and true, and that 
they were very glad to have heard them. Certainly 
our work among women and children gives much 
encouragement." 

The time of refreshing was certain to come, 
and the missionaries could wait in faith. When 
it did come, taking a retrospect of the period 
now under review, Mr. Peck could sum upt hus : 
*' When I went home in 1896 I took with me the 
four gospels in Eskimo. These were printed by the 
Bible Society. When I returned to Blacklead Island 
in the following year several of the people learned 
to read these precious pages. Following our usual 
plan of work, services were held night after night 
in our little church, and each gospel was expounded 
from beginning to end. Now the people began to 
realize the wonderful character of Jesus the Son 
of God. A picture of moral power, love and mercy 
stood out before them. Nothing in their old tradi- 
tions or religious ideas could equal the words of 



BEARING BURDENS 287 

truth and life which flowed from the Saviour's 
heart. On every hand they told me that the words 
they heard were good and true." But thus far the 
picture had only shown them the evil in their lives 
and excited a desire for something better. They 
needed some greater power than their own to enable 
them to cast in their lot with the crucified One. 



CHAPTER XVI 

BEHIND THE SCENES 

** I will come in to him, and will sup with 
him, and he with Me.** 

WE have seen a great deal of the outward cir- 
cumstances surrounding the hves of the 
missionaries in Cumberland Sound ; we have also 
seen something of their work and influence upon 
the Eskimos. Shall we in this present chapter look 
a little more closely at their own lives, penetrating 
into their houses, and, more than that, into the 
thoughts of their hearts ? 

On August 28, 1898, the two workers, Messrs. 
Peck and Sampson, were reinforced by the arrival 
of Mr. Julian William Bilby. " Great was our 
joy. Truly we have not been forgotten, nor has our 
work in these desert wastes. How delightful to 
clasp the hand of a brother in Christ and to feel 
that another of God's light-bearers has come to 
illuminate the darkness." 

There is a note struck in this simple extract from 
a diary which ought to awaken a responsive chord 
in every reader. " Truly we have not been for- 

288 



BEHIND THE SCENES 289 

gotten." Is there a danger of this ? Perhaps so 
on the part of too many people. At any rate the 
solitary worker is apt to think so, as John the Bap- 
tist did when he was in prison ; especially if he is 
in a veritable icy prison which is penetrated only 
once a year by rays from the outer world, and he 
may be excused in having his moments of despond- 
ency which call to the Christian Church for the 
support of prayer. 

On the other hand we can look into the heart 
of the messenger of the Gospel and see how, in his 
moments of confidence, he is upheld by the know- 
ledge of prayerful sympathy. One summer, on the 
departure of the annual ship, Mr. Peck wrote : " The 
Alert left to-day. I have written altogether about 
120 letters and have also sent quite a number of 
circular letters. Thank God for the number of 
praying friends in the home land. Isolated we 
truly are here, but from a spiritual point of view 
we are compassed about with a host of helpers. 
Cut off we are indeed from loved ones, with no pos- 
sible opportunity of hearing from them for over 
eleven months. United, however, we are to a 
never d5dng Friend, whose presence more than fills 
up the gap and void left in our hearts by the loss 
of dear ones." 

At other times frequent notes are found con- 
cerning the 24th day of each month and the com- 
fort which it brings. " To-day is the day of days. 

19 



290 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Thousands are praying for us. . . . Many are mind- 
ful of my brethren, myself and the work." This 
thought comes to him again and again whether 
he is on the trackless deep or the voyage to or from 
Cumberland Sound, or in the loneliness of toil and 
danger endured for Christ in the Mission. And 
the reason is that that is the day appointed in the 
Church Missionary Society's cycle of prayer for 
petitions to be offered for the vast cold and dark 
regions which extend within the Arctic circle, and 
for the missionaries among the Red Indians and 
Eskimos that they may be supported in their great 
hardships and loneliness. So on that day in each 
month Mr. Peck and his colleagues were comforted 
because they were sure that some friends, at any 
rate, were holding up their hands for the fight. It 
would be an untold blessing to the Church of Christ 
and the world, if many more were found to use 
that cycle and make it a basis also for acquiring 
information and taking a systematic interest in the 
evangelization of the nations. 

The Alert which brought Mr. Bilby also brought 
a quantity of timber. This was sent through Mr. 
Malaher and the Missionary Leaves Association. It 
was most acceptable, as it helped the missionaries 
to arrange their dwelling satisfactorily for the 
coming winter. They were able to enlarge the 
old building in which they had been living and 
to make it fit for the meetings of the Eskimos, and 



BEHIND THE SCENES 291 

the new building, which they had in a spirit of self- 
denial given up for that purpose, they were now to 
take possession of and make themselves a little 
more comfortable than they had been. 

We have in former chapters peeped behind the 
scenes and looked at the daily routine of the mis- 
sionary's life. It is consequently now unnecessary to 
do so again, but it may be mentioned that Mr. Peck's 
time was to some extent occupied by instructing 
the newly arrived colleague in the Eskimo language. 

Each of the three brethren was more or less 
proficient in the art of cooking, and they took it in 
turn, week and week about, to be responsible for the 
culinary department. Sometimes there was not 
much in the way of meat at any rate on which the 
chef could display his talents. This was rather 
trying. " What would friends at home do I won- 
der," writes Mr. Peck, " if they had no butchers' 
shops to go to for their Christmas dinner." With 
this festive season in the near prospect he and Mr. 
Sampson had been searching for game some five 
miles out, but alas ! the sight of only a few tracks 
was all that rewarded their effort. However, failure 
this time made them more wary another Christmas. 
Time was indeed taken by the forelock. " What 
did we have for dinner ? asks the cunning missionary 
in triumph. " Why, jugged hare and plum pud- 
ding — quite a royal repast. The plum pudding 
was a gift sent out by a kind friend in England. 



292 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

And the hare ? Well some weeks ago we got it, 
and being in a frozen condition we saved it care- 
fully for Christmas. Two days ago I hung it up 
near the stove to thaw. Before this it was frozen 
as hard as a stone." As fortune would have it, 
however, they did not after all depend upon this 
particular hare, for on Christmas Eve an Eskimo 
had brought them in another. This incident of the 
frozen hare reminds us of another dish which was 
Mr. Peck's own speciality. We can fancy him say- 
ing : " Now I have to be starting early to-morrow 
morning to look up those Eskimos on the ice. So 
I must make a good supply of Arctic balls." 

" What do you mean by Arctic balls ? " we can 
imagine the new arrival asking. 

" Oh, they are a splendid dish for a journey. 
You make them of preserved meat, bread-crumbs, 
cooked preserved potatoes, and a little flour. All 
these ingredients you must mix up into a mash and 
then divide them up into balls of convenient size. 
Let them freeze (n.b., there is no difficulty in this) 
and they will keep indefinitely. On arrival at 
snow houses all you have to do is to put them into 
a frying-pan with a little grease or water to prevent 
them sticking, and in a few minutes with the aid of 
your methylated spirit lamp you thaw them. Then 
proceed to make on excellent meal." 

This recipe might be recommended to English 
housekeepers, but they have not always got a freez- 
ing house at hand. 



BEHIND THE SCENES 293 

Sometimes the office of cook was anything but 
a sinecure. This was especially the case when 
missionaries were keeping open house for their 
Eskimo friends, either at such a season as 
Christmas when large gatherings came together 
or during times of scarcity. Again culling from 
Mr. Peck's diary we read : " This being my week 
as cook and general housekeeper I spent a very 
busy time, especially as we tried to help these 
poor starving people. Large kettles of pea soup 
were made three daj^s in the week, which helped 
in some measure." And we have seen in the last 
chapter that sometimes in this way their relief 
work amounted to feeding twenty families daily. 
In missionary fields it is more possible than at 
home to realize that the word minister means ser- 
vant. 

There is one note concerning the day's routine 
which should not be forgotten. It is that after 
the I o'clock dinner there was always a time allotted 
for recreative reading. The ship brought out an- 
nually a supply of newspapers and periodicals. 
These were carefully arranged in chronological 
order, the oldest being on the top and the newest 
at the bottom of the pile. This was the order in 
which they were to be read. So in November 1898 
Mr. Peck writes: "We are reading now the numbers 
for November 1897, and somehow we seem to enjoy 
them as much as if they were this year's issues in- 



294 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

stead of being a year old." After all, the mission- 
aries had only to put their birthdays back one 
year in imagination and then they had their daily 
paper as regularly as the frequenter of a London 
club. Surely this was not a very strong flight of 
imagination ! At an}^ rate it would not have been if 
they had been of the gentler sex. But it was not 
only newspapers and magazines that were treated 
in this way. Friends of the missionaries at home 
kept them supplied with a monthly mail. How is 
that possible ? We listen to Mr. Peck as he says : 
" I read (on November i) two letters which are full 
of comfort. Kind friends sent me several packets. 
The month in which they are to be read is marked 
on the outside of the envelopes. I have therefore 
a monthly mail so to speak, which will take me to 
next July. How full of prayerful thought these 
letters are. They bring one very close to the love 
and sympathy of God's loved ones in the home- 
land." Again speaking of these letters at another 
time he says : " I look forward to the time ap- 
pointed for opening letters with many longings of 
heart, and I must confess that at times I feel like 
the greedy boy who wishes to eat the whole of the 
cake at one sitting." 

