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where the soil is sufficiently light to produce ex- formerly defended by Fort Margaret and Fort cellent crops of barley. Beans are successfully Rosslane built at the end of each isthmus. The cultivated, and also clover and turnips. Potatoes harbour, though spacious, is shallow, and its are planted in drills, and lime and marl, though mouth is choaked with a bar which prevents vesexpensive, are much used as manure. Whole sels drawing more than 12 feet water from reachfields are kept under furze as in Cork and Water. ing the town. A good deal of woollen cloth is ford for fuel. Although there are no rich grazing manufactured in the town and neighbourhood, and farms, yet there are nunierous dairics, which are the chief trade consists in the exportation of barill-managed. The cows and the sheep are of an ley, malt, beer, beef, hides, butter and tallow. inferior kind.
The town was built by the Danes, who called it The rivers are the Slaney and the Barrow. The Wessford. former crosses the county from Newton-Barry to WEYMOUTH, a seaport and burgh town of Wexford, and receiving the Barrow from the England, in Dorsetshire, long celebrated as a fashnorth, exhibits on its fine wooded banks much ionable watering place, is situated near the mouth beautiful and picturesque scenery. It is navigable of the little river Wey, and communicates, by to Enniscorthy near the middle of the county. By means of a handsome stone bridge, with Melcombemeans of the Barrow which divides the county Regis. The streets are chiefly built on the sea from Kilkenny on the west, large vessels can reach shore. The most fashionable are Gloucester row, the town of New Ross, situated near the junction Chesterfield place, York buildings, Charlotte row, of the Barrow and Nore.
Clarence buildings, St. Alban's row, Bellevue and The principal towns are Wexford, the county the Esplanade. The church is a low edifice contown, described in a separate article, Enniscorthy sisting of three aisles, ornamented with a fine altar on the Slaney, New Ross, and Gorey, and the plea piece and the last supper, executed and presented sant village of Newton-Barry. Enniscorthy was by Sir James Thornhill to the town. To the east once celebrated for its iron works, of which some of the church there are some buildings, the restill exist. The cotton manufacture is now car mains of a Dominician Priory. The chapel of the ried on here, and a great deal of coarse wool Priory is now used as a malt house. · The Quakers len cloth is made. There is a fine old castle and the Independents have meeting houses in the here in tolerable repair. The town was nearly town. A handsome set of assembly rooms were destroyed during the rebellion in 1798. New erected in 1772. This building, which compreRoss, on the Barrow, is well fitted for becoming a hends a hotel and other appendages, is 600 feet place of commercial importance. The buildings long, and 250 wide, and cost £6000. The royal are said to be numerous and elegant, and the popu assembly room is lofty and spacious. The theatre lation rapidly increasing. Vessels of large size can is neat and elegant. The principal library, which unload at the quay, and it is one of the principal is nearly in the centre of the Esplanade, is handports for the exportation of wool.
somely fitted up. There is on the quay a conThe county sends two members to parliament, venient salt water bath. The trade of Weymouth and Wexford and New Ross send one each. is small, being chiefly to Newfoundland and the
The population in 1821 was 169,304. Accord Mediterranean. Shipbuilding is carried on to ing to Wakefield, the Catholics were to the Pro some extent. There are barracks for cavalry in testants as 10 to 1, and most of the personal pro the vicinity; and the harbour is defended by a perty and part of the landed was in the hands of handsome battery of 21 small guns, and by the the former. See Frazer's Statistical Survey of new fort, the north fort, and the dock fort, each Wexford.
