James P Espy., an American meteorologist, born in Washington co., Pa., May 9, 1785, died in Cincinnati, O., Jan. 24, 1860. He early manifested a fondness for meteorological science, and after some years of investigation announced a theory of the origin and causes of storms, one of the features of which was the possibility of producing rain on a large scale by artificial means, which led to protracted discussions on the subject in the scientific journals. In 1841 his "Philosophy of Storms " was published simultaneously in Boston and London. He had previously communicated to the British association a paper on storms, and another on the "Four Daily Fluctuations of the Barometer." In 1843 he was assigned by the war department at Washington to a post in connection with the observatory, that he might prosecute meteorological investigations, and collated the reports from the different observers throughout the country. The information thus obtained was published in several quarto volumes by the department. ESQUIMAUX, or Eskimos, the most northerly of the American native tribes, residing chiefly above lat. 60° N, and occupying Greenland, Labrador, the shores of the Arctic ocean, and the coast on the Pacific down to the peninsula of Aliaska, and also a portion of the adjacent Asiatic coast.
They are generally divided by writers into the Karalits or Greenlanders, the eastern or Labrador Esquimaux, the Iglulik or central, the Kotzebue sound or western, and the Tchuktchis in Asia. They call themselves Innuit (men). The name Esquimaux, applied to them by the Algonquins, means raw eaters. The early Norwegian settlers in Greenland called them Skroellings. They finally expelled the Norwegians from their country about the 14th century. Cartier heard of them, and his successors before the end of the 16th century traded with them on the Labrador coast; but the Basques by violence provoked them to war. They were in constant hostilities with the Algonquins, who at last drove them from the gulf of St. Lawrence, where Champlain places them on his map. They worshipped Torngak, an old man, god of the sea, and Sup-peruksoak, goddess of earth. They are hardy, ingenious, active, and industrious, showing considerable skill. Crantz describes the Green-landers as small but well proportioned, broad-shouldered, generally less than 5 ft. high, with high cheek bones, flat faces, small lustreless black eyes, round cheeks, small but not flat noses, small round mouths, long, straight, coal-black hair, large heads and limbs, and small soft hands and feet.
They root out the beard, and are inclined to corpulence. Their body is of a dark gray color, but the face brown or blue. This brown color seems not altogether natural, because their children are born as white as others, but it is due in part to their habits; for they are constantly handling grease, and seldom wash themselves. Lesson describes them as superstitious to excess. Polygamy is practised, and women are regarded as creatures of an inferior order, to be disposed of by the men according to their pleasure. Their dwellings are almost invariably near the seashore, and are either permanent or temporary according to the situation and the materials at the disposal of the workman. In Greenland, where their permanent dwelling is of stone cemented by turf, it is usually not more than 6 or 8 ft. high, and is covered by a flat roof of wood and turf. It has neither door nor chimney, and the floor is divided into compartments by skins attached to the posts that support the roof. Each family has a separate apartment, and each apartment a window of seal skin dried, which is white and transparent. Benches are used as seats during the day and as couches during the night, the bedding being composed of reindeer skins.
In Gilbert sound the houses are of wood, and at Regent's bay, and generally in Labrador, the roof is arched, and the habitation sunk 3 ft. in the ground; but the most remarkable houses are those built of the bones of whales and walruses, described by Frobisher and Parry. They also construct dwellings of snow and ice. Their dress consists of furs, in the preparation of which they exercise a degree of ingenuity superior to that of the most skilful furrier. The winter coat is usually made of seal skin, while the summer coat consists of that of the reindeer; but every variety of fur is occasionally used. The overcoat is supplied with a large hood, often bordered with white fur of the deer, which when drawn over the head presents a lively contrast with the dark face of the wearer. Those worn by the women have a much larger hood than those of the men, which not only furnishes a covering for the head but a cradle for the infant. The boots of the women are remarkable, and are sometimes made so large in the leg as to resemble a leather sack, which gives a ludicrous aspect to the whole figure. These capacious pouches are used as pockets, as temporary beds for infants, and, when in the vicinage of white men, as receptacles for stolen goods.
