Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/172

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to disengage itself from the weapon, they spoke in the strongest terms possible. The master of the Experiment had already received from the Society of Arts, &c., the premium for having in one season, with a harpoon gun, shot the greatest number of whales. From his great experience therefore in that method of taking whales, I felt no slight degree of satisfaction at the favourable opinion which he gave me of my gun harpoon, of its fully answering the purposes proposed, and of the very great advantage to be derived from its use, now that whales were so difficult to be obtained. It also afforded me great pleasure, to hear both masters express their unqualified confidence that my design to lessen the perils to which whale fishers are often exposed would fully succeed; and that all danger would be removed by the use of the shells and carcasses to destroy the power of the fish. They appeared to be fully impressed with the advantage to be expected from these inventions, from having witnessed, in the pursuit of their avocation, the melancholy fate of some of their companions, who had been suddenly cut off by these powerful monsters of the deep. The death of the boat-steerer, whose corpse was proceeding home in the Vigilant, they particularly described, as the event took place near them; the man was in the act of lancing a whale, when by one powerful swing of its tail, it swept him over board, and instantly with another tremendous blow deprived him of life, by breaking every rib, and almost every bone in his