mounted with 3 heavy guns. The Esplanade is WEXFORD, a seaport town of Ireland, situated the favourite promenade. It is about half a niile at the mouth of the river Slaney. The town is ir- long and 30 feet wide. The bay, containing the regularly built, and the streets narrow, but it con- public bathing place, makes a semicircular sweep tains some handsome buildings. The church, of nearly two miles, and is protected from winds situated in the principal street, is an elegant by the surrounding hills. About a mile from the modern structure. The market and court-house town are the ruins of Sandisfort castle, situated on are built with much taste, and the barracks erect a lofty cliff. ed on the site of the old castle, command an ex Melcombe-Regis has a good market-place and tensive view. The great ornament of the town is town hall. It was incorporated as a borough with the wooden bridge thrown across an arm of the Weymouth by Elizabeth. They send two pembers sea 2100 feet wide, where it was found impracti- to parliament who are elected by 200 vrıers. cable to erect a bridge of stone. This bridge is The population of the two places in 1821, was the favourite promenade. Wexford was once a 1090 houses, 1471 families, 8 do. engaged in agriplace of great strength, and some remains of its culture, and 870 in trade. Total population 6622. ancient thick walls still exist. The harbour is See the Beauties of England and Wales, vol. iv. p. formed by two tongues of land between which 351, &c. there is an entrance half a mile wide, which was WHALE. See Cetology, Vol. V. p. 564.
4 L 2
No. of ships
No. of ships
The Whale Fishery, or Greenland Fishery, as it 1652 ships, which caught 8537 whales, which prohas been called, has been long carried on by the duced 26,385, 120 forins, of which 4,727,120 was different nations of Europe. The Biscayans seem clear profit. to have been the first people who prosecuted the In order to revive the whale fishery, the British capture of whales, but the first authenticated notice government resolved in 1773 to grant a bounty of of a fishing for whales is the account of the voy. 208. per ton on the burden of every ship that enage of Ohthere, the Norwegian, by Alfred the gaged in it. This was successively raised to 30 Great. This voyage seems to have been under- and 408. per ton, and again reduced to 25 and 208., taken about 890, some time after the discovery of at which last rate it has continued since 1795. Greenland. He stated to the king that the best These measures had the effect of placing the whale whales where hunted on his own land, and that fishery upon a permanent basis. The Scotch emtheir length was 48 and 50 ells.
barked eagerly in the speculation after the bounties About four or five centuries later, the whale fish- were established, and have enjoyed their full share ery, as a general occupation, was carried on by the in this trade, as will be seen from the table of the French, Spaniards, Flemings, and probably the state of the fisheries from 1750 to 1788. English; and during the 16th century, the Biscayans had not only established a fishery for fin
View of the extent of the British Greenland and Davis' Straits whales on their own coasts, but had pursued it to
Whale Fisheries. the shores of Iceland, and subsequently to those of Greenland and Newfoundland.
SCOTLAND. The earliest voyage made by the English, in pursuit of the whale, was performed in 1594. Several ships sailed for Cape Breton, and the Grace
Tonnage. Bounties Paid. of Bristol brought home 800 whale fins from the
Tonnage. Boun ties Paid bay of St. George, where two large Biscayan fishermen had been wrecked three years before. There can be no doubt that the discovery and
L. S. d 1750 19 6,264 10,507 3 3|1750 1 333 666 0 0 the first prosecution of the whale fishery on the
7,360 16,530 19 10|1751 6 1,933 3,866 2 11 coast of Spitzbergen, belong to the English, who 1752 30 9,871 17,231 951752 101 3,137 6,274 2 11 preceded the Dutch by four years. The merchants 1753 351 11,814 27,693 0 111753 14 4,294 8,589 50 of Kull had, in 1598, begun to fish for whales on 1754 52 17,235 31,328 6 9|1754
4,680 9,361 5 0 1755
66 the coast of Iceland, and at the North Cape, and
45,634 18 81755 16 4,964 9,299 50
1756) 67 21,328 42,103 10l1756 16 after the rediscovery of Spitzbergen by Hudson, in
4,964 9,315 5 0 1757 55 17,221 34,450 0 0 1757
8,567 13 4 1607, they were among the earliest adventurers to 1758 52 15,399 27,006 6 1 1758
8,271 13 4 that distant fishery.
