immediately join the harpoon, the danger of some part, particularly the ring breaking by the impetus of the discharge is always very great. Before I could succeed in my plan of gaining communication with vessels wrecked on a lee shore by a shot with a line attached to it, I failed in every instance, until I had discovered some material to connect the rope to the ball, that would withstand the shock of the discharge. I therefore speak on this point with the certainty of experience.
The following representation gives the gun, loaded with the harpoon, as on the point of being discharged.
It is evident, that so much of an instrument like the harpoon of considerable weight, left protruding from the muzzle of the gun, must confine the point blank range to a very few yards indeed: the parabola, or curve, must take place almost at the very moment of discharge. To counteract this, the gun must, like a mortar, be fired at a great elevation: but the requisite geometrical means of ascertaining the due elevation cannot here be practised; and the aim must, consequently, always be uncertain. I have already noticed the very tardy flight of a body thus discharged, with a force inadequate to its weight; and, when to this want of velocity is added a circuitous direction, the fish may have dived from terror at the flash or re-
- Those which were sent me from Hull, and procured for the purpose of making experiments, exceeded seven pounds in weight, and were two feet and a half in length.