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form, that they are almost universally is open, it presents a cavity large enough considered as such by the great mass of to contain a boat full of men, being six mankind. If, however, we examine their or eight feet wide, ten or twelve high in structure more carefully, we shall find front, and fifteen or sixteen long. These that they differ from quadrupeds only animals have no voice, but, in breathing in their organs of motion. They are or blowing, make a very loud noise : the warm-blooded, breathe atmospheric air vapor they discharge is ejected to the only, and by means of lungs, and bring height of some yards, and appears, at a forth and suckle their young in the same distance, like a puff of smoke. The usumanner as quadrupeds : in short, all the al rate at which they swim seldom exdetails of their organization are the same ceeds four miles an hour ; and though is in this class of animals. The body their extreme velocity may be at the rate and tail are continuous, the latter taper- of eight or nine, this speed never contining gradually, and terminating in a large, ues longer than for a few minutes before horizontal, cartilaginous fin: the hind feet it relaxes to almost one half. They are are altogether wanting, but their position also capable of ascending with such rais marked by two small, rudimentary pidity as to leap entirely out of the wahones, enveloped in the skin: the fore ter, which feat they sometimes perform feet have externally the form of fins or apparently as an amusement, to the no Alippers; but they possess the same bones small terror of inexperienced fishers. as those of quadrupeds, flattened, howev. Sometimes they throw themselves into a er, shortened, and enveloped in a tendi- perpendicular posture, with their heads nous membrane: the head is of enormous downwards, and, rearing their tails on size, often occupying one third of the high, beat the water with tremendous vitotal length of the animal ; and the open- olence: the sea is then thrown into foam, ing of the mouth corresponds in magni. and the air filled with vapors: the noise, tude: the neck is excessively short, and in calm weather, is heard to a great disexternally appears to be altogether want- tance, and the concentric waves, produced ing: the nostrils are the blow-holes or by the concussions on the water, are piracles, situated at the top of the head, communicated abroad to a considerable y means of which atmospheric air pen- extent. Sometimes the whale shakes its etrates to the lungs when the animal mighty tail in the air, which, cracking rises to the surface of the water: the skin like a whip, resounds to the distance of is entirely destitute of hairs; and beneath two or three miles. Whales usually reit a thick coating of oily fat, commonly main at the surface to breathe about two called blubber, envelopes the animal : the minutes, seldom longer, during which eyes are exceedingly small, compared time they “blow" eight or nine times, with the bulk of the animal, and the ex- and then descend for an interval of five ternal ear is altogether wanting: their or ten minutes, but sometimes, when senses, in consequence, would not seem feeding, fifteen or twenty. When struck, to be very acute; neither do they display they have been known to descend to the much intelligence: the sea affords them perpendicular depth of a mile, and with abundance of food, which they are ena- such velocity, that instances have occurbled to procure with little difficulty; and red in which they have broken their jawthey find in their size and strength a suf- bones by the blow struck against the botficient protection against most dangers.- tom. Their food consists of mollusca, The common or Greenland whale (B. shrimps, and other small crustaceous animysticetus) is destitute of teeth, but, in mals. When feeding, they swim with their place, the upper jaw is furuished considerable velocity, below the surface, with transverse layers of a horny sub- with the jaws widely extended ; a stream stance, called baleen or whalebone, which, of water consequently enters the capaat the edges, split into long, slender cious mouth, bearing along large quantifringes. This species is productive of ties of marine insects. The water esmore oil than any other; and, being less capes again at the sides, but the food is active, slower in its motion, and more entangled and strained by the whalebone, timid than the rest of its kind of simi- which, from its compact arrangement, lar magnitude, is more easily captured. does not allow a particle of the size of the When fully grown, its length is from fifty smallest grain to escape. Whales, though to sixty-five feet, rarely, if ever, reaching often found in great numbers together, seventy, and its greatest circumference can scarcely be said to be gregarious, ocfrorn thirty to forty: the ordinary weight curring, most generally, solitary, or in is about seventy tons. When the mouth pairs, excepting when drawn to the same spot by the attraction of an abundance fatal consequences having been sometimes of palatable food, or a choice situation of produced by the most tritling beglect the ice. They occur most abundantly in When the line happens to run foul, and the frozen seas of Greenland, and Davis's cannot be cleared on the instant, it some straits, in Battin's