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plunged into the great rivers, and then carried out to sea. From thence they are driven, with the floating ice, by the easterly current, towards the pole, where they are met by a northerly current, that comes by Spitzbergen, and conducted between Iceland and GreenJand to the east side, round Statenhook, into Davis's Straits. The manifest providence of God, in this seasonable supply to the poor Greenlanders, and the instruments which He employs for the conveyance of his bounty to that people, remind us of the beautiful passage in Psalm cxlviii. “ Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all deeps. Fire and hail, snow and vapour, stormy wind fulfilling his word. Mountains and all bills, fruitful trees and all cedars. Beasts and all cattle, creeping things, and flying fowl. Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth. Both young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the Lord : for his name alone is excellent, his glory is above the earth and heaven.” Psalm cxlviii. 7-13. . But notwithstanding the extreme barrenness of the
soil of Greenland, some species of animals find nourishment from its stunted produce: hares and rein-deer are the most numerous: the hares are white both in winter and summer. The only domestic animals the Greenlanders possess are dogs, of an ordinary size, and very much resembling a wolf. They use them as we do horses, often harnessing eight or ten to a sledge, and some of the natives, in a scarcity of provisions, eat them. Unlike warmer climes, there are no poisonous animals found in Greenland, and owing to the barrenness of the country, there is no great number, or variety of birds ; but the most numerous and valuable tribes of fishes frequent the Northern Ocean. There the ice offers them a secure shelter from the pursuit of the whale, which, like a land animal, has need of con.stant respiration, and must consequently often rise above the surface of the sea. From the sea, therefore, the Greenlanders derive their chief support, the variety and abundance of creatures found in it compensating, in some measure, for the barrenness and unproductiveness of the ground: indeed, the sea is the Greenlander's patrimony, and the fishery his chief harvest. Thus ANIMALS—THE SEAL. the principle of the statement made by the apostle Paul, in the bearing of the idolatrous multitude at Lystra, is applicable even to Greenland - Nevertheless, He (God) left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”
Among the numerous living creatures inhabiting the northern seas, none contributes so largely to the Greenlander's support and comfort as the seal, or sea-calf. The head of this animal resembles that of a dog, with large fiery eyes : its fore-legs are short, stand downwards, and act like oars; the hinder ones, which are situated nearly in a line with the body, on each side of a short tail, serve both for steering and accelerating their motion in swimming: they have five. toes on their feet, terminating in a long nail or claw, with which they climb up the ice or rocks. Their proper element is the water, but they rise every quarter of an hour to take breath-they live on every kind of fish. Their motion is hobbling, but they can make such good use of their fore-legs, and take such leaps with the hind ones, that a man cannot easily overtake them. Their blubber (or fat) is from three to four inches thick, and the flesh, which is tender and greasy, eats much like that of a wild boar. The skin of these animals, which is firm and tougb, and covered with short smooth hair, supplies the Greenlanders with clothing: their summertents, and kayaks, or boats, are also covered with the same materials; their flesh supplies the most palatable and substantial food; their fat furnishes them with oil, for burning in the large lamps by which their houses are lighted and warmed, and is the principal article of barter with Europeans, from whom they receive in exchange such necessaries as their own country does not yield; the Greenlanders can sew better with the fibres of the seal's sinews, than with thread or silk; of the skins of the entrails they make their windows, curtains for their tents, shirts, &c., and they make train-bottles of the maw; and, when iron cannot be procured, all manner of working and hunting implements are pointed with their bones.
