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26th, latitude was observed 69° 43' N. On a point of land of the Waigatz they found a number of wooden images rudely carved to resemble men, women, and children, not fewer than three or four hundred, loosely heaped one upon another. Linschoten naturally conjectures that when a Samoyede dies, his friends consecrate an image to his memory. Some of these were worm-eaten and quite decayed ; others new and recently carved. Some had several visages on the same trunk, as if to represent many persons of the same family. “No graves, or bones, or other mark of cemetery or repository of the dead, were found here, and perhaps the Samoyedes bring their images here at certain seasons of the year.” This cape was named the Cape of Idols. Another cape of Waigatz, more advanced in the Strait, was named Kruyz Hoek, which signifies Cape of the Cross.
On the 29th, an ice island half a league in length drifted through the Strait. It was narrow and came lengthway; “if it had lain athwart it would have entirely closed the passage.” One of the ships was at anchor within a projecting point of land, and thither the other went for shelter. The water of the sea here was remarked to be clear, of a deep blue like the water of the ocean, and very salt.
Smokes had been seen rising from different places on the coast, and at small distances within, and men
had been seen at a distance. On the 29th, and afterwards, the Hollanders had friendly communication with some Samoyedes. By means of a Russian sailor belonging to one of the ships, “who had much trouble to understand them,” information was obtained that eastward of Nova Zembla was a sea of no great extent, which being passed, there was another extending far. These Samoyedes being questioned, if they were subject to the great Czar of Muscovy, replied that they knew nothing of him. They spoke, however, of Petroza and Pitzano, places which belonged to the Russians, as known to them.
Among a wandering unsettled people like the Samoyedes, it would naturally happen that some might be made to acknowledge themselves subject to the Russians, and others remain long in perfect ignorance of any such claim to their obedience. Descriptions of the Russian empire say that the Samoyedes, or Ostiaks, inhabiting near the river Ob, were compelled to swear fidelity and allegiance to the Russian empire in the following manner :-A mouthful of bread was presented to each man on the point of a knife, and the man, receiving it kneeling, was required to say, or repeat, “If in the course of my life I become unfaithful to my Czar, if at any time I do not pay my
tribute, may a bear devour me, and may this morsel of bread that I am about to eat choke me.”
Linschoten says the Samoyedes seen by him were a very diminutive people, “ who might be denominated half men. Some among them resembled apes or monsters ! Nevertheless," he says, “ they are light and alert, jump well, run like stags, with admirable circumspection, casting their eyes from side to side; none of our people could keep pace with them in the race. They have sledges and reindeer, and use bows and arrows, and I think they would make good warriors, if they could be disciplined.” He says further, “ they are not used to fishing, and live wholly by the chase. We saw no sign of their having boats or water conveyance of any kind, and we observed neither house nor cabin on the shore.” Linschoten seems here to have drawn a conclusion from appearances which might more reasonably be otherwise accounted for. It is difficult to imagine that any tribe of Samoyedes, residing occasionally, if not generally, near the sea coast, should not use boats and fish, although nothing of the kind was perceived among those seen by the Hollanders; which very possibly was owing to their having travelled overland from some place where they had fixed their quarters, pur
RUSSIANS AND HOLLANDERS.
posely to visit the Hollanders. It is remarked in Linschoten, that there were no settled inhabitants at Waigatz Island, and that the Samoyedes resorted to it only at times proper for the chase, which in this cold country would scarcely be done (as with the New Hollanders) without boats. At taking leave of the Hollanders, they took off their hats and bowed, so taught doubtlessly by the Russians, and also clapped their hands. The Hollanders, in return, bade them adieu with the sound of trumpets.
From Kruyz Hoek the coast of Waigatz Island lies N.N.E. (by the chart to Linschoten, true), three Dutch leagues to a Cape, which on account of some dispute was named Twist Hoek, and is the outer Eastern Cape on the Waigatz side of the Strait between that Island and the Continent. The opposite outer point was on a small Island a cannon shot distant from the continent, and was named Ton Hoek. The distance between these two points, or breadth of this entrance of the Strait, is little more than a Dutch mile or league (15 to the degree). The ships anchored about a quarter of a league from Ton Hoek, in seven fathoms good holding ground.
From abreast Kruyz Hoek, extending north-eastward to nearly abreast Twist Hoek, lies a bank of sand, or a range of sand-banks and rocks, some level with the surface of the water and some covered, nearly midway between the continent and Waigatz Island. They found good anchoring ground through the Strait, but subject to disturbance in the fair channel from drifting ice, more or less dangerous according to its size and the velocity of the tide.
On the 1st of August they completed the passage of the Strait by the South of Waigatz Island. “This day,” says Linschoten, “we entered the Sea of Tartary.”
From the Strait they sailed at first along the coast of the continent, the wind being from the S.W.; and at the distance of a quarter of a league from land had depth from 7 to 10 fathoms. In the evening the wind changed to easterly, and caused them to stand off shore, which in a league and a half sailing brought them into 80 fathoms depth. The sea was also of an azure blue; and these two circumstances were regarded as indications of a large and open sea. The next day, however, they fell in with much ice, but the wind changed again to the S.W., and they were able to follow the continental coast, which Linschoten's chart lays down in a direction E.S.E. true, from the East entrance of the Strait. At the same time it is related, that on the 2nd of August the ships had sailed by the reckoning 17 or 18 leagues along the coast from the