Reverend E.J. Peck AND the Inuit East of Hudson Bay (1876–1919)
The Reverend Edmund James (E.J.) Peck (1850–1924) played a leading part, on behalf of the Church Missionary Society, in the conversion of the Inuit in northeast Canada at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. Peck’s importance as a missionary was well acknowledged during his lifetime. In 1904, for example, the Reverend Arthur Lewis devoted a substantial book to Peck. Focusing on Peck’s missionary work, Lewis’s The Life and Work of the Rev. E.J. Peck among the Eskimos popularized Peck as the “Apostle of the Eskimos” (Marsh 1964: 428). For a long time, Lewis’s book was the main source of information about Peck. Lewis presents the book as a biographical sketch, but it covers much of Peck’s work up to 1904. It is clear that Lewis greatly admired the missionary, and he quotes abundantly from Peck’s journals. Lewis pays little attention, however, to Peck’s ethnographic work.