Report on the Dominion of Canada Government Expedition to the Arctic Islands and Hudson Strait on Board the D.G.S. ‘Arctic’.

Bernier’s voyage in 1908-10 was for the purpose of regulating fishing and assure Canadian sovereignty over these large fishing and whaling grounds. Bernier includes a concise summary of previous polar expeditions (p. 17-22), presumably based partly on collections aboard the ship. Unaccountably he skips the period between Ross in 1818 and Inglefield in 1852, excluding both Parry and Franklin though both figure elsewhere in the book.

The expedition did find artifacts and records of earlier expeditions, including a boat from Resolute found on Dealy Island (p. 40) as well as records of that ship found in a cairn there, deposited by Captain Kellett in 1854 before the ship was abandoned off Dealy Island.

p. xxi, notes that the scientific staff of the expedition included an “Historiographer,” F. Vanasse, probably a natural historian.

p. 80: Some books were distributed at this place which had been given to the Captain by the Rev. Dr. Peck to distribute among the natives. Captain Bernier testifies to the noble and valuable work done by Dr. Peck in enlightening the people and teaching them to read. They are not only able to read, but to write letters to their friends and relatives who are dwelling at some distance from them. The natives at Blacklead are not only more intelligent than those seen at Ponds inlet, but are of a finer physique. The work of Dr. Peck, who now resides in Toronto, has been taken up by Dr. Grenfell. The energy and interest shown by this gentleman in Labrador is well known the world over, and his good work embraces the education and training of natives at Blacklead. One of the schools was visited and the intelligence and neatness shown in the arrangements and by the children, was very striking, giving the strongest proof of the elevating character of the instruction given.

p. 96, celebrated St. Cecilia Day on Nov. 22, 1908, with excellent musicians aboard.

p. 102, list of documents found by the Arctic, including No. 7 related to abandonment of Resolute; also Nos. 9 and 12 related to Resolute. See Appendix X, p. 358, especially re the Eskimaux vocabulary.

p. 110, re the winter: Music, amusements and reading, had a most beneficial effect upon the ship’s company, especially music. I am of the opinion that music for every hour, when the men were not employed in their work, would dissipate the gloom and monotony felt during the dark season.

p. 197, plate showing tablet at Winter Harbour, 35 miles from Dealy Island, left by Capt. Kellett and Commander McClintock while wintering there in 1852-53, before the Resoluteand Intrepid were abandoned.

p. 220-51, Bernier’s summary of earlier explorations based on documents, ranging from some of Parry’s to those of Capt. Kellett, found at Winter Harbour and Dealy Island. Facsimiles are given here and transcriptions in Appendix X, following p. 358.

p. 230 has a facsimile of an 1851 printed document left by McClintock re the Franklin search.

p. 273, Bernier on Sept. 5, 1909, encountered the whaling schooner Jennie, Capt. Samuel Bartlett: The schooner was chartered by Mr. Harry Whitney, of New York, for a hunting expedition, and had just returned from Ellesmere land, where musk oxen and bears had been killed. At l p.m., Captain Bartlett, Mr. Whitney and Mr. Fuller came aboard, and the captain handed us mail matter from Ottawa, which he was good enough to bring with him on the voyage, with the expectation of meeting us.

I [Bernier] informed Mr. Whitney that I was patrolling Canadian waters, and, as he had on board his vessel a motor whaleboat, it would be necessary for him to take out a fishery license, and that I would issue it. He stated that if it was a regulation, he would pay the legal fee of 50, and take the license. I accordingly issued the license and received the fee. We exchanged a quarter of musk ox meat for some magazines furnished by Mr. Whitney.

p. 284, photo of “Eskimo at Blacklead [Baffin Land] Holding Bibles in Native Language”, in their hands.

p. 299, visit to Moravian Mission at Port Burwell [Ungava]: It is due to these excellent men, to bear testimony to the great good that has been accomplished amongst the Eskimo, They have treated the unfortunate Eskimo in the most Christian manner, have civilized them, taught them industrial arts and to read and write. They have elevated them by abolishing bigamy, inculcating honesty, cleanliness of habits and of the lives of the people.

Ranking next to Port Burwell Eskimos, in intelligence, morals and decency, are the natives in Cumberland gulf, amongst whom the Rev. Dr. Peck and others, have been working; they also have houses, their children are taught to read and write and the correct habits of civilization inculcated. The Eskimos of Greenland have the benefit of the Danish Government regulations and teaching, and rank next in intelligence, morality and habits of cleanliness.

p. 347: Appendix VI—items presented by Bernier to the Curator, Museum, Dept. of Mines, Canada, Nov. 17, 1909, from the cruise of the Arctic:

item 9. Prayer book, Melville island—Sir William E. Parry, 1819-20.

Item 47. Books, &c., 19 in number, from the Depot House of H.M.S. Resolute, Captain Henry Kellett, 1851-3, Melville island, latitude 75 degrees north and longitude 109 degrees west.

p. 355-81: Copies of Documents found by Commander J. E. Bernier in 1908—left by Commander Henry Kellett, of H.M.S. ‘Resolute,’ in 1853-4, on Dealy Island.

p. 357-60, Captain John Washington on Inuit vocabulary: The only existing published vocabularies of the Eskimaux language are contained in Fabricius’s ‘Greenland and Danish Dictionary,’ 1804; in the account of Parry’s Second Voyage in the years 1821-3; in Beechy’s ‘Voyage of the Blossom in 1824-5’; and in Sir John Ross’s Voyage of 1829-33. The three last-mentioned are thick quarto volumes, and therefore of little use in that form for the daily requirements of parties absent from the ships in boats or on land expeditions. The object of the present work is to supply that want, and to furnish every officer and leading man in the Arctic expeditions with a book of ready reference that he can carry in his pocket without inconvenience.

p. 389, Cmd. McMillan’s report on finding these materials: On the last day of August [1908], a trip was made in the launch to Dealy island, 35 miles east of Winter harbor. This was the winter quarters of H.M. ships Resolute and Intrepidin 1852-3. On the south side of the island in a house built with stone walls 3 to 4 feet thick and 7 to 10 feet high, lie the stores left by Captain Kellett to provide against disaster to the crew of the Enterprise, should they be forced to abandon their ship on the northern shore of the continent. These include casks of flour, peas, potatoes, sugar, tea, rum, and clothing, and boxes of ammunition, books, and so forth, within the house….”