« 上一頁繼續 »
New Zealpacific bloccan. Ground, THE recent capture of one whale, getting fast to another, and pursuit of several more, and the sight of them blowing all around, close at hand and at a distance, naturally puts one upon inquiring into the habits and resorts of this great sea monster. It is of the class Mammalia, order Cetacea, warm-blooded, bringing forth its young alive, one at a time, and giving them suck. It is not therefore a fish, but is without scales, breathes the air through lungs, and respires by what is called its spout or blowholes, a kind of nostrils or two apertures situated on the after part of its head and neck, through which is expelled all the water taken into the mouth in the act of feeding and breathing.
The form of the spout serves to distinguish at a distance the kind of whale, whether right whale (Balæna mysticetus) or sperm. The right whale liaving two apertures nearly on the top of the back part of its head, the spout of vapor and water ejected is forked and perpendicular till its force is spent, and it begins to fall over on both sides, looking then at a distance like a Gothic ebru parted into two branches. This can easily be perceived when the whale is either coming directly towards, or going directly off from the ship, the jets d'eau being sometimes thirty or even fifty feet high. The sperm whale, on the other hand, has but one blowhole, and that a little on one side and corner of its head, from which the ejected stream issues a little obliquely, and not straight up as in the right whale.
Its propellers and means of defence are two fins situated a little behind the head, and the flukes of its tail, with which it sculls and attempts to strike its enemy. The natural work
ing of them by the waves when the animal is dead will always carry the carcass directly to windward. Of one that I have measured, the fins were five feet long each, and the flukes twelve feet across, being horizontal. Of another taken since this, the body was thirty-nine feet long and nineteen feet round, the head seven feet from its tip to the spout-holes, three feet wide just behind the same, and three feet from the upper outside superficies to the roof of the mouth, making its entire head with the mouth closed, about seven feet in diameter, or twenty-one feet round. Its jaws are capable of being stretched twenty feet apart, and its plates of the substance called whalebone are sometimes twelve feet in length. The length of another I have measured, a sperm whale, was fifty-nine feet and thirty feet round.
The ear of the whale is extremely small, and so hidden, like a mole's eye, that you would not find it without diligent search. Still the creature is thought to be very quick of hearing as well as sharp of sight. His head, when his mouth is open in feeding, or when he breaches, as sometimes, out of water, is a most uncouth and formidable sight. It looks at a little distance like the black, rugged mouth of one of those lava caverns a traveller meets with on the island of Hawaii. The huge lips close from below upwards, and shut in, when the creature has got a mouthful, upon his huge whalebone cheeks, like the great valve of a mammoth steam bellows.
The sole living of this immense animal is thought to be upon a substance which they call "right whale feed,” (medusæ.) It appears in the water like little red seeds of the size of mustard, which is intercepted by the hair that fringes the leaves of bone, as the whale swims along with mouth open. It is, in fact, a little
A CHAPTER ON WHALES AND WHALING.
red shrimp, sometimes seen floating on the surface in these seas alive, oftener dead, when it has the appearance at a distance of clots of blood, only yellower. I have seen it in both states, and as entangled in the hair of dead whales. The quantity necessary for the animal's support must be prodigious. I can doubly appreciate now that amusing passage in the Holy War, where Bunyan says, “Silly Mansoul did not stick nor boggle at a monstrous oath that she would not desert Diabolus, but swallowed it without chewing, as if it had been a sprat in the mouth of a whale." This feed is supposed to lie generally rather deep under water in these seas, as whales are often taken in greatest numbers where none of it is to be seen. In the Greenland and Arctic seas, it often covers miles and miles in extent, thick enough, it is said, to impede the course of a ship.
The internal anatomy of a whale is a subject of great curiosity. The great aorta of one of the largest size cannot be less in diameter than the bore of the main pipe of Croton water works, and the water roaring in its passage through that pipe is inferior in impetus and velocity to the blood gushing from the whale's heart. In Dr. Hunter's account of the dissection of a whale, the aorta measured a foot in diameter. Ten or fifteen gallons of blood are thrown out of the heart at a stroke, with an immense velocity, through a tube of a foot in diameter. The whole idea fills the mind with wonder.