1759 34 10,337 19,273 18
4,479 8,959 13 41 In 1611 the Russian Company fitted out two ves
1760 40 12,082 20,540 5 6 1760 14
4,238 8,477 13 4 sels, one of 160, and another of 60 tons, with six
1761 31 9,789 19,247 15 8 1761 14
4,238 8,477 13 4
1762 28 8,877 13,358 6 9 1762 14 Biscayans, expert in killing whales, and furnished
4,238 8,045 13 41
1763 30 9,416 18,465 15 91763 10 with the necessary apparatus.
3,109 5,649 00 The ships were 1764 32 10,261 19,463 16 1 1764 10 3,140 6,281 0 0 unfortunately lost, but the crew and boats, and 1765 33 10,099 18,748 17 91765 8 2,559 5,119 0 0 part of the cargo, were saved by a Hull ship then 1766 35 10,0151 19,947 25.1766 9 2,797 5,595 00 at Spitzbergen.
1767 391 12,284) 24,537 9 21767 9 2,797 5,595 00
1768 41 12,802 The advantages of the whale fishery being now
24,026 18 1|1768
0 1769 44 13,471 24,935 12 11 1769
2,797 5,595 00 recognised, the Dutch, Danes, and Hamburghers, 1770 50 14,775 29,240 18 11|1770
2,797 5,595 00 embarked in the adventure, and though the English 1771 50 14,700 27,891 7 61771
2,797 5,595 00 endeavoured to prohibit them from fishing in the
1772 50 15,378 29,089 12 11 1772
2,797 5,595 00 Spitzbergen seas, yet they persisted in carrying on
1773 55 16,712 31,231 13 911773 10 3,016) 6,033 00 1774
65 the fishery, and discovered new bays to which the
19,770 37,863 2 6 1774 9 2,773 5,547 0 0
1775 96 29,131 54,978 13 101775 9 whales lesorted in abundance. The monopoly of
2,773 4,503 00 1776
27,047 52,028 3 11776 71 2,251 4,503 00 the Spitzbergen fishery was afterwards claimed by 1777 21,917 30,942 5 3||1777 71 2,251 2,280 15 0 various natiotk; but these claims have long ago
1778 71 20,291 29,280 8 4|1778 5 1,5871 1,923 15 0 been set aside, and he antarctic seas
1779 59 16,907 25,294 16 1 1779 3
1,435 15 0 open to the enterprize of all nations.
1780 52 14,900 21,584 12 41780
1,282 1,923 15 01 1781 34 9,859 14,379 12 41781
1,459 In 1613 the English Russia company received a
1782 38 11,1221 21,156 2 2|1782 6 1,7641 2,190 00 monopoly of the whale fishery. The grant was 1783 47 14,268 27,017 12 61785, 4 1,095 2,190 00 renewed in 1635 by Charles I., but this branch of
1784 89 27,224 53,162 2 1|1784 7 2,047 4,094 100 trade fell into decay, and notwithstanding various
1785 136 41,741 84,122 6 21785 13 3,8651 7,729 16 0 attempts to revive it, it sunk into absolute insig
11786 162 49,426 101,996 96|1786 231 6,997 13,993 194 nificance.
(1787) 219 64,280 95,038 17 1||1787 31 9,057 13,454 19 6
17881 222 63,399 93,768 091788 311 8,910 13,230 3 6! At this time the Dutch pursued it with renewed vigour, and between 1699 and 1708 they equipped
24491 740,065 1,335,098 1 2|| 4301 130,998 242,837 192
The following table shows the number of ships casion were singularly great, yet, on the average of fitted out each year from England and Scotland: the four years, ending with 1817, we find the car.
