Skip to main content

Full text of "Report of the Hudson's Bay Expedition, under the command of Lieut. A.R. Gordon, R.N., 1884"

See other formats


— LD 




= 00 



^ = 



— o 


— o 





— ^ .^— 


— CD 






Canaat.. Dept. of Marine and 

Report of "one Huason's Bay 



'- i\K:-' r 













Meteorological Office, Toronto. 

The Honorable A. W. McLelan, 

Minister Marine and Fisheries, 

Sir, — I have honour to submit, herewith, my report on the conduct of the Hud- 
son's Bay Expedition of this year, under my command. 

I desire to acknowledge the cordial assistance and co-operation which I received 
from Dr. Bell, who was appointed as medical officer and geologist to the expedition ; 
and also from Mr. W. W. Fox, who accompanied the expedition as a volunteer. Both 
Mr. Fox and Dr. Bell took large numbers of photographs of the various posts and 
the scenery of the coast. Mr. Fox also made free-hand sketches ot the coast profile, 
at many points, for me. 

Dr. Bell's report forms Appendix A to this Report. 

Appendix B is a series ot tables showing temperature, &c., at Fort Chimo, in 
Ungava Bay, taken by Mr. Lucien M. Turner, of the United States Signal Service, 
which he has favor^ us with, by kind permission of Greneral Hazon, the chief signal 
officer of the United States army. 

Of the officers and men forming the staff of the expedition, it gives me much 
pleasure to report that they, each and all, performed the several duties assigned to 
them in the most satisfactory manner. 

The Report submitted herewith is divided into the following sections: — 

1st. Narrative. 

2nd. Navigation — including Ice, Currents and Meteorological Observations. 

3rd. Resources of the Region. 

4th. Trade. 

6th. Natural History, Inhabitants and Fauna. 

6th. Proposed Work for next Year; 

Appendix A.— Report of R. Bell, Esq., M.D., F.G.S. 

Appendix B. — Observation, at Ungava Bay, by L. M. Tamer, Esq*, United 
States Signal Service. 

I have the honour to be. Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

ANDREW R. GORDON, Lieut., R.N., 

Commanding JS, B. Expedition. 


The Honorable A. W. McLelan, 

Minister Marine and Fibheries, 

Sir, — I have the honour to report, relative to the Hudson's Bay Expedition, that, 
in accordance with your letter of instructions, dated 5th July, 1 proceeded to 
Halifax, N.S., and took charge of the preparations for the expedition. 

On the 14th of the same month I received the following note from Messrs. S. 
Cunard and Co. : — 

" Halifax, N.S., 14th July, 1884. 
' Lieut. A. R. Gordon, R.N., 
" Halifax, N.S. 

" Dear Sir, — In accordance with instructions received fi-om Messrs. Job Bros., we 
" this day hand over to you the S.S. ' Neptune,' 

" Yours truly, . 

" S. CUNAED & CO., Agents." ^^ 

The " Neptune " having been placed at the disposal of the Department, the 
greatest dispatch was used in coaling and putting on board the supplies for the ex- 
pedition, and at two o'clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, ■22nd July, the coals, lumber 
and other supplies being on board, the members of the expedition embarked, and one 
hour later we left our moorings at the Marine Wharf for Hudson's Bay. 

The staff of the expedition was composed as follows : — 

Eobert Bell, M.D., fi'.G.S. , of Ottawa, geologist and medical oflficer. 

Messrs. E. F. Stupart, of Toronto ; C. E. Tuttle, of Winnipeg ; W. A. Ashe, of i 

Quebec; C. V. Deboucherville and A. N. Laperriere, of Ottawa; William Skynner, 
of Springfield, Ont. ; H. M. Burwell, of London, Ont. ; and H. T. Bennett, observers. 

Mr. W. W. Pox, of Toronto, photographer, 

Messrs. Teadon, McNeill and Quigley, carpenters. 

Messrs. E. Curiie, J. B. Campbell, H. M. Eainsiord, W. H. Jordan, M. W. Keat- 1 

ing, Fied. Drysdaie, Jno. W. Chaplin, John W. McDaniel, W. F. Esdaile, Andrew ( 

Inglis, Adam Maher and Eobert Youill, stationmen. 

The oflScere and men, who remained out all winter, had each of them been ex- 
amined by medical men, and pronounced physically well-fitted to withstand the 
rigors of an Artie climate. 

The expedition touched at Blanc Sablon on the 26th of July, and on the evening 
of Tuesday the 29th anchored in Ford's Harbour, at the east end of Paul's Island. At 
this place I went on shox-e and arranged with Mr. Ford to pilot us into Nain. He 
boarded the " Neptune " at daylight the following morning, and by nine o'clock we 
had anchored off the Nain Mission House. 

I visited this place in the hope of obtaining furs for the men who were to re- ( 

main at the stations during the winter, and of being able to engage Eskimo inter- 
preters. I secured a few articles of fur clothing, but there were no interpreters to 
be had. The Chief Superintendent of the Mission told me, however, that, in all 
probability, I would be able to procure some fur clothing, and interpreters as Wei - 
at the Hudson's Bay Co.'s Post at Nachvak, still further to the north, on the Lab- 
rador coast. 

We remained at Nain during the day and were kindly treated by the mission 
aries who, besides imparting religious instruction to the natives, carry on an extensive 
trade with them. They have six stations in all on this coast, of which Nain is the 
capital. The others are Hopedale, Zoar, Hebron, Okkak and Eamah. During the 
day I took observations to ascertain the dip of the magnetic needle and vibrations 
for horizontal force, but was unable to obtain sights for the error of the chronometer 
or variation, owing to the inclemency of the weather. 

During the voyage from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to this place we met with a 
great number of icebergs, both in the Straits of Belle Isle, and off the Labrador 
coast, north of it. 

The expedition left Nain about 4:30 o'clock on the morning of Slst July, and 
reached Nachvak Bay about noon on the Ist of August, and cast anchor before the 
Hudson's Bay Co. 's post at Nachvak, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Here I 
met Mr George Ford, the agent of the Hudson's Bay Company and a brother of our 
Nain pilot. From him and from the natives in the vicinity I purchased some skin 
clothing, and through his kind assistance was enabled to procure the services of Mr. 
James Lane, an Eskimo half-breed of Nachvak Bay as interpreter, 

I learned from Mr. Ford that ice takes over the harbour of Nachvak, latitude 
59° 10' N., longitude 63° 30' W., about the middle of November in each year and that 
for the last seven years it has broken up within a day of the 26th of June in each 

On the 2nd of August, at daylight, we left the post at Nachvak, and after taking 
Mr. Lane on board at the mouth of the Bay, proceeded to sea for Cape Chid ley. On 
the morning of the 3rd— Sunday — the fog was so dense that we were compoUed to 
stand off to sea, and lie to. Noon position, lat. 60° 5 V N., long. 64^ 14' W., D. E. 

The fog continuing, we were obliged to lay to all day Sunday, all night Sunday 
night, all day Monday, and all night Monday night, off the entrance to Hudson 
Strait. Noon position Monday, 4th August, D.R. fat- 61° 12' N„ long. 64° 13' W. 

At daylight on Tuesday, 5th August, the weather was clearing, and by sunrise it 
was bright and fair. At noon we were approaching Cape Chidley, having been 
caiTied some forty miles^ to the south whilst laying-to in the fog. We steamed 
through Grey Strait, between the Cape and the Button Islands, keeping a close look 
out for a harbour. At three o'clock in the afternoon we anchored in a fine harbour 
on the north-western shore of the Cape, at the entrance to Ungava Bay. 

On the shore of this harbour I selected the site for Observing Station No. 1, 
and named the place Port Burwell, after the observer appointed to that station. Two 
families of Eskimos were discovered about six miles distant from Port Burwell. 

The work of landing lumber and supplies was begun at once, and by 4 o'clock 
on the afternoon of Friday the 8th, the buildings were up and all was in readinej^s for 
departure. I placed Mr. H. M. Burwell, of London, Ontario, in charge of this station, 
with Messrs. Currie and Campbell as stationmen, and besides giving him full direc- 
tions verbally, left with him, as also with each of the other observers, a copy of the 
following general instructions : — 


As the primary object of the whole expedition is to ascertain f ji- what period of 
the year the Straits are navigable, all attention is to be paid to the formation, break- 
ing up and movements of the ice. 

Each station is supplied with a sun dial and time piece, and Ihe clof^k is to be 
tested each day when there is sunshine about noon. A table of corrections is sap- 
plied for the reduction of apparent time to local mean time, to this ihe difference of 
time will be applied to t5th meridian, all entries being made in the time of this me- 
ridian, and observations will be taken regularly at the following times throughout 
the year, viz., 3 h. 08 m., 7 h. 08 m., 11 h. 08 m., a.m. and p m. 

Each morning the sums and means of the observations taken on the previous 
day will be taken out and checked over, they will then be entered in the abstract 
books supplied for the purpose. 

After each observation during day light the observer on duty will take the teles- 
cope and carefully examine the Straits, writing down at ihe time all that he sees, 
stating direction aud (when possible) velocity of tide, movement of ice, if any, also 
describe the condition of the ice, whether much broken up, solid field, &c., &c. 

Tidal Observations. — Bach day the time and height of high and low water is to 
be carefully observed, and during the open season the character of the tide will be 
carefully noted for two days before and three days after the full and change of the 
moon. For this purpose a post marked off in feet and fractions of a foot is to be 
placed in the water, at low water in some bheltered spot, if any such be available, 

and the height of the water noted every half hour during the rise and fall of one 
tide on each of these days — the height to be noted most carefully every five minutes 
during the hour of high water and the same at low water— the five minute observa- 
tions will also be taken for one hour during the most rapid portion of the rise. 
Special observations of barometric pressure are to be taken in connection with these 
tidal observations. 

To check the zero mark for the tidal observatioQ post, select a spot on shore 
from which the horizon line will be projected on the tidal post, and record the read- 
ing of this line when seen pi'ojocted on the post by the observer, whose eye is to be 
placed at a measured height above the datura point selected on shore. 

All remarks in regard to the movements of birds, fish, &c., and also as to the 
growth of grasses, will be carefully entered. 

As it is impossible to give to the officers in charge of stations detailed ipstruo- 
tions which would be of service in every contingency which might arise, the officers 
are required to observe and enforce the following rules: — 

(a.) Every possible precaution is to be taken against fire, and as it is anticipated 
that the temperature can be maintained considerably above the freezing point inside 
the houses, two buckets full of water are always to be kept ready for instant use. 

(b.) As the successful carrying out of the observations will, in a great measure, 
depend on the health of the party, the need of exercise is strongly insisted on during 
the winter months, and also that each member of the party shall partake freely of 
the lime juice supplied. 

(c.) Bach party is supplied with a boat, but unless some emergency required it, 
it must be a rule that neither afloat nor ashore must any of the party leave the station 
for a greater distance than they can be sure of being able to return the same day. 

(d.) As soon as possible after the houses are completed and the stores all in 
place, the party will set to work collecting sods, grass or any other non-conducting 
material, and before the winter sets in the whole house is to be covered with this, 
boards overlaid and snow packed over all ; the assistance of the Esquimaux should, if 
possible, be obtained, and the whole house arched over with snow, 


Commanding Expedition. 
Ottavta, 5th July, 1884. 

The expedition left Port Burwell at 5 o'clock on the evening of the 8th, and 
shaped course for the Lower Savage Islands, where it was intended that Station No. 
2 should be placed. On the following morning there was a dense fog until 8 o'clock, 
when it lifted, and at 9 o'clock we sighted Resolution Island. "We passed a number 
of icebergs in the forenoon, and passed between Resolution Island and the Lower 
Savage Islands to East Bluff, then going about and steering along the south coast of 
the Lower Savages. 

We spent the day in looking for an anchorage at the Lower Savages, and on a 
portion of the north main coast, a boat was sent ashore twice to examine what ap- 
peared to be possible harbours; but, on both occasions, the report was unfavourable; 
there was a stiff breeze blowing all day. At nightfall we pushed out into the Strait 
and laid to until morning, when it was intended to renew the search. At daylight 
on the morning of the 10th, we steamed shorewards and examined part of the coast 
north of the Lower Savages, but a heavy snow storm setting in, with a fresh gale 
from the south-east, and a falling barometer, I decided to abandon Resolution Island 
Station for the time being, and push on towards North Bluff. The latter place was 
reached about 4 p.m., on Monday, the 11th, after working our way through some 
open stretches of ice. Here we found a good anchorage on Big Island (called by 
3chwatka, Turenne Island), which forms the southern side of North Bay. 

A suitable place was selected for the station buildings, and the place was called 
Ashe's Inlet, after Mr. W. A. Ashe, the observer assigned to that station. 

We fcund here a number of Eskimos, who seemed to be much pleased at seeing 
white peoj)le oomi og into their country. 

We were delayed a good deal at Ashe's Inlet by bad weather and by the field ice 
coining into the harbour and interfering with the work of landing lumber and sup- 
plies, but at noon on the 16th all was in readiness for the start. I left with Mr. 
Ashe, for the time being, Mr. Skynner and his two naen, Messrs. Eainsford and 
Jordan, whom I was unable to place on Eesolution Island, and at 2:30 the " Nep- 
tune " was directed towards the south shore of the strait, and at 8 o'clock on the 
morning of the 17th we sighted the north-west shore of Prince of Wales Sound. 

On approaching the land, we forced our way through about twelve miles of field- 
ice, more or less compact. Towards the shore the ice was more open, and much of 
it was aground in three and four fathoms of water. We anchored about 2 p.m. in a 
well-sheltered bay, about three miles along the north-west coast of the sound, from 
the south main shore ot the strait. A few minutes later a number of Eskimos were 
seen on shore. They were very much delighted when they learned that we were 
going to establiph a station among them. I named this place Stupart's Bay, after 
Mr. K. F. Slupart, the observer assigned to that station. 

On account of the magnetic observations to bo taken, two extra buildings were 
required at this station, but notwithstanding the extra work to be done, everything 
was in readiness for our departure on the evening of the 22nd. 

Accordingly we left Stupart's Bay on that evening, and had to work our way 
through about eighteen miles of more or less compact field ice. We laid-to in the 
ice all night. On reaching the open water we shaped our course so as to clear the 
eastern point of Charles Island, after clearing which we steamed towards Nottingham 
Island, and succeeded in making a good harbor on the south-east shore of that island 
about 3 o'clock on the 24th. 

On approaching Nottingham Island we found very heavy ice, extending for 
some fifteen or twenty miles eastward from that island and Salisbury, filling the 
channel between these islands and extending southward towards Cape Wolstenholme 
as far as we could see. 

On approaching the harbour we had the misfortune to break one hlade off the 
propeller. Fortunately a spare fan had been brought in the ship, and beyond the 
work entailed by unshipping the broken one, fitting the shaft in the new one and 
getting it into position, which occupied the engineers about three days, we suffered 
no damage in consequence. 

Soon after our arrival at Nottingham we sighted four vessels in the channel be- 
tween us and the south main shore. They were about twelve miles distant, and fast 
in the field ice. Later we passed near enough to one to observe that she was bark 
rigged, and probably the outgoing Hudson Bay Company's vessel, and to another, an 
American whaling schooner, to exchange salutes with her by dipping ensigns. 

We met with r <> natives at Nottingham Island. The work of erecting station 
buildings and landiog the supplies occupied u^ until the morning of the 29th, when, at 
9 o'clock a.m., having taken leave of Mr. C. V. DeBoucherville, the observer appointed 
to thct station, and his men, Messrs. Esdaile and Inglis, we left the harbour, which I 
had called Port DeBoucherville, and steamed out among the ice towards Mansfield 
Islanu . 

We found the ice exceedingly heavy and closely packed, so much so that after 
ramming our way some five miles out, and while yet within sight of the harbour, we 
were compelled to lay to until the change of tide should loosen it. After thi*ee hours* 
waiting, we again went ahead with the engines, the ice having run abroad a little; 
but when darkness closed upon ug, we were still in the ice and were compelled to lay 
to until the morning. 

Soon after daylight on Saturday morning, the 30th, we got out of the ice into 
the open water of Hudson's Bay, and by 7 o'clock sighted the low, barren shores 
of Mansfield Island. A-Ccording to the original plan, a station was to have been 
placed on this island, but after coasting its eastern shores without finding an anchor- 
age, I decided, about 7 o'clock in the evening, to abandon it altogether, and push 
on across the bay, in the hope of being able to place a station on Cape Digges on 
the return voyage. 

Meanwhile, however, I proposed to examine the shojes of Southampton Island, 
which lies to the north-west of Mansfield, with a view of ascertaining if that would 
be a more suitable place for a station. I did this on Sunday, skirting the south-east 
shore from Cape Southampton, some fifty miles, without finding an anchorage. 

We then directed our course towards the north-west of the bay, in order to visit 
Marble Island, and to see if the northern part of the bay was free of ice. At noon 
on the first day of September we were off the mouth of Chesterfield Inlet, no ice 
having been sighted. 

We then bore up for Marble Island, where we arrived early in the morning of 
2nd September, and anchored in the Whalers' Harbour at the south-west of the island, 
and remained until seven o'clock in the evening. 

During the day I took observations to ascertain the latitude and longitude, 
the variation of the compass and the dip of the magnetic needle, and in the afternoon 
made a hurried survey of the harbour. 

We were somewhat disappointed at not finding native or other inhabitants on 
the island, and surprised at seeing so many evidences of the dead, there being no less 
than nineteen graves on Dead Man's Island, which forms the southern side of the 
harbour, and a monument commemorating the death of six more who had been 
drowned in a whale boat, in the " Welcome." 

While at Marble Island I found a letter that had been left in a bottle by Capt. 
Fisher, of the whaling bark " George and Mary," that had wintered in the harbour. 
The letter was probably intended for one of the out going whaling vessels. I made 
u copy of the letter, which is as follows: — 

" Aug. 7, 1884.— On board the bark " George and Mary," Marble Island. All 
well. Three whales. The north part of the bay has been filled with ice since the 
lO'h of July. Could not get up the Welcome, nor to the east shore. Had a very 
cold winter and spring. On the 23rd of May the thermometer was 4** below zero. 
Got out the 7th of June. Laid in the outer harbour all winter. No natives came to 
the ship while we lay at Marble Island. Had plenty of scurvy, but came out of it 
all right. Shall stay in the Welcome until the last of August, then start for home if 
nothing happens. 

