« PreviousContinue »
chase. The larboard boat commanded by the mate, and the waist boat by the second mate, were head.and head.
“Give way, my lads, give way,” shouted P-, our headsman ; gain on them; give way. A long, steady stroke. That's the way to tell it."
The chase was now truly soul-stirring. Sometimes the larboard, then the starboard, then the waist boat, took the lead. It was a severe trial of skill and muscle. After we had run two miles at this rate, the whales turned Aukes, going dead to windward. “ Now for it, my lads," cried P- “We'll have them the next
Now pile it on! A long, steady pull! That's it! That's the way! Those whales belong to us. Don't give out! Half an hour more, and they're our whales.”
On dashed the boat, clearing its way through the rough sea, as if the briny element were blue smoke. The whale, however, turned flukes before we could reach him. When he appeared again above the surface of the water, it was evident that he had milled while down, by which manæuvre he gained on us nearly a mile. The chase was now almost hopeless, as he was making to windward rapidly. A heavy black cloud was on the horizon, portending an approaching squall, and the barque was fast fading from sight. Still we were not to be baffled by discouraging circumstances of this kind, and we braced our sinews for å grand and final effort.
The wind had by this time increased almost to a gale, and the heavy black clouds were scattering over far and wide. Part of the squall had passed off to leeward, and entirely concealed the barque. Our situa. tion was rather unpleasant, in a rough sea, the other boats out of sight, and each moment the wind increasing. We continued to strain every muscle till we were hard upon the whale. Tabor sprang to the bow, and stood by it with the harpoon.
“ Softly, softly, my lads," said the headsman.
And, as we rapidly hacked from the whale, he flung his tremendous Aukes bigb in the air, covering us with a cloud of spray. He then sounded, making the line wbiz as it passed through the chocks. When be rose to the surface again, we hauled up, and the second mate stood ready in the bow to despatch him with lances.
“ Spouting blood !" said Tabor. “ He's a dead whale! He won't need much lancing." It was true enough ; for, before the officer could get within dart of him, he commenced bis dying struggles. The sea was crimsoned with bis blood. By the time we had reached him, he was belly up. We lay upon our oars a moment to witness his last throes, and when he had turned his head towards the sun, a loud, simultaneous cheer burst from every lip.'
One of the charms of hunting is for a gentleman to find himself, at the end of a long run, some thirty miles from home, with a tired, lamed, or dying horse. One of the charms of whale fishing is for a boat's crew to find themselves out of sight of their ship on a tossing sea, with a storm coming on. the condition of the crew in question, and the description of their return is one of the best passages in the book. The danger of being lost in this manner is not the only danger. A blow with the whale's tail might stave in the boat; the slightest hitch would cause it to be upset or dragged under by the rope; and on one occasion the harpooned whale made right for the ship, and passed under it, with the boat in tow, in such a direction that the boat only escaped being dashed to pieces by a foot or two. Here, therefore, is excitement of every sort for the amateur; and we do not see, now that this new field of adventure is made known, why yachting dandies or guardsmen on leave should not give up moors and salmon rivers, or even jungles and prairies, for a season, and take a turn in the horse latitudes' of the Atlantic, where, it seems, a school’ of whales is most likely to be found. We recommend them, however, to remain satisfied with the sport.
• A “trying-out scene” is the most stirring part of the whaling business, and certainly the most disagreeable. The try-works are usually situated between the foremast and the main-batch. In wide vessels they contain two or three large pots imbedded in brick. A few barrels of oil from the whale's case, or head, are babbled into the pots before commencing upon the blubber. Two men are standing by the mincing horse, one slicing up the blubber, and the other passing horse pieces from a tub, into which they are thrown by a third hand, who receives them from the bold. One of the boat-steerers stands in front of the lee pot, pitching the minced blubber into the pots with a fork. Another is stirring up the oil, and throwing the scraps into a wooden strainer. We will now imagine the works in full operation at night. Dense clouds of lurid smoke are curling up to the tops, shrouding the rigging from the view. The oil is bissing in the try-pots.
Half-a-dozen of the crew are sitting on the windlass ; their rough, weather-beaten faces shining in the red glare of the fires, all clothed in greasy duck, and forming about as savage a looking group as ever was sketched by the pencil of Salvator Rosa. The cooper and one of the mates are raking up the fires with long bars of wood or iron. The decks, bulwarks, railing, try-works, and windlass, are covered with oil, and slime of blackskin, glistering with the red glare from the try-works. Slowly and doggedly the vessel is pitching her way through the rough seas, looking as if enveloped in flames.
“ More horse pieces !” cries the mincer's attendant.
Our down-easter, who had always something characteristic to say of every thing that fell under his observation, very sagely remarked on one occasion, when nearly suffocated with smoke, “ If this wa'n't h—11 on a small scale, he didn't know what to call it."
of the unpleasant effects of the smoke, I scarcely know how any idea can be formed, unless the curious inquirer choose to hold his nose over the smoking wick of a sperm-oil lamp, and fancy the disagreeable experiment magnified a hundred thousand fold. Such is the romance of life in the whale fishery.'
Every walk of life is (we will not say pressed, but) fairly and naturally brought into modern literature; and it is a fortunate circumstance that the task of describing the mercantile marine of the United States has devolved on two such men as Mr Dana, the author of "Two Years Before the Mast,' and Mr Ross Browne, who (no slight praise) is every way worthy to take rank with his predecessor.