And yet once more it is impossible to refrain 
from dwelling upon this very simple, yet very 
helpful comfort given to God's servants. It is 
the record in the diary of a new year's eve. " We 



BEHIND THE SCENES 295 

passed from the old into the new year in a right 
happy manner. Friends — and thoughtful ones 
they are — sent me some letters for the new year. 
I, however, took the liberty of opening half of these 
before 12 p.m. and the remainder after. How 
cheered, comforted and strengthened I felt by the 
perusal of these loving messages my pen fails to 
tell." Similarly Christmas Day was brightened. 
How is it spent ? In various ways. " First the 
dear ones at home are carried in prayer to God, 
and then with feverish expectation I opened some 
parcels which were marked : ' not to be opened till 
Christmas Day.' Friends can have no concep- 
tion how much their thoughtful kindness cheered 
and comforted our souls." At another time we 
read : " We tried to enliven ourselves with the musical 
box. This, the gift of a kind friend, has helped to 
cheer us up not a little and is a source of great 
pleasure to the Eskimos." 

But we must leave these interesting pictures, 
merely exhorting the reader to do something to 
cheer and strengthen those who are endeavouring 
themselves to bring gladness into the solitary 
place. We never hear any complaint come from 
the lips or pen of Mr. Peck concerning his separa- 
tion from his family at home. We have to read 
between the lines when he describes his eagerness 
for the arrival of the Alert ; when we see him medi- 
tating in his lonely walks upon the ice ; or when 



296 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

he tells us that he has been drawn to think much 
of his little daughter. But it is not very difficult 
to interpret one passage from his diary and to 
understand something of what this separation 
meant to him. On one of his journeys in March 
1899 he writes : " Four hours' travel brought ns 
to a band of Arctic wanderers whose snow houses 
were situated near a barren and rugged island. 
Some of the little children who had noticed our 
sledges coming in the distance came out to meet 
me. These little ones we had taught from time to 
time of the Saviour's love, and it is one of the 
brightest spots in our life here to know that we are 
planting the seed of immortal truth in their hearts 
and that many of them seem to be drawn to the 
loving Saviour. Perhaps I have a tender place in 
my heart for these little Eskimos, seeing that the 
bright faces of my own treasures are ever standing 
out as a living picture before my mind's eye." 
There is something pathetic in thinking of the 
demonstration of love which would be lavished 
upon his own children, and which the barrier of 
distance diverts to the heathen children. It 
is a lesson for us all. God's intention in 
permitting trial of any kind to come upon us is 
not that we should dry up and shrivel and become 
unfruitful, but rather expand in softened sympathy 
to all around. 

But sometimes there is no need to read be- 
tween the lines of what is written. After leaving 



BEHIND THE SCENES 297 

Peterhead on one of his return journeys to 
Blacklead Island when he had been a day or 
two in the brave Httle Alert, Mr. Peck's heart is full 
of the thoughts of those who are left behind ; it 
has been lacerated, as it were, by the separation. 
But so far from any sort of grumble or complaint, 
he says. "A need of heavenly support and comfort 
creates and keeps up a praying spirit. Thank God 
for this. We give up only to receive ; there is a loss 
which is a gain.'* 

And now even at the risk of possibly repeat- 
ing something that has been said before it will 
not be out of place to give a description of the 
missionaries' surroundings written by Mr. Peck 
himself. " Our island home may be truly called 
a picture of complete desolation. It consists of 
barren rocks swept by fierce gales. The snow 
is packed many feet deep in the holes and 
guUies. Ice along the shore is piled up in some 
places twelve feet high. This remarkable effect 
is caused by the action of winds and tides. No 
tree or plant gladdens the eye or heart. Eskimo 
dwellings, like mounds of snow, are scattered about 
in every direction. Ravenous dogs are ever on 
the lookout for a morsel. Eskimos — some at least 
look more like wild beasts than human beings in their 
filthy and bulky garments. Such is the scene upon 
which the eye rests day after day and week after week. 

*' How can we stand the rigour of such a climate 



298 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

and keep up a healthy mental tone in such 
surroundings ? We must have for one thing a 
proper dwelling. This we have been able through 
the kindness of friends to obtain, and the room in 
which I write this is, even in spite of the intense 
cold, comfortable. Our house, which is divided 
into three compartments, viz., two dwelling rooms 
and a kitchen (or general reception room), all on 
the ground floor, is made as follows : First the 
frame of the house itself, next a coating of tarred 
felt outside the frame. Boards cover the felt, and 
canvas, well-painted, covers the boards. Outside 
the canvas again is a wall of snow four feet thick 
which breaks the fury of the wind in a surprising 
manner. 

" Coming now to the inside of the frame we 
have a packing of moss which we were able to 
gather in the simimer. Inside the moss is the 
inner lining of boards which are tongued and grooved. 
Next comes a lining of calico and then a nice bright 
waU paper is pasted on this. Thus we have from 
inside to outside, first, wall paper ; second, calico ; 
third, boards ; fourth, moss ; fifth, tarred felting ; 
sixth, outer boards ; seventh, painted canvas ; 
eighth, a wall of snow. The windows of the house 
are double, with a sliding arrangement for ventila- 
tion on the outside window. The inner window is 
fitted with hinges so that they can be opened or shut 
at pleasure.*' 



BEHIND THE SCENES 299 

" A slow-combustion stove, fitted near the parti- 
tion which divides our dwelling-rooms, is used for 
heating both places, although we have an oil stove 
to augment the heat when necessary. In the 
kitchen we use an ' Eagle ' range with a heat indicator 
fitted on the oven. This we have found a great 
boon as we need not open the oven and so let in a 
body of cold air. As every bit of coal and coke, 
and every drop of paraffin oil must come out from 
home, it is, of course, a matter of great importance 
to obtain as much heat as possible with a moderate 
consumption of fuel. We think we have gained 
this desirable object in the stoves mentioned, as our 
yearly consumption of coal for these does not 
exceed seven tons." 

" We make our surroundings as bright and cheer- 
ful as possible. Pictures, artificial flowers, bright 
texts, photos of loved ones, adorn the walls of our 
dwelling rooms, and it is indeed a striking and most 
pleasant contrast to the desert waste outside." 
We need not follow this description in the details 
of daily routine and of food. For we already know 
much about these matters. But it will be well for 
us to think about Mr. Peck*s words of caution con- 
cerning the life which he has been depicting. " Want 
of change, the sense of isolation, the hungering for 
just a word of loved ones, continual contact with a 
people whose lot is often one of extreme privation, 
the possibility of magnifying little differences or 



300 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

seeming grievances with a colleague, which in 
other circumstances or surroundings would soon 
be lost sight of — these are factors, and sometimes 
weighty ones too, which try what manner of men we 
are. On the other hand we have a good school 
for faith, prayer, and patience. There are times 
when one is brought, so to speak, in contact with 
the heavenly powers ; God becomes a reality, faith 
is strengthened, and hope is brightened." 

It is impossible, however, to exhaust in one de- 
scription the different kinds of trials that beset any 
life. For instance, we might think that the home 
which we have had vividly brought into our view 
would be proof against the variations of weather 
and thermometer that even Cumberland Sound 
could produce. But it is not so. Even in January 
we read of a most wonderful and by no means 
agreeable change of weather which took place: 
** A warm wave of air has been wafted along here 
by the heavy southerly gale, and the consequence 
is that we are in a most uncomfortable state. A 
kind of rime forms on the inside of our roof, chiefly 
on account of the steam issuing from the kettles, 
etc. This is thawing and dropping down in every 
direction. The snow porches which we have had 
built outside our doors are falling down and alto- 
gether we are in a lively condition." 

Probably we have seen sufficient now of the 
inner thoughts and outward life of the missionaries 



BEHIND THE SCENES 301 

at Blacklead Island to sympathize with them to 
some extent and to feel thankful that our lot is cast 
in a pleasanter land. But let us see that our sym- 
pathy is of a practical kind. If it is not, we shall 
forget. If it is practical and influences our lives 
by causing us to pray, to work and give gifts, it 
will go on deepening and widening imtil it takes 
in not merely the missionaries, but their Eskimos ; 
not the Eskimos only, but barbarian and Scythian, 
bond and free. We shall recognize more and more 
that Mr. Peck's work is our work, that he is our 
representative, that we are responsible. 







CHAPTER XVII 

SUNSHINE AND RAIN 

** Behold I have set before thee an open 
door, and no jmm can shut it." 

AFTER having looked at the inner thoughts 
and Hfe of the missionary, we now proceed 
to take up the history of the Mission in the latest 
sojourn of Mr. Peck of which it is possible to have 
any record. This period extends from August, 
1900, to September, 1902. 

We have, it must be admitted, already dipped 
into diaries of this period in order to present the 
reader with a complete picture such as was given 
in the last chapter. But that will not affect the 
narrative which will be unfolded in this. 

On August 20, 1900, the Alert came to anchor 
off Blacklead Island. Mr. Peck's note concerning 
this is : " Mr. Bilby gave me a hearty welcome. 
His news is good. The work has prospered. Praise 
God for this. Eskimo friends clambered over the 
side ; they seemed so pleased to see me. There is 

802 



SUNSHINE AND RAIN 303 

joy and comfort in knowing that our life and work 
are not lost. To have a place in people's affection 
is no small gain. I had a nice meal with Mr. Bilby 
in our own house. What a treat too after six 
weeks life on board. We carried the Mission (in 
prayer) to God, and our brother Sampson, now away 
at Signia, was not forgotten." 