goes brought from Greenland and Davis' Straits 1810 1811 1812 1813 1814 1815 1816 1817 1818
were only 93 tons of oil, and Eng., 75 76
tons 12 cwt. of 97 98 97 100 104 Scot., 22 22 27 43 46 49 49 50 53
whalebone per ship, value about £3700. This,
though a degree of success which would have The number of vessels sent out from each of the been considered as very great fifty years ago, is different ports of England and Scotland during the now, on account of the extraordinary increase above period of nine years, including repeated which has taken place in the expenses of a whale voyages, was as follows:
ship, but barely sufficient to afford an encouraging Berwick, 16 Newcastle, 43 Kirkaldy,
7 profit to the adventurers. But when we consider, Grimsby, 13 Whitby, 80 Kirkwall, 6
that while the general profit reaped from the trade Hull, 481 Aberdeen, 98 Leith, 79
was only moderate, some individuals and concerns Liverpool, 17 Banff,
have been almost invariably successful; it is clear,
25 London, 161 Dundee, 68 Peterhead, 62 therefore, that some others must have been conLynn, 13 Greenock, 8
siderable losers by this speculation.
In a national view, however, the benefit has been “In the four years," says Mr. Scoresby, "end- very different. In the five years ending with 1818, ing with 1817, 392 vessels sailed from England to about 68,940 tons of oil, and 3420 tons of whalethese northern fisheries, the amount of whose car. bone, of British fishing, have been imported into goes was 3348 whales, besides seals, narwhales, England and Scotland. If we calculate the oil at bears and sea-horses; and the produce 35,824 tons £36 108. per ton, which was about the average of oil, and about 1806 tons of whalebone, to- price, and the whalebone at £90, and add to the gether with a quantity of skins. The average amount £10,000, for the probable value of the . quantity of oil produced per ship on each voyage, skins and other articles,-the gross value of goods was 91.4 tons, and about 4 tons 12 cwt. of whale- imported into Britain from Greenland and Davis' bone. From Scotland there sailed in the course Straits in five years, free of first cost, will appear of the same period of four years, 194 vessels to the to have been near three millions sterling. whale fisheries, the amount of whose cargoes was The greatest cargo ever brought into Great 1682 whales, &c., and the produce 18,684 tons of Britain in one vessel from the whale-fishery, was oil, and about 891 tons of whalebone, besides skins. procured near Spitzbergen, by Captain Souter in The average cargo procured per ship on each voy- the Resolution of Peterhead, in the year 1814. It age, produced 96.3 tons of oil, and about 4 tons consisted of 44 whales, which produced 299 tons 12 cwt. of whalebone; being the same quantity of of oil, value, reckoned at £32 per ton, the average whalebone, but 4.9 tons of oil more than the price that year, £9568; if to this we add the value average procured by the English fleet during the of the whalebone and the bounty, the gross freight same time. It therefore appears, that of late years, of this ship will appear to have been near £11,000. the people of Scotland have sent out their full Other ships, however, with less cargoes, have proportion of ships on the fisheries; and with a made still greater freights, particularly in 1813, degree of success which has been equal, if not su- when oil sold for near £60 per ton. perior, to that of the English fishers.
the John of Greenock, commanded by my father, The British whale fishery of 1814 was uncom- made above £11,000 freight; and the cargo of the monly prosperous, especially at Greenland; 76 Esk of Whitby, commanded by myself, sold for ships on this fishery having procured 1437 whales, near the same sum. The Augusta of Hull, Capbesides seals, &c. the produce of which in oil only, tain Beadland, procured a still greater cargo; and was 12,132 tons, being an average of 18,8 fish, or the Lady Jane of Newcastle, Captain Holmes, 159.6 tons of oil per ship! The average fishery which brought home a larger cargo from the of Davis' Straits the same season, was about one. fishery that season than any other vessel, realized, third less per ship. The gross value of the freights I believe, the greatest profit ever made by one vesof the British Greenland and Davis' Straits fleets sel in any one season, since the northern whale(bounties included), estimating the oil at £32 per fisheries were practised." ton, which was about the average price, and the The following very interesting table will show whalebone at £80 per ton, exceeds in this one the relative success of the ships fitted out at year £700,000.
different ports during the four years ending with Though the profits to the merchants on this oc 1817.
