Charles Francis Hall.

Narrative of the second Arctic expedition made by Charles F. Hall: his voyage to Repulse Bay, sledge journeys to the Straits of Fury and Hecla and to King William's Land, and residence among the Eskimos during the years 1864-'69 online

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Online LibraryCharles Francis HallNarrative of the second Arctic expedition made by Charles F. Hall: his voyage to Repulse Bay, sledge journeys to the Straits of Fury and Hecla and to King William's Land, and residence among the Eskimos during the years 1864-'69 → online text (page 13 of 57)
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contents himself with the blubber only, leaving the mass of meat for
the fox, or for other animals which may follow his tracks.

A peculiar animal was described to Hall, an account of which is
scarcely to be found in Arctic books. The natives speak of it as
being larger than the bear, and as very ferocious and much more diffi-
cult to be killed. It has grayish hair, a long tail, and short, thick
legs, its fore feet being divided into three parts like the partridge's;
its hind feet are like a man's heels. When resting, it sits upi-ight like
a man. A Neitchille Innuit, crawling into a hole for shelter in the
night, had found one sound asleep and quickly dispatched it with his
knife. It may be added here that Ebierbing, now residing in the
United States, confirms such accounts of the "Arc-la," and says that
the animal once inhabited his native country on Cumberland Sound.

On the morning of the 10th, Ebierbing, Ou-e-la, Ar-too-a, Ar-
mou, Oon-goo-too, and Nu-ker-zhoo, accompanied by Rudolph, started
on two sledges with full dog-teams to visit the whaling-vessels winter-
ing in Depot Island — a contemplated trip which had been deferred
only till the walrus season should commence. Eudolph was the hap-
piest of the party. He had proved of little service to Hall, having
early become dissatisfied with the strange mode of life to which his
employer had habituated himself. Yet he was at times a voracious
eater, consuming as much as 8 pounds of solid food at a meal, and then
complaining of a feeling of " gone-ness," and fearing he would starve

106 Rudolph Dismissed. [December, ISCd.

to death. A part of the time he had been separately put in charge of
one of the natives. He now looked forward with great satisfaction to
resuming his life on shipboard and to ship-diet The parting was
friendly. Hall gave him a letter to the captain of the Monticello, ask-
ing that he would get a place for him on one of the whalers. Rudolph
was also cautioned to have care of himself on the sledge journey, and
the natives were requested to see that he should not be frost-bitten.
At tlie same time a confidential history of Rudolph's conduct was sent
to the ship, lest the man should gain credit if he attempted to spread
misrepresentations among the whalers. His dissatisfaction and his
uselessness to Hall had been largely owing to his disease of homesick-
ness and, during the latter part of his time, to an attack of scurvy.

A second letter to Captain Chapel requested that he would grant,
at Hall's cost, whatever reasonable requests the natives might make, if
the value of the articles asked for by them sliould exceed that of the
skins and clothing taken down by them for barter. Among the articles
for which Hall himself asked were a gun, a spy-glass, some walrus-lines,
and tobacco, with a loaf of bread and a piece of butter for Too-koo-li -
too. He wanted 50 pounds of tobacco, for it went further than any-
thing else in gaining the good-will and help of the natives. Ou-e-la
waited for the dispatches, which were made up by 9 a. m., and then
overtook the sleds a mile in advance out on the rough ice, wliere the
dogs were howling and springing with all their might to be off. Hall
went with him that far, and on parting gave Ou-e-la a kiss (Jioo-nik)
on his iron though warm cheek. The journal says :

The suu was just liftiug its glorious face from the ice horizon of Eowe's Wel-
come. The air was calm and the temperature 92° below freezing-point by my large
thermometer; therefore it was dry and exhilarating. The heavens, opposite the
sun, were glowing in warm crimson clouds, their upper edges tinted with puiplc