Soon after this Mr. Sampson went home to 
England when the Alert sailed on her return voyage. 

And what, we ask, were the signs of progress 
that Mr. Bilby had been able to report and with 
which he had encouraged Mr. Peck on meeting 
him ? First of aU the congregations were large 
and attentive, but at the same time there was some 
disappointment about the small proportion of men. 
who attended the meetings. But this was not 
without its encouraging side, for it was to a great 
extent to be attributed to the influence of the 
conjurors. As we have seen before, there is always 
satisfaction in the opposition of the enemy. 

Now, however, there was a difference. It was 
not as in former years, when the men were led 
by the conjurors and unhappily reverted to their 
heathen ways. They did not yield to practising 
their superstitious arts and immoralities. But 
the conjurors seemed to retain enough influence 
to prevent the men coming to Christian gatherings. 

Whatever encouragement there may be in this, 
it is probably in another direction that Mr. Peck 



304 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

found especial cause for thankfulness. The future 
of a people depends on the uprising generation. 
And the work among the children seemed to show 
solid progress. The average attendance at school 
we find, soon after Mr. Peck's arrival, was from 
sixty-five to seventy children daily. This strikes 
us as being a very high number, especially as we are 
also told that about the same time the mission- 
aries took the census of the people and found there 
were just forty dwellings inhabited by Eskimos 
in and around the island, and in these 194 people 
lived. So the numbers attending school amounted 
to one-third of the entire population. 

And the knowledge that was acquired was con- 
siderable. On December 19 Mr. Peck writes : 
** I commenced the examination of our elder scholars^ 
The subject was the Ten Commandments with a 
brief summary of each commandment. The 
scholars were not asked to say them (straight off) 
by rote, but each was expected to be able to repeat 
the commandment corresponding to the number 
2, 5, 9, etc. This was no small tax on the memory, 
but I am happy to say that out of a class of eighteen, 
eleven passed through the ordeal without making 
a single mistake." 

" The next day the examination was continued. 
The second class was then taken. Many of these 
repeated from memory twenty-two Scripture texts 
without making any mistake," 



SUNSHINE AND RAIN 305 

With regard to secular teaching in the school 
there is an interesting note: "We have also in- 
structed the children in some of our English figures. 
Their own method of counting really extends only 
to the fingers and toes. Some of them now know 
our figiures up to 150. Altogether we have had 
much encouragement in our work amongst the 
children, and we heartily thank God for His blessing 
and support." 

But there were better things than these soon to 
come. All that has been mentioned might be 
nothing more than, as it were, the first portion of 
Ezekiel's vision : " The sinews and the flesh came 
up upon them and the skin covered them above : 
but there was no breath in them." The outward 
life of the Eskimos was something to be thankful 
for in the abandonment of superstition, in im- 
proved knowledge, in cleanliness and other ways. 
But where was the spirit of Life ? 

In December, igoo, a marked change seemed 
to have begun. *' Some of the men came to both 
morning and evening services. The evening service 
was very hearty and the people listened with 
evident attention. We certainly do realize some 
remarkable times, and the Holy Spirit in answer 
to prayer is moving some hearts. Oh, that one 
might believe more in the power of God the Holy 
Ghost ! " 

A little later on, January 8, 1901, a " cheering 

20 



306 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

and soul-refreshing incident happened. One of 
the women came of her own accord to see me. 
She stated that her heart has been moved by the 
Word of God. I have noticed her for a long time, 
and believe that God by His Spirit is leading her 
on in the way of life." 

But this woman was only the forerunner, so to 
speak, of others. She was the one bolder spirit 
who was enabled under God to give courage to 
others. The breach had been effected in the walls 
of Satan's stronghold, and then others were willing 
to enter through the way that had been made 
possible. 

January 13 was a day of much blessing. Mr. 
Peck says, " I was led to speak at our evening 
meeting regarding the subject of baptism. I 
pointed out to the people the necessity of confessing 
their faith in Christ, and invited those who wished 
to be baptized to come to me to-morrow." 

Two wonderful days followed. " No less than 
two men and twenty-four women came to me wishing 
to be enrolled as candidates for baptism. I had 
private conversation and prayer with each one, 
and I was indeed thankful to notice in not a few 
cases a real desire to cast in their lot with Christ's 
people. I told them that it would be necessary 
for them to be fully instructed in some points, 
especially the absolute need of the Holy Ghost 
to teach them and sanctify their lives, I propose 



SUNSHINE AND RAIN 307 

holding classes for them in addition to our ordinary 
evening meetings. My heart rejoices, and I feel 
sure the hearts of many of God's praying ones will 
rejoice to hear such news from our Arctic home." 

This large number of candidates for baptism 
now rendered necessary some change in the arrange- 
ment of the meetings for instruction. Mr. Peck 
rightly felt that these required something rather 
special in the way of teaching. So on January 18 
a separation took place. Mr. Bilby took the 
ordinary congregation in the church and Mr. Peck 
simultaneously held the class for the catechumens in 
the Mission House or " the Manse " as he facetiously 
calls it elsewhere. 

" I took," he says " the opening passage of our 
baptismal service for adults and explained it. I 
pointed out the force of our Lord's words, ' Except 
a man be bom again,' etc., and told them how 
needful it is for each one of them to call upon God 
earnestly for the gift of the Holy Ghost. A little 
prayer is being written out for them. It reads as 
follows : ' O God, give me Thy Holy Spirit, that I 
may truly repent of my sins, believe in Jesus Christ, 
and be made a new creature for Jesus' sake. Amen.' " 

And there was some satisfaction in teaching 
people like these, for a few days later, when Mr. 
Peck was explaining a portion of the third chapter 
of St. John's Gospel, he invited inquiry, and at the 
same time asked them if they quite understood 



3o8 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

our Lord's words. " Yes," was their ready reply, 
" and if we do not, we will ask you." 

When at last the first ripe fruit was gathered in 
Baptism, it was to be in a very real sense waved 
before the altar and presented to God. 

On April 8 Mr. Peck visited a sick girl named 
Attemgonyak. She seemed to be wasting away. 
She had learned a great deal about the Gospel and 
the love of God, and she listened with much atten- 
tion to the words of the missionary as he exhorted 
her to trust wholly in the Saviour. A few days 
later, on May 4, the sick girl expressed a wish to 
be baptized. " I see," says Mr. Peck in his notes 
concerning this, " no reason why the rite should be 
withheld from her. We claim this poor creature 
for Christ. I have been and am much helped in 
prayer concerning her." 

The next day was Sunday, and the patient had 
a violent attack of illness. For her to go out of 
her house was out of the question, and so she was 
baptized privately. This, however, did not satisfy 
her fully. She wished to show publicly her love 
for, and faith in, her new found Saviour, and she 
asked Mr. Peck of her own accord, if she gained 
any strength, that she might be received openly 
before all the people into the Church of Christ. 

The diary goes on to say, " I spoke to some of 
the candidates for baptism regarding her, and I 
was so delighted to find that one woman went to 



SUNSHINE AND RAIN 309 

see her and prayed with her. And so the Word 
of God is doing its mighty work. It does not, it 
shall not, return void. In due time ye shall reap 
if ye faint not." 

On May 7, when the weather was a little brighter 
and the patient somewhat stronger, she desired to 
be publicly admitted. She was too weak to go to 
church, so behind a wall of snow at the entrance of 
her dwelling the Eskimos were gathered together. 
With praise and prayer she was received into the 
flock of Christ's Church, and marked with the 
seal of service to the Saviour. " Just six years 
since it was decided to start this Mission — six years 
of toil and prayer and suffering — and now the Lord 
has, I trust, gathered in the first-fruits of a mighty 
harvest of souls from the northern wilds. ' Praise 
the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me 
praise His Holy Name.' " 

This girl was a corn of wheat falling into the 
ground and perishing in order, as we doubt not, to 
bring forth much fruit. On June 2 she was wasting 
away rapidly. Mr. Peck was visiting her two or 
three times every day. " She likes to hear hymns 
sung, and always longs to have one of us near." 

At last, on Jime 13, she fell asleep. " I was with 
her " is the note in the diary, " when she passed 
away. She was quite conscious, but a calm and 
peaceful look spread over her face as the Spirit 
returned to Him who gave it." 



310 THE LIFE OF E. fj. PECK 

And what a contrast that service which followed 
was to all that the Eskimos had known before ! 
" We desired in every way to show the people 
how a Christian ought to be buried. I told all that 
could come to attend a service in church. Many 
brought their books. These contain a translation 
of our Burial Service. The first part was read in 
our little church. After this we all went to the 
place of burial selected by the relatives. I do 
not mean that a grave was dug. This we cannot 
do. There is no soil here deep enough, and what 
little there is, is as yet thawed only a few inches 
below the surface. Our burial places must there- 
fore be on the rocks. Big stones were placed on 
top of the coffin (which had been made by Mr. 
Bilby) to prevent its being blown over at any time 
by the wind. Around this we gathered together. I 
then concluded the service and spoke a few solemn 
words to those assembled, and then we parted. 
What a change, thank God ! What a contrast 
to the awful way in which some of the dead have 
been buried — no covering but the snow and the 
carcase torn in pieces by the dogs as soon as they 
could reach it." 

