Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/254

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2d. A gun harpoon, with the rope secured to it by a ring, that slides on one of the circular rods, forming the shank.

Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821, page 200 1.png

3d. A gun harpoon, with a bow line affixed to a collar.

Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821, page 200 2.png

It is plain, from these representations, that the objections to the shape of the hand harpoon, if well founded, apply equally to all three. But there are many other objections; as it is not possible for any of these weapons to go in a direct line to the object, no precise aim can be taken with the gun; nor will a gun that is to be fired from a swivel at the shoulder, admit, (because of the recoil) of a sufficient charge of gunpowder, to propel a heavy instrument,—placed in the manner in which the harpoon now is, with the required rapidity to the required distance.

In addition to the above defects, the velocity of these harpoons receives considerable check in the resistance occasioned by the rope affixed to the sliding collar; the harpoon cannot be thrown directly point foremost, but will fly with some degree of curvature, which makes it consequently liable to take a bad position, and likewise to wound with the shank as well as the point, thereby making a wide cut, through which it is drawn without any considerable strain. It is also to be noted, that, in fastening the line to the harpoon, there is no mediate connexion between the iron and the rope; when the rope does not