Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/277

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I have now concluded my remarks on, and description of, the implements designed to improve the whale-fishery; from a sense of duty, and in justice to myself, I have detailed the circumstances that occurred on my Greenland voyage, and also my opinion of the causes which have hitherto defeated the object so long and liberally patronised by the Society of Arts, Commerce, and Manufactures, for the general introduction of the gun-harpoon; I have also had in view to lay before those most immediately concerned in the fishery, some of the causes which have in numerous instances entailed a want of success on their speculation; and I shall close the subject with a few observations which I respectfully submit to their consideration, as alterations necessary in the arrangement of Greenland ships.

The harpooners do not support a distinction of rank, so necessary in all services, to subordination and good order; the consequence is, that familiarity creates an influence which should not exist, and the crew become ready instruments in any line of conduct which the harpooners may capriciously take. This I saw confirmed in the Baffin, as every discontent and dissatisfaction that occurred during the voyage, originated with some of that class: I would recommend that they should mess apart, that their births should be detached, and themselves separated from the crew when not on duty; and that when on duty, they should be taught to conduct themselves as officers; they should be made to know that it is not absolutely necessary for every harpooner in the ship to have had the service of his life confined to that of the navigation of ice; but that a part of the number may be composed of steady, active seamen, who have served long in the navy, and particularly those used to the service of guns, who, if they were instructed in the management of a whale line, would, from their professional habits in pointing a gun with ac-