But before this girl was laid to rest in the first 
native Christian grave of Cumberland Sound, more 
ripe fruit had been gathered. On May 19 Mr. 
Peck says : " The people do show much more 
attention now. God is gradually but surely work- 



SUNSHINE AND RAIN 311 

ing upon this people," and the next day after 
much prayer for guidance he resolved on baptizing 
three of the candidates on Whit Sunday. When 
it came (May 26) it was a day of days. The three 
candidates mentioned were baptized. We had a 
large and most attentive congregation. It was 
indeed a solemn and soul-stirring time, and the 
power of God the Holy Ghost was with us." There 
was not any doubt as to the earnestness of these 
three. For a long time they had shown a great 
desire for instruction, and they had a good report 
amongst the Eskimos themselves. 

And so the year progressed through the summer, 
on the whole in a satisfactory manner. But a 
severe trial came in the beginning of September. 
On the second of the month there was no little 
excitement because a ship had been seen in the 
distance. Later in the day it was evident that she 
was not the Alert because she carried steam power. 
She was a whaler from Dundee, and brought the 
news of the death of Queen Victoria. But the trial 
came to the missionary from the immoral conduct 
of the crew and from the fact that this snare of the 
devil proved too subtle and strong for some of the 
candidates for baptism. " I have more than 
once," writes Mr. Peck, " at a terrible cost to my 
own ease of mind, pointed out to these wretched 
people the sure and certain goal to which they are 
travelling. The extermination of the whole of the 



312 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Eskimo population in Cumberland Sound and else- 
where is only a matter of time, if some check is 
not put to these awful practices. I see no reason 
why officers of whaling ships should not exercise 
proper discipline on board their own vessels. I 
spoke to the captain about this matter." 

The next day he writes, concerning the candi- 
dates for baptism who had yielded to sin, *' I 
spoke to these individually and warned them of 
their danger and told them that Christ had died 
for them and that newness of life was the real 
sign of true behef, and that I could not think of 
baptizing them if they placed themselves in such a 
position." 

There were six in this case and of them " five 
promised amendment and seemed sorry. May they 
be led to trae repentance. The sorrows and anguish 
of soul which one experiences here at times are 
something almost unbearable. My heart would 
sink within me if I did not know the loving kindness, 
power and sympathy of my Saviour and my God." 

The Alert was at last sighted on September i8, 
and new strength to the Mission was brought in the 
person of Mr. (now Rev.) E. W. Greenshield. This 
enabled Mr. Bilby to return to England in the 
steam whaler mentioned above. 

The news, however, which was brought by the 
sailing vessel was not very encouraging. Mr. 
Sampson had left the work and gone on a trading 



SUNSHINE AND RAIN 313 

expedition ; the health of Mr. Peck's Httle daughter 
was in a critical condition. On reading this the 
diary records : " My feelings cannot be fathomed 
by others." Then there was a letter from the 
Committee of the Church Missionary Society, 
asking the missionary to consider the advisability 
— principally on account of the uncertainty of 
means of communication — of abandoning this 
Mission next year. 

It might be supposed that in spite of fruit having 
been gathered in, the agony of separation from 
his loved ones, and the disappointment concerning 
the fall of some of the candidates for baptism, Mr. 
Peck might readily have persuaded himself that this 
was the voice of God. This thought too might 
have gained additional force from the consideration 
of his own health. His throat was a constant 
source of trouble and pain to him, from time to 
time even laying him aside altogether. He was 
not, however, one to allow the wish to be father to 
the thought. We discover this when we are allowed 
to read his meditation on this proposal of the 
Committee. " God does close as well as open 
doors. But after due consideration and prayer 
what conviction comes home to our soul ? We 
ought not to abandon this work. Means of com- 
munication better than the present can be formed. 
If we give up our position here, we practically 
give up the key of Christ's outpost. The utter- 



314 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

most parts of the earth are his, and the Eskimos 
who live therein. The salvation of these people 
is dear to Him, and there is not the shadow of a 
doubt that He wills us to hold on here and spread 
the knowledge of His saving name in these Arctic 
wastes. So great is this conviction that God 
has put into my heart the desire to formulate a 
scheme, the outlines of which have long been in 
my mind. This scheme touches the difficult prob- 
lem of Eskimo evangelization in the Polar regions. 
This work we have hardly commenced yet. Now 
the Lord in these latter days wills us, no doubt, 
to push it on." 

And what, the reader asks, was the scheme 
that Mr. Peck had formulated ? It was to have 
a mission vessel with which to reach the distant 
Eskimos and to be independent of whaling ships 
altogether. With God's help an out-and-out Chris- 
tian crew would be got together for this mission 
vessel, so that each member should be a living 
witness for Christ wherever he touched port and 
came into contact with native races. 

The gift and maintenance of such a ship as this 
is not much for which to ask the Church of England. 
Arctic exploration seems always to claim Christian 
sympathy and support as well as that of the general 
public. The very heart of the nation becomes 
stirred with the exploits of Franklin, or McClintock, 
or Nansen. But these things, noble as they 



SUNSHINE AND RAIN 315 

are in opening up unexplored lands, adding to our 
scientific knowledge, or testing human nature in 
its pluck and endurance, leave out of sight the 
greatest of all human projects, the evangelization 
of the heathen. 

The possession of a properly constructed vessel 
is still the object nearest to Mr. Peck's heart, but 
failing this he looks forward to missionaries living 
on board the whaling vessels and thus ensuring 
the Gospel going as far as our trade. 

But surely if England, the richest country 
perhaps in the world, can find men willing to take 
up the life, she will not withhold the paltry few 
hundreds of pounds, or even thousands, to enable 
them to prosecute their plans with the greatest 
possible efficiency ? 

But we must return to the immediate work which 
we are contemplating. 

The month of February saw more baptisms. 
Extracts from Mr. Peck's diary speak for them- 
selves : 

" Sunday^ Feb. 2. — A great day. Nongoarluk, 
a poor woman who has long been a great sufferer, 
desired to be baptized. She has learnt to read, 
and is, I hope, moved by the Holy Spirit to take 
this important step. She was, therefore, in the 
presence of some of her friends, admitted into the 
visible Church by baptism. Nothing, truly, in 
her surroundings to call forth joy or gladness ; 



3i6 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

her small snow-house, her wasted frame, her years 
of suffering, all these things, she might well say, 
are against her ; yet the tears — tears, I hope, of 
contrition and holy joy — flowed from her eyes when 
we sang some hynms, hymns composed by the 
good Moravian Brethren, which pointed out the 
boundless love of God and the fullness of Christ's 
salvation." 

" Wednesday, Feb. 5. — Questioned another candi- 
date for baptism concerning her spiritual state. There 
is every reason to believe that God is teaching her, 
and leading her to a saving knowledge of the truth.** 

" Saturday, Feb. 8. — Have decided after very 
careful preparation to baptize some more converts 
to-morrow. Had them with me in the evening, 
prayed with them, exhorted them to cleave to 
Christ with full purpose of heart, and then pointed 
out the particular order of service, etc." 

" Sunday, Feb. 9. — Another wonderful day. Seven 
(two men and five women) were added to Christ's 
flock here in the wilderness. Many came to the 
church, great attention was shown, and a spiritual 
power seemed to rest upon us. Those baptized 
showed a very earnest spirit, and evidently realized 
the important step they were taking. It was 
certainly no light ordeal to stand up before their 
own people and acknowledge their faith in Jesus. 
We thank Him for this blessing. Let Him be 
praised for evermore.** 



SUNSHINE AND RAIN 317 

" Monday, Feb. 10. — ' They shall come from the 
North.' Another Arctic wanderer baptized to-day. 
His wife, Eve Nooeyout, who was one of the first 
Eskimos baptized last year, has, I believe, used 
her influence for Christ and has thus led her husband 
to make a public confession of his faith. I have 
been led to pray much of late for the still unevan- 
gelized Eskimos. There can be no possible doubt 
that the souls found in these Arctic wastes belong 
to our Master. 'AU souls are Mine.' Facts like 
these ought to speak to Christ's people with no 
uncertain sound, and I boldly ask them in Christ's 
name to do their duty, to stand, so to speak, shoul- 
der to shoulder with us, to take up Christ's Arctic 
enterprise with whole-hearted zeal, and never rest 
till aU these lonely wastes are won for their Lord." 

" Saturday, Feb. 22. — A young man named Rounak 
came to me for a copy of the gospels. I gave him 
one, and pointed out to him the nature of the 
treasure he now possessed. As friends may like to 
hear his history, I give it here in full. Some time 
ago Rounak was a candidate for the office of con- 
juror. He tried to learn the conjurations, etc., 
but was almost driven mad in the attempt, and for 
some time was in such a state that he did nothing 
as regards seal catching. Now as seal-skins are one 
of the articles of barter here, and as Rounak was 
in a measure supported by Mr. Noble's agent, he 
naturally got into troubled waters with this gentle- 



3i8 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

man ; so finding matters so tangled and unpleasant 
he gave up the idea of being a conjuror altogether. 
His next move, which has certainly proved the 
most satisfactory — as it has for untold numbers 
before him — was to enter the matrimonial arena 
and win the heart of a young Eskimo lady. This 
young person I am glad to say is a Christian, and 
she has had a marked influence over him for good. 
In this connection she told me lately (using an 
Eskimo expression) that ' his mind is being put 
in order," and that he wishes to follow her and be- 
lieve in Jesus. This is good news. Here we see 
the drawing influence of Divine and human love." 