and Hudson's bays, in times draws the boat under water. The the sea to the northward of Beering's average stay under water of a wounded straits, and along some parts of the north- whale, which steadily descends after be ern shores of Asia, and probably of Amer- ing struck, is about thirty minutes. The ica. They are never met with in the greater the velocity, the more considersGerman ocean, and rarely within two ble the distance to which it descends, and hundred leagues of the British coast; the longer the time it remains under wabut along the coasts of Africa and South ter, so much greater in proportion is its Ainerica, they are found, periodically, in exhaustion and the facility of accomconsiderable numbers, and are captured plishing its capture. Whenever it re-apby the southern British and American pears, the assisting boats make for the whalers. It is not, however, certainly place with their utmost speed ; and, as ascertained, whether this species is iden- they reach it, each harpooner plunges bas tical with the northem, though it evi- harpoon into its back, to the number of dently approaches it very closely. The three, four, or more, according to the instruments of general use, in the cap- size of the whale and the nature of the ture of the whale, are the harpoon and situation. Most frequently, however, the lance. The harpoon is an instrument of whale descends, for a few minutes, atirt iron, about three feet in length, termi- receiving the second harpoon, and obligo nating in an arrow-shaped head, the two the other boats to await its return to the branches of which have internally a small- surface, before any further attack can be er reversed barb, resembling the beard of made. It is afterwards actively pled a tish-hook. When this instrument is with lances, which are thrust into its forced, by a blow, into the fat of a whale, body, aiming at the vitals. At length, and the line is held tight, the principal exhausted by numerous wounds and the barts seize the strong ligamentous fibres loss of blood, the huge animal indicates of the blubber, and prevent it from being the approach of death by discharg. withdrawn. The lance is a spear of iron, ing from the blow-boles a mixture of six feet in length, terminating in a head blood along with the air and mucus of steel, made very thin and exceedingly which it usually expires, and, finally, jess sharp, seven or eight inches in length of blood alone. The sea, to a great er. and two or two and a half in breadth. tent round, is dyed with its blood; and These two instruments, together with the ice, boats and men are someume lines, boats and oars, form all the neces- drenched with it. Its final capture > sary apparatus for capturing the whale. sometimes preceded by a convulsive Considerable aldress is requisite to ap- struggle, in which the tail, reared, whirlah, proach sufficieutly near to the animal and violently jerked in the air, resounes during its short stay at the surface; but to the distance of miles. In dying, it when this has been accomplished, the turns upon its back or its side.' Thus hardy fisher rows directly upou it, and, ends this remarkable contest between bu an instant before the boat touches, buries man ingenuity and brute force, in which the harpoon in its back. But if, while man seems to be chiefly indeteed for surthe boat is at a little distance, the whale cess to his own apparent insignificane, should indicate his intention of diving, to the animal exhausting itself by its own the barpoon is thrown from the hand; efforts, and to the necessity it is under of and when this is done skilfully, it is effi- coming to the surface to breathe. The cient at the distance of eight or ien yards. remarkable exhaustion observed in a The wounded whale makes a convulsive wounded whale, on its reappearance at etfort to escape. Then is the moment of the surface, is the effect of the almost indanger; and both boat and men are ex- credible pressure to which the annal posed to destruction from the violent must have been exposed at the depth of blows of its ponderous tail The animal seven or eight hundred fath mspm immediately sinks under water:after this sure on the surface of its body perriting it usually pursues its course directly 200,000 tons, and which is sufficient to downwards towan's the bottom of the force the water through the pores of the sca. The utmost care and attention are hardest wood.--For a full account of the requisite, on the part of every person in whale, as well as of 'he various mudes the boal, while the lines are running out; of fisbing in pack, field, or bay be, &c,
