Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/266

This page has been validated.

212

APPENDIX.

to direct its operations; I could thus obtain opinions, upon the spot, of the instrument from masters of ships, best qualified to judge of their merits; I could observe with scrutinizing attention, how the business was carried on, and whether the implements were adequate to their purpose; and by attentive observation, I could also investigate the cause of the prejudice against the permanent introduction of the gun; and by learning whether any part of the system was injurious to the interest of those most concerned in the fishery, might be enabled faithfully to report the fact to them.

To Captain Scoresby, Commander of the Baffin belonging to Liverpool, from his distinguished experience in the Northern Whale Fishery, and profound scientific knowledge, I applied for a passage in his ship, and he most readily acceded to my views, by an invitation to accompany him; and I lost no time in perfecting such improvements in the gun and hand harpoon, as appeared requisite, for the more effectual taking of whales; as well as in the shells and carcasses intended to lessen the torture that often attends the present method of killing fish, I considered it due to humanity, that their sufferings should be terminated as speedily as possible[1]; and it was likewise a primary object to determine, whether the shells were sufficiently effective to remove the hazard, often attendant on the service of lancing vicious or dangerous fish.

On getting to sea, as soon as leisure permitted, my inventions were submitted to Captain Scoresby, and their several intentions explained in the presence of the har-

  1. I have had communicated to me instances of a fish, having 10, 12, and more harpoons in it, and of every stratagem being used to irritate the wounds, in order to produce pain, and facilitate its death; yet the fish has endured the agony of these goadings for many hours.