In this year,
The ships intended for the Greenland and Da. is sometimes used for throwing the harpoon to a vis' Straits fishery should be from 300 to 400 tons greater distance than it can be done hy the hand. burden. They should be strengthened with an ad În its most improved form it is made of a swivel, ditional series of planks, and fortified by the ap with a barrel of wrought iron about twenty-five plication of timber and iron plates to the exterior, inches long, three inches diameter, and one and and a great number of timbers and stauncheons to a-half inch internal bore. It is fired by two locks the interior. To preserve the stem from the ice, which act together. it is provided with a false or ice-stem, and on the Every boat is furnished with two harpoons, sides of this are placed the ice-knees, or angular six or eight lances, and from five to seven oars. blocks of wood, filling up the concavity formed by When a whale is seen on the surface of the the stem and fore planks. The stem is also de water, unconscious of being observed, the harpoonfended by ice-plates of half inch iron.
er runs directly upon it, and buries his harpoon Each ship has generally six or seven boats, car in its back; but, when the boat is at a little disver-built, they vary from 23 to 28 feet in length, and tance, and the whale is preparing to dive, the are capable of carrying six or seven men, and harpoon is thrown from the hand, or discharged seven or eight hundred weight of whale lines, and from a gun, and will be effective, in the former various other materials.
case, at the distaụce of eight to ten yards, and in The crew of the whale ships generally consist the latter at the distance of thirty yards or more. of forty or fifty men, including several classes of The wounded animal makes a convulsive effort to officers or harpooners, boat-steerers, carpenters, escape. The boat is subjected to the most violent coopers, &c. together with foremast-men, lands blows from its head or its fins, but chiefly from its men, and apprentices. Every individual, from the ponderous tail, which sometimes sweeps the air master to the boys, has, besides his monthly pay, with such fury that both boat and men are exposed a gratuity for every size fish caught during the to imminent destruction. Harpooners have been voyage, or a certain sum for every ton of oil pro struck dead with a single blow of a whale's tail. duced from the cargo.
One of the crew of the John of Greenland had his The weapons generally used in capturing the foot separated from his leg, by slipping it through whale are the harpoon and the lance. The harpoon a coil of line in the act of running out; and a is made of iron, and is three feet long. It consists harpooner of the Henrietta of Whitby, having of three conjoined parts, the socket, the shank, and made a whale dart downward by a powerful stroke the mouth, the mouth includes the barbs, within of his lance, the line caught him round the body, each of which there is another small barb like the and he was almost cut asunder, dragged overboard, beard of a fish hook, in a reverse position. The and never afterwards seen. lance is a spear of iron, six feet long. It consists When the harpooner of the ship Resolution, of a hollow socket six inches long, swelling from commanded by Captain Scoresby, had struck a half an inch, the diameter of the shank, to nearly whale, it gave the boat such a violent blow with its iwo inches, into which a four-feet fir handle is tail, that the boatsteerer was thrown to some disfitted,-a shank five feet long, and a mouth of steel, tance, and a fresh blow projected the harpooner very thin and sharp, seven or eight inches long, and line-manager in a similar manner. and two or two and a-half broad. A harpoon gun “ A remarkable instance, says Mr. Scoresby, of
the power which the whale possesses in its tail, upon the fish, notwithstanding his hazardous situawas exhibited within my own observation, in the tion, and regardless of a considerable wound that year 1807.