and of the subsequent operations upon skin smooth, excepting on the sides of the the dead body, we must refer to the work thorax, where are some remarkable longiof Scoresby, where the reader will find tudinal folds. The physalus occurs, in the most certain information on this sub- great numbers, in the Arctic seas, espeject, so far, at least, as the business is car- cially along the edge of the ice between ried on in the Polar seas.— The various Cherie island and Nova Zembla, and also uses to which the different parts of the near Jan Mayen. It is seldom seen whale are applied, are too numerous for among much ice, and seems to be avoided insertion here: suffice it to say, the whale by the common whale; and, consequentfishery forms an important branch of com- ly, the whale fishers view its appearance merce, and, indeed, seems almost indispen- with concern.—The cachalot or spermasable to the existence of some northern ceti whale (physeter macrocephalus) differs tribes.-The razor-back (B. physalus) is from the above-mentioned animals in probably the most powerful and bulky of many important particulars. The mouilı its tribe, and, consequently, of the whole is entirely destitute of whalebone, and animal creation. It is readily distinguish- the lower jaw is armed, on each side, with ed from the preceding by the presence of a row of about twenty thick, conical a dorsal fin; its form is less cylindrical, teeth, which fit into corresponding dethe body proportionably longer, the whale- pressions in the upper jaw. The blowbone shorter, its breathing or blowing hole is single, not symmetrical, but directmore violent, and its speed greater. The ed towards the left side, and placed at the length is about one hundred feet, and its extremity of the upper part of the snout. greatest circumference thirty or thirty- The left eye is also smaller than the other. five. Its blowing, in calm weather, may The head is of enormous size, termibe heard at the distance of a mile. Its nating abruptly in front; but the lower greatest speed is about twelve miles an jaw is very long and narrow. The upper hour. It is by no means a timid animal; part of the head is composed of large and, when closely pursued, does not at- cavities, separated by cartilaginous partempt to outstrip the boat, but merely en- titions, filled with an oil which condenses deavors to avoid it by diving or changing and crystallizes on cooling, forming the its direction. If harpooned, or otherwise well-known substance called spermaceti. wounded, it then exerts all its energies, This is the principal object of the fishery; and escapes with its utmost velocity, but for their body does not yield a great proshows little disposition to retaliate on its portion of blubber. The spermaceti whale enemies. It seldom lies quietly on the is found in all seas, but most abundantly surface of the water while blowing, but in the Pacific. It is gregarious ; and usually has a velocity of four or five miles herds are frequently seen containing two an hour, and, when it descends, very rare- hundred or more individuals. Such ly throws its tail into the air, which is a herds, with the exception of two or three very general practice with the common old males, are composed of females, who whale. Its great speed and activity ren- appear to be under the direction of the der it a difficult and dangerous object of males. The males are distinguished, by attack, while the small quantity of inferior the whalers, as “bulls,” and the females oil it affords makes it unworthy the gen- they call “ cows." The bulls attack with eral attention of the fishers. When great violence, and inflict dreadful injustruck, it frequently drags the fast-boat ries upon other males of the species which with such speed through the water, that attempt to join the herd. Whenever a it is liable to be carried immediately be- number of them are seen, four boats, yond the reach of assistance, and soon each provided with two or three lines, out of sight of both boats and ship. It two barpoons, four lances, and a crew of has been known to dive obliquely with six men, proceed in pursuit, and, if possuch velocity that 480 fathoms, or more sible, each boat fastens to a distinct anthan half a mile, of line were withdrawn imal, and each crew kill their own. from the boat in about a minute of time. When one is struck out of a herd, it The head is small, compared with that of commonly takes the lead, and is followed the common whale; the fins long and by the rest. It seldom descends far under Darrow; the tail about twelve feet broad; water, but generally swims off with great the whalebone about four feet in length, rapidity, stopping after a short course, so thick, bristly and narrow; the blubber that the boat can be drawn up to it by the six or eight inches thick, of indifferent line, or be rowed sufficiently near to lance quality; the color, bluish-black on the it. In the agonies of death, the strugback, and bluish-gray on the belly; the gles of the animal are tremendous: the
VOL. XIII. 13
surface of the ocean is lashed into foam on all sides. The hull of the vessel was by the motions of its tail; and the boats furnished by an individual, who commonare kept aloof, lest they should be dashed ly took upon himself the command ; a to pieces. When a herd is attacked in sail-maker supplied the sails, a cooper the this way, ten or twelve of the number are casks, &c. The parties engaged as adoften killed : those which have been only venturers : each person shared in the wounded are rarely captured. The sep- produce according to his proportion of aration of the blubber, or “flensing," is the outfit, and the crew was hired on the sometimes done differently from the man- same principle, which is also practised to ner used in polar whaling. A strap of a considerable extent in the U.States In blubber is cut in a spiral direction, and, its most flourishing state (about 16-0), the being raised by tackles, turns the animal Dutch whale fishery employed about 200 round, as on an axis, until nearly all the ships and 14,000 sailors. The wars of blubber is stripped off.
