Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/75

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

where man could least annoy it. But probably, having lost its affectionate tutor, in consequence of the alarm given to it by the harpooner, or not being sufficiently instructed in the laws of self-preservation, the young fish, as with no consciousness of danger in its unoffending nature, rose near a boat, the harpooner of which knew no distinction or merit in a whale beyond the quantity of oil it would yield; he immediately plunged his weapon into the back, and with the assistance of others, soon killed it, and brought it to the ship. Captain Scoresby taking an earnest interest in subjects relating to natural history, ordered it to be hoisted up, and laid upon the deck, that its structure might be the more minutely examined. It measured nineteen feet in length, and fourteen feet five inches in circumference; the longest laminæ of whalebone were twelve inches. The general appearance of the animal was particularly uncouth, and I was much amazed at the extreme disproportion of those different organs, the head, the eye, and the ear.

Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821, page 0047.png

Being the common Greenland whale, a description of its peculiarities, as well as some account of the early state of the fishing, may not be unacceptable.