A fortnight later this young man was baptized. 

But perhaps there was almost more encourage- 
ment than these baptisms indicate in a more general 
movement among the Eskimos. 

In March Mr. Peck, with his colleague Mr. 
Greenshield, made an expedition to Kikkerton. 
This was very largely in consequence of what 
they had heard about complications that had 
arisen through some vigorous heathen teaching. 
A man named Angmalik professed to have received 
a new revelation from the goddess Sedna. As he 
seemed to be causing a considerable commotion, 
and to be gaining some influence, it was necessary 
to deal with it. 

The conclusion of the matter came a month 
later. The new revelation had been made known 



SUNSHINE AND RAIN 319 

far and wide. On Sunday, April 17, Mr. Peck 
writes : "A wonderful day. The church was 
packed morning and evening. Hardly any of the 
men had gone away hunting, and the attention 
and reverent behaviour of the people was quite 
remarkable. I naturaUy inquired what these things 
meant. This is the answer which I received — an 
answer which gave me much joy, and will give 
joy to many hearts. They told me that having 
considered the new doctrine propounded by Ang- 
malik, and having also considered the words they 
had heard and read, viz., the words of Jesus, they 
had come to the conclusion that His words were in 
every way preferable, and therefore they had 
determined to cast away their heathen customs 
and come to the place of prayer. . . . We pray that 
this movement may lead to the salvation of many 
souls, and that we may have grace and wisdom 
given to us so that we may be able to lay before 
this people the Gospel of the grace of God, which 
alone can meet the needs of their souls." 

There is just one note of interest which belongs 
to February — a sequel to the baptisms — with which 
this chapter must conclude : 

" Sunday, Feb. 23. — Another day to be long 
remembered. Six of those recently baptized were 
joined together in Holy Matrimony. Quite a num- 
ber, chiefly women, came to our little church, and 
great was their surprise to see how Christians are 



320 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

married, and to hear the holy and searching words 
of our Marriage Servdce. This object lesson will 
not, I feel sure, be lost upon the heathen. How 
different to their loose and sensual ideas." 



CHAPTER XVIII 

GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 

" I know thy works and tribulation and 
poverty (but thou art rich)." 

WE have now seen the progress of the Mission 
and something of its prospects up to the 
summer of 1902. We now propose to take a few 
extracts from Mr. Peck's diaries which will serve 
to bring some scenes in his journeys as pictures 
before the reader's eyes. 

In March, 1901, he started on a journey to 
Kikkerton ; Mr. Esslemont (Mr. Noble's agent) 
was his companion. " On the i8th we passed on 
over the barren plains of ice. We drove in a 
northerly direction, and then proceeded to cross 
Cumberland Sound. This, however, proved most 
difficult. The ice in some places was piled up in 
great rugged masses, and our Eskimo guide had to 
climb large hummocks of ice so that he might see 
the best road to take. To make matters worse 
Mr. Esslemont's sledge-runner broke. This we 
lashed up with seal line and pressed on our way. 

331 21 



322 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

Towards evening we saw a vast extent of rough ice, 
so we determined to camp for the night, and wait for 
the morning Hght. Our Eskimo guide soon cut 
out a number of snow blocks, and with these we 
made a snow house, but by the time we had boiled 
our kettle and were able to partake of our meal it 
was 10 p.m. Then, after committing ourselves to 
God's care, we crept into our fur bags and slept 
through the night." 

*' Tuesday, March 19. — We drove on for some 
distance and then came to a complete standstill. 
Masses of ice of various sizes and shapes blocked 
our way. Furious gales had smashed and welded 
together these ice blocks in a surprising manner. 
There was nothing to be done but make a road. 
Armed with an ice chisel our Eskimo broke up or 
loosened the blocks which Mr Esslemont threw on 
one side. I remained behind in order to keep the 
dogs in order, and watch their movements — a very 
necessary task indeed, as our canine friends are 
apt to eat their seal line traces when left to their 
own sweet devices. One of our dogs actually 
managed to eat the greater part of one of our whips, 
and it is hard to say what they would leave intact, 
if not continually watched. After about an hour's 
work we were able to move on cautiously, and after 
a time we came to an expanse of fairly good ice. 
But another barrier came before long. While 
struggling through this, sad to say, Mr. Esslemont's 



o 

td 
G 

O 

o 




GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 323 

sledge became a complete wreck. We were still 
some distance from the opposite shore, so we packed 
the necessary articles on our sledge, left the broken 
sledge and the heavier articles behind, and pressed 
on our way." 

Arrived at Kikkerton, Captain Sheridan kindly 
lent Mr. Peck a house in which he could hold services* 
On Sunday, March 24, he writes concerning the 
morning service : " Our experiences were, I think, 
somewhat interesting. The house in which we were 
assembled, not having been used for some time, 
was coated in all parts with a crust of ice. This, 
with the combined heat of the stove and our bodies, 
formed about the middle of our service a kind of 
shower bath which sprinkled freely our heads, 
books and garments." 

" April 4. — When calling the people together for 
meetings, one old woman crept out of her snowhouse 
and followed me saying, ' Will you give me some 
tobacco if I go to the meeting ? ' The answer was, 
of course, a refusal. I, however, had the pleasure 
of seeing her come along, and I think she heard some 
words which, with God's blessing, will do her good. 
The sordid, carnal view that some of these people 
have is surprising. Truly the days of the loaves 
and fishes are not passed." 

A year later, on March 24, 1902, Mr. Peck and 
Mr. Greenshield were on the same journey. '* We 
travelled in company with an Eskimo, who kindly 



324 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

offered to take some of our load on his sledge ; I 
also remained with his conveyance. While passing 
between some islands we met with what might have 
been a most serious accident. All at once Mr. 
Greenshield's sledge, which was some fifty yards 
behind us, broke through the ice. Mr. G. himself 
narrowly escaped a ducking, which under such condi- 
tions might have meant at least some frozen limb 
or limbs. With great difficulty we managed to haul 
the sledge up on top of the ice again, but nothing, 
I am thankful to say, was lost. The accident was 
doubtless due to the thin state of ice which had been 
eaten away by a strong under current. Shortly after 
this strange experience we saw some snow-houses 
which had evidently been only recently abandoned. 
We took possession of the largest and cleanest, a 
line of action quite lawful amongst this free and 
sociable people ; here we made ourselves at home, 
boiled our kettle, warmed our meat balls with a 
methylated spirit lamp, and then fiercely attacked 
our evening repast. Our special man for the trip 
is a Christian, and the man who has kindly helped us 
is a candidate for baptism, so altogether we were 
quite a happy band, and right heartily we sang 
hymns together before retiring to rest for the night. 
Rest would have been impossible, for some of us at 
least, had all the articles on Mr. G.'s sledge got wet. 
Fortunately, however, the very articles we most 
needed were on top of the load, and these we were 



GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 325 

able to haul off the sledge in time. Surely we had, 
and have, reason to thank God for this mercy." 

" Tuesday, March 25. — Moved on again over the icy 
waste. Pressed on for some eight hours. All at once 
I noticed our helpful companion (Toolsahpiah) pull 
out his telescope, sweep the vast desert waste, and 
then we heard the jojrful cry, ' Innuet ! Innuet ! 
Eskimos ! Eskimos ! ' We soon drove on to the 
place indicated, and there we found two Arctic 
inns inhabited by some ten inhabitants. Here we 
were received kindly, and were invited to take up 
our quarters in the dwelling of a man named 
Kanaka, who, I may remark, is a mighty conjuror 
and has much influence amongst his own people. 
Here in the midst of such novel surroundings we 
spent a pleasant time, and were able to hold a 
meeting in the evening. How strange to hear the 
praises of our King in these cold dwellings built on 
the frozen sea, eight miles from the nearest land." 

" Easter Day, March 30. — We read together of 
Christ's conquest over death, and I then pointed 
out to them the nature of that marvellous Friend 
in whom we are all invited to confide. The people 
assent freely to the great truths brought before 
them, but when we come to the practical points 
which naturally flow from the great foundation 
truths of the Gospel, and when they know that their 
sins and heathen superstitions must be let go if they 
are to be saved, then the ' tug of war ' commences 



326 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

— men love * darkness rather than Hght, because 
their deeds are evil.' " 

" Monday, March '^i. — A poor sick woman, whom 
Greenshield and I had previously visited, sent 
word to us that she did not wish to see strangers, evi- 
dently meaning white men. All one could therefore do 
was to speak a few words of comfort to this poor dying 
creature through the window of her snow-house. 
This being made of seals' intestines, which are very 
thin and almost transparent, the sound of one's 
voice and one's presence outside were evidently 
known to the sufferer, for she tried to answer from 
her couch of pain. What darkness and misery 
surround these poor heathen ! If the Lord Jesus 
was or had been living, as ought to have been the 
case in the hearts and beings of His people, Arctic 
explorers for Christ — or better still Arctic soul- 
winners — would have pierced these polar wastes 
long ago. These people have seen so many samples 
of ungodly white men in the past that we can hardly 
wonder if they view us with suspicion now, and think 
we are a curse instead of, what we try to be, a 
blessing to them." 