"(Signed), E. B. FISHER, 

of the ' George and Mary.* " 

From Marble Island we directed our course towards Churchill, meeting with 
heavy weather on the voyage, and arriving off the mouth of the (/hurchill Eiver on 
the evening of the 3rd. Owing to heavy north-west winds, fog, and to our not being 
acquainted with the approach to Churchill Harbour, we were compelled to lay-to off 
Cape Churchill until the forenoon of the 6th, when, the weather clearing, we steamed 
into the harbour and anchored. 

At this place I received and accepted the resignation, owing to ili-health, of Mr. 
C. K. Tuttle, who had been appointed observer at Churchill, and arranged with Mr. 
Spencer, the agent of the Hudson's Bay Company stationed there, to take the re- 
quired meteorological observations, engaging, on behalf of the Government, to pay 
him a salary of Sl20 per year. 

Wo remained at Churchill, taking ballast, &c., until [the 9th, when, about T 
o'clock in the evening, we started for York Factory. 

I must acknowledge the extreme kindness and generous attention extended to 
the expedition by the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company at Churchill. They did 
all in their power to make our visit pleasant, and to supply me with for clothing, &c. 

We arrived in sight of the beacon at York Factory on the morning of the 11th, 
and anchored in the roadstead, some eighteen miles distant from the Factory, at ten 
o'clock in the forenoon, and signalled for a York boat, which was pushed off at once, 
but which, owing to contrary tide and wind, did not reach us until 5o'clock in the 

Mr. Cowie, chief accountant of the post, accompanied the boat out, and he kindly 
undertook to take us in and bring us out again the next day. We arrived at the 


Factory about 3 o'clock on the morning of the 12th, and left again at 3 in the 

Mr. Wood, storekeeper at York, has been observer ia connection with tha 
meteorological office for some years. I compared his instruments and adjusted them, 
and found his meteorological work all well done, and the observer much interested ia 
the work. 

I obtained some additional clothing from Mr. Fortescue, the chief factor at that 
post, and, as at Churchill, was most hospitably received by all the officers of the 

We reached the "Neptune " in the York boat about 5 o'clock in the evening of 
the 12th, and weighed anchor at 7, and shaped our course for Cape Digges. 

We found a good harbour on the south-western extremity of the larger Diggea 
Islanj, and anchored on the morning of the 16th. Here I decided to place a station, 
in charge of Mr. Laperriere, and called the place Laperriere Harbor. I regarded the 
place as most suitable for a companion station to that of Port DeBouchervillo. The 
distance between the two is about forty-five miles, and, as the vast stretches of ice 
that wo met with between Nottingham and Diggea on both the outward and home- 
ward voyages, made that channel a point of the greatest importance, I consider it 
as desirable that the two stations should be establised there. 

On the morning of 2()th September, the buildings having been completed and 
supplies landed, I prepared for departure. Mr. Laperriere was placed in charge of 
the station, with Messrs. Quigly and Maher as stationmen. I substituted Mr. Quigly, 
one of the carpenters, for Mr. Youill, whose condition of health rendered him unfit to 
be left there. 

On the homeward voyage the expedition touched at Port DeBoucherville, Ashe's 
Inlet and Stupart's Bay, leaving such furs and other clothing as I had obtained for 
the comfort of the men. At Ashe's Inlet I took on board Messrs. Skynner, Kainsford 
and Jordan, and left with Mr. Ashe, Messrs. Keating and Drysdale, the men originally 
intended for that station. 

Prom Stupart's Bay we made for Resolution Island, hoping to be able to place a 
station on the shores of th^t island. Arriving on the west coast of the island on the 
morning of the 26th of September, we coasted along in search of a harbour. At 9 
o'clock a boat was sent in to examine a bay that promised well. The vessel followed 
some distance astern, going dead slow, with a look-out man on the jib-boom. Leads 
were going from both the boat and the ship. Presently the boat reported only four 
fathoms; a little distance astern we had ven fathoms from the ship. In canting the 
ship, there being a strong northerly breeze, and the tide setting to the southward, 
the vessel struck a sunken rock and remained there, grinding a little at each sea, for 
about nine minutes. She was, however, worked off without sustaining much serious 
damage. A piece of wood came to the surface, supposed to be one of the scarf pieces 
butting on the stem plates. 

We steamed further down the coast to the south-east, when about noon another bay 
was discovered. The mate was again sent in, in charge of the boat, to make soundings. 
At length he returned and reported a good harbour. AVe steamed slowly in, following 
as nearly as possible, the boat track, the engines alternately going dead slow and 
stopping. The lead was going constantly, and there was a lookout in the fore-top 
and one on the jib-boom. At 1 o'clock while the leadsman was reporting "twelve 
fathoms and no bottom abreast of the main rigging, the ship suddenly struck forward 
and the men on the look-out shouted " go astern." The ship struck very heavily and 
rolled two or three times. As she rebounded her engines were reversed and she was 
put out to sea at once. 

We coasted along to Cape Best, but as there were no signs of a harbour, and as 
the wind was threatening a gale, and a heavy cross sea running, and as the ship had 
struck twice and received considerable damage, Captain Sopp advised that the station 
on Resolution Island be abandoned, and I felt, under all the circumstances, bound to 
abandon it. We had examined over sixty miles of the coast, and altogether we had 
expended nearly three days steaming in search of a harbour. I therefore req^uested 


the Captain to shape our course for Port Burwell, and in that excellent harbour, 
-we anchored at 8 o'clock on the morning of the 27th of September. 

At this place we took ballast and filled up the bunkers with coal from the hold. 

On our return here, as at the other stations, we found all in good health and 
spirits, liking the work, and well satisfied with all that had been provided for them. 
The provisions, especially the evaporated fruits and vegetables wei'o spoken of as 
being of an excellent quality. 

We continued the homeward voyage from Port Burwell at 3 p.m., on 29th Sep- 
tember, carrying the ebb tide with us through Grey Strait for Nachvak Bay. 

At noon of the 30th we anchored in a cove on the north side of the entrance to 
"the bay, and having selected a site for the house, proceeded at once with its erection 
and with the work of landing the stores. 

On Saturday evening, the Ith October, the work was completed, but as it had 
been a week of unusually hard work for all hands, I lay in harbour till daylight on 
Monday morning, the 6th, when we proceeded to sea for St. Johns, Newfoundland, 
where we arrived on the morning of Saturday, the 11th, and having delivered the 
ship up to the owners, Messrs. Job Bros. & Co., I took passage for the entire 
party in steamship "City of Mexico," sailing that^day for Halifax. 


The ice has been supposed, hitherto, to bo the most formidable barrier to the 
navigation of the straits, but its terror disappears, to a great extent, under investiga- 
tion. The ice met with on the cruise of the " Neptune " may be divided into throe 
classes — having distinctly separate origins. They are : icebergs from the glaciers of 
Pox Channel ; heavy arctic field ice from the channel itself, and what may be called 
ordinary field ice, being that which had been formed on the shores of the bay and 

We met no icebergs in Hudson's Bay, nor did I hear of any being seen there. In 
the straits a good many were seen, principally along the north shore, where many of 
them were stranded in the coves, and some were met with in mid-channel. Of those 
seen in the eastern end of the straits, some had undoubtedly come in from Davis' 
Straits, passing between Eesolution [sland and East Bluff; bat all of those met to the 
westward had come from Fox Channel, as observations made by Mr. Ashe, at Korth 
IBluff, show, that an iceberg coming in sight from the westward will pass out of view 
to tho eastward in from three to four tides, showing an easterly tet of upwards of ten 
miles a day. The icebergs seen in Hudson's Straits, in August and September, would 
form no greater barriers to navigation than do those met with off the Straits of Belle 
Isle, nor were they more numerous in Hudson's Straits than they frequently are off 
Belle Isle. 

The ordinary field ice was met with off North Bluff and the Upper Savages, 
on the 11th of August. This ice, though it would have compelled an ordinary iron 
steamer to go dead slow, gave no trouble to the " Neptune," the mate on watch run- 
ning the ship at full speed through between the pans, rarely touching one of them. 
Just before entering Ashe's Inlet we had to break through a heavy string, which was, 
however, done without in the slightest degree injuring the ship. In the harbour 
(Ashe Inlet) the ice came in, with the flood tide, and set so fast that the Eskimo 
were able to walk off to the ship, a distance of three-quarters of a mile. On the 
south shore our experience was much the same, but no ice was met with through 
which the ship could not have forced her way without damage. In the centre of the 
straita, to the east of North Bluff, no field ice was seen at all, and after leaving Stu- 
part's Bay, on the outward voyage, although the vessel lay-to for tho night in the ice, 
it was only to wait for daylight, and not because the ice was too heavy. This pack 
extended about eighteen miles out into the straits, and after getting over this dis- 
tance we came into clear water. From this point to Charles Island, and thence to 
the end of Salisbury Island, long strings of ice were frequently seen, but as their 
direction was invariably parallel to our course, or nearly so, we coasted round them. 
On the homeward voyage none of this field ice was seen. The Eskimo, both at Ashe 

Inlet and Stupart's Bay, informed me that there was an unusually great quantity of 
ice in the straits this year, and that they had never seen the ice hang to the shores so 
late in the season. 

The Heavy Arctic Ice. — After passing the east end of Salisbury Island the ice 
got heavier and closer, and when off Nottingham Island the pack was so run together 
that I determined to give up the attempt to force the ship through it, and working 
out again, headed more to the southward. In making in for the laild here we broke 
the propeller, but succeeded in taking the ship into harbour with the stumps. 

Viewed from the top of a hill on Nottingham Island the sea in every direction 
"was one vast ice field, and to the southward, between South-east Point and Cape 
Digges, we saw four vessels fast. This ice was altogether of a different type to what 
we hud hitherto met with. Some of it was over 40 feet thick of solid blue ice, not field 
ice, which had been thickened by piling of pan on pan, but a solid sheet of ice which 
Lad evidently been frozen just as we saw it. Much of it was 20 feet thick, and for the 
general average of all the field we passed through coming into harbour, I estimate 
that the thickness would have been upwards of 15 feet. The question as to the origin 
of this ice and whether it will be frequently met with in the west end of the Straits is 
an important one ; for in such ice, when closely packed, a vessel oven of the build and 
power of the " Neptune," was perfectly helpless. I do not consider that it is possible 
for ico to form in Fox channel to a greater thickness than 10 feet in a single year, 
and I feel convinced that much of the ico which we encountered was the accumulation 
of several years. 

The depth to which w.ater will freeze has, so far as I know, never yet been deter- 
mined, but it is certain that ice being a very poor conductor of heat, when once a 
certain thickness of ice has been formed, the rate of thickening will be very slow. In 
regard to this point, measurements of the formation of ice will be made at some of the 
observing stations in Hudson's Straits this year, which will assist in finally determin- 
ing this question. 

If, as seems probable from the reports of the Hudson's Bay ships, this year and 
last year have been ex3eptionally heavy ice years, it is reasonable to conclude that 
only occasionally does this heavy Fox Channel ice appear in Hudson's Straits. 
Another piece of confirmatory evidence ag to the exceptional nature of the ico met 
with in the northern part of the Bay this year is the statement in Capt. Fisher's 
letter, found at Marble Island and quoted in the narrative portion of my report, that 
he had been unable to reach, up to the date of his letter, the east shore, or to go up 
the Welcome on account of the ice. 

The harbour ice forms at Churchill on the average about the middle of November 
and breaks up about the middle of June. As this is the only known harbour on the 
west coast of the bay, these times may bo taken as marking the extreme limits of the 
season during which it would be possible for a ship to enter and leave the harbour. 

It is only fair to state, that had I been making the passage from Cape Chudleigh, 
direct to Churchill instead of coasting and working across the straits, 1 do not con- 
sider that I should have been delayed by ice, more than forty-eight hours : but no 
ordinary iron steamship, built as the modern freight carrier is, could have got through 
the heavier ice that we met without incurring serious risk, if not actual disaster. 

Since the foregoing was written, I have received a copy of the Report of Lieut. 
Kay, United States Sietnal Service, to the Chief Signal Officer, on the conduct of the 
observations at Point Barrow in the Arctic. He gives as the greatest thickness of ice 
formed in one season 6 feet 2 inches. At Point Barrow the formation of ice on 
the shore is certainly influenced by the passage of a current of warm water passing 
through Behring Straits and setting north-east. 

Fox Channel has no such advantage, and I still think it possible that a sheet of 
ice 10 feet in thickness might be formed there in one season. 

The Compass. — In working through the straits, especially at the western end, 
I found the ordinary compass so sluggish as to be almost useless. The Sir Wm<. 
Thomson card, however, worked admirably when properly compensated. 


The reason of the difficulty with the compass is, that from the proximity to the 
magnetic pole the horizontal directive force of the earth's magnetism, which alone 
directly affects the compass needle, is very small compared with the whole magnetic 
force; consequently, the effect of induced magnetism in the iron of the ship on the 
compass becomes very large in comparison with the direct action above mentioned; 
the result being, that in an imperfectly compensated compass the error due to local 
attraction is very greatly increased. 

The means of correcting this error in the Sir Wm. Thomson binnacle are perfect 
and easily mastered, and the system is such that the compass can, after the first 
Toyage or two, be perfectly compeneated by using certain proportions of soft iron 
fcars and magnets, as correctors, the proportion having to be determined by actual 
observation and experiment on the voyage. 

All steamships making the voyage through the straits should have one of those 
compasses as a standard, and the captains should familiarize themselves with the 
methods of correcting them, and as often as opportunity offers take azimuth observa- 
tions, both stellar and solar. 


Off the entrance of Hudson's Strait I found the current setting to the southward, 
During the two days whilst lying off in fog, the wind was very light, and the drift 
of the ship must have been almost entirely due to the current. In the forty-eight 
hours lying-to, the ship was set forty miles to the south of her position by dead reck- 
oning. This is a somewhat greater amount of southerly set than the Admiralty 
directions indicate, and ships approaching the entrance of the straits would, in thick 
"weather, have to do so with great caution. 

At Port Burwell, near Cape Chudleigh, the tide rises and falls, at springs, about 

19 feet, and the current in Grey Strait, between the Button Islands and the 

cape, flows at the rate of about four knots an hour ; and when a strong breeza is 

blowing against the tide, a very naisty and confused and breaking sea gets up, which 

£shing schooners might find dangerous. 

At Ashe's Inlet, near North Bluff, the tide rises and falls 32 feet at springs. 
There is a tide-race off the Bluff, and within three miles of the shore the velocity of 
the tide currents is very great, sometime? reaching six knots. 

At Stupart's Bay, near Prince of Wales Foreland, the rise and fall of the tide is 
28 feet. The tides of this coast do not show as high velocities as on the north side, 
probably owing to the water being shoaler. 

At the western end of the straits the tides also run with great velocity. The rise 
and fall at Nottingham Island, at spring tides, is 14 feet, and Cape Digges about 
10 feet. 

At the entrance of Port Churchill there is a tide-race, the velocity of which, at. 
half-tide, I estimate at seven knots. 


The meteorological work, which is to be done at the stations, is as follows : — 
Observations will be taken six times a day, of height of barometer, temperature 
of the air, temperature of wet bulb thermometer, velocity and direction of the wind, 
reading of hair hygrometer, cloudiness, with record of amount and kind of cloud, 
and direction of its movement, and rain and snow fall. Water temperatures will also 
he taken. The times of observation are at equal intervals of four hours, and so 
selected that three of them are synchronous with the regular telegraphic series 
taken by the observers of the Meteorological Service. 

Complete observations were taken on board during the voyage and, for the 
purpose of illustrating the weather which was met with in Hudson's Straits, I shall 
compare it with that experienced at Belle Isle, a station of the Meteorological Ser- 
vice, and in the regular trade route between Quebec and Europe. 


For the first period from Ist to Slst August. — The "Xoptanc" was, on 1st August, 
at Nachvak Bay, within 100 miles of the east end of the Straits an'1, on 30th August, 
had just left Nottingham Island on the west end, so that the month of August was 
spent in the straits region. 

The following table is compiled from the Meteorological Eecords : — 

Belle hie Hudson's 

Straits. Straits. 

Number of days on which fog is recorded li 9 

Approximate number of hours of fog 220 102 

Days on which snow fell 4 

Days on which rain fell 10 8 

Days on which wind exceeded 25 miles per hour, but 

did not reach 40 , 6 5 

Days on which wind exceeded 40 miles 2 1 

The month of August thus shows favourably for Hudson's Straits, the fog 
there being reported on six days only, as against thirteen days in Belle Isle ; and 
the total number of hours ol fog being respectively 102 in Hudson's Straits, and 
Belle Isle, 220; and if the duration of the snow storms in Hudson's Straits, nineteen 
hours, be added to the number of hours of fog, it still shows favourably. The num- 
ber of gales also is six at Belle Isle for five in the straits; and of heavy gales, two 
at Belle Isle, and only one in the straits. 

The following comparison for September is between Station No. 1, at Cape 
Chudleigh and Belle Isle : — 

Belle Isle Hudson's 
Straits. Straits. 

IS^umber of days on which fog is recorded 7 4 

Approximate number of hours of fosr 82 34 

Days on which snow fell 3 8 

Days on which rain fell 15 6 

Days on which velocity of wind was between 25 and 

40 miles per hour 4 5 

Days on which velocity of wind was 40 miles or over 

per hour 11 3 

Days on which any snow fell are put down as snow days, though rain as well as 
snow may have fallen on those days. 

In the character of the weather, therefore, for the two months (August and 
September) so far as it affects navigation, Hudson's Straits compare favourably with 
the Straits of Belle Isle, there being eleven heavy gales at Belle Isle against three 
in Hudson's Straits, and more than double the amount of fog. 

The mean temperature of the month at Cape Chudleigh for August was 39° ; for 
Belle Isle, 49° 67 ; and for September, Cape Chudleigh, 32°-76 ; Belle Isle, 43°-l. 

