Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/256

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port, or, if it be moving with speed, may have passed, before the fall of the harpoon.

To shew that these objections are not merely theoretical, I add the observations of Captain Sanderson, of the ship Enterprise, of Lynn, a gentleman of great ability, and possessed of an experience of twenty years on the subject.

"In a calm, the fish are often numerous and playing about, but will not allow themselves to be approached near enough to be struck by the hand; therefore, if a lock that will not miss fire and a gun to carry a harpoon that will not draw, and will go point blank at thirty yards, can be constructed, the invention would be an invaluable acquisition, as hundreds of fish would then certainly be taken which cannot now be approached. These qualities in a gun-harpoon would do away every obstacle to the complete success of the Whale-Fishery."

I am not without confidence, that I have attained that which Captain Sanderson points out as all that is necessary to ensure certain success in this important branch of commerce. I trust that I have invented a substitute for the gun-harpoon, the point blank of which will be upwards of thirty yards, and the construction of which, by a mechanical combination to produce strength, will effectually prevent its retraction; while it shall be sure to fly with its point directly foremost, and make a wound not so large as its own breadth, and be prevented taking a bad position in the fish. This will be discharged from a gun, not liable to miss fire, even in the most boisterous weather, when properly attended to. I have reason to believe too, that the substitute which I propose for the harpoon will be discharged with a force that will enable it to pierce the intestines of the fish, (the sensitive seat of its energy and vitality) thereby depriving it of the power of making those violent exertions which cause great difficulty in securing it, and often endanger the lives of those engaged in the pursuit.