Since these animals contribute so largely to the support and comfort of life in Greenland, expertness in
the art of catching them, exalts a man very much in the eyes of his countrymen ; and the ingenuity which the natives display, in the construction and use of their hunting implements, is truly surprising. The following is a description of the Greenlander equipped for the seal-hunt: and first we must describe his boat, called a kayak. This little vessel is six yards in length, sharp at the head and stern, just like a weaver's shuttle, scarce a foot and half broad in the broadest middle part, and hardly a foot deer. It is built of a slender keel, long side laths, with cross hoops not quite round, bound together with whale-bone, and this frame is covered over with some fresh-dressed seal's leather, which encloses it on all sides like a bag, over the top as well as beneath. Both the sharp ends, at head and stern, are fortified with an edge of bone, having a knob at top, that they may not receive damage so soon by rubbing against the stones. In the middle of the covering of the Kajak, there is a round hole, with a rim or hoop of wood or bone, the breadth of two fingers. The Greenlander slips into this hole with his feet, and sits down on a board covered with a soft skin; when he is in, the rim reaches only above his hips. He tucks the under part of his water-pelt, or great coat, so tight round this rim or hoop of the kajak, that the water cannot penetrate any where. The water-coat is at the same time buttoned close about his face and arms, with bone buttons. On the side of the Kajak, the lance lies ready, under some straps fastened across the boat. Before him lies his line, rolled up upon a little round raised seat made for it, and behind him is the seal-skin bladder. His pautik, or oar, is made of solid red deal, strengthened with a thin plate three fingers broad at each end, and with inlaid bone at the sides, this he grasps with both hands in the middle, and strikes the water on both sides very quickly, and as regularly as if he was beating time. The Greenlanders can row extremely fast in these boats, and when expedition is required they can travel twenty or even twenty-four leagues, or above 60 or 70 miles, a day. In these little boats, they fear no storms. As long as a ship can carry its top-sail, even in stormy weather, they are not frighted at the boisterous billows, because they can either skim over them, or even should
THE SEAL-HUNT. the wave break upon them, yet presently they rise again from its deep waters, and appear skimming along the surface. If a wave threaten to overset the Greenlander, he counteracts its force, and keeps himself upright on the water by his oar. And even if he is overturned, be gives himself such a swing with his oar, while he lies with bis head downward under water, that he mounts again in his proper posture. But if he happen to lose his oar, he hardly escapes drowning, unless some one is pear at hand to help him up.
When the Greenlander sets out thus equipped, and spies a seal, he tries to surprise it unawares with the wind and sun in his back, that he may not be heard or seen by it. He tries to conceal himself behind a wave, and cautiously approaches, till he comes within five or six fathom of the animal ; meanwhile, he takes the utmost care that the harpoon, line, and bladder lie in proper order. Then he takes hold of the oar with his left hand, and the harpoon with bis right, which he casts at the seal. If the harpoon hit the mark, and buries itself deeper than the barbs, it will directly unwind the string from its lodge on the kayak. The moment the seal is pierced, he dives into the depths of the sea with great rapidity; the Greenlander must then throw the bladder tied to the end of the string into the water, on the same side as the seal runs and dives. The wounded animal often drags the bladder with it under water, though it is a considerable impediment on account of its great size ; but it so wearies itself out with it, that it must come up again in about a quarter of an hour to take breath. The Greenlander hastens to the spot wbere he sees the bladder rise up, and smites the seal, as soon as it appears, with another lance. This lance always comes out of its body again, but he continues to throw it at the creature every time it comes up, till it is quite exhausted. Then he runs the little lance into it, and kills it, but stops up the wound directly to preserve the blood; and, lastly, he blows it up like a bladder betwixt skin and flesh, to increase its buoyancy, and securing his prey at the left side of his kayak, he tows it home after him.
In this exercise the poor Greenlander's life is exposed to the greatest danger. For if the line should entangle
itself, (as it easily may in its sudden and violent motion) or if it should catch hold of the kayak, or should wind itself round the oar, or the band, or even the neck, as it sometimes does in stormy weather; or if the seal should turn suddenly to the other side of the kayak, it must be overturned by the string, and drawn down under water. On such desperate occasions, the poor Greenlander stands in need of all his dexterity, to disentangle himself from the string, and to raise himself up from under the water several times successively, for he is liable to be overturned every moment, till he has quite disengaged himself from the line. And, after all, when he imagines himself to be out of all danger, and comes too near the dying seal, it may still bite him in the face or hand; and a female seal that has young, instead of trying to escape, will sometimes fly at the Greenlander, either wounding him, or putting him in danger of sinking, by biting a hole in his kayak. But the Greenlander willingly exposes himself to all these perils, for the sake of procuring a temporal supply for the necessities of the body: let his hardy industry reprove the comparative indolence of the professing Christian, in providing for the infinitely more important necessities of his soul. « Labour not,” says the Divine Saviour, " for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you, for him hath God the Father sealed.”
The Greenlanders use also another kind of boat, which they call umiak: this is much larger than the kayak, being from six to nine fathom long, and four or five wide, and is employed by the natives in their roving excursions. This boat is commonly rowed by four women at a time, while one manages the helm. The oars are short, with a broad palm like a shovel-at the head of the boat, they spread a sail of skins sewed together. It would be a reproach to them for a man to interfere, except in a case of very extreme danger, that called for assistance. In these boats, the women coast along from one place to another, making voyages from two to four hundred leagues, towards North and South, carrying their tents, their household-furniture, and all their property, besides many of their friends and rela- í