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In submitting this little work to public perusal, I desire that my motives for its publication should be clearly understood at the outset; and I hope, by an honest confession of my inability to do my subject justice, at least in a literary point of view, to disarm criticism, and enlist the sympathies of the public in my behalf.
If the kind reader will but remember that I left my school at the early age of fifteen years, and that the four years intervening between that time and the present, have been spent among the doubtful associations of a whaleship's forecastle, and in the wilds of Siberia, he will readily overlook the many imperfections, which, doubtless, exist, both in the arrangement of this little volume, and the treatment of my subject.
I have no expectation that the publication of this work will secure for me the smallest degree of distinction in the world of letters ; I have no ambition to be considered a hero, or a prodigy of youthful courage and endurance ; but I think that a narrative of my adventures by sea and land, during a four years' absence from home, will be read with pleasure by my personal friends, and with interest by many strangers; particularly by all young men of my own age who have either been to sea, or who intend, at some future time, to join the numbers of those who “ go down to the sea in ships.”
I am not without hope that the plain statement of facts in regard to the severe discipline sometimes exercised on shipboard, contained in these pages, may have the effect to open the eyes of the public to the condition of seamen in the whaling Aeet, and the necessity for stringent laws to protect them from the abuse and maltreatment of their superiors. In this manner I hope to be an humble instrument to bring about a great and much needed reform.
This motive, and the desire to offer some testimonial of gratitude to a kind and affectionate parent, have chiefly infuenced me to the publication of this work. If its perusal shall afford pleasure to the reader, and, in the smallest degreo, effect the ends to which I have alluded, I shall feel that my sufferings on shipboard, and subsequently in the midst of an Arctic wilderness, have not been in vain.
DANIEL Weston Fall.
Birth and Parontage - Early Education - Desire to go to Sea
Outward bound on a three years Whaling Cruise - Incidents of
Among the numerous obstacles which in every direction, surround the author who writes of himself and his personal adventures - obstacles well calculated to daunt his spirit and impede his progress -- the necessity for
the frequent use of the pronoun I, is, perhaps, the most formidable.
I am well aware that this difficulty was, in ancient times, successfully obviated by one Julius Cæsar, who made use of the third person singular to designate himself in his celebrated Commentaries; but as this mode of expression seems to savor somewhat of affecta