December, 1S64.] Tlic Nativcs Visit the Whalers. 107

and silvery liues. Tlie day throughout was the coldest of the season, as the ther-
mometer showed, but not the coldest as far as its effect upon the human system
is concerned. The average of three sets of observations on eight thermometers
gave 65° below freezing-point as the average of the day. I have tried some
experiments, perhaps too simi)le to require record. I put one of my fingers in
contact with the brass plate of one of the thermometers; instantly I felt a shari>
running sensation; in a few seconds that part of my flesh exposed to the brass
plate was white as snow and frozen solid. A smart rubbing with my other hand
soon took the frost out, and the finger was as well as ever. I placed another
finger for thirty seconds in exposed mercury ; the smarting at first was severe, in
fact, felt as though the finger was in a fire, but before the thirty seconds expired
the smarting ceased, and I felt noways disagreeable. On taking my finger out
of the mercury, it was frozen solid as a rock; a smart
persevering rubbing again took the frost out. I tried
several times during the daj^ the experiment of keeping
my hands unmittened, walking around thus for half an
hour without their feeling very cold, and could have con-
tinued with my hands thus exposed for a longer time
had I been on a smart walk, as when traveling on a jour-
ney. When there is no moisture in the air, as to-day, no dog-skin mxTENs.
one would suppose the temperature as cold as the thermometers indicate. I have
felt colder in the States with the thermometer 32° than here in my walks to-day
with hands and face exposed and having no other coat on but my civiUzation
(Brevoort) one.

The letter of the most interest sent by the natives to the whalers

reads as follows :

Wtntee Quaetees, in Igloo,

Noo-WooK, West end Eowe's W^elcojie,
Lat. G4P 40' N., Long. 87° 20' W., Friday, December 10, 1804.
Dkar Friend Chapel: In this letter I have some deeply interesting intelli-
geuce to communicate to you. Since falling in with the natives I have not been
idle. Nothing in Parry's narrative of second A^oyage for the discover.y of the North-
west Passage relating to the Eskimos of Winter Island and Igloolik but these
natives are perfectly posted up in. Indeed, I find through my superior interpre-
ter, Too-koo-li-too, that many deeply interesting incidents occurred at both-named
Xjlaces that never found their place in Parry's or Lyon's works. But the great work
already done by me is the gaining little by little from these natives, tlirough Too-
koo-li-too and Ebierbing, news relating to Sir Johu Franklin's Expedition. This,

108 Further Reported News of Franklin^ s Men. [December, is64.

you know, was the great object of my mission to the Korth. I cannot stop to tell
you now all I have gained of this people — no, not the one hundredth part.
[The natives are now loading sledge; it is 7 o'clock 30 minutes a. m.]
I will give you very briefly what the people of England and America will be
most interested to learn. When I come down I shall bring my dispatches and
journals up to the time of writing you, and these will be committed to your care
for transmitting to the States. The most important matter that I have acquired
relates to the fact that there may yet be three survivors of Sir John Franklin's
Expedition, and one of these, Crozier, the one who succeeded Sir John Franklin
on his death. The details are deeply interesting, but this must suffice till I come
down: Crozier and three men with him were found by a cousin of Ou-e-la (Albert),
Shoo-she-ark-nooh (John), and Ar-foo-a (Frank), while moving on the ice from one
igJoo to another; this cousin having with him his family and engaged in sealing.
This occurred near ISTeitchille (Boothia Felix Peninsula). Crozier was nothing
but "skin and bones," was nearly starved to death, while the three men with him
were fat. The cousin soon learned that the three fat men had been living on
human flesh, on the flesh of their companions who all deserted the two ships that
were fast in mountains of ice; while Crozier was the onlj^ man that would not eat
human flesh, and for this reason he was almost dead from starvation. This cousin,
who has two names (but I cannot stop to get them now), took Crozier and the
three men at once in charge. He soon caught a seal, and gave Crozier quickly a
little — a very little piece, which was raw — only one mouthful the first day. The
cousin did not give the three fat men anything, for they could well get along, till
Crozier's life was safe. The next day the cousin gave Crozier a little larger i^iece
of same seal. By the judicious care of this cousin for Crozier, his life was saved.
Indeed, Crozier's own judgment stuck to him in this terrible sitvxation, for he agreed
Avith the cousin that one little bit was all he should have the first day. When
the cousin first saw Crozier's face, it looked so bad — his eyes all sunk in, the
face so skeleton-like and haggard, that he did not dare to look upon Crozier's
face for several days after; it made him feel so bad! This noble man, whom
the whole civilized world will ever remember for humanity, took care of
Crozier and his three men, save one who died, through the whole winter. One
man, however, died a short time after the cousin found them, not because he
starved, but because he was sick. In the spring, Crozier and the remaining two
men accompanied this cousin on the Boothia Felix Peninsula to ISTeitchille, where
there were many Innuits. Crozier and each of his men had guns and a plenty of
ammunition, and many pretty things. They kiUed a great many ducks, noioyers,
&c., with their guns. Here they lived with the Innuits at I^eitchille, and Crozier

December, 1864.] HolVs Letter to Chapel. 109

became fat and of good health. Crozier told this cousin that he was once at
IwilUli (Repulse Bay), at Wiuter Island and Igloolik, many years before, and
that at the two last-named places he saw many Innuits, and got acquainted with
them. This cousin had heard of Parry, Lyon, and Orozier, from his Innuit friends
at Eepulse Bay, some years previous, and therefore when Crozier gave him his
name he recollected it. The cousin saw Orozier one year before he found him and
the three men, where the two ships were in the ice. It was there that he found
out that Crozier had been to Igloolik.

