"The following sketches were made on the Coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador in the summer of 1857. They are here given just as they were taken ; and therefore, though not pretending to elaborate finish, at least have the merit of representing the impression which they made at the time on the sketcher. They may also serve to show what is the character of the scenery of a country very little known, and often very much underrated." (Preface)

Contains 25 lithographs of coastal scenes of Newfoundland and Labrador, after original sketches made by Reverend William Grey in 1857. Detailed descriptions are given in the preface.

Publisher: Ipswich [England] : Ipswich [England]



ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-07-18

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Sketches of Newfoundland and Labrador

Printed and Published by S. H. Cowell, Anastatic Press, Ipswich.



THE following sketches were made on the Coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador in the summer of 1857. They are here given just as they were taken; and therefore, though not pretending to elaborate finish, at least have the merit of representing the impression which they made at the time on the sketcher. They may also serve to show what is the character of the scenery of a country very little known, and often very much underrated.

PLATE I. Coast of Newfoundland, near St. John's. This coast shows to the sailor, as he approaches, little beyond a succession of those lofty cliffs of slate, which induced the Northmen in the tenth century to give it the name of Helluland (Slate land). The vessel seems to be running right for this wall of rock; until, when close upon it, a narrow entrance is found between heights from 600 to 700 feet high, which being passed, the harbour is opened, whose landlocked waters are covered with shipping, and the enclosing hills with the buildings of St. John's. As you go up the harbour the town is mostly on your right; on the left is a lofty range of hills covered with forest, consisting of different species of spruces and pines, with a slight sprinkling of birch, mountain ash, and alder; before you the slopes of the valley are covered with cultivation; behind is a rugged range of rocky heights, which forms the back ground of Plate 3.

PLATES II AND III. St. John's. The former of these views is taken from the hill, near Fort Townshend. The Cathedral forms the centre of the sketch, half way up the steep side of the hill along which the town is built. Over the Cathedral are seen the Narrows (as the entrance to the harbour is called), and the waters of the Atlantic. The Cathedral (see Frontispiece) has only its nave completed, which was consecrated on St. Matthew's Day, 1850. The architects were Messrs. Scott and Moffat.

PLATE IV. Quidi Vidi. This is a sheet of water about a mile and a half long, and half a mile broad, lying to the North of the town of St. John's. It unites on its shores very different sorts of scenery. At one end is a suburb of St. John's, and green fields, at the other a range of rocky hills partly covered with their original forest.

PLATE V. Petty Harbour. This settlement, 10 miles South of St. John's, is well known for its grand scenery. The hill above the church is a noble feature; and the waterfalls and lakes higher up the valley are well worthy of the pencil. On the hill opposite the church is a curious rock, which Druidical antiquaries would call a Logan stone. Another such may be found among the hills a mile and a half North of Quidi Vidi Lake.

PLATE VI. Portugal Cove from the St. John's Road " The Cove," as it is often called, is distant 10 miles West from St. John's, on the Eastern shore of Conception Bay. The descent to it from the Eastward is one of the most beautiful scenes in the neighbourhood. You wind down a long hill, having a river full of cascades on the right, and lofty heights on both sides, whose slopes are partly covered with forest, and partly broken into cliffs. About half way down the descent, on a sudden turn you catch sight of the church (see Plate) standing on its own hill overlooking the river, which washes its base. In the distance are seen the cliffs of Bell Isle.

VII. Bell Isle. Bell Isle, Conception Bay, consists of an isolated mass of shale rock. Its gentle slopes and rich soil form a singular contrast to the rugged coast of the mainland. The Beach is one of the two settlements on this island. A semicircular beach of shingle has been thrown up by the sea under the cliffs; and on this are built the houses of the fishermen, outside them are the fish flakes and stores; and stretching into the water, the fish stages.

VIII. Aquaforte. IX. Toad's Cove Aquaforte is a fine harbour about 50 miles South of St. John's. The road to it from the capital is full of beautiful scenes. One of the most striking, Toad's Cove, is here given. The road winds along the steep side of a hill, and is crossed by a roaring stream, which tumbles over a waterfall into the lake below; and this again empties itself into the sea through a narrow gorge between two wooded hills.

X. Starve Harbour. An ill-omened name, but as lovely a spot as can be seen anywhere. The Bay of Exploits—one of the Northernmost of the fine bays which indent the Eastern coast of the island, is dotted over with innumerable islands, so thickly set together, that in many places the sea dividing them might be taken for a river. Up and down these calm channels, in and out among the wooded islets, the women and children of the place pull their light boats, with as much ease and unconcern, as they would take a walk down a lane in England.

XI. Cremilliere. This harbour is near the extreme Northern point of Newfoundland, on what is called the French shore; i.e. that portion of it, where the French have, by the treaty of Amiens, a concurrent (or as they of late contend, a sole) right of fishing with ourselves. Their fishing rooms are mostly large tents, set up for the summer season, and taken down when the fishermen return to France in the Autumn.