Eeports formerly received from the Labrador Mission Stations give higher mean 
temperature for those months, but those stations may be considered as almost in- 
land stations in the character of their weather, and would thus show both higher 
temperature in summer and lower in winter than an insular station like Belle Isle. 

I have received, through the courteNy of the Chief Signal Ofiicor of the United 
States Signal Service, copies of the obseivations taken at Fort Chimo, in Ungava 
^^Jj t)y Mr. Lncien Turner, who has spent two years there, and the winter tempera- 
tures given in these will not, I think, greatly differ from those in the Straits. 
These tables form Appendix B to this report. 

The following table gives the weather experienced in Hudson's Bay, from the 
Ist to Itith September : — 

Cape Digges and Marble Island, 

Mean temperature. 

September 1. — Pair weather, light N.B. winds 43° 

" 2. — Fire and cloudy p.m. with strong N.E. wind 42° 
" 3. — Rainy weather, moderate gale from S.E 40° 


y — - ■ ^ ■' 

Off Churchill. 

September 4. — Eainy weather, strong gale]froni N.W 40** 

'< 5. — Cloudy weather, strong gale from N.W 40** 

" 6.— Cloudy, light rain, light N.W. wind, thick 

weather 39 5° 

At Churchill. 

September [^. — Fine weather, light S W. wind 42° 

« 8.— Fine weather, light N.W. and S.W. wind 44° 

" 9. — Fair cloudy weather, moderate N.B. wind... 41° 


September 10. — Cloudy weather, light rain, mod. S.B. wind.. 40** 

" 11. — Fair weather, moderate N.E. wind 41° 

" 12.— Fair weather, light S. wind 46° 

York to Digges. 

September 13. — Fair weather, light N.E. wind 42** 

" 14.— Fog in a.m., fine p m., light N.E. wind 35° 

" 15. — Foggy weather, etroner N.W. wind 34° 

" 16.— Fair weather, light N.B. wind 3i° 

The above shows one gale lasting* nearly three days, viz., the 3rd, 4th and 5tii, 
and two days on which fog occurred. On the 14th the fog lasted from 9 a m. to 
nearly 3 p.m., closing down again early on the morning of the 15th and continaing 
thick fog till about 3 p.m. 

Sea Temperatures. 

The temperature of the surface water off Belle Isle on 25th July was 41-6 which 
gradually decreased as we proceeded northward to 34-7 on 4th August, off the 
entrance to Hudhon's Straits. 

On the homeward voyage these temperatures were, off Hudson's Straits 32*5 
on 29 ih September, and abreast of Belle Isle, but some distance to the eastward, 36° on 
9th October. 

In Hudson's Straits, the mean surface temperature, as obtained ff^m observa- 
tions taken when the ship was at sea, was, on the west-bound voyage, found to be 
32.9, the highest mean of a day's observations was 33 3, and the lowest 32'6. 
On the homeward voyage the lowest daily mean was 31'8 and the highest 33°. The 
highest temperatures were in each case observed at the eastern end ot the straits and 
the lowest off Nottingham Island. 

In the bay the surface temperatures varied much with the geographical 
positions, being 39-4 off Marble Isltnd, 4 ° off Cape Churchill, 39-7 about 100 
miles north-east of York Factory, observed whilst steaming across to Cape Digges, 
and 36° off the south end of Mansfield Island. 

Hudson's Bay may therefore be regarded as a vast basin of comparatively warm 
water, the effect of which must bo to considerably ameliorate the winter climate to 
the south and oast of it. 

The resident factor at Churchill informs me that the bay never freezes over so 
far out from t-bore, but that clear water can be seen ; and as the temperature of the 
water must be abavo 29*8 Faht. (the freezing point of salt water) when at the same 
time the temperature on shore is below zero, we have a set of conditions which will 
cause a regular area of low barometric pressure to remain over the bay during the 
winter, with prevailing west and north-west winds and very coM weather oa the west 
and north west of the bay, as shown by observations at York Factory; whilst on the 
opposite side of the bay winds from south-west, south and south-east would prevaiL 


la concluding this the motoorological portion of the report, I would point oat that 
BO far as meteorological conditions are concerned, the bay has been proved navig- 
able early in June. The barque ** George and Mary " sawed out on the 7th June of 
this year, and was cruising under sail from that date onwards in the northern part 
of the bay. 

Surveying \ Work, 

At Station No. 1, Port Burwell, near Cape Chudleigh, the harbour and part of the 
adjacent coast was surveyed by Mr. W. A. Ashe, D.L.S., whowas one of the observers 
appointed to the expediiion, and I have prepared sailing directions for entering the 
port. Mr. Ashe also surveyed the harbour at Station No. 3 (Ashe Inlet). At all the 
other stations in the straits I have myself, besides making determinations of position, 
variation and dip, made surveys of the harbors, and written out the necessary sailing 
directions for entering the ports. I also made a hurried survey of the harbour at 
Marble Island, and have obtained a copy of a plan of Churchill Harbour from one of 
the Hudson's Bay Company's officers. Copies of all these I will furniBh you with 
hereafter, when I have had time to complete the final reductions and recopy the plans. 

Resources of the Begion of EwisorCs Bay and Strait. 

As to the resources of these waters, I have the honor to report: 

1. That the economic fish and mammals of those waters are the whale, porpoise^ 
walrus, narwhal, seal, salmon, trout, cod, and a variety of small fish. 

2. That the only fishing industries developed so far are, the whale fishery by the 
Americans, and the porpoise, walrus, salmon and trout fiwheries by the Hudson's 
Bay Company. 

3. That the chief whaling ground is^lhe Rowe's Welcome, a vast basin in the 
north-western portion of Hudson's Bay. Here the American whalers, chiefly fromt 
Massachusetts and Connecticut have been conducting a very profitable fishery foir 
more than a quarter of a century, and are t^till in active operations. 

The report of the United States Commissioners of Fish and Fisheries for 1875-€ 
states, that during the eleven years preceding 1874, about fifty voyages were known 
to have been made by whaling vet^sels from New England to Hudson's Bay, and their 
returns amounted to at least $1,371,000, an average of $27,420 per voyage, which, as 
most of the vessels engaged in the trade are comparatively small sailing vessels, 
shows a large margin for profit to those engaged in the business. And if we allow aa 
average of three vessels per annum since the date of the roturcs up to the present 
year, we have $822,600. as the value of the oil and bone taken by our neighbours from 
the waters of Hudson's Bay since the date of the report above quoted, making a grand 
total of $2,19;^,600. 

The wintering quarters of these whalers is at Marble Island, on the north-western 
coast of Hudson's Bay The whaling ships, generally, leave Massachusetts or Con- 
necticut in July, and reach the island some time in September, where they winter in 
a well sheltered harbour, and saw out of the ice in June of the following spring; 
They then pross northward as fast as the movin<.r ice will permit, until the whaling 
ground is reached, where they fish until the Ist September, and then sail for home, 
with their ships well loaded with blubber and bone. One or two whaling vessels, 
and occasioniilly more, winter at Marble Island each year. 

Although this industry is, as yet, comparatively small, I am persuaded that, from 
the large profits realized by those ent^aged in it, from the ample opportunities for 
its extension, and the increased attention which is now being given to the resources 
of the Hudson's Bay region, a much lat-tror number of vessels will, nndoubtodly, be 
drawn into it at an early day. I am satisfied that there are largo numbers of whales 
in these waters, from the fact that wo met with thom continually during the cruise 
of the " Neptune," and because, so far as I can learn, those engaged in the catch 
have never yet been compelled to r«'turn without a fair cargo. The bark " George 
and Mary," Capt. Fisher, of Connecticut, wintered at the Island last season, sawed. 


out of the ico on tlie 7th of last June, and succoedod in taking throe whales in the 
open waters of Huison's Bay before reaching the " Welcomj." Considering that 
£ve or six of these mammals would complete her cargo, it is easy to see that this 
fishery is by no means failing off. 

4. Of the fisheries carried on by the Hudson's Bay Company, that of the porpoise 
is the most extensive. The blubber of these mammals weighs from 250 to 400 
pounds, and is very rich in the finest of oil. 

Last year the company secured nearly 200 in one tide at Churchill, and a much 
larger number at Ungava Bay. They have established extensive refineries at several 
<rf their northern stations, and instead of exporting the blubber in bulk, as formerly, 
3-efine it, shipping the pure oil in casks. The porpoises are not shot or har- 
pooned, as is the case with the walrus and whale, but ai-e grounded on the flats in; 
•coves, where the tide rises 10 or 15 feet or more, and where, by means of trap nets, 
Ihcy are held in check until the water recedes, leaving them high and dry on the 
l)0ulder8 and sand. The process is very simple and inexpensive. The company also 
carry on a walrus bunt, sending two sloops annually from Churchill to two very 
productive walrus grounds, north of Marble Island, where they have never failed to 
secure as much blubber, ivory and hides as their little vessels will carry in a few 
"weeks. They took between twenty and thirty of those animals the present season. 
On this trip they also meet the northern Eskimo, and carry on a very valuable trade 
with them, exchanging powder, shot, &c., for ivory, oil, musk ox robes, and other 

One of the members of the expedition was furnished with an estimate of the 
Talue of the oil secui-ed in the Hudson's Bay region last year by the company and 
^h« American whalers, which, although I had no means of verifying it, is probably 
within the mark. It places the value of the export at $150,000. I am eatinfied that 
the walrus and porpoise fisheries may be developed to almost any extent ; and as in- 
"Creased attention is sure nov^^ to be given to this industry, we may rely upon ita 
almost immediate extension. We met with walrus in great numbers at the wet-tern 
end of the strait. In one afternoon, while steaming from the Digges Islands to 
l!>rottingham Island, we found between fifty and a hundred of them on the ice. 

5. The company is also engaged at several points, particularly at Ungava, in 
the salmon and trout fisheries. These excellent fith abound in vast quantities in 
nearly all the streams, and are generally most plentiful at certain seasons just above 
smd near the head of tide, where the salt and fresh waters mingle. Fiom what I 
•could Jearn of this industry, I conclude that it is but the beginning of what will, in 
the near future, become an extensive and profitable business. 

At the present time the Hudson's Bay Company have a steamer, called the 
'""Diara," which goes from London to Ungava Bay direct. She is fitted out with re- 
irigernting apparatus, by means of which they are enabled to send home the salmon 
^eeh to the London market, where it realizes high prices, and has, I understand, 
proved a pre fitable business for the company. Cargo this year is reported to have 
realized $18.(i00. This is the sole business that this little steamer is engaged in, as 
another eteampr, called the " Labrador," carries all the freight required for Fort 
Chimoand the Ungava district. 

6. Cod-fihh. Up to the present time cod have never been found in the waters of 
Hudson's Bay or the western portion of the strait, but they are very plentiful in the 
fcays round Cape Chudleigh, on both the east and west side. Newfoundland schoo- 
ners, even now, work as far north as Nachvak Bay, and seem, year by year, to have 
been going further north. 

The quality of cod found off Cape Chudleigh, though good, was not of the same 
liigh quality as that got on the banks. 

7. In conclu-*ion, I have the honour to urge that in any negotiations with the 
Government of the United States, relative to a treaty of reciprocal trade, due allow- 
;£mce phould be made for the great value of the fisheries of Hudson's Bay. 

It American whalers are to be permitted to continue to fish in thofe waterp^ 
arrangements should be made by which Canada would receive a substantial equiva- 
Jent for the privilege. 


I would further suggest that unless a very large consideration is granted in re- 
turn for the privilege, the Canadian Government should reserve the right to make 
and enforce such regulations as will prevent the extermination of these valuable 
mammals from our northern waters. In support of this suggestion, I would call 
your attention to the fact that some years ago whale fishing was a thriving industry 
in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, some ten schooners being at one time engaged in it, but 
that shortly after the Americans were granted the right to fish in these waters, they 
had, by use of explosive bombs and other methods of capturing these animals, 
completely driven them out of the gulf, and the Canadian whaling business was 


The trading station for the south side of Hudson's Straits is Fort Chimo, at the 
south end of Ungava Bay, and the Eskimo and Indians visit the fort regularly, to 
exchange their furs for powder, shot, &c. 

At Nachvak Bay also, the company maintain a post, where a number of the 
most valuable furs, the black fox, &o., have been obtained from the natives. 

The Nachvak station is one of the company's chain of posts on the Labrador 
coast, subsidiary to Eigoulette. These posts obtain their supplies by the steamer 
"Labrador," and I have been informed that the Newfoundland authorities claim and 
collect Customs duties on the whole ship's invoice at Eigoulette, thus collocting 
there duties on goods which are destined for consumption in Canada, inasmuch as 
all the goods for Fort Chimo are included. Canada is thus the loser, whilst the com- 
pany derives no benefit, except what may arise from the difference of the tariffs of 
the two countries. 

The exports from these and the Mission stations are principally, seal skins and 
oil, salted salmon and trout, codfish, ivory, bear, deer and fox skins. From Ungava, 
besides fur, porpoise oil is exported, and frozen salmon, as stated previously. 

The Hudson's Bay Company, in trading, have to pay duties, and a considerable 
sum accrues to the Canadian Government in Customs dues on the importations to 
Churchill, York and Moose. Every American whaler, however, which enters the 
bay, is an unlicensed trader, carrying in American goods and trading with the 
natives in the northwest of the bay, where they compete with the Hudson's Bay 
Company, who have to pay duty on their importations. 

. A regular trading post has also been established by a Capt. Spicer, an American 
citizen, on the north shore of the straits, a little to the west of North Bluff, which I 
intended visiting, but was unable to do so. 

I was, however, informed by the natives, that each year a ship went to the 
station, that an agent lived there through the winter, and that about fifty families 
traded with him. The Eskimo at North Bluff had an old whale boat of American 
build, but in good repair, and they informed me that they occasionally killed whales 
for Capt. Spicer, and that whenever they secured a whale that they were given 
spirits. The evil effects of such payment are too well known to need comment. 

In reference to the value of the trade, I have heard it estimated, by men whom I 
considered competent judges, that a good Eskimo family would be worth 8500 a year 
to a trader. The Hudson's Bay Company rate some of their best Indian hunters as 
worth $1,000 a year to the company, and, allowing that the straits region is a some- 
what poorer region than the northwest of the bay, a family ought still to bo worth 
nearly $100 to a trader. This estimate gives the value of Capt. Spicer's station at 
$20,000 a year, an estimate which I believe to be rather below than above the truth. 
All goods, destined for trade with the natives, on board of the American whalers, 
should be chargeable with duty, or a license fee charged them, before they are per- 
mitted to enter Hudson's Straits, which would be sufficient to cover the duty, so that 
they may be placed on the game footing as the Hudson's Bay Company ; for the value 
of the trade in musk ox robes, cariboo robes, seal skins and ivory, forms no unim- 
portant part of the profit of the whaling voyage. 


The use of ardent spirits^as an article of trade, or indeed its importation, should 
be absolutely prohibited. 

There is room for the profitable establishment of trading posts on the south 
shore of the bay, as the natives there have to go upwards of 300 miles, toFort Chimo, 
for powder, shot, &c. 

I was also informed by the natives at North Bluff, that about the Middle Savage 
Islands we would find natives who had never traded with white men, and who had 
large quantities of ivory. 

That a profitable business can bo carried on in pursuit of whale and porpoise 
fishery and walrus hunting, together with the trade with the Eskimo, seems 
beyond doubt, and it is unfortunate that none of the profits derived from it are at 
present received by Canadians. 


The Inhabitants. 

With the exception of people who may bo in charge of Capt. Spicers' station, the 
only inhabitants of the straits and northern part of the bay are the Eskimo. 

On the north side of the Straits they are quite familiar with the ways of white 
men, and seem to bo much pleased at the prospects of increased intercourse with 
them. Some one or two of them speak English, whilst some others understand 
easily what is said to them, but refuse to speak it. They are particularly fond of 
any article of clothing, either cotton or woolen, and the head man at North Bluff was 
arrayed in all the glory of a stand-up linen collar. 

These natives are docile, amiable and willing to work. When landing the stores 
and coal at North Bluff they worked all day along with our men, carrying heavy 
weights up over the rocks, and working as cheerily and heartily as could be desired, 
taking their pay in biscuit, of which they are inordinately fond. 

The number met with at the station h&ro was abojit thirty, but during my 
absence a largo number of them^visited the station, maintaining the most friendly 
relations with our party. 

They have no farinaceous food of any kind, and, as a consequence, the mothers 
suckle the children till they are from three to four years of age. The fjftnilies are 
small, there rarely being more than two or three children, and although early 
marriages are the rule among them, I cannot help thinking that their numbers have 
sensibly diminished, inasmuch as we found signs of their presence everywhere; yet, 
except at Port Burwell, Ashe Inlet and Stnpart's Bay, none were met with. About 
six miles south of Port Burwell there is the remains of what must once have been a 
large Eskimo settlement, their subterranean dwellings being still in a fair state of 
preservation. At the present time, so far as I can loam, there are only some five or 
six Eskimo families between Cape Chudleigh and Nachvak. 

Along the Labrador coast the Eskimo gather in small settlements round the 
Moravian Mission stations. At these places their numbers vary considerably. Nain 
is reputed to be the largest settlement and its Eskimo population amounts to about 
200 souls. 

These are all educated. They can read and write in their own language and the 
mieaionaries informed me that they were regular attendants at church and are very 
fond of music. No alcoholic or other liquors are given to the natives by these 
missionary traders; but they occasionally procure smallfquantities from Newfound- 
land fishermen. It is, however, a rare occurence, and there is no record of any dis- 
turbance or trouble ever having been caused. 

These missions are self supporting, the missionaries supplying the Eskimo on 
loan with the very best tra})3, fishi-g lines etc., and puchasing from them all their 
produce, whether it be seals, cod, salmon, furs or anything else. They are supplied 
by a sailing vessel called the "Harmony," which saiU from London each year, visits 
all their Mission stations and then returns, taking with her the great portion of the 
season's catch. The Newfoundland mail steamer makes several trips to Nain daring 
the summer of each year, but does not go any further north. 


I have mentioned these missionary traders and their work, because I am of 
opinion that the system, when honourably carried out, as it has been and is on the 
Labrador Coast, is the one which best meets the wants of the natives and tends to the 
improvement of their condition. 