The places where this whale is now most sought by the adventurous American whaleman, are, in the Atlantic ocean, Main and False Banks between Africa and Brazil, the parts around the Falkland Islands and Patagonia, and the region of ocean in mid-Atlantic, in the vicinity of the island of Tristan d'Acunha; in the Southern Ocean, south of the Cape of Good Hope, the uninhabited Crozettes Islands, St. Paul's, and other parts of the Indian Ocean ; in the Pacific Ocean, there are the New Zealand cruising ground, the New Holland, Chili, and the North-west, from the coast of America clear over to Kamschatka. This last is now the great harvest field of American whalers from May to October, and it will be likely to last longer than any other, because they are prohibited by the Russians from bay whaling, which destroys the cows about the time of calving. Almost all ships fill up there. Some have even thrown overboard provisions
to make way for oil. The havoc they make of whales is immense. There are ships that took during the last season twenty-five to even thirty-three hundred barrels in a few months. I have heard of one ship that sunk twenty-six whales after she had killed them; of another that killed nine before she saved one; of another that killed six in one day, and all of them sunk; of another that had three boats stove and all the men pitched into the sea, without any one's being lost. This latter is so common an occurrence that whalemen make nothing of it.
Until within a very few years, this gigantic game, as Burke justly called it, has been everywhere so abundant that whalemen have used no means to keep their rich prizes from sinking; but when one has sunk, worth 1500 or 2000, or even 3000 dollars, after all the labor and hazard of the chase, they have taken it as a whaleman's fortune, and have gone to capturing others instead. In some voyages they say more whales have been sunk than have been saved. The useless devastation thus caused among these huge denizens of the deep has been very great. One practical whaleman calculates the number of whales killed in one season, on the North-west Coast and Kamschatka, at 12,000. Would whalemen go provided with india-rubber or bladder buoys, ready to be bent on to harpoons and darted into a whale's carcass as soon as turned up, or when he is perceived to be going into his flurry, we are persuaded that many thousands of barrels of oil might be saved, and not a few poor voyages would be made good ones.* Now that whales are getting scarce, we think it impossible but that Yankee sense and forehandedness will soon see to this, and go prepared against such disheartening catastrophes as losing their game by sinking after skill and daring have made it fairly their own.
If owners knew how much might be saved by it, they would never let a ship go from port without buoys to hold up dead whales, and long hawsers to lay-to with by them in gales of wind. The ship I am now writing in has lost, in the course of this voyage, seven by sinking after they were “turned up," and three from along
* According to Wilkes's Narrative of the Exploring Squadron, the Indians of the North-west Coast take quite a nomber of whales annually, by having their rode fish spears fastened to inflated sealskin floa's, four feet long and one and a half or two feet broad, that keep the whale on the top of the water, and allow him to fall a comparatively easy prey.
side in rugged weather, because without a long hawser to secure them by to windward while laying-to. Six boats were stove in one on the N. W. Coast, some of the crew were badly hurt, and the men got so afraid of a whale that some of them would hide away when the order was given to lower. The only cause I have ever heard assigned for the right whale's sinking so often is having the air-vessel which nature is thought to provide this animal with pierced by the lance or harpoon. Any one ca
can see that a few buoys fastened to them would counter-weigh this tendency to sink. I have even heard of their being hauled up when out of sight by four boats' crews pulling upon the tow-lines.
Whalers enumerate twelve or thirteen different kinds of whale : right, sperm, black fish, hump-back, razor-back, grampus, sulphur-bottom, killer, cow fish, porpoise, fin-back, narwhale, and elephant whale. In the attempt to capture one of the latter, a New London ship, not long since, lost eleven men, including the first mate. The first four only are much sought after for their oil; now and then some of the others are taken by chance. The razor-back is sometimes found 105 feet long, but not so large round as the right whale, bearing about the same comparison to the latter as a razor-faced fellow you now and then meet with among men, to a fair, round alderman. The porpoise, as everybody knows, is harpooned from a ship's bow, hauled on board, and its carcass eaten for
sea beef,” and its oil, like the ship's slush, is a perquisite of the cook's.