As they are much upon the water, they devote considerable attention to the construction of their boats. These are of two kinds, the caiak or men's boat, and the oomiah or women's boat. The caiak, first described by Baffin, is adapted but for one person; it is about 10 ft. long, 2 ft. broad in the middle, and 1 ft. deep, and shaped like a weaver's shuttle. The bottom is rounded and has no keel. The frame is kept stretched above by 22 little beams, and two strong battens run from stem to stern, which toward the middle are attached to a hoop of bone large enough to admit the body. The frame is entirely covered, with the exception of a circular hole in the centre, with fresh-dressed seal or walrus skin. When complete the boat weighs about 60 lbs., and is so constructed that it can be carried on the head without the aid of the hands. The oomiak is from 20 to 25 ft. long, 8 ft. broad, and capable of accommodating from 10 to 20 persons. It is composed of the same materials as the caiak, and is often furnished with a lug-shaped sail, formed of the intestine of the walrus, sewed together with great skill in breadths of about 4 in., and weighing less than 4 lbs. The mast has a neat ivory sheave for the halyards to run on, and is placed well forward.
Much taste is displayed upon the bow and stern of the oomiak, but the Esquimaux chiefly prides himself upon the beauty and speed of his caiak, in which he defies the storm, and does not hesitate to approach and give battle to the polar bear and other monsters. The Esquimaux sledge, which is drawn by dogs, is sometimes made of wood, but bone sleds are almost exclusively used at Shishvareff inlet and Regent's bay. At Regent's inlet the sled is made of a number of salmon packed together in the form of a cylinder about 7 ft. long, encased in skins taken from canoes, and well corded with thongs.
An Esquimaux Hunter.
Two of these cylinders are pressed into the shape of runners, and having been left to freeze, are secured by cross bars made of the legs of the deer or musk ox. The bottom of the runner is then covered with a mixture of moss, earth, and water, upon which is deposited about half an inch of water, which congeals in the act of application. These sleds travel more lightly than those shod with iron; but as they cease to be of service when the temperature rises above the freezing point, they are then taken to pieces, and the fish being eaten, the skins are converted into bags and the bones given to the dogs. The Esquimaux hunt with bows and arrows, spears and slings. They are fond of ornaments, and carve with much skill. Capt. Logan found on the E. coast of America models of men, women, and children, of beasts, birds, and fishes, exe-cuted in a masterly style, and with no mean knowledge of anatomy. The ivory or walrus tusks of which they form their models are cut by continued chopping with a knife, one end of the ivory resting on a soft stone, which serves as a block. To smooth and polish the work, a gritty stone is used as a file, and kept constantly wet with saliva.
Richardson represents these people as scrupulously honest toward each other, but utterly regardless of the property rights of strangers. They subsist almost exclusively upon fish and animal food, which the rigor of the climate enables them to eat raw and in large quantities. Fat of animals and fish oil constitute their chief delicacies. Mr. John Simpson, physician of the ship Plover, says their principal settlements at Point Barrow, Cape Smyth, Point Hope, and Cape Prince of Wales are inhabited during the whole year; but Wainwright inlet, Icy cape, Port Clarence, and Norton sound, the coasts of Kotzebue sound, and other settlements and huts along the coasts, are only inhabited during the winter and deserted in summer. Their commercial places are Kinging on Cape Prince of Wales, Sesualing at the mouth of the Nunatak, Nigalek at that of the river Cobrille, and Nuwuak on Point Barter. Four or five Asiatic boats are engaged in the trade, and land their freight at Sesualing, where a species of fair is held toward the end of July, which is distinguished not only for its active commercial but also for its pleasant social character. - Most ethnologists class the Esquimaux with the Mongolians; Prichard, Gallatin, Duponceau, and Archbishop Tache give to them the same origin as that of the hunting tribes of North American Indians. The Moravians began missions among the Esquimaux about the middle of the last century.
The missions were permanently founded in 1770, Nain being established the next year and Okkak and Hopedale soon after. They have the Gospels in Labrador Esquimaux (London, 1810-'13), and in Greenland (London, 1822). The language has no f, j, q, x, or z, and b, d, g, l, and n never begin a word.