In speaking of the inhabitants of the straits, I mentioned more particularly those 
living on the northern side, but those met with at Stupart's Bay were equally tract- 
able and ready to assist in the work. They wore, however, from less frequently meet- 
ing with white people more simple, but decidely more demonstrative; their delight 
on being informed that we were going to build a station and leave a party among 
them was exhibited by their forming a circle round the interpreter and dancing and 
shouting like a lot of school children. 

One word must be said in regard to their honesty. Although scraps of iron and 
wood possess a value to them which we can hardly appreciate, they would take 
nothing without first asking permission; not even a chip or a broken nail wcis taken 
without their first coming to the officer who was on duty at the building for permis- 
sion to take it. 

As to the pernicious efiects of their contact with American whalers, I beg to 
quote from the report of Lieut. Eay, of the United States Signal Service, who was 
in charge of the Observatory at Point Barrow, premising that I have every reason 
to believe that the New England whalers carry on very much the same sort of trade 
that their brethren of the Pacific seem to have done. Lieut. Kay says: — 

" The safety of the station would be very much increased if the law reljiting to 
the sale of contraband goods by the whale men and traders on this coast could be 
enforced." h« * * * * "I believe the offenders in the 

fleet this year are confined to two or three ships. I met nearly all the captaiiis when 
they first came up, and they promised a strict compliance with the law, but in gpite 
of all that, the natives here have been drunk three difierent times during the last 


The terrestrial mammalia of Hudson's Straits and northern part of the bay are: 

The polar bear, the fox (three varieties), the hare, the reindeer. 

The skin of the polar bear is valuable, being held at $12 by the agents of the 
Hudson's Bay Company. These animals, though reported by the Eskimo to bo very- 
savage, will not, 1 think, as a rule, attack a man unless first wounded or emboldened 
by hunger, when I can well understand that they would be dangerous to encoui^ter. 
They prey chiefly on the seal. The Eskimo on the south side of the straits, at Stu- 
part's Bay, informed me that at certain times of the year there were large numbers 
of them in that vicinity. The meat of these bears is not unpalatable, but the liver is 
said to be poisonous. 

The Fox. — Judging from the number of white fox skins which the natives had, 
these animals must be very numerous. These skins, however, have no high com- 
mercial value, and are, indeed, almost valueless, unless captured at a certain season 
of the year. 

The blue fox is a sort of a steel grey colour. Their skins are more valuable 
than those of the white fox, but they are much less numerous. 

The red fox is valuable as indicating the probability of the presence of the black 
fox, whoso fur is so very valuable. The red fox was seen on the south side of the 
strait, and black foxes are annually shot or trapped in the country south of Cap© 

The reindeer are the food and clothing of the Eskimo, and their horns are used 
for making the spring bows of their fish spears and for many other purposes. We 
procured some of the venison from the Eskimo at North Bluff, which was pronouaced 
by every one to be excellent. 

The hare is a common animal over the whole coast of the straits, being especi- 
ally numerous about North Bluff. 

Game Birds. — Many kinds were seen. Geese, swans, duck and ptarmigan werO' 
plentiful, 80 that the officers and men at the station can easily procure a palatabl© 
change of diet. 


The Work of the Expedition in the Coming Year. 

Much will undoubtedly be learned from the observations taken during this 
winter as to the formation and breaking up of the ice and generally in regard to its 
movement, and also of the phenomena afifecting navigation, but it would be im- 
possible to state definitively from one year's observations what was the average 
period of navigability of the straits. I consider, therefore, that it would be desirable 
to continue certain of the stations for a second year, and might perhaps be desirable 
to keep on three of them for a third year. 

For the year 1885 86, 1 have the honour to recommend that the following stations, 
Port Burwell, near Cape Chudleigh, Ashe Inlet, near North Bluff, Stuparls' Bay, 
near Prince of Wales Foreland, Nottingham Island and Digges Island, be continued. 

The station at Nachvak Bay could easily be disposed of, as the Newfoundland 
fishermen already visit the place for the cod^ fishing, and if it were advertised in the 
St. Johns, Nfld., papers, I do not doubt that the Department would get offers for the 
purchase of the house. 

The expedition for next year should be ready to start from Halifax about the 
16th of May — not later than this date — and arriving off Hudson's Straits about the 
1st of June, if possible visit and relieve the stations. Should the ice prevent our 
getting on shore, the ship should push on so as to investigate once for all the con- 
dition of the ice in the straits and bay in the early part of the season. If successful in 
gettiog through the straits, the voyage should be continued to Fort Churchill, the 
endeavour being made to arrive there about the opening of navigation, the 15th of 

After leaving Churchill the eastern shores of the bay should be visited, and a 
running survey made of such portions of the coast as practicable. Beacons should 
be erected on the north end of Mansfield Island and the south end of Southampton 
Island, Both these islands are low-lying, with shoal water running for some dis- 
tance out; they are of a dark grey limestone formation and most difficult to make 
out at night, the mariner's only safety being in the constant use of the lead. 
Especially are they dangerous on account of the tides, which run along the east coast 
of Mansfield Island at the rate of about four knots per hour. 

This work could, I think, be accomplished and the ship be back in the straits by 
the ir)th August. The remainder of the time should be devoted to making a running 
survey of such part of the coast of the straits as may be possible* Capt. Spicers* 
station should be called at, and if time permitted, the Hudson's Bay post at Ungava 
should also be visited, the expedition returning to Canada in October. 

If, however, the Government regard it as more important to investigate the 
fisheries of the bay and straits, the ship should push up north for Marble Island as 
soon as possible, thence to " The Eowe's Welcome." After spending a short time in 
" The Welcome," the porpoieo fishery at Churchill should be examined. 

After leaving Churchill, under any circumstances, the east shore should be 
visited, audits mineral and other resources examined and reported on. 

The vessel should also be fitted with a deep-sea dredging apparatus, wire dredge 
rope and deep-sea sounding apparatus. 

In the event of your deciding on sending out the expedition in May, it would be 
advisable to send to Ashe Inlet a schooner load of coal. If this vessel were to start 
so as to be in Ashe Inlet about 20th August, she would have but little difficulty from 
the ice. The harbour is an easy one to make, with no outlying shoals or rocks ; 
inside it is well sheltered and good holding ground. 

I have endeavoured in the foregoing pages to give all the information in my 
power in regard, not only to the navigation, but to the resources of the region of 
Hudson's Bay and Straits, and I trust that my efforts will meet with your approval. 

All of which is respectfully submitted. 

Commanding Hudson^s Bay Expedition* 



Geoloqical and Natural History Survey, 

Museum and Office, Sussex St., 

Ottawa, 19 Ih January, 1885, 

The Honorable A. W. McLelan, 

Minister of Marine and Fisheries, 

Sib, — In compliance with instructions received from the Hon. Sir David 
Macpberson, Minister of the Interior, I have the honor to transmit to you, as 
received by me on the 14th inst., the accompanying copy of the report, by Dr. Bell, 
of observations made on the shores of Labrador, Hudson Strait and Bay during the 
voyage of the steamship "Neptune," from the 22nd July to the 11th of November, 

The botanical and marine zoological collections made during the voyage have 
been examined. The plants have been named by Professor Macoun, the crusta- 
ceans by Professor S. J. Smith, of Yale College, and the molluscs and echinoderms 
by Mr. J. F. Whiteaves. The plants are represented by 118 genera and 227 species. 
The Crustacea by 13 genera and 16 species. The molluscs by 19 genera and 25 
species, and the echinoderms by 5 genera and 6 species. The brachiopods, cirripeds 
or barnacles and the annelids each by 1 species. 

Of the plants Professor Macoua states as follows : — 

" The collection is a very interesting one and shows conclusively the Arctic 
character oT the climate of the Straits and that part of Labrador north of Nachvat. 
North of Nain, all the plants obtained are exclusively Arctic, not one of them, except 
the Arctic Easpberry (rubus ckamcemorus) and a couple of species of Vacinium ranging 
as far south as the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The greater number, however, are widely 
distributed on the shores of the Arctic Sea, and are the characteristic plants of both. 
Arctic Europe and America." 

Mr. Whiteaves states that the marine invertebrata are well known Arctic 
species, most of which are common to the St. Lawrence Gulf, their range there 
being from about ten fathoms to fifty, where they form a large part of the food of 
the codfish — especial thanks are due to Professor Smith, of Yale, for the list of the 

I have the honor to be. Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 


Ottawa, 24th November, 1884. 
A. E. C. Selwyn, Esq., LL. D., F. E. S. 

Sir,— Herewith I beg to submit my report as geologist and naturalist on the 
Hudson's Bay Expedition, sent out by the Government of Canada during the present 

I have the honor to be. Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 

(Signed) EOBEET BELL. 


Observations on the Geology, Mineeialogt, ZooLoar, and IJotant op the 
Labrador Coast, Hudson's Strait and Bay. 

By Egbert Bell, M.D,, LL.D., B.A.Sc, P.E.S., Canada, Assistant Director 

OP the Geologic iiL Survey. 

Medical Officer to the Expedition. 

The question of sending a party by sea into Hudson's Bay, for scientific pur- 
poses, at the expense of the Government, has been before the public of Canada for 
some years. "Without entering into the subject of the various useful purposes which 
it was believed such a party might accomplish, it may be stated that the main object 
of the expedition, sent out by steamship the present season, was to establish six 
observatory stations on the shores of Hudson's Strait. The parties to be left in 
«harge of these stations were to remain one year and to keep regular meteorological 
xecords, and to note all seasonal events, especially with regard to the conuition of the 
Strait itself in winter, the tidal phenomena, &c., all with a view to throw additional 
light on questions regarding the navigation of these waters. If time permitted, 
after having built the stations, the vessel was to visit certain parts of Hudson's Bay. 
Without interfering with the above mentioned objects, the expedition would afford 
an opportunity for obtaining much desirable information in regard to the geology 
and mineralogy and the zoology and botany of the places which might be visited. 
The writer, who had been on Hudson's Bay in previous years, and who had already 
passed through the Strait (see Eeport of the Geological Survey for 1880), was selected 
for this duty, and also to act as medical officer to the expedition. 1 also acted as 
taxidermist and photographer for geological purposes, and provided myself with 
the instruments necessary for various methods of surveying, in case opportunities 
for using them should occur. 

The expedition was essentially a meteorological one, and Lieut. A. E. Gordon, 
II.N., of this branch of the public service, was selected for the command ; and the 
general management fell within the province of the Department of Marine. Not- 
withstanding that 1 had neither men nor boat at my command, I managed, while 
the stations were being built, or while the ship was taking in ballast, to get ashore 
Tvith the boats that were passing backward and forward between the vessel and the 
land, and in some cases I had the use of a boat and the assistance of officers and mer, 
both of the expedition and of the ship's company. 

The following letter from the Deputy Minister of Marine, in reply to one 
from Dr. Selwyn, will best explain my position with regard to the facilities to be 
expected : 

" Department of Marine and Fisheries, 

" Ottawa, 201h June, 1884. 

** Sir, — I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 18th instant, making 
certain enquiries in regard to the Hudson's Bay Expedition and the employment of 
Dr. Bell, and in reply 1 am to inform you that the vessel will sail from Halifax about 
the 21st of next month. Nothing beyond board and berth accommodation can be 
given Dr. Bell, the vessel being chartered to the Department, and no special accom- 
modation being guaranteed, but space will doubtless be provided sufficient for the 
storage of any specimens, &c., which Dr. Bell may collect or the stores provided for 
the preservation of the same. With reference to your enquiry as to what assistance, 
as regards men and boats, can be provided for Dn Bell's work, I have to inform you 
that Dr. Bell will have the opportunity of landing at every place at which the vessel 


may call, and every facility will be given him which the oflSicer in charge may con- 
sider he is able to aflPord without prejudicing the primary objects of the Expedition, 
but no special boat or crew can be furnished for Dr. Bell's uee. I am also to inform 
you that it is the intention that the vessel shall return this fall, but it is impossible 
to state positively that she will. I am also to state that^no charge will be made for 
Dr Bell's maintenance while on board the vessel. 

" I am, Sir, * 

*' Your most obedient servant, 

" W. SMITH, 
" Deputy Minister of Marine, (&c." 

A. E. C. Selwtn, Esq., LL.D., F.E.S., 

Director Geological and Natural History Survey. 

The route followed by the expedition, in going out and returning home, together 
with a full narrative of occurrences, will no doubt be given in the report of Lieut. 
Gordon to the Minister of Marine ; but in order to make the present report intelligi- 
ble by itself, it will te necessary for me here to give a brief sketch of the round 

The vessel which had been chartered by the Government for this service was 
the steamship "Neptune," belonging to the Messrs. Job Brothers, of St. John's, a 
wooden vessel of 684 tons burden, which had been built and fitted for the seal fishery. 
She was navigated by Captain William Sopp, as sailing master, and a competent staff 
of officers and men. We sailed from Halifax on the 22nd of July, our course lying 
between Cape North and Cape Eay, and through the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the 
Straits of Belle Isle. We anchored for an hour at Blanc Sablon, on the north shore, 
but did not land. On the way up the Labrador coast, we called at Ford's Harbor, 
Nain and Nachvak, for the purpose of engaging an Eskimo interpreter, which we 
succeeded in doing at the last named place. 

The first station was built on the north-west point of the promontory between 
Ungava Bay and the Atlantic, or near Cape Chudleigh. The second station was to 
have been placed on the southern or western part of Eesolution Island, but we did 
not succeed in finding a harbor on these shores, and could not land on account of the 
stormy weather; but we got a near view of the west coast of the island, and also of 
some of the Lower Savage Islands. We therefore proceeded to the locality which 
had been determined on for the third station, and found a suitable place on the south 
side of Big Island, which is just west of the Upper Savage Islands, at an inlet about 
two miles east of North Bluff. We next crossed the Strait to Cape Prince of Wales, 
south south-west of North Bluff, and erected a station on the shore of the bay, inside 
of the cape, or on its eastern side. From this place we next made the south point of 
Nottingham Island, and established a fourth observatory. Again crossing the Strait in 
a southerly direction, we passed close to Digges Island, and coasted down the eastern 
side of Mansfield Island, looking for a suitable place for another station, but without 
success. The south-east shore of Southampton Island was also coasted for some dis- 
tance, after which we traversed the northern part of Hudson's Bay to the extrance of 
Chesterfield Inlet, We did not land in this neighborhood, however, but turned south 
and called at Marble Island, where we anchored and spent one day ashore. From this 
island we made Cape Churchill, and then entered the harbor of the same name, at the 
mouth of the Churchill Eiver. A short visit was paid to York Factory, from which 
we recrossed Hudson's Bay to Digges Island, where a fifth station was built. On 
our homeward voyage through Hudson's Strait, we visited all the other stations in 
the reverse order in which they had been established. Another attempt was made to 
stop at Eesolution Island, in order to build a station, but again without success. It 
was then decided to place the party intended for Eesolution Island at Nachvak Inlet, 
-and we called there for this purpose and to leave our Eskimo interpreter, on our way 
to St. John's, which we reached on the 11th of October, and immediately handed the 


ehip over to her owners, four days before the date fixed for the expiration of the 
charter. On the morning of our arrival at St. Johns, we happened to catch a steamer 
for Halifax, and so were enabled to continue our homeward journey without an hour's 

Before proceeding to give details of my special work, I may say that at every 
place we visited I obtained as full notes as my opportunities would permit in 
regard to the geology and mineralogy of the surrounding country. 1 also endeavored to 
obtain fiora the natives information as to the occurrence of useful minerals, which, 
although not very definite, may in some cases lead to valuable discoveries. The 
Eskimo are intelligent and good observers, especially of such matters as affect their 
own mode of living and although rocks and minerals would not be expected to • 
interest them much, still I. found that in some instances they had taken notice of them. 
In order to facilitate enquiries I had provided myself with a collection of all the ores, 
minerals and rocks which might be expected to occur in the regions we were to visit, 
and on allowing the natives to inspect them, they would point out those which they 
thought similar to certain kinds which they had noticed in their own districts. An 
interesting feature in the geological phenomena of these northern regions, is that 
a study of them will assist us in the elucidation of the surperficial geology of the 
more southern portions of the Dominion, which forms so important a branch of the 
■work of the Geological Survey. 

In regard to zoology, efforts were constantly made to collect specimens in every 
class of animals and to obtain new information on all points with reference to them. 
Upwards of fifty specimens of mammals and birds were obtained, of which a portion 
were from Dr. Matthews, of York Factory. Some of these are rare and will prove to be 
very useful and interesting additions to our museum. Many notes were made on the 
habits and distribution of the mammals and birds. Attention was paid to the fishes and 
their food and to the subject of possible fisheries in these regions. A variety of moUusks 
and other invertebrates was secured by dredging. As we were living mostly on ship- 
board and in so cool a climate, but little could be done for the science of entomology. 
A email collection of butterflies and moths from the shores of Hudson's Strait have 
been sent to Mr. H. H. Lyman, a well known entomologist in Montreal, who has 
agreed to identify them. One of the missionaries on the Labrador coast has kindly 
promised to collect the Lepidoptera of that region and send them to me next year. 

With regard to botany, as complete a collection of plants as possible was made at 
every place we touched at. These are in the hands of Professor Macoun and a cata- 
logue of them will be found in ihe Geological Survey Report. Some new facts of 
interest in regard to the ranges of forest-trees in the Labrador peninsula and the 
country west of Hudson's Bay were ascertained from persons acquainted with these 

In addition to the technical assistance already acknowledged above,I take this oppor- 
tunity of mentioning that Professor C. Hart Merriam has kindly aided me in making 
out from my descriptions, the local names, &c , with which he is familiar, the ac- 
companying list of the seals of Hudson's Bay and Strait. I may mention that 
Professor Merriam, who is justly regai-ded as a high authority on the Pinnapedia, has 
liimself gone to the Newfoundland and Labrador seal fishery, and travelled in the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence for the express purpose of studying these animals. It would 
appear from my observations that we have in both Hudson's Bay and Strait all the 
kinds of seals found at any season either in the Gulf or on the coast of Newfound- 
land and Labrador; and from all that we could learn, both seals and walruses are 
abundant in the Strait and the northern parts of the Bay. But in order to obtain 
them in large numbers for commercial purposes, their various resorts and the course 
of their migrations at different seasons of the year would require to be studied. The 
gentlemen in charge of the observatory stations were instructed to attend to such 
matters , and their notes will probably throw some light on the subject in the par- 
ticular localities at which they are stationed. In the list of fishes, I have included 
species which I had in previous years ascertained to exist in Hudson's Bay or the 
waters immediately connected with it. Mr, Lucien M. Turner, who has spent two 


years in the Ungava district in the interest of the Smithsonian Institution, has 
kindly determined some of the fishes which I collected, and added the names of 
others which he found in the district named. 