Crozier and the two men lived with the Neitchille Innuits some time. The
Innuits liked him (C.) very much, and treated him always very kindly. At length
Crozier, with his two men and one Innuit, who took along a Tii-ak (?) [an India-
rubber boat, as Ebierbing thinks it was, for aU along the ribs there was some-
thing that could be filled with air], left Neitchille to try to go to the Tiob-lu-ruCs
country, taking a south course.

When Ou-e-la (Albert) and his brothers, in 1854, saw this cousin that had

been so good to Crozier and his men, at Pelly Bay which is not far from IiTeitch-

ille, the cousin had not heard whether Crozier and the two men and Neitchille

Innuit had ever come back or not. The Innuits never think they are dead — do

not believe they are. Crozier offered to give his gun to the cousin for saving his

life, but he would not accept it, for he was afraid it would kiU him, it made such

a great noise, and killed everything with nothing. Then Crozier gave him a

long, curious knife (sword, as Ebierbing and Too-koo-li-too say it was), and many

pretty things besides. [The dogs are all in harness, and sledges loaded, and

Innuits waiting for my letters. I promise to be ready iu 30 minutes.] Crozier

told the cousin of a fight with a band of Indians — not Innuits, but Indians. This

must have occurred near the entrance of Great Fish or Back's Eiver. More of

this when I see you. * * #

God bless you.


This unusually ill-wi-itten letter is quoted almost literally in order

to showr Hall's excited state of mind on receiving some of the earliest

of vi^hat he then believed to be news of Franklin's party. It v\^ill

appear in the latter part of the Narrative that the "cousin," so much

spoken of, was found by Hall to have been far less useful or humane

to Crozier than is here noted. Hall's readiness to believe everything

heard from the natives on his first acquaintance with them was largely

110 Superstitions. [Bcccmbcr, 1864.

corrected by his further experience. At first he seems to have believed
what he wished to believe. But his later journals record a number
of coiTCcted judgments, always frankly entered, and even against

Nearly all the men were now absent from the settlement. After one
unsuccessful attempt made by some of the natives who remained, to
secure a walriis where the ice was found too thick for the animal to break
through, a second effort was rewarded by their capturing the larger
part of one, the remainder being lost by the ice-floes coming together
and massing upon it. They had resumed their hunt in consequence of
having seen, the night before, " a walrus springing right up through
the ice-floor of their ir/loo"; — to them a sure sign of success.

Another instance of their low superstitious customs was thus
shown : The pale-face, having expressed a desire for a change of food,
was presented with the head and neck of a reindeer, for fear that there
would be great trouble in catching a walrus ; but this provision could
be placed neither on the floor nor behind the lamps on the platform,
nor could it be either cooked or eaten with walrus-oil or on the same
day with walrus-meat. Pieces of the frozen mass were, therefore,
chipped off on the bed-platform with carefulness that not one should
fall upon the floor, and they were dipped in old rancid seal-oil before
being eaten. Four quarts of walrus-oil were at the same time pre-
sented to Hall for his lamp.

A leaf from Hall's journal of the 18th, written on receiving this

present, will further show the care which he exercised in siibjecting

himself to the low superstitions of the tribe :

Erlc-fti-a came iu bringing in her arms the head and neck (raw, solid, and
frozen) of a reindeer for me, as she heard that I wanted a change from walrus-

Oecember, 1864.J SuperstiUotlS. Ill

meat. This venison had to be completely enveloped before it could be brought
iQto the igloo, and, when in, could only be placed on the bed-platform. To have
placed it on the floor or on the platform behind the flLre-lamp, among the walrus,
musk-ox, and polar-bear meat which occupy a goodly portion of both of these
places, would have horrified the whole town, as, according to the actual belief of
the Innuits, not another walrus could be secured this year, and there would ever
be trouble in capturing any more.

