TAMH: Source Material
Dundee: Whaling: People: Captain William Adams - 1| 2

Excerpt from obituary in Dundee Advertiser of 7th August, 1890


Captain Adams was a man of large sympathies and his heart went out to the poor Esquimaux whom he met with in the far North. Every one knows that at considerable expense he brought at different times representatives of the race to Dundee, and by lecturing and otherwise he excited an interest in them. The captain, while admitting their barbarous condition, was of the opinion that they could be very much raised in the scale of humanity. He was loud in his praise of what had been done for them by the Danish Government, and in a tone of bitterness somewhat akin to reproach contrasted the efforts of that Government with those of the British Government. In his own way the captain did a great deal for the Esquimaux, and he never failed when opportunity offered to arouse interest in them aand sympathy for them. Writing on this subject in 1887, he said:-

When I returned from Davis Strait in the fall of last year I brought with me an Esquimaux, a fine young fellow, who during his short stay in this country has acquired a considerable knowledge of our language, and has adapted himself in a remarkable manner to the usages of civilised society. I have spent the greater portion of the last thirty years in the Arctic regions, and the question has often occurred to me - Can nothing be done for the Esquimaux? On the coast of Greenland, between lat. 60 deg. and 7 deg. N., there are about 13,000 natives, all civilised, and under the influence of Christianity. This gratifying state of matters is due to the action of Denmark. Many years ago the Danes sent missionaries to those out-of-the-world people, and they have had their reward. Denmark and the Royal Danish company carry on important and valuable trade there. Numerous small villages are to be found along the sea coast, the inhabitants of which enjoy many privileges. The Danes send out ships every year with clothing, tea, coffee and other provisions. Each village has a church and school, and the Governor is generally a Dane. The Governor collects the oil, skins, ivory &c, and gives money in exchange - there is no truck system. The natives can read and write, are attentive to their religious duties, and considering their surroundings, may be described as a contented and happy people. Therefore I say great honour to the Danes for what they have done for the poor Greenlander. To the North and West of the Danish settlements are the British possessions - from lat. 73 to about 78 N. Here there are about 300 natives, familiarly known as Arctic Highlanders. They are nomadic and miserable, and though I have known them well for many years I could not venture on a description of them. The great Melville Bay glacier bars their way South; but could not some means be taken to convey them to the Danish settlements or to the West side of Davis Strait, where their life, by no means luxurious, would at any rate be tolerable? A great many Esquimaux are to be met with in the vicinity of Admiraly Inlet, Navy Board Inlet, Pond's Bay, Eglinton, Cap Kater, Durban, Cumberland Inlet, Hudson's Straits and Labrador, not one of whom has ever heard the Saviour's name and whose existence is that of semi-barbarism. To these places a ship could easily penetrate any year. Should such a state of things be permitted to continue? Surely some help could be extended to these poor, God-forsaken people. I know the men can be got for such work, and the cost would not be much. It has occurred to me that one celebration of the Queen;s Jubilee year might take the form of starting one settlement as an experiment at Durban or Cumberland Inlet, where many natives are to be met with. Such an act would remove a blot from the flag of Christian England, which was unfurled in Possession Bay by Ross and Parry in 1818.