I secured about sixty- five photographs of a uniform size of 8 by 5 inches. These 
are illustrative of subjects of interest in connection with the expedition, of the 
nature of the country and more especially of points bearing on its geology. 

I shall confine myself in the following pages to the subjects above referred to, 
as all others connected with the work of the expedition will probably be fully re- 
ported on by Lieut. Gordon. In regard to the arrangement to be adopted in this 
report, it has been considered best to state the facts and observations in the order in 
which they were noted, and in connection with them to give other information, 
bearing on the subjects referred to, which may have been gathered in previous years. 
As already mentioned, we anchored for an hour at Blanc Sablon on the morning of 
the 26th of July. Here the horizontal strata of the Quebec group form a conspicuous 
feature in the landscape. They are described at pages 287 and 288 of the Geology of 
Canada as consisting of 23 1 feet of red and grey sandstones and fine conglomerates 
forming the lower part of the section, with 143 feet of grey, redish and greenish 
limestones resting upon them. In Foi'teau Bay, a short distance east of Blanc 
Sablon, a considerable collection of fossils was made in these limestones by the late 
Mr. James Eichardson, which proves them to belong to the Quebec group, and to be 
equivalent to the Eed Sand-rock of Vermont. The Laurentian gneiss may be seen 
cropping out from beneath these sandstones at and near the sea shore, while the 
bills of the same formation rise above the level of the summit of the horizontal 
strata all along in the interior. 

At the entrance to Chateau Bay on the Labrador side of the Straits of Belle 
Isle, opposite to the northern extremity of Newfoundland, are two islands, called 
Castle and Henley's Islands, which are capped by flat basaltic summits, the former 
being 200 feet above the sea. They form a striking contrast to the prevailing char- 
acter of the shore rocks, which everywhere else in the neighborhood appear to be of 
Laurentian gneiss. Later in the season I was informed that some men had been 
mining mica on the shore of this bay, and in the autumn had brought about one ton 
of the mineral to St. Johns, on the way to Boston or New York, but that the plates 
did not exceed three by six inches in size, and that they were of a rather dark color. 
After passing the Straits of Belle Isle, the Labrador coast continues high and 
rugged, and although there are some interruptions to the general rule, the elevation 
of the land near the coast may be said to increase gradually in going northward, 
until within seventy statute miles of Cape Chudleigh. where it has attained a 
beight of about 6,000 feet above the sea. Beyond this, it again diminishes to this 
cape, whore it is 1 ,500 feet. Prom what I have seen of the Labrador, and from what I 
bave been able to learn through published accounts, Hudson's Bay Company's 
officers and the natives, and also judging from the indications afforded by the courses 
of the rivers and streams, the highest land of the peninsula lies near the coast all 
• along, constituting, in fact, a regular range of mountains, parallel to the Atlantic sea- 
board. In a general way, this range becomes progressively narrower from Hamilton 
Inlet to Cape Chudleigh. 

The distance from the Straits of Belle Isle to Cape Chudleigh, along the Labrador 
cjoast, is '760 English statute miles. This is divided into three principal courses, as 
follows : From Belle Isle to Porcupine Bay, due north (true), 120 miles ; from 
Porcupine Bay to Nain, north-west (true), 290 miles ; from Nain to Cape Chudleigh, 
north north-west (true), 350 miles. The coast-line is everywhere indented by inlets 
or fjords, and fringed with islands of all sizes, from mere rocks up to some measuring 
twenty -five miles in length. Most of the fjords are narrow and about twenty-five miles 
long; several are thirty-five miles, and Hamilton Inlet runs in from the open sea a 
distance of 160 miles. The general bearing of the fjords is at right angles to the 
coast line in the neighborhood. In a great many cases the islands are separated 
from one another, or from points on the mainland, by very narrow straits, with deep 
water, which bave received the name of " tickles." With regard to the condition 


below the level of the sea, it is stated in the Neiofoundland Pilot, published by the 
Admiralty, that the shores from Davis' Inlet to Nachvak are comparatively free 
from reefs and sunken rocks, but that from Nachvak to Cape Chudleigh they are 
fringed with islets and rocks, to an average distance of five miles out. The coast of 
Eesolution Island seems to be similarly studded with these impediments to naviga- 
tion, and these circumstances appear to be connected with certain geological condi- 
tiions, which will be referred to further on. 

In approaching Ford's Harbor, which is on the eastern point of Paul's Island, the 
islands near which we passed consisted of bare rock, and although usually high and 
steep, they had rounded or glaciated outlines. Numerous perched boulders lay about, 
either singly or in groups or rows, on the naked surface of the rock, wherever they 
could find a resting place. A short distance off the entrance of the harbor, we passed 
an island which, on the top and one side was literally piled with round(Ki boulders' 
On this island I noticed a dyke of trap about 100 feet thick, cutting the 
gneiss in a west-north-westerly direction. On going ashore at Ford's Harbor, I 
tound the gneiss to consist of common reddish and greyish varieties, some parts of it 
massive and others more finely and distinctly laminated. The average strike was 
south-east (true). The glacial stria? were quite distinct in many parts, but were 
best preserved near the shore. They run in two principal directions, S. 45° E., and 
S. 80° E. (mag.) Perched boulders wei-e observed on all the surrounding hilla. 
In going from Ford's Harbor to Nain we followed the channel on the north side of 
Paul's Island. The rock appeared to be dark, massive and crystalline. 

Our stay at Nain was so short that I had only time lo examine the high 
ridge or mountain to the north and north-west of the Mission Station. The first 
shoulder of this ridge, we were informed, has a height of 8*75 feet above 
the sea, but the summit, a short distance further inland, must be at 
least 200 feet higher. The rock here consists of a rather light groy gneiss, 
which strikes S. 45" E. (mag.) The glacial striae, which were seen with greater or 
less distinctness, all the way to the summit, run S. 65° E. (mag.) or about parallel to 
the valley which extends inland from the head of the fjord up which we had sailed to 
Nain, and with the same general bearing. "Well rounded boulders were scattered 
over the flanks and summit of this high ridge; and they were quite prominent on 
the high bare hills on both sides of the inlet, all the way from Ford's Harbor, The 
appearance of the top of this mountain, with the boulders resting on the bare, sloping 
rock, is shown in one of the photographs taken at this spot. Mountains of equal and 
greater height were seen in all dii'ections from this summit, except towards the east- 
ward, where they die down to the sea level in the distance. On the next hill to th«' 
north-west, the weathered surface of the rock showed a rusty belt of a brownish 
color, and of considerable extent, which was supposed to be due to iron pyrites. I 
was informed by the Moravian missionaries at Nain that the labradorite of this part 
of the coast is to be found at different places on Paul's Island, and at a fresh-water 
lake called Nunaingok, which lies at no great distance inland from the head of a bay* 
to the north-westward of Nain. They said it was also reported to occur on a bay a 
short distance to the southward. I had not an opportunity of vi&iting any of these 
localities, but from specimens which I have seen, I have little doubt the mineral 
occurs as veinstones, in which there are also crystals of pyroxene, iron pyrites and 
magnetic iron. In this connection it may be mentioned that I have seen a large 
specimen of coarsely cyrstalline labradorite rock from Hamilton Inlet, in which some 
of the faces showed a blue iridescence. The rose-red variety of anorthosite, called 
latrobite by Gmelin, is stated to come from an island called Amitok, on the old charts 
of the Labrador coast, about forty-five miles northward from Nachvak. When at 
Nain I obtained specimens of amazon-stone, which the Eskimo told me came from 
Port Manvers, and of paulite, a variety of pyroxene or hypersthene, which has also 
been called '* Labrador hornblende " and "metalloidal diallage." It was said to have been 
brought from Paul's Island. Mr. John Ford informed me that yellow mica, in flakes- 
about the size of one's hand, was found on this island, about two miles north-westward 
of Ford's Harbor. In regard to the rocks and minerals of the Labrador coast, the fol- 


lowing notes may be here given : I have received specimens of copper pyrites in a 
dark slate, which were labelled as having come from Indian Island, on the n»rth side 
of the entrance of Hamilton Inlet, and 1 have been otherwise informed that slates or 
fichists occur in that neighborhood. A man from Nova Scotia stated to me that he 
had been engaged, with others, two years ago in mining copper and lead ores 
on Deadman's Island, which is situated a few miles north of Hamilton Inlet. 
They occurred in a vein between a rock like granite and a sort of sandstone or 
quartzite. Mr. King, the second mate of the " Neptune, " said that copper ore was also 
found at Iron-bound Island or '* Makoubik " (probably Makkovik of the chart), not 
far from Cape Harrison. One of the gentlemen we met at Nain informed me that 
he had heard of copper ore being found somewhere to the southward of that place, 
but was not aware of the locality. These circumstances point to the possible occur- 
rence of deposits of copper in quantities of economic value on this coast. It is well 
known that productive mines of copper were in operation for a number of yeai'S on 
the adjacent coast of Newfoundland. 

At Nain I noticed some freshly split slabs of a grey felsitic slate, which where 
being used as flag stones, and, on inquiring, was informed that they had been 
brought from Ramah, in the bay next south of Nachvak, where there was said to be 
plenty of this rock in gitu. The name of the bay is Nullataktok, or Slate Bay. Our 
Eskinio interpreter. Lane, who was well acquainted with this bay, Jafter wards informed 
mo that slaty rocks were abundant there. 

AYhile at Ford's Harbor and Nain I collected as many plants as the limited time 
would permit, and Professor Macoun's list of them will be found in the appendix. 
The Eev. Dr. S. Weiz, who had loug resided at Nain, had made a collection of the 
plants of the vicinitj-, which he had submitted to some of the leading botanists of 
Europe, who had attached the proper name to each specimen. Ho kindly allowed 
me to make a list of these and it is also given in the appendix, in one of the columns 
of the general list. 

Although timber disappeared from the outer coast before reaching Nain, yet 
groves of trees may be seen in the valleys and on the more favorable slopes at the heads 
oftbe inlets, and wowereinformedthataftergoingten to twenty miles inland from Main, 
or from the coast for a considerable distance north of it, the whole country may bo 
said to be wooded, as far as the condition of the surface will permit of the growth of 
trees, and that in favorable situations the epruce and tamarac attain a sufficient size to 
bo sawn into lumber. At Nain, the trees consist of spruce, tamarac, and small 
willows, but at no great distance inland, balsam fir, poplar, white birch and rowan 
begin to make their appearances. 

In the gardens at Nain I observed the following vegetables: potatoes (a variety 
with low, flat, spreading tops), turnips, carrots, beets, cabbage, Scotch kail, a very 
rank variety of spinach, lettuce, peas, beans and onions. There was also a great 
variety of flowers. The peas and beans were arranged so that they could be protected 
by glass if requisite, and the potatoeo were planted in narrow beds, arched over with 
bent rods eo that loug sheets of coarse canvas could be thrown over them on frosty 

Leaving Nain, our next stopping place was the Inlet of Nachvak, about 140 
miles south of Cape Ghudleigh. This inlet or fjord, with an average breadth of 
from a mile to two miles, runs in from the open sea a distance of about f^rty statute 
miles. The water in it is very deep, and the mountains on either side im- 
mediately overlooking it rise to heights of from 1,500 to 3,400 feet, but a few 
miles inland, especially on the south side, they appear to attain an altitude of 
5,000 to 6,000 feet, which would correspond with the height of The Four 
Peaks, near the outer coast-line, about midway between Nachvak and Cape Chud- 
leigh. The mountains around Nachvak are steep, rough sided, peaked and serrated, 
and have no appearance of having been glaciated, excepting close to the sealevol. 
The rocks are softened, eroded and deeply decayed. On precipices and steep slopes 
the stratification is well brought out by the weathering, so that the dips may be 
distinctly seen. The mountains on the north side proved to be mostly Laurentian 


gneiss, notwithstanding their extraordinary appearance, eo different from the smooth^ 
solid and more or loss rounded outlines of the hills composed of these rocks in most 
other parts of the Dominion. On the present occasion we stopped only at the 
Hudson's Bay Company's post, at a narrow part of the fjord, about twenty miles in. 
from the open sea, and I had a few hours to examine the rocks, collect plants and 
take photographs in the neighbourhood. But in returning, in the month of October, 
we stayed for several days at a bight on the north side, a few miles from the enti'ance, 
where we built a station, and named the place Skynner's Cove. This enabled me to 
extend my explorations of the neighbourhood, and I shall now state the results of 
my observations on both occasions. 

On the south side of the inlet at the Hudson's Bay Company's post, an escarpment 
rises to a height of 3,400 feet, as ascertained by Commander J. G. Bolton, E. N., but 
I had not time to visit it to determine the nature of the rock. A brook, which gathers 
its waters from higher ground further back, but which is not visible from the ]iost, 
precipitates itself from the top of this great precipice in an almost perpendicular fall. 
The rock on the north side at this place consists of reddish gneiss, somewhat contorted 
and occasionally interstratified with dark micaceous layers. Two or three miles cast 
of the post a good sized brook falls, in several almost perpendicular leaps, a height 
of 300 or 400 feet over these rocks. The strike of the gaeiss in the neighborhood 
of the falls is S. 35° W. (true.) 

At a point on the north side, estimated to be about nine miles from the open sea 
and eleven from the post, opposite to a bay on the south side, a mountain rises steeply 
to a height of 1,500 or 2,000 feet. It is composed of gneiss standing vertically and 
striking N. 25° "W. (true), cut diagonally by a great many dykes of dark trap 
all underlying westward at an average angle of about 30° from the perpendicular. 
Some of them run together and others appear to die out in both directions on the cliff 
section. Some dykes of close-grained, almost black diorite, also cut the gneiss in the 
Ticinity of Skynner's Cove. Fi*om the point above named to Skynner's Cove the rock 
along the north side appears to be all gneiss with a variable strike in different parts. 
Around this cove there is a variety of micaceous, and horn blendic schists passing into 
thinly bedded gneiss. The average strike is about S.W". (true). I was informed 
by our interpreter, whose home is on the south side of the inlet, that the Eskimo 
obtained a kind of soapstone for making their pots in the vicinity ol Skynner's Cove 
before they were able to procure others of metal. Along the northern part of the 
entrance to the inlet or about North- Head of the chart, the rock is a coarse, dull red 
syentic gneiss. At one place it encloses a mass, like a bed, of nearly white quartzite 
marbled with small elongated gray patches, but it appears to be cut off as it runs up 
the slope, although another exposure of white rock was seen some distance oft' in a 
north-easterly direction. Here the glacial stri» were seen on projecting points near 
the water, running with the axis of the inlet or about east. At Mount Eazorback, 
which forms the outer point on the north side of the Nachvak Inlet the stratification 
is well seen, the dip being to the southward. The angle of dip on the outer or eastern 
part of the mountain is almost 60°, but this diminishes to 45° and fiaally to less than 
10", in going to the south-westward. Several large but somewhat irregular dykes of 
black-looking rock cut the strata of the mountain side at right angles to the dip in its 
varying inclinations. 

On the opposite or south side of the entrance of the Nachvak Inlet, the dip of 
the bedding is S. S. W. (true), and the inclination, generally from 35*^ to 40°, but 
at one part it is 60°. Dykes were seen all along, cutting the face of the mountain 
range and running in a south-easterly direction. 

On the west shore of the first cove, from the entrance, on the south side of 
Nachvak Inlet, the rocks consist of a coarse-grained slaty tufa or breccia, thickly 
studded with grains of quartz-opal. To the north, this passes into a sort of coarse 
cleavable grey syenite, which could be traced for two miles westward along the 
shore; while to the south of it is a coarse grey mica schist, running N. 25° W. (mag.) 
vertical. In this rock, and near the slaty breccia, a vein of quartz was found, from 
a foot to two feet in thickness, and holding patches of brown-weathering calcspar. 


The rocks in the mountain, overlooking the south side of the inlet, opposite Sky nner's 
Cove, have a slaty appearance, with some great bands of a light color and more solid 
aspect, the outcrop running nearly horizontally for some distance. I was unable to visit 
these bands, but our interpreter brought me a specimen, which he said he had broken- 
off one of them, and which proved to be a tine-grained light grey, silicious schist, 
which makes excellent honee. These and the other rocks on ihe south side of the 
inlet in this neighborhood, which have jUst been described, as well as a part of those 
on ihe north side, may belong to the Huroniau series. Slaty rocks have been men- 
tioned as occurring at Ramah, in the inlet, about twenty miles south of Nachvak. 
From the specimens which I have seen, these are probably of the same age, and they" 
may be connected as one area with the supposed Huronian strata of Nachvak. 