Old Mother OoTc-lar-loo and the son of Hrlc-tu-a were both in my igloo at
the time this present was made. Both these parties are, of course, greatly
devoted to having everything according to the way of old — in other words,
according to the custom of their fathers and many preceding generations. They
watched my every movement ; but I was no small adept in this matter, so I pro-
ceeded to gratify the calls of a hungry stomach in the following manner : I first
unveiled Erlc-tu-a^s gift on the very spot where she had placed it, and called for a
hatchet. Frozen chips of meat now flew to the right and left, westward ; not one
toward the floor. I had to be very, very cautious about that. These chips of raw
frozen venison, when gathered up, made quite a pile for my breakfast. A cup of
oil in which to sop these chips was soon near me. Then I proceeded, just as any
Innuit would, to eat a hearty meal! The oil which I used as the sop was seal-oil,
rancid and stinking. According to Innuit custom, walrus-blubber, or oil from
it, cannot be used on any account with tood-noo meat. Notwithstanding the oil
I used was of the condition I describe, yet I must state the truth that I have
really got so far along in Innuits taste to like it thus, and to like it very much.

Particles of meat that were scattered around on the bed-platform during my
carving operations with the hatchet could not be brushed on the floor, as this
would have brought, down the indignation of my houseful of visitors. The toolc-
too skins on which these fine dust pieces were had to be taken up and shaken at
the farther end or back side of the bed-place, next to the wall of the igloo. In
this way, and in this wa.y only, could the meat particles, including even such snow
and ice as had been jammed off the neck and head, be disposed of to the satisfac-
tion of an honest, kind-hearted, but superstitious people.

The head of this gift, I regret to learn, cannot be cooked now, though from
it I could have a delicious soup. The whys and wherefores are that it would
make trouble among the walrus. It can be done after the wakusing season is
over, and any time before it begins again.

This Erh-tu-a was one of the visitors to the ships of Parry and
Lyon on their Second Expedition, 1821 to 1823. She gave Hall the

112 Oo-oo-took on Parry's Ship, 1824. [December, is64.

Innuit tradition of a punishment mentioned in Parry's Narrative as
administered for theft, -which story is an illustration of the power of
superstitious belief held b)^ this people in their ati-ge-ko ; — or, as this
word was pronounced at Ig-loo-lik, where Parry was, an-nat-Jco. Oo-
oo-took, a superior an-nat-ko, was charged by Parry when at Ig-loo-lik
with the crime of theft for taking a shovel, or a part of one, from along-
side of the ship. Pariy had him taken to a place between decks, and
his hands firmly lashed up to the mast. Then two guns were loaded
and fired at him. The balls did not hit him, but one passed close to
his head and lodged in the mast. The other ball went close to his
loins, but did not injure him. The guns were so near his body that
the powder felt hot. Parrj^ fired one of th§ guns, and came very near
killing himself, the ball glancing and rebounding in such a way that it
passed close to his head. Another gun was about to be used in firing
at Oo-oo-took, but it was found to be cracked (both barrel and stock),
and, therefore, it was laid aside. Then Parry caused him to be
whipped with something that was made of ropes with knots in them —
cat-o'-nine-tails. The Innuits standing around and witnessing all this
wanted to help Oo-oo-took defend himself, but he said: "Let the Koh-
lu-nas try to kill me ; they cannot, for I am an an-nat-ko." Then Oo-
oo-took's hands were untied, after which the koh-lu-nas tried to cut his
head and hands off with long knives — probably swords. Every time
a blow was strvTck, the extreme end of the knife came close to Oo-oo-
took' s throat ; occasionally the blade came just above the crown of his
head, and when the attempt was made to cut off his hands the long
knife came down very near his wrists ; but, after all, he was uninjured
because he was a very good An-nat-ko. Some of the blows, however, did
execution, cutting deep gashes in throat, head, and wrists ; but at

December, 1864.J Oo-00-tooJc OH Parry's Ship, 1824. 113

each stroke, as the knife was lifted, the wounds instantly healed wp, the
an-nat-ho being made whole by the Good Spirit who protected him.

When Oo-oo-took was permitted to go on deck, he attempted to go
ashore. He was passing out of the gangway when four men seized
him ; but during the struggle to free himself from further punishment,
he kicked one kob-lu-na down the snow-steps, which fall nearly killed
him, and the kob-lu-na suffered with a lame back for a long time.
Finally, the kob-lu-na conquered him and put him down between
decks, in a cold, dark place, where he kept him two days and two
nights, but while so confined, one good k'ob-lu-na, in a very sly way,
gave him something to eat ; otherwise he had nothing to eat or

After Oo-oo-took had been one day and one night in the dark hole,
he thought he would use his power as an an-nat-ko, and destroy the
vessel by splitting it through the middle from stem to stern. So he
commenced calling to his aid the Good Spirit, when a great cracking-
noise was made, now and then, under the ship, and at the end of the
two days and two nights' confinement, the kob-lu-nas, fearing from
such great and terrific noises that the ship would be destroyed, let
Oo-oo-took go.