the end of the eighteenth and beginWhale Fishery. The Biscayans ning of the nineteenth centuries anniwere the first people who prosecuted the hilated this branch of Dutch industry, whale fishery as a regular commercial and, in 1828, only one ship sailed from pursuit. They carried it on with great vig. Holland. The English whale fishery was or in the twelfth, thirteenth and four- at first carried on by exclusive companies, teenth centuries. The whales taken by but with little success. In 1732, a boun them were not, however, so large as those ty of twenty shillings a ton to every ship taken in the polar seas, and were not of more than two hundred tons' burthea very productive of oil; but their flesh engaged in the fishery, was granted by pa. was used for food, and the whalebone, liament, which, in 1749, was raised to forwhich was sold at a very high price, was ty shillings, and continued, with some vaapplied to various useful purposes. The riations (being finally reduced, in 1795, to failure of whales in the bay of Biscay put twenty shillings), till 1824, when it ceased. an end to this fishery. The voyages of The total amount of bounties paid from the English and Dutch to the Northern 1750 to 1824 has been estimated at about ocean, in search of a passage to India, £2,500,000 ; but the success of British laid open the haunts of the whale; and whalers, even with this advantage, is to vessels were fitted out by those nations, be attributed principally to the decline of the harpooners and part of the crew be- the Dutch fishery. In 1815, there were ing Biscayans. The numbers of whales 134 British ships, with 5800 seamen, enwere here so great, and the capture so gaged in the northern whale fishery, an! easy, that many were killed and aban- about thirty ships, with 800 men, in the doned merely from the ships being southern. In 1821, when the number was full. It was the practice of these times greatest, there were 142 ships, of 44,94 to boil the blubber on shore in the north, tons, and with 6074 men engaged in the and to fetch home only the oil and whale- northern fishery; in 1824, 120 ships, of bone ; and the Dutch constructed a con- 35,194 tons, and 4867 men; immedisiderable village on the northern shore of ately after the repeal of the bounty, tbe Spitzbergen, which they called Smeeren- number fell off at once, and, in 1229, ir berg (from smeeren, to melt, and berg), amounted only to eighty-nine, of 2-12 and which, during the busy season, abound- tons. In 1830, of eighty-seven ships fited with shops, inns, &c. The Dutch ac- ted out for Davis's straits, about eighteen quired a decided superiority over their or twenty-two per cent were totally lost; competitors in the fishery; and such was twenty-four returned clean, or without the quantity of oil procured, that ships having caught a single fish, and of the were sent out in ballast to assist in bring- remainder not one had a full cargo. The ing home the produce. Whales soon be- locality of the northern fishery has entirely came scarce about Spitzbergen, taking to changed since the first expeditions. The the deep ocean, and to the Greenland seas between Spitzbergen and Greenland seas; and it became usual to send the have been entirely abandoned by the blubber direct to Holland. The fishery whalers, who now resort to Baffin's bey had at first (1614) been granted to an ex- and Davis's strait, or the coast of West clusive company, but was thrown open Greenland. The Dutch first began to in 1642; from which time it was carried frequent Davis's straits in 1719; but it was on to the greatest extent, and to the most quite recently that the English first fokadvantage. The private ships sent out lowed their example. Even so late as 1820, by the Dutch were fitted out on a princi- the fishery in the Greenland seas was the ple that secured economy and vigilance most considerable ; but within a few years