We were informed, both by Mr. George Ford, the agent of the Hudson's Bay 
Company at Nachvak, and our Eskimo interpreter, that at a short distance beyond 
the more distant mountains, seen to the west of the company's post, the country lalla 
rapidly on the inland side, and soon becomes comparatively level. This descriptiori 
agrees with other accounts of the interior of the Labrador in the Ungava district. A wide 
level tract embracing the country drained by the George, the Whale and the Koksok, 
South, Big or Ungava Elvers, is said to extend southward a long distance from Ungava 
Bay. The surface is reported to be covered with a wet, peaty moss, growing upon 
barren pand, with the solid rock everywhere at a short depth beneath. The rivers and 
brooks are fringed with spruce and tamarac trees, but very little timber is to bo 
met with between them. TJie mouth of the Ungava Eiver is 155 miles 
south-west of Cape Chudloigh. In going by sea, from one to the other, Com- 
mander Bolton says, in the Newfoundland Pilot: "The high land of the Labrador 
shore could be seen towering above the scarcely discernable shore of Ungava Bay, 
for the first sixty or seventy miles." The Ungava River is navigable for sja-going: 
vessels to a point three or four miles above the Hudson's B ly Company's post. Fort 
Chimo, and boats may ascend it for seventy or eighty mile-. The river is from one- 
quarter of a mile to a mile and aquarter iu width. Its upward course is S. by E. 
(true), and it passes through a barren undulating country. Spring tides at Fort 
Chimo rise 38^ feet, and the rapid currents produce dangerous whirlpools. 
Salmon frequent the rivers of Ungava Bay in great numbers, and for soma 
years the Hudson's Bay Company have annually sent a cargo of them, in a 
frozen state, by a small steamship, to the London market, in addition to a con- 
siderable quantity of the salted fish. Besides salmon, the trade of this port consists 
of furs, peal and white porpoise oil, and deer skins, and is carried on with the Eskimo 
of the coasts, Cree Indians from the south-western interior, and Nascopie Indians 
from the south eastward. 

Spruce timber begins to be met with, according to all accounts, about thirty 
miles to the south-west of the Hudson's Bay Company's post at Nachvak. The 
tamarac follows a short distance further south. To the westward of Nachvak, the 
noi'thern limit of the spruce, according to Capt. William Kennedy, reaches the 
shore of Ungava Bay, north of the George River. On the western side of this bay 
the Eskimo informed me it begins to be found in the neighbourhood of Bay of Hope's 
Advance, or five days' journey south-eastward of Cape Prince of Wales, on the south 
side of Hudson's Strait, and that in this neighbourhood it was found further north in 
the interior than near the coast. In addition to spr-ice and tamarac, balsam-fir,, 
canoe-birch, aspen and balsam poplar are reported, on good authority, to exist in the 
interior of northern Labrador, but at some distance further from the coasts of the 
Atlantic and the Strait than the first mentioned. 

On the East-main coast of Hudson's Bay the northern limit of the spruce was^ 
found to be a few miles north of Richmond Gulf, but it was reported to extend much 
further north at a distance inland from this coast. On the west side of the Bay it 
was seen in considerable quantities all along the coast, from Cape Churchill to But- 
ton's Bay, and Mr. George McTavish, who has made several coasting voyages to the 
north, and who, at my request, has kindly made observations and collected informa- 
tion from the natives in regard to the distribution of timber, informs me that it 


leaves the shore about twenty miles beyond Seal Eiver, He was told by the Eskimo 
of these parts, who travel a good deal in the interior, that spruce timber begins to 
be met with at two days (say fifty-five miles) west of the mouth of Big River, and 
that it is considerably further inland, opposite to Eskimo Point, which is about in 
latitude 61* 40'. From this neighbourhood it runs west north-westward and crosses 
the Coppermine Eiver about twenty miles from its mouth, and thence reaches nearly 
to the mouth of the Mackenzie Eiver. 

On leaving Nachvak, we sailed up the coast, passed round Cape Chudleigb, 
through Gray's Strait, which is between it and the Button Islands, and entered 
TJngava Bay. According to the chart and the Newfoundland Pilot, the cape rises to a 
height of 1,506 feet above the sea, and the highest point of the Button Islands 
has an equal elevation. The outlines of these islands and of the southern shore of 
Oray's Strait, although bold and steep, are I'oundcd, as if they had been glaci- 
ated. At the west end of the south-eastern island of the Button group a great rock 
has been excavated into the form of a half arch, which rises out of the water and 
rests, at its summit, against the cliff which forms the extremity of the island. The 
rocks of the islands and the south side of the strait appear to be all gneiss. 

On the Ungava Bay side of Cape Chudleigh we entered an inlet about ten miles 
flOUihward of the extremity of the land, and discovered a harbour on its north side, 
■which we named Port Burwell, after Mr. H. W. Barwell, the gentleman who was 
left in charge of the station (No. 1) which we built here. The hills, for a few miles 
around Port Barwell, are only moderately high and are not generally steep. Their 
outlines are rounded and their rocky surfaces have scattered upon them numerous 
boulders as well as finer rocky dibris. The rock everywhere consists of ordinary 
vai'ities of gneiss, the commonest of which are massive reddish and dark hornblendic 
and micaceous. The strike at the Port varies from N. 20° E. to N. 40° E, (mag.) 
The glacial striic at the observatory station run S. 35° E. (mag.), but among the hills 
in the neighbourhood they were observed to follow the trends of the valleys with a 
general south-eastward course by the compass. A short distance south of the station, 
a vein, varying from 8 to 13 inches in width, occurs in the gneiss. Its direction 
corresponds nearly with the strike, which is here N. 20° E., running with the 
stratification for a short distance, breaking across to other beds, following them for a 
short distance and then jogging off to others. It consists of light grey dolomite and 
white quartz, holding a little iron pyrites and some crystals of quartz, rendered 
ruby-colored by a layer of oxide of iron under the faces. 

From Port Burwell I explored the inlet to the south-eastward, and found it to 
be a strait dividing into two branches at five miles from the Port, the northern of 
■which was ascertained to run through to the Atlantic. The Eskimo whom we met 
in this strait informed us (through our interpeter) that the southern branch also 
continued through to the ocean. They also told us that there was no other channel 
to the south of this between Ungava Bay and the sea to the east. We named this 
newly found channel McLelan's Strait, in honor of the Minister of Marine and Fish- 
■«ries, and the north-west point of the main land, Cape William Smith, in honor of 
the Deputy Minister. At six miles from Port Burwell the northern branch of Mc- 
Lelan's Strait has contracted to half a mile in width, and has become flanked by 
high and steep hills, rising from either side. The tides, which at springs have here a 
rise and fall of upwards of twenty feet, run with great velocity through thii narrow 
part. The locality is called Nunaingok by the Eskimo, which means the Hidden 
Place, and the same name is applied to one or two other localities on the Labrador 
coa*t. In proceeding from Port Burwell to Nunaingok, our course was S. 5° E. (n:ag.) 
or 8. 55° E. (true), and the country on either side of McLelan's Sirait bhowed less and 
less evidence of glaciation. Even close to the shore, in approaching the higher hills 
which begin at JSunaingok, the gneiss is deeply decayed, the softening process having 
extended particularly along the joints which run both vei'tically and horizontally, 
leaving only hard kernels with a more or less rounded outline, between them. 
Nunaingok is situated on an alluvial flat, extending between the two branches of the 
strait. The hill which rises steeply on the south side of it is about 700 feet high ; but 


further in, between the branches and on either side of them, the mountains are from 
1,500 to 2,500 feet high, and have rugged tops and sides. Rounded boulders were 
found scattered all over the side and top of the hill just referred to; but although it 
had probably been somewhat glaciated, it had not been planed down to hard surfaces, 
but had an irregular outline, and the rocks were much disintegrated. Among the 
transported boulders and pebbles scattered over its surface, some of brecciated drab 
limestone with clear quartz grains, pinkish rod sandstone, red jasper and magnetic 
iron, were noticed. Fragments of grey, drab and yellowish limestone, with obscure 
fossils, were common around the base of the hill. The glacial striiii were well seen on 
the southern side of the hill referred to, where, iu one case, they were observed to 
groove longitudinally a vertical wall, and even the under side of an overhanging shelf 
of rock. The general direction was S. 25* E., or with the course of the south branch 
of the strait. 

The fixed rocks around Nunaiugok, as far as I had the opportunity to examine 
them, were all gneiss, the average strike of which was N. W. (true.) On one of the 
mountains on the north side of the northern channel a wide belt of brown, iron- 
stained rock runs diagonally through the ridge, the color being probably due to the 
decomposition of iron pyrites, but I had not time to visit the place. 

At Nunaingok, on top of a bank of sandy earth, are the remains of an old Eskimo 
village. The roofs of most of the underground houses had fallen in, leaving only large 
circular pits. Some of these had become partially filled up, showing great antiquity. 
A few of the newest of them had been inhabited within a year. Some Eskimo camped 
in the vicinity informed us, through our interpreter, that this had once been a com- 
paratively populous village, and a resort of their people as far back as their traditions 
extend. It is their custom to live in the underground houses from the commence- 
ment of winter, some time in November, till January-, after which they leave them 
and spend the rest of the winter in igloes or snow houses. The water in the north 
branch of McLelan's Strait, they informed us, is open all winter at this point, and is^ 
much frequented bv seals, which afford them a reliable supply of food. These ani- 
mals they kill either from their kyaks or by spearing them from hiding places which 
they have built of stones on every ledge and point of rock past which the seals are 
accustomed to swim. Great numbers of bones of seals, walruses, reindeer, foxes, 
hares, birds, &c,, lie scattered about on the surface and mixed with the earth around 
the old dwellings. The remains of stone pots and implements near others of European 
manufacture showed a transition from the barbarous to a civilized condition. I was 
told by one of the Labrador missionaries, who had had a long experience of these 
people, that the comforts and conveniences of civilization rendered the Eskimo less 
vigorous and healthy, and, as a consequence, their numbers are diminishing. 

The " Xeptune " was anchored in 15 fathoms at low tide in Port Burwell. The 
bottom was a sandy mud, and was found, by dredging, to abound with shellfish, echi- 
noderms and crustaceans. During our stay, fi'om tfie 5th to the 8th of August, the 
water teemed with fine cod, which were taken in great numbers by jigging. Many 
of them were tolerably large, and they were of excellent quality, contrasting, in this 
respect, with the cod we had got at Nachvak, Ford's Harbor and a fishing station 
on some islets we had passed to the south-east of it. Most of our crew had had more 
or less experience of the Labrador fisheries in previous years, and the superior quality 
of the Port Burwell cod was a subject of general remark among them. On our 
return to Port Burwell wo found the fish still abundant on the 27th and 28Lh of Sep- 
tember, and the party in charge of the station informed us that they could catch 
them any time they chose in the interval. At Xachvak the fishermen began to take 
cod on the I7th of July, and they were catching them in great numbers at the end 
of the month. During our Btay in Skynnor's Cove, in the inlet, from the 30th of Sep- 
tember till the Gth of October, we caught as many as desired, by jigging from the 
ship's deck. From all that I could learn by enquiries along the Labrador coast and 
from our crew, it would appear that although the dates vary in difierent years and at 
different places, the average time for the cod to strike the shores is the middle of 
July, and that the particular time at any locality depends more on the presence or 


absence of ice than on its latitude. If this condition happened to be the same all 
along, the fish would appear at the same time at every part of the coast. This would 
be the natural inference, since there appears to be no other difference in the conditions 
which would affect the cod along the whole coast. Bait is used as far north as Capo 
Harrison, but beyond that the fish are so numerous and voracious that the naked 
jigger alone is required. The fish are dried on Hakes as far as Indian Harbor, but on 
the more northern parts of the coast they are spread upon the shingle or the smooth, 
rounded rocks. 

Station No. 2 was intended to be placed on Resolution Island, or one of the 
Lower Savage Islands to the north-westward of it; but after spending part of two 
days in endeavoring to fin I an anchorage or a harbar on these islands, the attempt 
was abandoned until we should be returning after establishing the remaining stations. 
A near view of Resoluiion Island was not obtained on this occasion, but the southern 
shores of the Lower Savages were seen closely enough to determine the rocks 
to be massive gneiss, of which the prevailing color was rod. The iron bound shores 
of these islands rose abruptly several hundred feet above the sea. 

On leaving the Lower Savages we proceeded up the Strait to the vicinity of 
North Bluff, but at a long distance from shore, until we came directly opposite to it. 
We anchored in a bay two miles east of the Bluff, which we called Ashe's Inlet, after 
Mr. W. A. Ashe, D.T.S., who was to have charge of the observatory station (No. 3) 
which we proceeded to erect on the eastern side of the bay. 

The rock^ on the we^t side of Ashe's Inlet consist of dark gi*ey gneiss, composed 
principally of quartz and felspar in even beds. The general strike, which is pretty 
uniform, is east ard west (true), and the dip, north at an angle of 40°. On the 
higher levels the surface of the rock is decayed into half isolated boulder-like masses. 
In the vicinity of the station, on the east side, a common variety of gray micaceous 
gneiss is met vsitb, striking with regularity to the N.W. (true). A mile to the north- 
ward, however, on this side of the inlet, it has become east and west (true), cor- 
responding with the trike on the west side. The country was examined for several 
miles inland, or what I judged to be about the centre of the (Big) island, and found 
to consist entirely of common varieties of gneiss, with a prevailing westerly strike. 
It contains many veins of "hungry" or barren milk quartz. Some of them hold 
felspar and black mica, giving them a somewhat granitic character. In one 
of them the felspar, which was white, was observed to be striated. The hills have 
a rounded sweeping outline, and their summits are a considerable distance apart. 
The wide even spaces between them hold shallow lakes, surrounded with green 
meadow-like flats and mossy slopes. Numerous rivulets and l)rooks run down the- 
hills and discharge the w.Uers of one lake into another. The general aspect of the 
landscape reminds one of some parts of the Highlands of Scotland. A shallow 
looking lake, with many low stony points, begins about three miles northward of 
our anchorage, and has a length of about thi-ee miles. It discfiarges south and 
westward into Ache's Inlet by a wide, rapid and shallow stream, which we called 
Edith Eiver. The Eskimo informed us that at certain seasons large trout were 
abundant in this lake and river. 

Around Ashe's Inlet the glacial striie run about S. 65° E. (true). On the tops of 
the hills the rocks are much weathered and only faint traces of the s,irm remain. In 
these sil nations ridges of gneiss boulders, with an easterly direction, were occasionally 
met with. One of them, on a hill a short distance north of the obeezvatory station, has- 
evidently accumulated in the lee of a knob of rock which stands at its western extremity. 
Among the prevailing gneiss boulders scattered on the hills and plains were found 
several of grey dolomite like that of the Manitouink group of rocks (Cambrian. See 
Geological Sui vej- Report for 1877, p. 11 C.) and of the soft buff grey dolomite like that 
of the Churchill River. (S^e Geological Survey Report for 1879, p, 18 C). I also found a 
large decomposed boulder which had been made up of coarse radiating crystals of 
greenish grey horbnlendo. A bed of the same rock was afterwards found interstrati- 
fied with the gneiss atCxpe Prince of Wales, on the south side of the Strait, opposite 
10 Ashe's Inlet. A small piece of greyish crystalline limestone was picked up near 


Ashe's Inlet, which bears a very close resemblance to a variety common in the Lau* 
rentian bands of the Ottawa valley. 

Some heavy field-ice had di-ifted into Ashe's Inlet before our arrival there. The 
Eskimo informed us that this was the first time in their knowledge that such a thing 
had occurred, and this circumstance aflfbrded us another proof of the unusual abund- 
ance of this kind of ice the present summer. Several of the pieces or " pans " were 
upwards of 20 feet thick, aud as the tide has here a rise and fall of more than 30 feet, 
some of them were left dry at low water and were found to consist of solid blue ice. 
The outlines of these pans, as seen floating in the sea, more frequently approach a 
quadrilateral form than any other. This kind of ice was afterwards seen in great 
quantities around Salisbury and Nottingham Islands, in the mouth of Fox's Channel, 
down which there appears to bo no doubt, all the heavy ice of Hudson's Strait, 
comes. On reaching the Strait it projects towards the south shore and 
breaks off in fields of greater or less extent which float up and down with the tide^ 
always working to tho eastward, and part of it finally escapes into Davis' Strait. 
Hudson's Strait, however, being about 500 miles long, the tendency of tho wind and 
tide is to drive much of it ashore, or to imprison it in bays and inlets. Once it has 
reached such situations, the lee afforded by the high lands often prevents it from 
being drifted out to deep water again. In this way, during the present season, a 
large quantity of it became fixed in Ungava Bay and detained the Hudson's Bay 
Company's steamer *' Labrador" for twenty-one days, being the first time, I understand, 
that any detention of the kind has taken place Mr. L. M. Turner, of the Smiths- 
onian Institution, who was at Fort Chimo at the time, informed us that the thickness 
of some of these blocks of ice was measured, and in one case found to be as 
much as 42 feet. Mr. Burwell, at Station No. 1, on the west side of Cape 
Chudleigh, reported that, during August and September, ho observed theno heavy 
pans floating south-westward into Ungava Bay, but never returning past his station^ 
At Ashe's Inlet the observer reported that the ice always floated back, or westward, 
a short distance, with each tide, but finally disappeared to the eastward. Some of 
this heavy ice was stranded about Cape Prince of Wales in the latter part of August 
and the first half of September, but it had all gone when we re-visited the station 
here on the 23rd of September. At Nottingham Island we observed some of tho 
heaviest " pans " stranded in 6 fathoms of water, and they would, consequently, he 
about 40 feet thick. 

I tested the ice of the stranded pans in some places, and always found it fresh. 
This would be the case, notwithstanding that tho ice formed in sea water, for most of 
the salt would be thrown out in the freezing, and what might remain would draiu 
away near the surface on exposure to the mild air of summer. Owing to the some- 
what poor heat-conducting power of ice, it is not possible that so great a thickness 
as 40 feet could form in one winter in Fox's Channel. It is probable that a good 
many years-would be required. In regard to the quantity of ice which has been ob- 
served in Hudson's Strait, a study of tho experience of the vessels which have navi- 
gatod these waters, as well as of that of tho ships of the Moravian Brethren coming; 
to the coast of Labrador, would seem to show that there is a succession of good and 
bad years, with a minimum, and a maximum at perliaps seven or eight years apart, 
or in cycles of some fourteen or fifteen years; also, that there may be a raaximuni 
intensity in these cycles themselves, so that perhaps every third one will be more 
favourable in tho rainiraam of ice and more severe in the maximum than the two 
intervening ones. 

The fact that most of the ice-pans of Hudson's Strait, when not covered with fresh 
snow, are colored with dust and earth, points to their formation rear shore, and also 
to their i emaining there during one summer at least, when the ground is bare of 
snow and the surface not frozen. The dust appeared to be in too great quantity to 
be of cosmic origin. These pans sometimes carry gravel on their backs, a circumstance 
which was noted in my report for 1880, p 20 C. When at Ashe's Inlet, a fact was 
observed which may explain the last mentioned phenomenon. Some tolerably thick 
ice still remained attached to the shore at high tide mark. During the melting of 
the snow on the hills above it, torrents had carried a quantity of stones and earth 


•out of an adjacent bank and deposited them upon the surface of the ice. The connec- 
tion between this ice and the shore being sufficiently weakened, the next spring-tide 
would carry it out to sea, as previous tides had already carried parts of the adjoining 
>ice, similarly laden. 

