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William Falconer's Dictionary of the MarineReference Works
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Table of Contents

C

CABIN to To CALK, or CAULK

CALL to CANNON

CANNON to CANOE

CANOE to To rig the CAPSTERN
CANOE
CANTING
CANT-TIMBERS
CAP
CAPE
CAPPANUS
CAP-SQUARE
CAPSTERN, or CAPSTAN
To rig the CAPSTERN

Surge the CAPSTERN to CARPENTER of a ship

CARTEL to CATS-PAW

CAULKING to CHANNEL

CHANNELS to CHEARLY

CHEEKS of the mast to CLINCH

CLINCHER-WORK to COASTING-PILOT

COAT to COLLIERS

COLOURS to COMPASS

COMPASSING to COVE

COUNTER to CRAWL

CREEPER to CROW-FOOT

CROWNING to CUT-WATER


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CANOE to To rig the CAPSTERN

CANOE

The Esquimaux canoe has a light wooden frame, and the shell, instead of plank, is made with seal-skins sewed together, which are not only extended round the bottom and sides, but likewise over the top; forming a complete deck, and having only one opening, conveniently framed and situated to admit the Indian into his seat. A flat hoop is fitted to this hole, rising about four inches, to which the surrounding skin is sewed. The Indian's sealskin jacket, being of a proper length, he can occasionally bind the skirt of it round the outside of this hoop; by which means he keeps the canoe free from water, and is enabled to pursue his game far from land or in stormy seas. His paddle is about ten feet long, light, and flat at each end, with which he both rows and steers with great velocity and exactness.

Mr. Crantz, in his History of Greenland, informs us, that the young men in their exercise are taught to overset their canoes, and when the bottom is upward, to recover, by the dexterous management of their paddle, their former upright position, the men rising again either on the side by which they went down, or on the contrary, as they please. The construction of this extraordinary little vessel, so admirably well adapted to the purposes of it's owner, does the greatest credit to the ingenuity of this savage people. Though natives of the extensive country of Labrador, they inhabit only the sea-coasts, particularly the islands, the interior parts being no less barren, and possessed by other wandering tribes, their perpetual enemies and superiors at land; so that they are reduced to almost an entire dependence upon the sea for the common necessaries of life. Seals-flesh and oil are amongst the chief articles of their food; and with the skins they make tents, canoes, and apparel. Those islands on which the sea-fowl breed, they visit for their eggs and young; and kill birds in the water with their darts. We are surprised, that provided thus, they should do so much execution amongst these creatures; but when we behold a party of savages, each in his canoe, with only his harpoon and his lance, pursue, attack, and kill the largest whale, how justly are we filled with admiration. The whales flesh and oil they eat; and the tough substance of the gills, commonly called whalebone, they apply very ingeniously to a great variety of uses; trafficking with the overplus for such European goods as they want. In their language, the canoe is called kaiak, or man's-boat, to distinguish it from umiak, the woman's-boat. The latter is a large boat, managed by the women for transporting their families and possessions, when they shift their encampment from place to place, as most convenient for the particular hunting of the season. A kind of wolf-dog, natural to that country, is the only animal they breed for food. The same canoes, language, customs, and way of life, being common to the Greenlanders with the Esquimaux, it is evident they have been originally one people.

There is a Greenland canoe in the Repository of the Royal Society, covered with seal-skins, and exactly conformable to the above description.


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© Derived from Thomas Cadell's new corrected edition, London: 1780, page 73, 2004
Published by South Seas, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-refs-falc-0276