This tradition, which Hall says was believed by all the other In-
nuits around him, is in rather curious contrast with the account given
by Parry himself, which is as follows : [Ofiicial Narrative, p. 412. J

The delinquent was, therefore, put down into the Fury's store-room passage
and closely confined there for several hours ; when, having collected several of
the natives on board the Fury, I ordered him to be stripped and seized up in
their presence, and to receive a dozen lashes on the back with a cat-o'-nine-tails.
The instant this was over, his countrymen called out, " Ti-mun, Umun-na" —
S. Ex. 27—8

114 Hall Corrects his Dates. [Dfccmbcr, ifsr.*.

tljat'8 right, that'.s right ; aiul seemed much relieved from thefriglit tliey had betbre
been in while the fate of the thief seemed doubtful ; but in three minutes after,
not one of them Avas to be found near the ships, for they huixied off to the hnts
as fast as their legs aud sledges could carry them. The example proved just
what we desired; in less than eight and forty hours, men, women, aud children
came to the ships with the same coutidence as before, always abusing Oo-oo-tooli,
pronouncing themselves and us uncommonly good people, but evidently more
cautious than before of really incurring oiu: displeasure The occurrence just
related, instead of being placed to the account of these people's bad propensi-
ties, rather served to remind us of the rareness of sucli occurrences, and, there-
fore, to furnish fresh proof of their general honesty.

From a conversation held about this time, through Too-koo-li-
too as interpreter, Hall believed that he had gained the key to the
fact mentioned by Dr. Rae in his report to the Hudson Bay Com-
pany in 1854, that the natives at Pelly Bay had great objections
to his party traveling across the country in a westerly direction,
and had attempted to puzzle and mislead the interpreter. Hall was
told that " some of the Innuits with whom he was wintering, had tried,
together with others from Pelly Bay, to persuade Dr. Rae to go to
Shartoo, an island in Akkoolee Bay (the island called Prince of Wales
Island, and the bay, Committee Bay, in Dr. Rae's chart), where he
would find spars, rigging, casks, and boxes, and perhaps the hulk of a
vessel. They understood from him that these were the very things
he was looking for." The Innuits, therefore, professed that the objec-
tions referred to had been made in good faith, and in order to lead
Rae's party to the best locality.

On the 23d, Hall discovered that he had lost a da}^ in his reckon-
ing. He had not confided in his dates for some time back, but now
found the means for a correction. Going to the top of a hill to
see the sun rise at 10 a. m., he saw it about a diameter and a

December, 1S64.] Gifts Beceivcd from the Whalers. 115

half from the horizon, above a low, thick bank of frost-smoke which
hung over the sea-ice. Through the upper margin of the frost-smoke
the true sun was clearly seen without any dazzling rays; but, above,
two mock-suns showed themselves with a brilliancy overpowering the
eye. With his pocket sextant he measured the angular distance
between the nearest limbs of the sun and the moon, and found it to be
approximately 62° 30'; which he verified by the use of his larger
sextant. His table of lunar distances in the Nautical Almanac
showed this as the true distance for December 23d in place of the 22 d,
as he had at first supposed the day to be. Looking over his journal,
he discovered that the lost day could be accounted for by the want
of all notes on one of his sick days, November 25.

The sledge party now returned, and were heartily welcomed as
soon as their very quiet entrance was noticed. One of the sleds hav-
ing become unmanageable by the breaking ofP of the muck-shoeing,
the dogs had found it hard work to draw the heavy return load of
natives and goods piled up on the other one; their fatigue had pre-
vented the howling usual on their approaching home.

Two chests and a box, directed to Hall, were soon slid along
through the snow passage-way into his igloo. They contained a
variety of donations from Captains Chapel, of the Monticello ; Rogers,
of the Concordia; White, of the Black Eagle; Tyson, of the Ante-
lope, and Jeffries, of the George and Mary. Besides the very wel-
come provision which made u.p the mass of these gifts, a quantity of
different-colored beads and brass ornaments for the head had been
sent as presents to the women, together with some articles to be
exchanged for furs. In his record of the day, which not unfrequently
is found written as though it were a letter to his two never-forgotten

Online LibraryCharles Francis HallNarrative of the second Arctic expedition made by Charles F. Hall: his voyage to Repulse Bay, sledge journeys to the Straits of Fury and Hecla and to King William's Land, and residence among the Eskimos during the years 1864-'69 → online text (page 13 of 57)