The icebergs of Hudson's Strait are of comparatively small size and are or have 
been mostly flat-topped. The original appearance of some of them has been altered 
by foundering and canting, which have occasionally been repeated several times, 
the various positions which the berg has occupied being indicated by water-lines 
now standing at different angles to the surface. These small icebergs are most 
iaumerous along the northern side of the Strait, and they have never been observed 
westof Fox's Channel, out of which they proceed. They are supposed to originate 
from glaciers on the shores of this channel, but it is possible that they may come 
through the passages which arc believed to run into it from Baffin's Bay and 
Lancaster Sound, or through Fury and Hecla Straits, in all of which the current is 
known to set southward. 

The soil or drift material of Hudson's Strait is probably permanently frozen at a 
certain depth below the surface, although our interpreter told me it was not so at 
Nachvak, nor does it appear to be the case at Nunaingok, in McLelan's Strait. On 
Nottingham and Digges Islands, when the gneiss has been glaciated and its hard 
surface exposed to the cold, it appears to have become so deeply chilled that its tem- 
perature does not rise above the freezing point in summer, except in the direct sun- 
shine. Whenever water in small quantities had flowed over these I'ocks at night or 
in the shade during the day it had become frozen. 

While the " Neptutao" was lying at Ashe's Inlet a party of Eskimo from the east- 
ward came on board. They brought with them plates of good, light coloured mica and 
pieces of pure foliated graphite, also a small piece of iron pyrites, and one of amorphous 
.graphite. In reply to questions, they stated that they came from a place called 
Kimnirook, about two days' journey by kyak. to the eastward, and that they had 
gathered these specimens in that vicinity. They further stated that there was plenty, 
both of the mica and the foliated graphite. Having assembled these visitors, and 
also the Eskimo of North Bay, who were already at the Inlet, a party of thirty-eight 
in all, I exhibited to them my collection of minerals, and passing them round, one at a 
time, enquired succsssively if any of them had ever seen a mineral like that. In return 
for any information which they mightgive, I offered them tobacco, ammunition, kettles, 
Ac, all of which they coveted very much and might easily have invented stories as to 
the occurence of minerals in these regions in order to gain the articles offered. But 
the only kinds they recognized, besides those of which they had brought the speci- 
mens above mentioned, were a bright red hsiimatite occurring inland from Kimnirook , 
and a rather hard and inferior variety of soapstone, which they used for making 
pots before they obtained metal ones from the white men, at the western end of Big 
Island (in which this inlet and North Bluff are situated). They said they had 
observed plenty of hard white stones, like the quartz exhibited, in various localities, but 
no soft white ones such as the marble, gypsum, barytes, &e., the hardness of which 
they tested with their knives. 

During our stay at Ashe's Inlet, the Eskimo killed two reindeer in the vicinity, 
and, judgiug from the numerous tracks, of these animals they would appear to bo 
common ; but the natives informed us that they were much more abundant on the 
mainland to the north, whei'e they are in the habit of hunting them most of the 
summer, coming again to the sea shore to live on seals and walruses during the winter. 
Three young harp seals were killed in the inlet during our visit, and as we steamed out 
of it we saw two walruses. One of our party obtained the tusk of a narwhal from the 
Eskimo who visited this inlet. Arctic hares were numerous on a small island, to which 
the foxes could not gain access. Gulls, gannets, guillemots, eider ducks and ptarmigan 
were the commonest birds. The young of the last named were about three parts 
grown on the 15th of August, and could fly with the adult birds. The Eskimo 
informed us that largo trout were abundant, at certain seasons, in what we named 
Edith Lake and River, a few miles north of the observatory station. 


Driftwood, all spriico, of which a considerable quantity had been seen at Port 
Burwell and in McLelan Strait, was entirely absent at Ashe's Inlet, and Nottingham 
Island, and was scarce at Digges Island and Cape Prince of Wales. 

We left Ashe's Inlet on the evening of the 16th August, and arrived at Cape 
Prince of Wales, on the opposite side of the Strait, on the morning of the ITth, the 
distance being about 60 geographical miles, and the course about S. S. W. (true). 
Prince of Wales Sound lies to the south-eastward of the cape, and appeared to be 
about 15 miles broad. We selected a place on the inner side of the cape for 
building the observatory station, and named it Stupart's Bay, after Mr. E. F. Stupart 
of Toronto, who was to have charge of it. The highest hill on the west side of the 
bay was ascertained to have a height, according to the barometer, of 340 feet, and 
the highest to the south of it to have a height of 180 feet. The rocks in the vicinity 
of the bay were found to consist entirely of Laurentian gneiss. In the hills on the 
west side of Slupart's Bay, the strike is from S. to S. 40° E. (mag.), or nearly east 
and west (true). The gueies in the hills, both to the south and west, is cut by nume- 
rous veins and bunches of milk-white quartz, which in various parts are so conspic- 
uous on the bare surface as to be seen from considerable distances. In one place on 
the eastward slope of the hill to the west a group of parallel veins of this mineral, 
varying from a ioot to two feet in width, is traceable for some distance. Their course 
is slightly sinuous, but the average run is N. 55° W. (mag.). Eed felspar occurs in 
some of these, and occasionally a little black mica. The to|>of this hill is rounded 
and striated. The glacial grooves are quite distinct. On the highest point their 
direction is S. GO" E. (mag.). A little below the summit, on the south side, they run 
S. 50° E., while at the observatory station, near the sea shore, their course is S. 40® 
E. (mag.). 

Viewed from the top of the hill just referred to, the slopes and valleys to the north- 
eastward are full of ponds resting in basins of solid rock. Boulders are perched on 
the summits and slopes of all the hills around. Beaches of shingle, as fresh looking 
as those on the present sea shore, except that the stones are covered with lichens, 
may bo seen at all levels, up to the tops of the highest hiHs in this vicinity. The long 
sloping hillside to the south of the observatory station is covered with fields of 
shingle and small round boulders, all blackened by the lichens. At the northern base 
of the ridge, to the north-west of the station, is a large dry basin-like depression, with a 
notch on the outer side, through which it has formerly communicated with the sea. 
From the notch, the shingle and mud are spread over the floor of the basin in a fan- 
like fashion, as if the tides had rushed violently in through this opening. The 
materials of the raised beaches above referred to consist principally of gneiss with, 
milk quartz from the veins of the neighbourhood, together with a few fragments of 
yellowish grey dolomite, with obscure fossils, a hard and nearly black variety of 
silicious clay-slate, with an occasional boulder of dark, hard crystalline diorito. 

Prince of Wales Sound has a breadth of, apparently, about fifteen miles, in a 
due S. E. bearing from Stupart's Station, on the inner side of Cape Prince of Wales,, 
and of probably eight or ten miles in a southerlj' direction. A long arm, the north 
shore of which I reached at two and a-half miles due S. W. from the station, runs 
due west from the western side of the sound. This appeared to be the favourite resort 
of the Eskimo, and I propose to name it, for convenience, Eskimo Inlet. A small 
rapid river was crossed between the station and the inlet. The Eskimo informed me 
that another river enters the head of this inlet, and that it passes through two good 
sized lakes not far from the sea. Some large trout, which they had brought to the 
ship, were stated to have been caught in this river. Salmon were said to be found 
in another river entering the sound at a point about south of Stupart's Bay. 

The hills of gneiss between Stupart's Station and Eskimo Inlet are pretty thor- 
oughly glaciated. The ridges and hummocks, as a rule, present smooth gradual 
slopes to the west and abrupt craggy faces to the east, showing that the movement 
of the ancient ice was from the west. The strire are well seen in many places on the 
hills, the average direction being S. 40° E., (mag.) or about due east, astronomically. 
On the shore of the inlet they run a little north of true oast or parallel with the course 


of the inlot itself. Here I found a good many boulders of grey and yellowish lime- 
stone on the beach. 

The gneiss along the northern shore of Eskimo Inlet is of the ordinary variety, 
and has an average strike of N. 20° W. (mag.) One of the veins of white quartz in 
this locality contains purplish red calcspar, in rather coarse crystals of a uniform size, 
both the color and texture closely resembling some varieties of the banded crystalline 
limestones of the Laurentian series in the County of Lanark. Dark crystals of 
epidote occur along with it. Light green amorphous epldote and a bright red 
felspar are associated in some of the quartz veins of the vicinity. One of the Eskimo 
liad a small lamp made of a soft, grey variety of schistose mica rock, which he said 
occurred on an island in Prince of Wales Sound. 

From a hill near Eskimo Inlet a view was obtained far inland to the west. The 
•surface of the country in that direction appears in long sweeping outlines, termina- 
ting in mountain ranges in some of the higher parts, and resembles the landscapes 
m various parts of Newfoundland. 

The Eskimo report reindeer to be plentiful around Prince of Wales' Sound at 
certain seasons, being most abundant, I understood, in the winter. During the in- 
terval between our two visits to the sound, the natives killed several, and a member 
of the observatory party shot one in the vicinity of Stupart's Bay. These people 
also told us that the polar bear was common on the southern shore of the Strait, to 
the west, and that Ane-ugi, or Snow Island, about eight miles above Cape Prince of 
Wales, was a favourite place for them to land. The walrus is found at this cape at 
most seasons of the year. We saw several in going out and in with the " Neptune," 
and our interpreter killed one while we were lying in Stupart's Bay. 

The Greenland, or harp seal, (Phoca grcenlandica, Fabricius) was the sjiecies on 
which the Eskimo were living during our visit to Prince of Wales' Sound, but they 
had in -their possession the skins of a good many harbor and square-flipper seals. 
(^Phoca vituUna) (Linn.) and Erignatlms bnrbatus Fabricius). Some of the last 
mentioned were very large, stretching from the apex of a wigwam to the ground, 
and measuring 11 or 12 feet in length. 

In reply to questions put to the Eskimo here, through our interpreter, they 
informed us that not only the Strait itself, but even Prince of Wales' Sound, did not 
freeze over in the winter, but that ice drifted up and down with the tides. They 
stated that ice formed in the coves and around the shoals and islands off the cape. 
The chief reason why they live in this vicinity is that Cape Prince of Wales being 
" a good place for ice " they are more certain of a steady supply of seals and walruses 
than elsewhere. 

As to the supposed passage or channel between Bay of Hope's Advance and 
Mosquito Bay, they did not appear to have any personal knowledge. Our inter- 
preter did not think it existed, but as he came from the eastern Labrador, ho had no 
definite idea on the subject. Being an egotistical individual, and wishing his own 
opinion to prevail, it was impossible for me to get a fair expression of the views of 
these people on this important matter. 

We left Stupart's Bay at Capo Prince of Wales, on the evening of the 22nd of 
August, and arrived at the southern part cf Nottingham Island on the morning of 
the 24th. In passing the south side of Salisbury Island, the hills of the western part 
were observed to have more even outlines than those of the eastern, as if the glacial 
force had come from the westward. We anchored in 5 fathoms of water, in an inlet a 
few miles east of the most southez'n part of Nottingham Island, and found a suitable 
place for the station close to our anchorage, and on the north side of the inlet, which 
we named Port DeBoucherville, after Mr. C. DeBoucherville, of Ottawa, who was to 
have charge of this observatory. 

Around Port DeBoucherville, and for some distance to the westward, the country 
consists of island-like hummocks of rock, more or less separated from one another 
and surrounded by clayey mud. The lower parts of these muddy intervals are partly 
overflowed by the tide, rendering the water turbid in all the bays and inlets of this 
part of the island. The clay is mingled with boulders and gravel, and it extends 
♦ielow the bottom of the sea on the one hand, and up the valleys to a height of 50 to 


100 feet. In preparing to leave the port, it was found difficult to start our anchor 
out of the mud, some of which came up on one of the flukes, and proved to be an 
exceedingly tough bluish-grey clay, containing grains of coarse sand disseminated 
through it. 

I explored the country to a distance of about three miles in various directions 
from our anchorage, and found the rocks to consist of common varieties of gneiss, 
the only exeptions noticed being patches of a fine-grained I'ed syenite on both side* 
of the inlet. The average direction of the strike is south-west (true) but there are 
ainmerous local variations which, however, seldom carry its course outside of the 
flouth-west quarter of the circle. The joints in the gneiss run about east, or nearly 
parallel with the glacial strisB, and this is also the direction of a number ot long cuts 
And straight valleys or gorges in the gneiss, which have, therefore, an oblique angle 
io the strike. The bottoms of these depressions are filled with boulder clay, which, 
•on the surface, has a structural arrangement parallel with the walls, apparently due 
to a process of expansion and contraction and of heaving, on account of the intense 
frost of this region. In narrow cuts or gorges the heaving of the clay was greatest 
along the sides, which had the effect of sorting out and throwing the boulders to 
the centre, where they formed rows as regular as if they had been placed artificially. 

The direction of the joints in these rocks may also be that of dykes and 
veins, which, owing to decay and subsequent glacial action, would now be concealed 
in the bottoms of the depressions above referred to. At a projecting point on the 
side of one of them, however, and running parallel to its walls, I found some strag- 
gling veins of hard grey dolomite, weathering brown and holding scales of mica. 

The rocks of the lower levels are well glaciated, and from upwards of twenty 
trials in various situations around Port DeBoucherville, the average course of the 
strise across the south end of Nottingham Island was ascertained to be S. 30^ B. 
(mag.), or only a few degrees southward of true east. That the direction of the 
glacial movement was towards the east is obvious from the contour of the roches 
moutonnS, the mode of the fluting of perpendicular walls and of channels cut in the 
rocks, as well as by the direction of the curves of the semi-circular lines across the 
larger grooves themselves. A valley, with a south-eastward bearing, enters the head 
of Port DeBoucherville, and along it the grooves partake of ihe same direction, 
showing that while the low southern portion of the island was swept by a great 
glacier from the west, another was traversing it from the north-west. Nearly 
half of the boulders, stones and gravel of the drift are grey limestone, like that of the 
Manitounik (Cambrian) group, indicating the proximity of these rocks to the west- 
ward. The grey quartzite of this series is also well represented. One piece of this 
rock contained the characteristic spherical spots of a softer nature and lighter 
colour, which usually weather out into hollows on exposure. There are also frag- 
ments of black slate and red jasper, both of which have been found in the Manitounik 
group. Two pieces of fine-grained white quartzite were noticed, which may have 
come either from rocks belonging to this group or to the Huronian series. A frag- 
ment of red sandstone conglomerate was also observed, of the same kind as that 
which underlies unconformably the Manitounik rocks, and is so largely developed at 
Little Whale Eiver and Richmond Gulf. (See Report of the Geological Survey for 
1877, pp. 13 and 14 C.) No shells were found iu the boulder-clay, but a few com- 
mon species were abundant in a bank of stratified sand, having a height of about 
8 feet above high- water mark at the head of a bay. 

During the interval between our two visits to Nottingham Island, the obser- 
vatory party saw a few reindeer, but the numerous tracks and droppings of these 
animals show that they exist here in considerable numbers. Several of their shed 
antlers were found, and all of them had the upper tines curiously hooked and curved 
inwards — a peculiarity which would be incompatible with forest life. We saw a few 
walruses when first approaching the island, and while the station was building, but 
they were quite numerous upon the ice which we passed through to the south of it 
on our return on the 20th of September. These animals accompany the ice during the 
summer, and its unusual prevalence in this quarter the present season was shown by 
the blighted condition of even the Arctic vegetation of the island. Arctic hares and 
foxes were seen, and both appeared to be abundant. 


Among the more noticeable birds which breed on IToltingham Island, are the 
Arctic loon {colymhus arcticus, Linn), and the whistling swan (cygnus americanus, 
Sharpless), We killed four old swans, all moulting, and two young ones, nearly full 
grown, on the 27th of August, and the male, female and young of the Arctic loon. :^ 

At Port DeBouchorville I found distinct remains of a very ancient Eskimo camp 
in the form of heaps and circles of stones, like those of the modern Eskimo, on a 
raised beach at the head of what had been a cove. From what I have seen of the 
situations, which the Eskimo, in various places in Hudson's Bay and Strait , choose 
for their camps, there appeared to be little doubt that they had lived here when the 
eea-level was 20 to 30 foet higher than it is at present. On the rocks facing the- 
open Strait, just south of the inlet, the more recent works of these people are well 
preserved, although they are probably upwards of 100 years old. Besides numerous 
rings of tent-stones and some shapeless heaps, there are here several rectangular 
walls a few feet high, and caches of a bee-hive form, each about 6 feet in height and 
7 feet in diameter. Two of the latter are nearly complete, and are adapted either for 
storing raept or as hiding places or " stands " from which to kill game. A good 
photograjDh of one of them was obtained. 

When wo left Nottingham Island, it was proposed to place the next station on 
the south point of Mansfield Island, but the locality having been found unsuitable, 
the station was built on Digges Island, off Cape Wolstenholm, on our return voy- 
age. As the geographical position of this station comes next in order, I shall now 
state the observations which were made during our visit to the locality. Heretofore 
the name Digges or Cape Digges has been applied on the sketch charts to several 
islands, represented as lying off Cape Wolstenholme. Our explorations went, however 
to show that there is only one island from ten to fifteen miles in length. The bare hill& 
of which it is composed are divided into several detached groups by straight, transverse 
valleys, cutting well down towards the sea-level, thus giving the appearance of 
separate islands, when viewed from a distance. The greatest length of the island lies 
about east and west (true). As this is also the commonest direction of the strike of the 
gneiss, most of whichis is red, and also of the glacial strife, the island has become 
divided by longitudinal valleys, some of which, too, were traced in nearly straight 
courses for several miles. 