" April 4. — Blowing strongly from N.W. during the 
forenoon ; weather, however, cleared somewhat 
about noon. A man arrived from the north. He came 
from a party of Eskimos who are living on the ice 
some twenty miles from here. I determined with 
God's help to accompany this man. Mr. Green- 



GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 327 

shield will remain here till a later date while I 
minister to these scattered sheep on the icy wastes. 
Ilak, the Eskimo who arrived, wished to return at 
once. He told me that he knew his way quite well 
and that his friends expected him to return with 
tobacco and biscuit which they were " longing for." 
Tied dogs to sledge — some ten in all— and pressed 
on our way, wind being still strong and snow falling 
pretty freely. As we journeyed on, wind and snow 
increased. This was driven by the violence of the 
wind on one's face, where coming in contact with 
my beard and skin it formed a kind of ice plaster 
which could only be removed by the naked hand, 
the removal of which from one's fur gloves resulted 
in the inside of glove itself being freely dusted with 
particles of driving snow ; these again melted with 
the warmth of hand when returned to its necessary 
cover. The sensations thus produced both in the 
face and hands by this experience might almost be 
described as unmitigated torture, to say nothing 
of the sensations produced in the whole body by 
the continual fury of wind and jolting of sledge. 
Wind still increased, but Ilak kept the dogs well 
in hand, and for a time he was able to keep the track 
which had been made by other Eskimos who had 
travelled to Kikkerton. Night, however, drew on 
apace, wind and snow increased, and at last we could 
see nothing. My companion kept on yeUing at the 
dogs. On they went in spite of heavy wind, which 



328 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

was almost dead ahead. What sagacious creatures 
they are ! Ilak trusted them fully. He knew that 
could he only keep them in the right direction their 
keen sense of smell and evident instinct would do 
the rest. And so it proved. I was beginning to 
feel that I could not stand this terrible exposure 
much longer, and earnestly lifted up my heart to 
God in prayer that we might be led to the friendly 
shelter of a snow dwellings when I happened to 
look through the drift, and there, quite close at 
hand, I saw two or three dim lights shining from 
the oil lamps inside these Arctic hotels. It did not 
take long to wake up some of our friends. I was 
kindly received and housed by a conjuror named 
Okittok. My garments, which were literally coated 
with snow, were beaten with a stick, and I was soon 
in my fur bag. I did not, however, sleep much 
during the remainder of the night. Some eight 
hours' tossing about had chiUed me through and 
through." 

" April 12. — As we were near some Eskimos we 
gladly entered their snow-house, and soon had 
something warm to drink. As I had not had the 
pleasure of washing for three days I felt that I must 
by some means have an ablution. Nothing in the 
shape of washing utensils, however, could be found 
amongst these primitive people, so I took my 
frying pan, and in this managed to have a kind 
of wash." 



GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 329 

Every birthday in Mr. Peck's diary contains 
some special note. We will take April 15, 1902, 
as a sample : — 

" Tuesday, April 15. — My birthday. (Fifty-two to- 
day.) And this is how I spent it. Blacklead Island 
was now seventeen miles away,our stock of provisions 
very low, so it was necessary to get to our journey's 
end as quickly as possible. The weather, however, was 
far from favourable. The wind was right ahead, and 
snow was driving heavily. My Eskimo friends were, 
however, confident that they could find their way. 
So we started. But to start was one thing, to get 
on was quite another. Our dogs were weak, the 
storm increased, and nothing at times could be seen 
On we went for some five hours. A lull in the storm 
then brought to our view an island. This island was 
about eight miles from Blacklead Island. We had 
travelled some nine miles in five hours — certainly not 
express speed. Tired and hungry, we made a kind 
of shelter with large blocks of snow. These we 
placed on the windward side of our sledge. My hearty 
companions hauled out a large piece of seal's meat. 
This they chopped up with an axe, and attacked 
with evident relish and delight. Got under the lee 
of one of the men, and in the midst of driving snow 
munched away at some biscuit which I had close 
at hand. On we went again. Had not gone far 
when a dog belonging to Tooloakjuak's sledge 
dropped down dead. He, poor fellow, has only 



330 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

three dogs left out of seven. This mysterious com- 
plaint is thinning the dogs out on every hand. We 
started with ten ; one died, another ran away, 
and the remainder are hardly able to move along. 
My man consequently goes ahead to lead the weary 
creatures through the drift. I, on the other hand, 
stop by the sledge. I shout, and shove, and pull, 
and help the dogs as much as I can, and so we 
manage to get along. Sometimes, however, we 
come to a complete standstill. Sledge and dogs get 
fast in a bank of snow. Now I have to beat down 
the snow in front of sledge, and with some mighty 
shoves, which strain every muscle in one's body, 
and with a number of regular war cries, which startle 
— if they do nothing else — the tired dogs, we are 
again on the move. About 2 p.m. we fortunately 
saw some old sledge tracks. Our poor dogs 
brightened up wonderfully. Sledge tracks are to 
them what one may call Arctic roads — roads which 
lead them sooner or later to a place of rest. Arrived 
at Blacklead Island about 4 p.m. Mr. J. Mutch 
(Mr. Noble's chief agent) received me most kindly, 
and a welcome repast, which he had most thought- 
fully provided, seemed to put new life and vigour 
into my weary frame. I was also greatly cheered 
to notice the kindly spirit of the poor Eskimos. 
Several of the men, I ought to mention, came down 
on the ice to help our dogs up the rugged shore ice 
to the level space beyond. I spent the remainder 



GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 331 

of mj^ birthday in profitable reading, and in prayer 
for the people and my own loved ones in the home- 
land. Speaking of the latter, it is not weakness on 
my part, I feel sure, to state that their forms stand 
out as a living picture before me day by day — five 
cords ever pulling at one's heart, five mighty 
connecting links with Jesus on the throne." 

In June, 1902, the Eskimos of Frobisher Bay were 
visited. 

*' After much prayer for guidance I have deter- 
mined to go to the whaling station near Frobisher 
Bay. The place has not been visited for two years, 
and it is our duty to go, so I am now preparing for 
the journey. It is one thing to take a through ticket, 
say, from Euston to Aberdeen, it is quite another 
to travel along an ice-bound shore in an open boat, 
and to make provision for six mouths for some two 
months. Here are some of the items needed : — 
ist. A good boat. 2nd. A suitable crew. 3rd. A 
good Eskimo canoe. This is necessary for hunting 
purposes. 4th. Suitable tents, one for myself and 
one for my companions. 5th. Necessary provisions — 
biscuits, coffee, tea, etc. All these must be stowed 
in boxes or waterproof bags. 6th. Guns and am- 
munition — necessary items in a region like this. 
7th. Suitable clothing, such as sealskin coats, 
trousers etc. 8th. All needful cooking appHances, 
fuel, etc. We must take wood (which we get from 
home) or methylated spirits. No trees or driftwood 



332 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

are to be found in these barren wastes. 9th. All 
necessary lines, harpoons, material for repairing 
boat in case of accident, etc., etc." 

" Sunday, June 8. — Very good congregations, and 
very hearty services." 

" Saturday, June 14. — Saw two beautiful little 
flowers to-day. What a reminder of the Creator's 
handiwork, goodness and love." 

" Tuesday, June 17. — Nearly ready for trip to Fro- 
bisher Bay. Spoke to Christ's little flock here in the 
wilderness. Reminded them of Christ's love for all 
men. Told them that it was meet and right that 
I should leave them and preach the Gospel to others 
also. Exhorted them to cleave to Christ, and to 
help our brother Greenshield in every possible way." 

" Wednesday, June 18. — Several of these poor crea- 
tures came down to the boat to say farewell. We 
prayed together on the ice-bound shore, and I then 
stepped on board. We only went a short distance 
when a large sheet of ice shut us in on the south end 
of the island. Our Arctic friends, however, soon came 
to the rescue, and helped us to drag both boat and 
baggage over the frozen barrier. Passed into the 
open sea, where we pulled away with a will. Camped 
at night in a kind of frozen bay, with great high 
rocks on our southern hand. There appears to be 
much ice on ahead, but we will, with God's help, 
press on." 

" Thursday, June 19. — About 4 a.m. I heard a 



GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 333 

great noise outside my tent. The wind had risen, 
and the men were busy securing my canvas tent 
and seeing to the safety of our boat. We are on 
the edge of a large floe, the inside part of which 
may be driven from the land. Should this happen 
nothing remains but to pack up, get in our boat 
as quickly as possible, and make our way to some 
more secure shelter. The wind blew strong all 
day, but we remained safe. I had prayers with our 
friends morning and evening. This, I need hardly 
say, is a great help and comfort to us." 

" Monday, June 23. — The wind is driving the ice 
from the shore, so we hope to be able to proceed 
on the morrow. Three bears were seen on a large 
floe. Our Eskimo friends, however, much to their 
grief could not reach them, as the wind was too 
strong, and the ice was driven along at a great speed." 

" Tuesday, June 24. — One of the men shot a seal 
on the shore ice — a great treat, as we were getting 
short of fresh meat. Found a mast of some ship 
wrecked in the past. Cut up some of this for fire- 
wood. Wind moderated, and then came on to blow 
from seaward. Ice was driving in upon us, so we 
packed up and got away about 11 p.m. No night 
here now, so we can travel when we see a favourable 
opportunity." 

