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JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE,
FOR these many years past, a considerable number of Esquimaux have been in the annual practice of visiting the three missionary establishments of the United Brethren on the coast of Labrador, Okkak, Nain, and Hopedale, chiefly with a view to barter, or to see those of their friends and acquaintance, who had become obedient to the gospel, and lived together in Christian fellowship, enjoying the instruction of the Missionaries.
These people came mostly from the north, and some of them from a great distance. They reported, that the body of the Esquimaux nation lived near and beyond Cape Chudleigh,<yvhich they call Killinek, and having conceived much friendship for the Missionaries, never failed to request, that some of them would come to their country, and even urged the formation of a new settlement, considerably to the north of Okkak.
To these repeated and earnest applications the Missionaries were the more disposed to listen, as it had been discovered, not maay years after the establishment of the Mission in 1771, that that part of the coast on which, by the encouragement of the British government, the first settlement was made, was very thinly inhabited, and that the aim of the Mission, to convert the Esquimaux to Christianity, would be better obtained, if access could be had to the main body of the Indians, from which the roving inhabitants appeared to be mere stragglers. Circumstances, however, prevented more extensive plans from being put in execution; and the Missionaries, having gained the confidence and esteem of the Esquimaux in their neighbourhood, remained stationary on that coast, and, by degrees, formed three settlements, Okkak, to the north, and Hopedale, to the south of Nain, their first place of residence.
In consequence of the abovementioned invitation, it became a subject of serious consideration, by what means a more correct idea of the extent and dwelling-places of the Esquimaux nation might be obtained, and a general wish was expressed, that one or more of the Missionaries would undertake the perilous task of visiting such places as were reported by the Esquimaux themselves to contain more inhabitants than the southern coast, but remained unknown to European navigators.
The Synodal Committee, appointed for the management of the Missions of the United Brethren, having given their consent to the measure, and agreed with Brother Kohlmeister, by occasion of a visit paid by him to his relations and friends in Germany, as to the mode of putting it into execution, he returned to Labrador in 1810, and prepared to undertake the voyage early in the spring of 1811.
For several years a correspondence had taken place between the Missionaries in Labrador and the Brethren's Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel, established in London, relating to the manner in which the voyage should be performed. Opinions were various on the subject; but it was at length determined, that a steady intelligent Christian Esquimaux, possessing a shallop, with two masts, and of sufficient dimensions, should be appointed to accompany one or two Missionaries, for a liberal recompence; and that the travellers should spend the winter at Okkak, to be ready to