Art. IV.- The Life and Correspondence of the Right Honourable
Henry Addington, Viscount Sidmouth. By the Hon. and Rev. GEORGE Pellew, D.D., Dean of Norwich. 3 vols. Svo:
3 London, 1847.
performance, nor is the hero whom it commemorates in any way remarkable for those qualities which are supposed to confer honour or insure success; yet the incidents which it chronicles, rather than delineates, are among the most interesting of our later history; and the politician to whose memory it is devoted was among the most fortunate of his age. The work therefore is not without its value, as showing how much may be attained, even in a free state, without the highest talent or the most commanding character; and that the grandest objects of the ambition
; of an English subject are within the reach of a man who wants at the same time both connexion and fortune, whose abilities are second rate, and whose parliamentary eloquence is below zero. If we look for other matter of curiosity, we shall find it in the sentiments of admiration and homage with which such a man can inspire his friends and his biographer. The Dean of Norwich is partial even beyond the partiality of memoir-writers and connexions.
The life of Lord Sidmouth was cast in stirring scenes and amid celebrated men ; but the circumstances of his birth were hardly such as to promise a career so conspicuous as that which he afterwards enjoyed. His father, a highly respectable physician, lived in Bedford Row. Here the future premier was born in 1757, the year which witnessed the triumphant return of his father's most distinguished patient to the councils of a reluctant and resistíng monarch. The friendship of Lord Chatham had an influence over the fortunes of the doctor's family beyond that which is usually exercised by powerful patrons over their medical attendants. But to those who have studied the character of the first Pitt, or meditated on the conduct of the second, it may well seem questionable whether either of them ever contemplated the possibility of the son of Dr Addington becoming the successor of the one and the rival of the other. Much as the Dean of Norwich may ascribe to the familiar friendship' which arises between an invalid and his well-bred medical adviser,' and warmly as Lord Chatham did occasionally write to a person whom the malady of his later years must have made almost necessary to his comfort, it seems highly improbable that the children of the two were connected by any close ties of friendship or familiarity. Lady Hester Stanhope, who had all the pride of both Pitts, and expressed it more openly than either, speaks contemptuously of the calling of a physician. In her young days, doctors, and governesses, and private tutors--for she lumps them all together-kept their proper places; did what they were asked to do, spoke when they were spoken to, and never aspired to volunteer a syllable of commendation. Lady Hester exaggerated every statement as she exaggerated every prejudice; but in this instance the statement was probably not far from correct. We know from the pictures of parson Adams, and parson Trulliber, what was the repute of the clergy in the early part of the eighteenth century, and what was their treatment at the hands of the landed gentry. Smollett has not given us a flattering portrait of his own profession; and it is easy to conceive that in a great family of that age, a vocation, which even at this day scarcely holds the place due to its usefulness, was treated with distant courtesy by the refined, and vulgar superciliousness by the coarse. No one now would think of objecting to the worth of a political antagonist, that he was the son of a chaplain or a physician. If he did, he would only expose himself to the indignant wonder of all mankind. But in those days the Doctor' suggested ideas the most remote from dignity. The soubriquet once fixed upon Addington, he was not the man to shake it off—as Secretary Craggs would that of
footman,' if any one had dared to try whether it would stick upon the friend of Addison and Pope ; but Doctor' clung to Addington through life, and always embittered the shaft of ridicule, whether launched at him in society or in Parliament.
Henry Addington was sent, in his twelfth year, to school at Winchester, then governed by Joseph Warton. Here he was the pupil of George Isaac Huntingford, whose personal devotion he was able afterwards to reward with a high dignity in the church; an arrangement too much in the order of things for any Wykehamist to have wondered at or murmured at, provided only that the far greater public services of Dr Goddard had also been remembered. The charm, we can hardly say the
. strength, of Addington's nature, appears to have lain in his power of attaching to himself the friendship of those with whom he associated. This is not the highest praise ; but yet it implies much. No man ever passed his life in making friends without possessing many estimable and some excellent qualities. Had Addington never embarked on the sea of controversial politics, he might have lived and died in the pure enjoyment of domestic happiness, which, however unequal to the cordial but suppressed sympathies of Pitt, or the more gushing tenderness of Fox, he was in some respects better qualified to secure. From Winchester he was transported to Brazennose, Oxford, in 1774: and there his scholarship seems to have been like his after statesmanship, imperfect in its different elements, and more imperfect in their combination. He was acquiring decimals, and Demosthenes, and the Epistles of Horace, all at the same time; and he wrote about the Electras of Sophocles and Euripides in the tone of the young gentlemen who favoured the Connoisseurs' and "Tatlers' of a previous generation with their views of Greek
poetry. In 1780, he became a member of Lincoln's Inn; in 1781 he married, and received a characteristic congratulation from his old friend and tutor, Huntingford, in the shape of a Greek ode.
The same year witnessed the first appearance of the younger Pitt in the House of Commons, on Burke's Civil List motion. Of this, intimation was conveyed to Dr Addington by Pitt's tutor; but no communication seems to have passed at this time between Pitt himself and Addington; nor, despite of Dr Pellew's assertions and Pitt's off-hand use of the term at a later period, does it appear that any thing like intimacy then subsisted between them. This should be borne in mind by those injudicious partisans who make out that Lord Sidmouth eventually became a martyr to friendship and duty. He was not the confidant of Pitt when the latter entered Parliament; nor two years after,