Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/82

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face of the mouth, and is partly blubber and partly krang[1], intermixed: near the tip it chiefly consists of the former; much blubber is also procured from the other extremity.

In inquiring into the origin of the British trade, it is observable that it was late before our nation engaged in the fishery; for it appears in the year 1575, we were totally ignorant of the trade, being obliged to send to "Biskaie for men skilful in the catching of the whale, and ordering of the oil, and one cooper skilful to set up the cask." This seems very strange; as in the account given by Octher to King Alfred of his travels, near seven hundred years before that period, he made that monarch acquainted with the Norwegian practice of the whale-fishery; but it seems, that all memory of that advantageous branch of commerce, as well as of Octher and of all his important discoveries in the north, was lost for nearly seven centuries. The trade was carried on by the Biscayans, long before it was attempted by the English; and that, for the sake not only of the oil, but also of the whale-bone, in which they seem long to have dealt. The earliest notice we find of that article in our own trade, is by Hackluyt, who says, "it was brought from the Bay of St. Lawrence by an English ship that went there for barbes and fynnes of whales and train oil, a. d. 1594, and who

  1. Krang is a name given by fishermen to the fleshy part, after the blubber is taken off.