The fin-back, so called from a large fin on the ridge of its back, looking just like the gnomon of a dial, is a large whale found all over the ocean, and could it be taken, would add greatly to the productiveness of the whale
fishery. It often comes near a ship with a ringing noise in spouting like the ring of bell metal, but it can seldom be come near enough to by a boat to dart a harpoon, and when it is struck, it is said to run with such amazing swiftness as to part the line or compel them to cut loose. Its spout at a distance, especially near the Falkland Islands, where they are seen in great numbers, flashes up from the ocean just like smoke from the breech of a gun fired in a frosty morning. I have seen the horizon thus, for an extent of many miles, all smoking with them, and the ocean all alive with their gambols. It is not a thing beyond the range of probability, that this hitherto unmolested sea rover may yet be brought within the all-powerful grasp of predatory man by swivels or airguns that shall fire harpoons into bim, or poisoned arrows from a distance.
An ingenious Frenchman, I am told, in these seas, once rigged swivels in the heads of his boats, and had bladders and other gear to float whales ; but he succeeded with it all so poorly that in mortification and despair, when he put into one of the ports of New Zealand, he went out into the woods and shot himself with a brace of pistols through both his eyes. I think some quick-witted Yankee would do better to give his attention to experimenting in this line, and even if the whales wouldn't be killed or Poated, he would not be such a fool as to blow his brains out. It is a true saying of Massinger :
“Who kills himself t'avoid misery fears it,
And at the best shows a bastard valor." Which, forasmuch as the crime is becoming popular now-a-days, it would not be amiss to put a stop to by enacting a law, as they once did in ancient Rome, to expose every suicide naked in the market-place after death.
BY E. F. ADAMS.
THE Ocean hath a treasure
Of life, and gems, and gold, Which line can never measure,
Nor mortal eye behold : But o'er its cold and secret deeps, The wealth of spirits wildly sweeps.
The sea hath might and glory,
Its voice is heard afar; Its waters rise before me
In fierce and foaming war: But hopes, and terrors, and the strife Of passions crowd its human life.
SKETCHES OF COPENHAGEN.
BY REV. E. E. ADAMS.
The prison in Copenhagen is an object of painful curiosity. The number of its inmates, when we visited it was 600, of which 150 were females. They are well fed and comfortably clothed, but kept under very rigid discipline. Some are in dungeons, where not a ray steals upon the darkness, and not a voice relieves the tedium of existence. Others occupy cells in couples, where, day after day, by the light that enters a grated window, they chip dye-stuffs for the coloring of rugs and carpets. Others still occupy by fifties and hundreds more extensive apartments, engaged in spinning and weaving, and in the mechanical arts. Among them we noticed a man whose eye bespoke uncommon intelligence : we accosted him, and to our surprise he could speak English. He was a Frenchman; had been a sailor; visited America and the West Indies, and somehow had found his way to Copenhagen, where, having committed mutder, he is imprisoned for life. A few words to him about the Bible and prayer, and his soul, caused the tear to start, and lip to tremble. Oh, he was not made for such a place. There is something in that noble countenance over which the dark tresses hang, that tells of better things. That silent tear, though it rolls from a murderer's eye, reveals a soul within. How could we leave him there ? but the law must have its satisfaction, and though love and pily hover around him, they can only spread a momentary sweetness on the brow of justice.
Denmark has furnished some of the bravest and most distinguished seamen; one of the most renowned of whom, was Magnus Heinesen, a native of one of the Feroe Islands. Having acquitted himself with honor in his own country, he entered the Dutch service, in which his courage and skill gained for him an additional glory. He was mostly engaged in capturing pirates. In this perilous employment his native ardor and courage were inspired by a sense of the awful cruelty of those monsters, and of the benefit he would confer upon the world by their destruction. His fame in this
service reached his own country, and King Frederick II. selected him as the proper person to suppress the outrages of French, English and Irish pirates on the coast, of Norway, Iceland, and the Feroe Isles.