it has been almost entirely deserted. Of under the frozen Serpent of the south. ninety-one ships, fitted out in 1830, only Falkland island, which seemed too refour 'were for Greenland. The discove- mote and too romantic an object for the ries made in the northern waters, by the grasp of national ambition, is but a stage English exploring voyages (see North Po- and resting-place for their victorious inlar Expeditions), have made the fishers dustry. Nor is the equinoctial heat more acquainted with several new and advan- discouraging to them than the accumutageous situations for the prosecution of lated winter of both the poles. We learn their business. The sea in Davis's straits that, while some of them draw the line or is less incommoded with field ice than the strike the harpoon on the coast of Africa, Greenland and Spitzbergen seas; but it others run the longitude, and pursue their abounds with icebergs (see Ice), and the gigantic game along the coast of Brazil." fishery is more dangerous. The South These are the seas that are still vexed by sea fishery was not prosecuted by the the American fisheries, which have been English till about the beginning of our pushed, however, into higher southern revolutionary war; and, as the Americans latitudes than had ever before been visithad already prosecuted it with much suc- ed, and are carried on from the shores of cess, four American harpooners were sent Japan to the icy rocks of New South out in each vessel. In 1829, thirty-one Shetland. (See South Polar Islands.)* ships were sent out, of the burthen of They have been principally carried on from 10,997 tons, and carrying 937 men, the Nantucket and New Bedford (see the artinumber having declined since 1818, when cles), and have proved very lucrative. At fifty-eight ships, of 18,214 tons, and carry- present, they are also prosecuted with great ing 1643 men, were engaged in it. France success from several other places. One has, of late years, had little share in the class of ships is fitted out for the Pacific whale fishery. In 1784, Louis XVI fitted in pursuit of the spermaceti whale. out six ships, on his own account, which These are from 300 to 500 tons' burthen, were furnished with harpooners and a carrying from twenty-five to thirty men, number of seamen from Nantucket. In and are absent about thirty to thirty1790, there were about forty French ships six months. Their number is about 170, employed in the fishery, which was de- of about 62,000 tons, and carrying nearly stroyed by the wars of the French revo- 5000 men. Another class sail to the lution. Since the peace, the government coasts of Africa and Brazil, in search of has attempted to revive it, but with little the common or right whale. They avesuccess. The whale fishery has been rage about 325 tons each, carry about carried on with greater vigor and success twenty-five men, and are absent eight from the U. States than from any other to twelve months. The whole amount country. It was begun by the colonists on of tonnage of this class is about 40,000 ; their own shores at a very early period; number of seamen engaged, 3000. The but, the whale having abandoned them, quantity of sperm oil brought home in the American navigators entered with ex- 1815, was 3944 barrels; in 1820, 34,700; traordinary ardor into the fisheries in the in 1825, 62,240, and, in 1830, 106,800. Northern and Southern oceans, from about The quantity of whale or black oil brought the middle of the eighteenth century. in in 1830, was about 115,000 barrels ; of From 1771 to 1775, Massachusetts employ- whalebone, about 120,000 pounds. The ed annually 183 vessels, of 13,820 tons, in sperm oil is chiefly used at home; and the northern and 121 vessels,of 14,026 tons, 2,500,000 pounds of sperm candles are in the southern fishery. These were the made, employing about thirty manufactofirst to prosecute the fishery in the south- ries. The whale oil and whalebone are ern Atlantic, on the coasts of Africa and chiefly exported to Europe. From the Brazil, and led the way into the Pacific report of the secretary of the treasury, seas. “ Look at the manner,” says Burke May 4, 1832, it appears that for the year (1774), “ in which the New England peo- ending Sept. 30, 1831, there were exportple carry on the whale fishery. While ed whale and other fish oil to the value we follow them among the tumbling of $554,440; spermaceti oil to the value mountains of ice, and behold them pene- of $53,526 ; whalebone to the value of trating into the deepest frozen recesses of Hudson's bay and Davis's straits; while * The seas visited by the Americans are, in many we are looking for them beneath the arc- parts, little known; the currents are uncertain, and
the seamen have had to construct their own maps tic circle, we hear that they have pierced and charts. Yet shipwrecks have been rare. Two into the opposite region of polar cold; men are always kept at the mast-head on the that they are at the antipodes, and engaged lookout for land or breakers.