Tucker’s book attempts to vindicate the subjugation of a “barbaric” and “savage” people; people who are uncertain in their survival which “arises very much from their deeply-rooted habits of improvidence” (p. 11). His pride in conversions of the natives thanks to his piety, is belied by an obvious transience of such success. His prose is too unctuous to need repeating here, a significant contrast to the more thoughtful Archdeacon of the Yukon sixty years later. A few samples will suffice.
p. 109: Another of these Indian scholars was Colon Leslie, an Esquimaux from Fort Churchill. He had learnt reading, writing, and arithmetic; and the school being at this time removed to the Grand Rapids, he was there taught husbandry and carpenters’ work. He was a very promising youth, and Mr. Cockran looked forward to his being very useful at the Indian Village; but in the spring of 1835 his health declined, and he was soon after attacked with influenza, which was at that time very prevalent in the colony. During his illness he gave satisfactory evidence of being taught of God.
p. 179: “My heart was light when I saw my son take his Bible and some tracts, and when he squeezed my hand with tears in his eyes, and said, ‘I will remember Him who is over all till we meet again.’ ”
p. 303: “Now for a little account of our days: — Prayers in the school-room at seven o’clock. Mr. Hunt rings a bell a few minutes before to give notice, as our watches and dial are the only time-pieces here. After prayers we have breakfast, which generally consists of cocoa, biscuits, and excellent fish, caught that same morning. After this, and a little time to myself for reading, I go to the school from nine o’clock to twelve. We dine at two, and in the afternoon are again busy till six, when I meet the women in the school-room, and teach them to read till seven, when we have evening prayers; and after this, we often have to speak to one or two, to whom we are giving medicine.”