Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/175

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

body. Captain Scoresby also related several extraordinary instances from personal observation, of the destructive power and determined defence of some fish; he spoke of one occasion in particular, in which a whale destroyed every boat as it approached; and he also mentioned. the fact, to shew the power of that fish, that, a. few years since, a boat belonging to the Ainswell of Whitby was struck by a whale, while the crew were attempting to kill it, and literally shivered to pieces by the blow; of the crew three perished. Numerous similar accidents I have heard described by the commanders of other vessels, on board of which I went during this voyage.

The life of a sailor is at all times precarious, and deserving the serious regard of every man who is a well-wisher to his country; for sailors, by their honourable and useful exertions, have been the essential means of raising Britain above the rest of the world, in commerce and in naval power. But, there is a particular solicitude due to those who gain their subsistence from the Greenland fishery, as they are exposed to dangers which have often proved fatal, from masses of floating ice crushing the vessels to pieces, or sinking them beneath their frightful weight; while they also encounter great hazards in their employment, of capturing the monsters of the deep for the use of man. There is, perhaps, no class of men more eminently useful than they who prosecute this branch of commerce and, certainly, none whose employment is attended