Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/9

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larly to ascertain their sentiments relative to the gun-harpoon, to learn why that implement was not in more general use, and to inquire into the causes of the prejudice which existed in various quarters against its adoption. But I found it impossible to collect from their statements any satisfactory reason for the rejection of an instrument which had been strenuously patronised by the Society of Arts, Commerce, and Manufactures, and the excellence of which was self-evident. I could not resist the conjecture that the neglect of it must proceed from some cause, the knowledge of which was withheld from the proprietors in the concern, and I was convinced that they were sustaining great injury from the ignorance or prejudices of their subordinate agents.

To ascertain a fact involving no less a consideration than the annual saving of immense sums to the nation, with the employment of many ships, seamen, and artificers, could only, I found, be successfully attempted by a voyage in a whale ship, and I resolved to undertake