" Friday, June 7. — Saw three bears, all, however, 
ran away before we could get near them. Tried 
in the early pc rt of the day to force our way through 



334 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

an opening in the ice, but we were nearly shut in by 
large masses moving in different directions. Tried 
again in the evening, and after a lot of shoving; 
grinding and not a little nerve-shaking experience, 
we got safely across to the land we had in view. 
We thank God for His preserving care. This 
voyaging in a frail boat in the midst of moving 
masses of ice ranging from six to twenty feet thick 
is enough at times to try the stoutest heart." 

" Saturday^ June 8. — Made a number of dashes 
through open lanes of water which we found near 
the shore. In the evening tried to find a suitable 
place on the land where we could spend the Sabbath. 
We finally found a spot about forty feet above the 
level of the sea," 

" Monday J June 30. Tried to move on. Had to 
shove large blocks of ice out of our way. Went 
on for about two miles, and then came to a stand- 
still, A large expanse of ice which had not been 
loosened from the shore stood in our way. Camped 
on this." 

*' Tuesday^ July 1, — Still shut in with ice. How 
unlike July ! We are not in want of food, thank 
God. One of the men shot a seal to-day ; we have 
also shot quite a number of eider ducks ; neither 
of these is over palatable, but they make a change 
in our diet." 

*' Wednesday, July 2. — Could not move. Here we 
are fast in the ice, but safe in the hands of our God. 



GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 335 

Men beginning to murmur on account of the tedious- 
ness and length of way. We are not half way to 
Frobisher Bay yet." 

*' Thursday, July 3. — At morning prayer spoke to 
our companions of the power and presence of Christ 
to keep and guide us. Truly strength is needed from 
Christ the fountain Head not only for one's own 
inner life, but to enable one to pour strength and 
courage into the hearts of others.** 

" Friday, July 4. — Made another dash at ice barrier, 
Got through safely. Masses of ice were, however, 
driven past us at great speed, and we had, to say 
the least, some exciting experiences. Beyond this 
barrier we had the pleasure of finding an open space 
of water running between some islands. We journeyed 
on and made a good day*s work. We were all quite 
delighted." 

' * Saturday, July 5 . — Pressed on again. About noon 
saw a large bear on ice floe right ahead of us. This 
monster was going along in a most stealthy manner 
to a large seal which was basking in the sun. The 
bear's attention being concentrated on what he 
hoped would prove a sumptuous repast, he did not 
notice the Eskimos (Muneapik and Ameksaktok) 
who were following Master Bruin on the ice. All 
at once the seal dived ; the bear saw his pursuers ; 
* went for them,' coming up through a hole in the 
ice close to the men. With gnashing teeth he tried to 
get on top of the ice, but was soon shot. The carcase 



336 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

(measuring some nine feet) was hauled up on the floe, 
cut up, and with a bountiful supply of meat we 
proceeded on our way. After dinner — some of the 
bear's flesh formed one of the courses — we tried 
to get on. But we had not gone far when the ice 
closed in upon us, so we had to beat a hasty retreat. 
We finally managed to reach a rock island, where 
we camped." 

*' Friday, July ii. — Fog cleared up. We moved 
on and came to a point of land with a small passage 
between it and the ice. We pulled with all our might 
to get through. We failed. The ice drove on to 
the point with a crushing grinding noise. Pile 
after pile of this was heaped on the shore. We 
backed out in quick time. It was well we did so. 
Our boat would have been crushed like a match-box 
had we been in the embrace of that icy mass. 
Now we had a lively time. Everything had to be 
taken out of the boat and carried to the open water 
beyond the point. We all carried what we could. 
Then we had a little breathing time. Now for the 
boat. With might and will we hauled it up on the 
ice. A lot of shouting and shoving and the boat 
was on the other side. She was launched and loaded 
and away we went again. It was now lo p.m., 
so we managed to get ashore near some high rocks. 
Here we had supper. An opening in the ice gave 
us new hope and courage. We'determined to go on. 
We started towards midnight." 



GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 337 

" Saturday, July 12. — Came to a place where we 
could not get through. Camped about i p.m. 
on Sunday. Hope to proceed on Monday by another 
route." 

'^Sunday, July 13. — Spent a very happy day both 
bodily and spiritually. God's mercies are very 
real." 

*' Monday, July 14. — Started to try the outer route. 
This means going along the barren shore of David 
Strait. Reached the sea, when we saw two bears; 
gave chase. They went from the ice into the water. 
We followed in boat. After a long pull came up to 
them. Both were shot. We took them in tow, 
when a heavy head wind sprang up and rain came 
down in torrents. We had now to go to the nearest 
shelter, which proved to be an awful spot. Big 
towering rocks above us, while a shelving piece of 
ice some eight feet broad was the only place we could 
find to camp on. The wind howled, and the rain 
fell. Wet and cold, we managed to make a fire 
in a cave in the rocks. We boiled our kettles and 
made some tea. I then crept into my fur bag, 
which was about the only dry thing I possessed. 
Casting myself and companions upon God, I managed 
in spite of roaring wind and flapping tent to sleep, 
at least, through a portion of that memorable 
night." 

" Tuesday, July 15. — ^A fearful day. No change for 
the better. Remained in my fur bag nearly the 

22 



338 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

whole day. I could not keep warm or dry anywhere 
else." 

" Wednesday, July i6. — Cleared up about noon. 
We packed up with all speed. All were glad to 
leave this place of horrors. One of the men told 
me that he could not sleep. He was in dread, so 
he said, of those overhanging cliffs. Eskimos 
believe that rocks have their innua, viz., inhabitant. 
Strange stories are told in reference to these. 
Pressed on as far as we could. Camped in a small 
bay on a large sheet of ice. Men climbed high rocks. 
They brought back bad news. There is no possibility 
of our going on on account of icebergs, and vast 
bodies of ice ahead. Certainly this coast is awful, 
high rocks, icebergs, desolation, cold, snow and 
tempest on every hand." 

*' Thursday, July 17. — Tried to return from where 
we started from on Monday, but, alas, we could not 
get back. A vast sheet of ice had been driven by 
the wind right in our way. Made our way to an 
island, where we camped. Our guide again full of 
complaints. He spoke of returning to Blacklead 
Island if possible. I told him we must face our 
difficulties in the strength of God like men and go 
ahead." 

''Friday, July 18. — During night wind sprang up 
from the north, and drove a lot of ice right in upon 
us. We could see the open water beyond, but could 
not move," 



GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 339 

" Saturday, July 19. — A stirring day. Ice opened 
out a little. Tried to get away by going along the 
south end of island, but were nearly shut in ; tried 
north end with the same result ; retreated to the 
shore, climbed the rocks, where we keenly watched 
the motions of ice. About 4 p.m. saw an opening. 
Made a dash for this and escaped. Pressed on ; 
puUed with all our might. Found an open space of 
water between two vast floes which took us almost 
to the land. An exciting time now followed. The 
ice closed in rapidly upon us. We all took up the 
nearest thing to hand and threw it on the ice. Up 
went the boat ; but just in time. On the ice we 
waited for a time. Change of tide made a change 
in motions of floe. Launched our boat in an open 
space, and again we bent to the oars. Passed the 
place we had left on Monday about 7 p.m. Found 
to our joy the inside passage open. This runs 
between large islands — a blank on the map — and 
is nicely sheltered. Pulled on and finally camped 
on a nice grassy spot. We aU felt utterly tired out, 
but thankful to God for His help and goodness. 
Our guide seemed quite a new man. He is full of 
hope now." 

" Sunday, July 20. — The fifth spent on this journey. 
It is well, in spite of our tardy progress, to keep 
the Lord's Day. Rest for the body and food for 
the soul are real needs." 

" Monday, July 21. — Journeyed on again. Found 



340 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

a large expanse of open water, of which we made 
the best possible use. After dinner, which we had on 
some rocks, went on again. We had soon, however, 
to come to a dead halt. Large blocks of ice had been 
driven in close to a point where we had to pass. 
We could not haul our boat over the ice to the open 
water beyond, as the floe inside the point was in 
places full of holes. The only way was to try and 
loosen the ice blocks and force our boat through the 
pools of water here and there. We set to work at 
one block which seemed to be a kind of key-piece 
to the rest. We chiselled and shoved at this for 
some hours before it started. The ice now slackened. 
We shoved and hauled our boat along with all 
our might. We struggled on for some distance and 
then camped. We thank God for this day's help 
and take courage." 

" Tuesday, July 22 . — We made a capital day's 
work. We met with but little ice and were able to 
sail for about four hours. We are only one full day's 
journey from the station (Signia). 

" Thursday, July 24. — We struck a point of land 
not far from Signia. We hugged this land and were 
soon at the station. To our surprise we found 
Mr. Sampson's vessel, the Forget-me-Not, lying 
at anchor. Both Mr. Jansen, who was in charge of 
the station, and the captain of the vessel received 
me very kindly. Mr. Sampson himself, however, 
was away with some Eskimos walrus hunting, but he 



GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 341 

is expected here to-morrow. I am informed that 
Mr. Sampson's station is some twenty-five miles 
from this post, but his vessel has come here prior 
to her departure for home." 