On the 29th of May, a whale was har. he received in his leg in his fall, along with the pooned by an officer belonging to the Resolution. fragments of the boat. All the efforts of the other It descended a considerable depth, and, on its re boats to approach the whale, and deliver the har. appearance, evinced an uncommon degree of irri. pooner, were futile. The captain, not seeing any tation. It made such a display with its fins and other method of saving his unfortunate companion, tail, that few of the crew were hardy enough to who was in some way entangled with the line, approach it. The captain (my father) observing called to him to cut it with his knife, and betake their timidity, called a boat, and himself struck a himself to swimming. Vienkes, embarrassed and second harpoon. Another boat immediately fol- disconcerted as he was, tried in vain to follow this lowed, and unfortunately advanced too far. The counsel. His knife was in the pocket of his drawtail was again reared into the air, in a terrific ers; and, being unable to support himself with one attitude,—the impending blow was evident,—the hand, he could not get it out. The whale, meanharpooner, who was directly underneath, leaped while, continued advancing along the surface of overboard,—and the next moment the threatened the water with great rapidity, but fortunately stroke was impressed on the centre of the boat, never attempted to dive. While his comrades which buried it in the water. Happily no one was despaired of his life, the harpoon by which he held, injured. The harpooner who leaped overboard at length disengaged itself from the body of the escaped certain death by the act,-ihe tail having whale. Vienkes being then liberated, did not fail struck the very spot on which he stood. The ef- to take advantage of this circumstance; he cast fects of the blow were astonishing. The keel was himself into the sea, and, by swimming, endeabroken,--the gunwales, and every plank, excepting voured to regain the boats which continued the purtwo, were cut through--and it was evident that the suit of the whale. When his shipmates perceived boat would have been completely divided, had not him struggling with the waves, they redoubled the tail struck directly upon a coil of lines. The their exertions. They reached him just his boat was rendered useless.
strength was exhausted, and had the happiness of Instances of disasters of this kind, occasioned by rescuing this adventurous harpooner from his per: blows from the whale, could be adduced in great ilous situation.* numbers,-cases of boats being destroyed by a In one of my earliest voyages to the whale fishery single stroke of the tail are not unknown,-in- I observed a circumstance which excited my highstances of boats having been stove or upset, and est astonishment. One of our harpooners had struck their crews wholly or in part drowned, are not un a whale, it dived, and all the assisting boats had frequent,—and several cases of whales having made collected round the fast-boat, before it arose to the a regular attack upon every boat which came near surface. The first boat which approached it adthem, dashed some in pieces, and killed or drown- vanced incautiously upon it. It rose with unexed some of the people in them, have occurred pected violence beneath the boat, and projected it within a few years, even under my own observa. and all its crew to the height of some yards in the tion.
air. It fell on its side, upset, and cast all the men The Dutch ship Gort-Moolen, commanded by into the water. One man received a severe blow Cornelius Gerard Ouwekaas, with a cargo of seven in his fall, and appeared to be dangerously injured; fish, was anchored in Greenland in the year 1660. but soon after his arrival on board of the ship, he The captain, perceiving a whale a-head of his ship, recovered from the effects of the accident. The beckoned his attendants, and threw himself into a rest of the boat's crew escaped without any hurt. boat. He was the first to approach the whale; and Captain Lyons of the Raith of Leith, while prowas fortunate enough to harpoon it before the ar secuting the whale fishery on the Labrador coast, rival of the second boat, which was on the advance. in the season of 1802, discovered a large whale at Jacques Vienkes, who had the direction of it, join- a short distance from the ship. Four boats were ed his captain immediately afterwards, and pre- despatched in pursuit, and two of them succeeded pared to make a second attack on the fish, when in approaching it so closely together, that two it should remount again to the surface. At the harpoons were struck at the same moment. The moment of its ascension, the boat of Vienkes hap- fish descended a few fathoms in the direction of pening unfortunately to be perpendicular above it, another of the boats, which was on the advance, was so suddenly and forcibly lifted up by a stroke rose accidentally beneath it, struck it with its head, of the head of the whale, that it was dashed to and threw the boat, men and apparatus about fifteen pieces before the harpooner could discharge his feet into the air. It was inverted by the stroke, and weapon. Vienkes flew along with the pieces of the fell into the water with its keel upwards. All the boat, and fell upon the back of the animal. This people were picked up alive by the fourth boat, intrepid seaman, who still retained his weapon in which was just at hand, excepting one man, who his grasp, harpooned the whale on which he stood, having got entangled in the boat, fell beneath it, and, by means of the harpoon and the line, which and was unfortunately drowned. The fish was he never abandoned, he steadied himself firmly soon afterwards killed.”
* I give this anecdote on the authority of the author of the Histoire de Peches, who translated it from the Dutch. Part of the story bears the mark of truth; but some of it, it must be acknowledged, borders on the marvellous.