We found a good harbour on the south side of the island, about a mile from its 
western extremity, well sheltered from all quarters except the south-west, with 
good holding-ground and a convenient depth of water. The station was built 
on its south-oast side, and placed in charge of Mr. A. N. Laporriere of Ottawa, after 
whom the harbour was called Port Laporriere. Only a narrow neck of land separates 
the head of the harbour from Hudson's Strait to the norih. Between this and the 
western extremity of the island the hills have a rounded outline, and raised beaches, 
composed mostly of coarse shingle, form a prominent feature on their slopes, all the 
way from high tide mark to their summits, the highest of which is between 300 and 
400 feet. 

On the north side of Port Laperriere a light-colored quartzoso band of gneiss 
contains numerous claret-colored garnets. Here the strike is N. 35° W. (mag.), but 
to the eastward of the harbour it isN.45^ W. (mag.), the bedding running in straight 
lines over a considerable area. At four miles east of the harbour, and towards the 
north side of the island, the gneiss strikes N. 50° W. (mag.). A well marked valley,, 
with a chain of lakes along its bottom, comes to the south side of the island, about 
two miles east of Port Laperriere. It runs about east by north (true), and was 
explored for five or six miles without coming to the end of it. The general strike of 
the gneiss was parallel with the valley all along. 

The red gneiss, which rises from the shore on the north side of the valley, run- 
ning eastward from the head of the harbour, is cut by two parallel fissures, only 3 
or 4 feet apart, with well defined, slikensided walls, the intervening mass simulat- 
ing a vein ; but it is composed of red gneiss, all divided into small, sharp, angular 
f)ieces by a multitude of joints intersecting each other in all directions, and often 
ined with green epidote, which in this region very frequently accompanies veins and 


dislocations. These fissures run in a noi'th easterly direction, bnt curve ahont a good 
deal. They are accompanied by a small quantity of a handsome variety of rod 
pegmatite, the quartz of which is blue, and the mass is occasionally streaked with 
bright green epidote. 

Around the western part of Digges Island the course of the glacial striae is from 
S. 70° E to S. 75^ E. (mag.) ; but in the interior it averages S. 55° B. (mag.), or with 
the general direction of the valleys. 

We saw no Eskimo about Digges Island, but they appear to have visited Port 
Lapoiriere in recent years, as the remains of their camps were found in two or three 
places close to high tide mark. Some ancient camping places were also observed 
around this harbour, which, from their elevation above the present beach, the decayed 
nature of the lai ger bones lying about and the manner in which the circles of stones 
were embedded in the moss and overgi'own with lichens, were supposed to be from 
100 to 300 years old. Still more ancient works of the Eskimo were discovered in the 
valley which comes down to the head of the harbour. These consist of a row of stones 
lying in the vegetable matter at the surface, touching each other and running at right 
angles to the brook, at a contracted part of the bottom of the valley, which would be 
suitable for the Eskimo method of trout-fishing if the sea were 75 or 80 feet higher 
than it is at present. If the sea has receded as rapidly as 7 feet a century, 
these works would be upwards of 1,000 years old, and if the rate has been less they 
must be even more ancient. 

The same day that we arrived at Port Laperriere (16th September) a 
she polar bear and her two cubs were killed in the interior of the island, about two 
miles from the ship. The cubs were somewhat larger than sheep, and were 
probably between seven and eight months old. Our party having approached 
them cautiously, one of them was observed sucking its mother. I examined 
the stomachs of all three, and found them to contain nothing but partially 
chewed grass. About four quarts of this were found in the stomach of the old bear 
and two and a-half and one and a-half respectively in the cubs' stomachs. I had been 
informed by some Eskimo and Hudson's Bay Company's people that the polar bears 
sometimes eat grass, and I had occasionally seen along with their tracks, dung which 
could scarcely have been dropped by any other animal, and which was made up of 
the remains of comminuted grass and other vegetable matter. The three bears 
referred to were killed on a grassy spot where they had spent some time, apparently 
for the purpose of eating grass, and this was propably their only object in wandering 
away from the sea. The presence of the newly swallowed grass in such quantity in 
the slomachs of all three convinced me that these creatui-es live, to some extent, on 
vegetable food. On the 30th of August, while sailing down the east side of Mans- 
field Island, we saw a large polar bear and cub running along the rocks about a mile 
back from the shore. Walruses were numerous around Digges Island during our 
stay there. They were always in the water and were generally seen in groups of 
from three to seven or eight. 

We arrived at the eastern part of Mansfield Island, about mid -way down, on the 
morning of the 30th of August. Its even outline presented a remarkable contrast to 
the shores of Hudson's Strait. It resembled a gigantic ridge of gravel ; but stratified 
rocks, in low horizontal ledges, appeared here and there, through the debris, at dif- 
ferent levels. At one place, four or five miles inland, the island rises to an elevation 
of about 300 feet above the sea, and this was the highest point observed upon it. 
Small streams appear to run out upon the eastern shore, as narrow canons are cut in 
the rock in a few places. The monotony of the eastern slope of the island is broken 
at one localitv by the rocks projecting through the debris in a form resembling an 
old castle, with three towers on the left, and a wall broken through by embrasures 
on the right. A short distance to the south of this there is a clitf, with a distinct 
pillar on the left. These points are considered worth noting, as they have a bearing 
on questions as to the glacial phenomena of these regions. For many miles, the 
whole of the eastern slope of the island presents a succession of steps or small teri aces, 
mostly too low to be distinctly counted, but there might be a hundred of them 


between the sea level and the highest parts of the island visible. These appeared to 
be partly ancient beaches, and partly the outercropping edges of nearly horizontal 
strata. I landed at a point about the middle of the eastern shore of the island, and 
found the shore very flat, with shallow water for a considerable distance out. The 
rock proved to be a fossiliferous grey limestone, in rather thin horizontal beds. The 
fossils were obscure and scarce at the place referred to. Those collected, Mr. 
Whiteaves thinks, are Silurian. The rocks themselves resemble the Lower Silurian ' 
limestones of the Red and Nelson Rivers. I landed again near the south end of 
the island, and found the water very shallow in approaching the shore. No rock was 
detected in situ at this place ; but a great extent of gravel and coarser shingle, derived 
from limestone like that foucd in situ further north was thrown into a succession of 
long, low ridges and terraces, all curving with the contour of the land. Behind most 
of the ridges I met with long ponds of clear, fresh water. A number of caches and 
" stands," built by the Eskimo, were seen along the shore of Mansfield Island, but 
none of these people were observed. 

From the southern extremity of Mansfield Island we steamed to Cape South- 
ampton, and thence coasted norih eastwai'd, in the hope of finding a suitable site for 
building an observatory station, but without success ; and after making between 
twenty and thirty miles in that du-eotion, we returned to the cape and passed round it 
to the westward, shaping our course thence for the opposite side of Hudson's Bay. The 
general charter of this island, and the pai't of its shore which we examined, are quite 
like the eastern side of Mansfield Island. It has rather more vegetation upon it than 
the last named island, and much of the surface has a brown colour inconsequence. 
Shallow water, having a light green colour, extends some distance out all along. The 
island slopes gi-adually up from the beach and is thrown into a great many small ter- 
races. The highest point seen did not exceed 200 feet above the sea. I noted that the 
limestone is evidently exactly the same as that of Mansfield Island. Low cliffs in 
the upper levels break through the decayed mass and the dibris, and horizontal ledges 
also make their appearance through the loose materials near the sea beach. 

We did not observe any natives on the part of the island which we saw, but at four 
miles north-east of Cape Southampton there were three fresh houses of the Eskimo, 
covered completely with sods and moss, and having the dooi'S built I'ound with 
stones. About three-quarters of a mile to the north-eastward of these were five old 
Eskimo houses, built of stones and sods, with some sticks and bones lying on their 

Our first landing place on the western side of Hudson's Bay was Marble Island, 
but we had a distinct view of the land between it and Chesterfield Inlet. Judging 
from specimens which I have received through the kindness of Mr. George Mc- 
Tavish, of the Hudson's Bay Company, a portion of this coast is occupied by rocks, 
which may be referred to the Huronian series, among them being diorites, horn- 
blende-schists and glossy mica-schists characterized by numerous cubes of iron 
pyrites. On the coaf t opposite to Marble Island, the last named rock appears to 
contain the veins of granular iron pyrites, an assay of a specimen from one of which, 
from Inari, was made by Mr. Hoffmann in ISTO. (See p. 23 H., Report Geological 
Survey, IS^S-YO.) Those glossy mica-schists were found on Deadman's Island, near 
the west end of Marble Island. Prom all that I have been able to learn on the sub- 
ject, a set of rocks, very like those of the Township of Ascot, in the Province of 
Quebec, and holding similar pyrites veins, which are of great economic value, will 
be found in this part of the western coast of Hudson's Bay. 

The harbour on Marble Island, which is resorted to by the American whalers, and 
in which we also anchored, is situated on the south side of the island, about two and 
a-half miles from the western extremity. The outer harbour is formed by Deadman's 
Island, about quarter of a mile long, lying across the front of a small bay. The inner 
harbour is a basin, which connects with this thiough a narrow gap in the rock with 
only about one fathom of water at low tide. 

Deadman's Island consists of white and light grey quartzites and glossy micarschist, 
striking N. '75° W. (mag). The glacial strise on this island are well marked and run 


S. 10° E. (mag). In the course of the day which we spent at Marble Island, I rowed 
round its western end and thence eastward along its northern shore for some miles. 
I also explored the interior and took some photographs between this side of the island 
and the harbour. The whole of the western part of the island consists of white and 
light coloured quartzite, bearing a strong resemblance to white and veined marble, 
from which circumstance it has no doubt received its name. Viewed from sea, the 
shores have a very white appearance, the rocks being free from lichens, &c., and the 
hills in the interior, which are rounded, are also pare white, and contrast strongly 
with the dark brown of the peaty flats and hollows. Even the boulders and coarse 
shingle forming the raised beaches remain quite white, and these beaches appear as 
conspicuous horizontal lines against the dark vegetable matter. The beds of 
quartzite are usually very massive. Their surfaces are often ripple-marked, the 
ridges and hollows varying much in size, being sometimes as fine and regular as the 
fluting on a washboard, and at others two or three inches apart. On the south side 
of the island, near the west point, the quartzite is of a beautiful lilac tint, some of 
the beds being more deeply coloured than others. The strike is here N 80° W. 
(mag.), the dip being to the northward, at an angle of 80°. The surface of the rock 
at this place is marked by large green stains of carbonate of copper, some of them being 
3 or 4 feet in diameter. They appear to be due to the decomposition of small quan- 
tities of copper pyrites in the quaiizite. 

At the north-west point of the island the dip is N. 75** W. (mag.), angle 45° 
and the striae here run S. 20^ E. (mag.). This is also the prevailing dip in the 
interior of this part of the island. On the north shore of the island, oppo&ite 
to the harbour on the south side, the dip is N. 60° W. (mag,), angle 40°. Not only 
does the strike vary considerably on the large scale, but the lines of stratificatiou wt-re 
in places observed to undulate a good deal on a small scale, while the general course 
of the beds was pretty straight, the minor variations appearing as mere corrugations 
of the darker lines of stratification on smooth sections. 

Although quartzite was the only rock found in situ on the main island, so far as I 
had time to explore it, the debris of the glossy mica-schist with cubes of iron pyrites, 
was so abundant along the north side that I have no doubt it exists "in place " clo-o by. 
A. fragment of the peculiar brown-weathering dolomite with white quartz strings 
common in the Huronian series, was also found on this part of the island. 

We left Marble Island in the evening of the same day that we arrived there 
(2nd September), and entered the harbour of Churchill on the 6th. The geology of 
this locality is described in my report for 1879, pages 19 to 21. After leaving 
Churchill we paid a visit of twenty -four hours to York Factory, from which we 
sailed for Digges, where we built station No. 5, as already stated, and after visiting 
all the other stations and building the one at Nachvak, which has been described 
in a previous part of this report, we continued our homeward voyage to St. John's, 
Newfoundland, which we reached on the 11th of October, and left the same evening 
for Halifax, where we arrived on the 14th and at Ottawa on the 16th of the same 


It will be seen by an inspection of the chart, that Fox's Channel, in respect to 
width, general direction, &c., is a continuation of Hudson's Strait, and that the outlet 
of Hudson's Bay joins this great channel at right angles. It is much deeper than 
Hudson's Bay, the comparative shallowness and the uniformity of the bottom of 
which are remarkable features. If the sea in these latitudes were only about 100 
fathoms lower than it is at the present time, James' and Hudson's Bays would become 
dry land, while the Strait would remain as a long bay, but with a slightly dimin- 
ished breadth. The bottom of the Bay would have become a plain, more level 
in proportion to its extent than any other on the continent. The numerous rivers 
which now flow into it would traverse this plain, converging towards the north- 
east and falling into the Strait near Cape Wolstenholme, after having, perhaps, formed 
one immense river, flowing northward down the centre of the Bay, or probably 
nearer the East-main side. 


During the " great ice age " the basin of Hudson's Bay may have lormed a 
sort of glacial reservoir, receiving streams of ice from the east, north and north west 
and giving forth the accumulated result as broad glaciers, mainly towards the south 
ard south-west. It has been shown, in a preceeding part of this i*eport, that the direc- 
tion of the glaciation, on both sides of Hudson's Strait, was eastward. That an 
extensive glacier passed down the Strait may be inferred from the smoothed and 
striated character of the rocks of the lower levels, the outline of the glaciated surfaces 
pointing to an eastward movement, the composition of the drift, and also from the 
fact that the long depression of Fox's Channel and the Strait runs from the north- 
westward towards the south-east, and that this great channel or submei'ged valley 
deepens as it goes, tei minating in the Atlantic Ocean. Glaciers are said to exist on the 
shores of Fox's Channel and they may send down the flat-topped icebergs which float 
eastward through the lower part of Hudson's Strait into the Atlantic. During the drift 
period, the glacier of the bed of Hudpon's Strait was probably joined by a conti'ibution 
from Loe ice which appears to have occupied the site of Hudson's Bay, and by another 
also from the southward, coming down the valley of the Koksok River, audits 
continuation in the bottom of Ungava Bay. The united glacier still moved eastward 
round Cape Chudleigh into the Atlantic. 

Throughout the drift period, the top of the coast range of the Labrador, stood 
above the ice and was not glaciated, especially the high northern part. Further 
south on this coast, the range is lower and there may also have been more ice in this 
direction. Here the valleys and the hills, up to the height of 1,000 feet, at any rate, 
have been planed by glacial action, the course followed by the ice on the eastern 
slope having been down the valleys and fjords directly into the sea. In the southern 
part of the Labrador peninsula, the general course of the ancient glaciation appears 
to have been southward, varying to the eastward or westward with the courses of 
the rivers and valleys, and coming to the north shoi'e of the Gulf of St. Lawrance, in 
a general way, at right angles to the coast line. On the island of Newfoundland, the 
glaciation appears to have been from the centre towards the sea on all sides. 





2 fee 

P^ 00 


-*-J — I 


O O) 




•S QO 


•« CD 




03 P 


I ^ 














■paiMJO sann ! 

woo Tt< ip 03 N 00 -^ CO «S 00 M in »o ■* -< o o> 

t— Oi c^ot-Tl<t-«ococbiha3oooc i>-^c<it*i 

Cfl 01 00 C<» — 00 C<> M W fO lO t- 5ti CD rH Tj< o I— 

?OC« Ot~00O05— "C^JOOOSr-^CICO ONOOt- 

oot- o 00 «o «o Tf CO lo w t- 1- 1- «D t- o 00 -r 


ajoia JO 89110157, 
\o pniji jo' SjfB(7 

■* 00 
1— 1 

05-<*"— 'Tj<aof-iiooo50<Mt- 







»o o 

;j o 




puij^ SntiiBAajj 

•Aioag pOB 
aiBg JO 'jnnorav 

^© lO OO Tjt CO --I «o © ■* e>» t- ■* •-' 
<Jl !>• ■* i-H n-( ^- © t- pH O 00 M Tf CO 



.^ ' C4 >b 1^ n 


■—li— IC^I— <i—(i-He<»r- 1 

»— I •— < i-H i-H C^ »— t •—) 

•sX-BQ ifpn^io 

CO 05 

—1 ---^C<).-<i-i,-iC<IC»C« 

— " Cfl Cfl r-c — . 

•Sifua JIBJ 

■* ■* ■* 05 00 >-H lO ^ © OO CO CO «0 i-H © <M •* O Tf >0 CO 00 

•sjCbq J«310 

COCO Tjt © CO CO >0 >0 CO t- N CO CO CD -^ 00 00 e<I CO -^ CO ■-( 

dniaj, 'jsaAi.oq 


©lO.— ico©iOt-eo 


dmajj isaqSiH. 

»f5 ■* 
CO c^ 

f-ir-iTti'^coi.— oocDce-^cO'-i 



•draax nBapj 

•JBg jsaiWtoT 

•JBg |saq3!H 

05 t~ 

lO Tj( la CO >^ M i-l •* CO CO CO t- CO © 00 © o> ® Cq 00 


I— it-1 >— ieo'V<OTjt-»i<cs'— (I— I 


N "-I 1— I CO Tji iO Tj< 

_ CO ■* 00 ^- --I 

©c^ r-iAt-^Hi-<©'^co^t-kn»' 

lOCO t-CSli— lt-00COCO'>*'©iMCOC0 

oot-" t-ooaoooaoooaoo>d>oi0>o> 

©— it-©©eijC0(M 




_ COCOCO-^Cfl 

r-lOl CO©OllOC0C0t-(n--l00©CO 

-7^ © Tf <rq ep CO Dj © oi © r^ CO in lo 

©© o © o © © © <ji © o o o o 


osiacDcoe^i— iiM© 


•jtjg oBan I 

Tjt 1-1 CO N © t^ C5 00 in CO in 00 in 00 

©00 01-— coxoooOl^^©■-l^-l^^TH 

<»cv5 ^Tfcp-'j'inTjiinoocot-t-ci 


t-cocqt— co©coco 



N «H ti CO . - 

00 (u a> 00 . p»^ 

'^ a a '^ !3 * 

O 0) S aj OS O<o3 "^ 


K 0) 00 . ►-: 







o .S 
-^ > 
















•r-l 00 

K! 00 










fl 00 

C3 rH 

P< 6 



rrt o3 

^ b 

a! B 










Canada. Dept. of Marine and