Heinesen executed his task to the satisfaction of his monarch, who not only rewarded his eminent services, but protected him from enemies and slanderers, by whom he, in common with others, who by their merits engage the favor of their patrons, was almost always beset. On the death of Frederick, Heinesen, like Tycho Brahe, found it necessary to seek subsistence abroad. He went to the Netherlands, where he was soon received into the favor of the Duke of Parma, a Spanish Regent, who commissioned him to cruise against the ships of England, then at war with Spain. Having captured an English pirate ship and cargo, he took them to Bergen, where they were sold. Queen Elizabeth sent a complaint to Denmark accusing Heinesen of an act of piracy: whereupon Christopher Wolkendorff, without the consent of the other members of the agency commissioned to investigate and dispose of the matter,—from the instigations of old enemies as well as from personal opposition, ordered him, after a very partial and hasty trial, to be beheaded! He accordingly suffered death in February, 1589. Even in his last moments his courage did not forsake him; it was rather increased by the consciousness that his condemnation was groundless, and that his death would be but the sacrifice of a few years, in which he would have gladly served his country. When the executioner asked him if he should not, according to custom, cover his eyes with a handkerchief, Heinesen replied, “No; I have seen many a drawn sword! I am not afraid, be not thou afraid !" In the following year Heinesen's innocence was established by Hans Lindenon, judge of a district in Jutland, who summoned Wolkendorff before an Assembly of the Estates, which was then held at Colding. It was proved that he held the Duke of Parma’s commission against the English
pirates ; and that the vessel sold in Bergen had been previously condemned at Ostende, as "a good and lawful prize to Magnus Heinesen.”
The Assembly of the Estates ordered the body of Heinesen to be disinterred; that the sentence of condemnation should be expunged from the register in the Town Hall of Copenhagen, and “in no way prejudice Heinesen in his grave, or his relect widow, or their offspring, in regard to their good name and fame.” Wol. kendorff was sentenced to pay the widow and children a large sum of money. Heinesen's body was removed from Copenhagen to Jutland, and deposited in Orsle church, near Viburg.
This sketch teaches us the importance of an
honest life, and offers this encouragement, that however men may depreciate our conduct and motives while we live; however laden with their maledictions when we go out of the world ; and whether we leave it by the common and expected visitations of Providence, or by the condemnation of courts, and the hand of the executioner, there will be a period when truth shall appear, and when the rightful honors that were withheld from the living, shall be given to the dead! At all events, a reward will be presented in eternity, to all who are too upright to be appreciated on earth.
The truest and best Poetry is yet unwritten. The highest and noblest conceptions--the innermost experiences of the human soul. have never yet been “said or sung.” The true Pië. rian spring is a fountain deep hidden in the bu. man soul; and its living waters gush not forth, till, like Milton's, the poet's soul be smitten with love of sacred song. In other words, spiritual culture must precede, and produce, the highest form of poetry—that which expresses the purest and noblest forms of thought which the human soul is capable of producing.
It is in our spiritual, and not in our intellectual nature, that the true germs of poetic feeling lie deep-buried; and it is only by spiritual development that we can discover what vital seedthoughts, of celestial planting, lie dormant there, ready to spring up, and bud, and blossom, when warmed and watered by heavenly dews and sunshine.
Philosophy has been called “ Heaven-descended;" but with stricter truth it may be said, that true Poetry is the child of Heaven. The world has been accustomed to look back to the day-dawn of civilization—10 the Homeric ageas the true poetic era. And we of the nineteenth century are prone to extol the age of Elizabeth
and her successors as the golden era of the British muse. Shakspeare and Milton are to English scholars the great masters of song, and in those wonderful dramas and in that sublimest of epics we acknowledge the human mind's highest manner of conceiving. But are we right here? Does there not yet remain hidden in the mysterious depths of our spiritual nature, a fund of poetic thought which has never yet found utterance in words? With a higher degree of spiritual culture, shall we not also have higher forms of poetry? This we think can be proved : for all unpoctic and me. chanical as this nineteenth century may seem to the vulgar apprehension, which only sees the surfaces of things; the more philosophic observer, who penetrates their spirit, and divines their hidden tendency, can discern the promise of a higher and more perfect development of the “poetic faculty divine.” He can even now detect, in the songs of living poets, the keynote of that celestial music, which shall attest to what heavenly harmonies God has attuned the human soul.
If we examine attentively the poetic productions of the past, we shall observe them to be the correct exponents of the degree of moral