three more of slightly hazy weather: and, for many successive days, we had not a clear moment, and sometimes the farthest we could see throughout the day was a mile or two, at others not two hundred yard, and very often the intensity of the mist was such, that a mass of ice could not be discerned at the distance of fifty yards: yet, amidst this universal obscurity we passed in direct lines, (not reckoning the stretches in tacking) six or seven hundred miles through immense fields, floes, and crowded drift ice, and traced, as well as possible for the time, the edge of the ice next the sea, a distance of five or six hundred miles more. We sailed above twice that distance in search of fish, throughout their most usual and favourite haunts, but saw very few. And from the west land in Lat. 74½ Long. 14 W., to the sea edge in 1 W. in the same parallel, and from thence down to our quitting the fishing sea, we never saw a single whale. As I could not feel myself justified in persevering to the westward under such untoward circumstances, I determined very reluctantly to abandon further pursuit, notwithstanding our indifferent cargo, and to proceed homeward; steering therefore S.S.E. to give a birth to the ice, and the land during the fog, we took leave of the ice at a period twenty days later than I had ever before been amidst these evidences of the irresistible bonds of frost."
The occurrences of our voyage, after we left the ice, were of continued sameness, too trivial to