Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/260

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APPENDIX.

of receiving from him an encouragement of the hopes I had conceived of my apparatus. The following is an extract from his letter to me:—

"The certificate subjoined to your remarks is most satisfactory; and if the line used in your experiment be equal to those usually employed, it evinces a degree of power in the gun, of which the harpoon at present in use is totally incapable. The best harpoon guns, with which I am acquainted, are capable of projecting a harpoon in a point blank direction only about twenty yards; and then the harpoon usually penetrates obliquely, and occasions such a large wound as renders the instrument liable to draw."

This opinion of Captain Scoresby renders it incumbent upon me to declare, that the experiments which I have made with my harpoon assure me that, with a gun of less weight than any now in use and much shorter, I can project my harpoon attached to a rope of the usual size, thirty yards in a point blank direction.

The flight of the harpoon for that distance is quite direct; and the wound made by it can consequently be no greater in size than the girt of the weapon. This I have proved: the plank through which it was fired, contracting, as wood always does, after a sudden and violent perforation, presented a hole less in diameter than the instrument that made it.

I have to add (in allusion to the end of the extract from Captain Scoresby's letter) that, whatever other objections may be urged (though I hope and trust none can) against the harpoon which I have invented, it can never be alleged, that it will be liable to retraction through the wound which it shall have made in piercing the fish. From its construction, I pronounce such an accident to be impossible. If, then, there were no other benefit gained by my plan, this would,