THE part of the coast illustrated here lies between 51° 27' and 53° 50' N. latitude; being the extent of the diocese of Newfoundland along the shore. Like its neighbour coast, the seaboard of Labrador presents its worst side outside. It is constantly beset by icebergs, and the islands and headlands which are opposed to the ocean are, at first sight, as bare as they can well be. But if you ascend the deep inlets, or thread your way between the innermost of the numberless islands which lie off the mainland, you find a warmer atmosphere, fine timber, luxuriant vegetation, abundance of wild fruits, and (what is less advantageous) thousands of musquitoes.

PLATE XII. Forteau Church. Forteau Bay is an inlet on the N.W. side of the Straits of Bell Isle. At the head of the Bay stands the church, which was consecrated by the Bishop, August 9th, 1857. The scenery around is of a different colouring and character from the rest of this coast; the hills enclosing the valley being of red sandstone, and the Eastern point of limestone, abounding in fossil remains.

XIII. Taylor's Gulsh This is a chasm in the sandstone hills about two miles North of Forteau Church. Down its bottom (which is a mile and a half long) pours a roaring stream in almost a continuous cascade.

XIV. Henley Island. Passing up the Straits of Bell Isle to the North, we leave the red sandstone cliffs, and make acquaintance with granite, slate, and hermaphrodite rocks, which will accompany us to the end of our cruise. As we clear the Straits, we come upon a group of rocks of basaltic formation, of which Henley Island is the most striking feature. It is 200 feet high; and the hexagonal columns which crown it are of about two feet diameter.

XV, XVI. Battle Harbour. A cluster of small rocky islands lying off the Labrador coast, just outside the Straits of Bell Isle, forms Battle Harbour. An encounter of some of the early settlers with the Eskimaux, is supposed to have given its name to the spot. The " room" (as a merchant's establishment is called on this coast,) represented in Plate 15, belongs to Messrs. Slade, of Poole. The church (Plate 16) was consecrated July 5th, 1857, and on the same day the Bishop gave Confirmation to five Eskimaux—the first fruits of their tribe. One word concerning the proper name of this tribe, which is Innuit : the present popular designation being only a nickname signifying " raw-fish-eaters," given them by an inland tribe of Indians with whom they were at war.

XVII. Deep Water Creek. This is a specimen of a small inlet of this coast, and may serve to show the character of a fish-stage, i.e. the rude hovel where the cod fish is cleaned and pickled; and a fish-flake, i.e. the platform of poles, covered with boughs of spruce, on which the fish is spread and dried.

XVIII. St. Francis Harbour. Here we shall find, perhaps, the best garden on the Labrador, and the first church built on this coast. It was consecrated by the Bishop of Newfoundland, 1853.

XIX. St. Michael's This view, taken from the high hill behind Square Island Harbour, gives a good idea of the wonderful beauty of some of the bays which indent this shore.

XX. Hawk Island. This island (in Hawk Bay) is a mass of granite, and is one of the most singular outlines to be met with on this coast.

XXI. Cartwright. This is a salmon depôt of Messrs. Hunt, of London, whence their agents ship preserved salmon for England. Its name is derived from Captain Cartwright, who lived here sixteen years, employing himself in hunting and fishing, and the foundations of whose house (called Cariboo Castle) are still to be traced to the left of the houses seen in the sketch.

XXII. Eagle River Fishery. Sandwich Bay is a deep landlocked basin, about 20 miles long by 10 broad, communicating with the sea by two narrow channels, on the Eastern of which stands Cartwright. The scenery around the shores of this fine basin would well repay any visitor—mountains, forest, rivers, and waterfalls are all worth going to see. Eagle River is the largest of the four considerable streams which empty their waters into this Bay. About two miles from its mouth is the fishery belonging to Messrs. Hunt, where the salmon caught by different fishermen, at their different " salmon posts," is cleaned and packed in tins ready for shipment.

XXIII. View on Eagle River. The extreme point of the river in this and the last sketch are the same—a narrow pass of the stream, when its waters are lashed into an angry rapid by rocky heights on either side. If we turn as we stand now, and look up instead of down the stream, and push our way a few steps through the forest, we are confronted by the next sketch.

XXIV. Falls of Eagle River. It is rather amusing to contrast this, and some of our other sketches, with a " popular" account of Labrador, lately published in one of Mr. Chambers' Miscellanies :—" This vast tract of land is extremely bare, and altogether incapable of cultivation. * * It is a country formed of frightful mountains and unfruitful valleys. The mountains are almost devoid of any sort of herbage. A blighted shrub, and a little moss are sometimes to be seen; but in general, the bare rock is all you behold. In a word, the country is nothing more than a heap of barren rocks."

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