These extracts, however interesting they 
are, must be curtailed. After a sojourn and 
encouraging work among the Eskimos of Frobisher 
Bay, Mr. Peck went back to Blacklead Island in 
Mr. Jansen's vessel, as his own men were going to 
hunt reindeer on their return journey. 

On September 2 the Alert arrived with Mr. Bilby 
on board. He brought the happy news that the 
C.M.S. had no longer any thought of abandoning 
the Mission. 

Mr. Peck was now to return home once more. 
But before starting he had one more very happy 
day on September 14. "Four more of the poor 
sheep in these desert wastes were dedicated to 
Christ in holy baptism. They have been candidates 
for some time, and I believe their faith is real. Again 
we thank God for His goodness. 

A steamer happened to have called at Blacklead 
Island, so the tedium of a voyage in the Aleri was 
avoided. Mr. Peck preferred this, although she 
was not to return at once but was to touch at various 
points for the sake of trade. 

" Wednesday, September ly.—Leit Blacklead Island 
in ss. Balaena at 8 a.m. The Lord did not send 
me away comfortless. Several of the Eskimos 



34^ THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

here, who now know the Lord, thank God for this 
Mission, and for His kindness and love in sending 
to them the Gospel. The very kindly spirit of my 
brethren was also a comfort to me, for to leave this 
hallowed spot, this place of spiritual conflict and 
triumph in the Lord, was a sore wrench. And what 
does the Lord will now ? What is the desire which 
lives day by day and hour by hour in my soul ? 
Simply this. To spread the knowledge of Christ over 
these Polar wastes. The time seems to have come 
now when a younger brother should finally take 
my place at Cumberland Sound, leaving my hands 
free to press to the " regions beyond " in the way 
the Lord shall through His providential leadings 
indicate." 

" Thursday, September i8. — Heavy wind sprang up, 
also heavy snow. The funnel and weather shrouds 
of ship were coated with a kind of icy covering. 
Everything gloomy in the extreme. Continually is 
my heart lifted up to God for spiritual power. 
Truly it is needed. Went to the forecastle to see the 
men. Was most kindly received. There are over 
forty hands on board. The vessel is fitted with six 
' whale boats.' These are always kept ready for 
use, and a sharp look-out is kept in the ' crow's 
nest ' for a ' fivSh,' which means, in whaler's 
idiom, a whale. This vessel, like other whaling craft, 
is most strongly built, and is fitted with masts and 
sails, the engines being used more as an auxiliary 



GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 343 

power than the main moving agent. This is particu- 
larly the case when the ship is in clear water — i.e., 
water free of ice — and when the wind is fair. It 
need hardly be said that dangers from ice, icebergs 
and Arctic gales beset these hardy voyagers on 
every hand, and many a thrilling tale could be told 
by these brave men who face the icy seas." 

''Friday, September 26. — Arrived at a place called 
by the Eskimo Rivetok, but named by the whalers 
' Yahhe Fieord.' On arrival w^as delighted to meet 
some Eskimos. They greeted me in a most cordial 
manner. I noticed in particular one woman named 
Padlo. ^ She had spent one winter at Blacklead Island 
seven years ago, and had during her stay there shown 
a great desire for instruction. I find that she has 
used her influence for Christ. This fact, I need 
hardly say, gives me deep joy. So here we find, 
some eighty miles within the Arctic circle, this 
little flock without a shepherd's care, but none 
the less precious are they in the eyes of Jesus. I 
had a long chat with our Arctic friends, and they 
told me that far away in the distant north there are 
other Eskimos who, they said, were ' horrible 
creatures,' who thought nothing of killing each other. 
One man also, when I told him that I was going home 
in the ship, said to me, ' Pray divide yourself in 
two, leaving half with us and half with those in the 
white man's land.' Several of them also asked me 

1 See p, 226. 



344 THE LIFE OF E. J. PECK 

if I coiild not come back next year, but I told them 
that I could not order my own movements. God, 
I said^ moved His servants from place to place, 
besides which I was under orders from the 
' believers at home,' and that I would have to go 
a long way in a ship, and (using an Eskimo idiom) 
' end several moons * before I could hope to see 
their faces again. Poor creatures ! Most gladly 
will I see them again if the Lord so direct. I set to 
work to teach them all I could. The captain kindly 
got a place rigged up between decks. Here we 
gathered together. I went over some of the founda- 
tion facts, such as the being and attributes of God, 
the power and goodness of God shown in His works, 
manifest to our very senses. I naturally passed on as 
soon as possible to man's fallen state, how he fell 
from his high estate, and the wonderful means 
provided for his recovery and safety through the 
all-suf&cient work of Jesus, and the sanctif^dng 
power of God the Holy Ghost. All this has to be 
taught little by little. These people cannot grasp 
or digest much at one time, and their ideas of many 
objects familiar to ourselves are a complete blank. 
These facts will show the difficulties of this work. 
What we need along this coast, even as at Blacklead 
Island, is a station. How such a station can be 
established is another question. But it can he done 
through the power of our God. If some £60,000 
has been found to fit out the Discovery, and send 



GATHERING UP FRAGMENTS 345 

her on her Antarctic expedition, God, I feel sure, 
can give the means to carry out His plans. Do 
the souls of these Eskimos belong to Him ? Did 
Christ die for them ? Ought He to have them for 
His own ? Certainly He ought. Well, then, our 
line of action is clear. We must use the means, 
and go forward in His strength to win them for 
our King," 

At last, on Wednesday, November 5, 1902. — 
*' Reached home. Three periods of separation, making 
in all a total of almost seven years, have now been 
spent for the Saviour. But do we regret this ? 
In no wise. Both Mrs. Peck and I have found God's 
compensations very real, and there is very joy 
and satisfaction in knowing that life is used for a 
purpose." 



APPENDIX 

A FEW words on the language of the Eskimos may 
be of interest to some readers. The following 
is a short description from Mr. Peck's pen : " The prin- 
cipal peculiarity of the language consists in the length 
of its words and that feature which grammarians style 
agglutinative. 

" Agglutinative it certainly is, for all the parts of 
speech may be joined to the verbal root and then con- 
jugated in the various moods and tenses found in this 
remarkable tongue. 

" We have to consider not only our ordinary moods 
but also an interrogative one, which is most striking and 
expressive in its use and formation. 

" There are three numbers, singular, dual, and plural. 
Adverbs, particles, etc., are added to the verbal root." 

A few examples will illustrate these remarks : — 

INDICATIVE AND INTERROGATIVE 

Of the Moods 

THE INDICATIVE 

Singular 

Pissiikpoonga . . . . I walk. 

Pissukpotit Thou walkest, 

Pissukpok He walks. 

Dual 

Pissukpogook .... We two walk. 

Pissukpotik You two walk 

Pissukpook They two walk. 

Plural 

Pissukpogoot .... We walk. 

Pissiikpose You walk. 

Pissukpoot They walk, 

347 



348 APPENDIX 

THE INTERROGATIVE MOOD 

Singular 

Pissukpoonga ? . . . . Do I walk ? 

Pissukpet ? Dost thou walk ? 

Pissukpd ?..... Does he walk ? 

Dual 

Pissukpenook ? . . . . Do we two walk ? 
Pissukpetik ? .... Do you two walk ? 
Pissukpdk ? , ... Do they two walk ? 

Plural 
Pissukpeta ? . . . . Do we walk ? 
Pissukpete ? . ... Do you walk ? 
Pissukpdt ? Do they walk ? 

The transitive verb Tekkova, " He sees him," with 
first, second, and third persons as subject, and with 
singular, dual, and plural object : — 

Tekkovara / see him. 

Tekkovut Thou seest him. 

Tekkova . . . . . He sees him. 

With Dual Object 

Tekkovdka I see those two. 

Tekkovatik Thou seest those two. 

Tekkovak He sees those two. 

With Plural Object 

Tekkovuka I see them. 

Tekkovatit Thou seest them. 

Tekkovdt ' He sees them. 

With various adverbial and other particles affixed 
to verbal root. 
Tekkova He sees him. 

With adverbial particle — Kaprea, " Soon." 
Tekkokapreakpa , . . He sees him soon. 



APPENDIX 349 

With time psLVticle—Neak, " Will:' 
Tekkokapredneakpa . . He will see him soon. 
With auxihary verbal particle — Nashooak, " Tries 

to:' 

Tekkohapreanashooangneak'pa He will try and see 

him soon. 

With negative particle — Yange, " Not:' 

Tehkokapreanashooangneat- We will not try and see him 
yangela soon. 

" All learners of this strange language find the prin- 
cipal difficulty not so much in saying these peculiar 
words, as in understanding correctly what the natives 
themselves say." 

Much has been said in the narrative concerning the 
syllabic character. The Syllabarium which Mr. Peck 
has adapted for the Eskimos is not without interest. 

(For table see next page). 





a 




V 


p 


V 


t 


u 


k 


9 




n 


m 


1 


n 


T> 


s 


\ 


1 


-O 


y 


^ 


V 


V 


r 


-V 



Table of Syllabic Characters 
adapted for the eskimo. 



e o u 

A t> <I 

A > < < 

n > c "- 

P d b ^ 

r J u i* 

r J L »- 

cr -o CL °- 

/ ? K ^ 

C- »2> CL, «=- 

r- ^ ^ 

A > < < 



rv. 



s 



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