Boekgegevens
Titel: First English reading book: Engelsch leesboek voor instituten, gymnasiën en hoogere burgerscholen: met Nederlandsche woordenlijst
Auteur: Herrig, Ludwig
Uitgave: Arnhem: J. Voltelen, 1869 *
Auteursrechten: Zie auteursrechten
Citeerinstructie: Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, UBM: IWO 513 H 21
URL: https://schoolmuseum.uba.uva.nl/bookid/LCSM_204683
Onderwerp: Taal- en letterkunde naar afzonderlijke talen: Engelse taalkunde
Trefwoord: Leesvaardigheid, Engels, Leermiddelen (vorm)
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•226
was practised by the people of Norway at
least as early as the ninth century. Other
northern authorities bear testimony to the
same fact. Of the manner, however, in
which the whale fishery was carried on at
this remote era we know nothing. It pro-
bably was not pursued on any systematic
plan, but merely in the way of occasional
encounters, as the hunting of wild animals
on land would be practised in the same
state of society. The inhabitants of the
coast surrounding the Bay of Biscay seem
to have been the first who engaged in
whale fishing with a view to commercial
purposes. They are therefore properly to
be considered the originators of the pur-
suit as a branch of national enterprise.
Their prosecution of it in the adjacent seas
can be traced back as far as the twelfth
century. The animal against which they
directed their attacks, however, was most
probably of a different species from that
found in the northern ocean, and of a much
smaller size. It seems to have been cap-
tured principally, if not exclusively, for the
sake of its llesh, which was in those days
esteemed as an article of food, the tongue
especially being accounted a great delicacy.
By degrees, however, the number of
whales that resorted to the Bay of Biscay
diminished, and at length the fish altogether
ceased to visit that sea. In these circum-
stances the Biscayan mariners carried the
navigation farther and farther from their
own shores, till at last they approached the
coasts of Iceland, Greenland, and Newfound-
land. Thus was commenced, in the course
of the sixteenth century, the northern whale
fishery, as pursued in modern times.
The earhest whahng voyage made by the
Knglish appears to have taken place in the
year 1594. The merchants of Hull are re-
corded to have fitted out ships for the
fishery in 1598; and much about the same
time the Dutch engaged in the trade. The
Hamburghers, the French, and the Danes
quickly followed. At first both in England
and Holland the business was carried on
by companies which had obtained charters
for its exclusive prosecution. At length,
however, it was thrown open in both coun-
tries to individual enterprise, under which
new system it was found to be conducted
with much more success and profit. The
Dutch monopoly was put an end to in 1042;
the English not till long afterwards. In
this country, indeed, the trade was in the
hands of an exclusive company till about a
century ago. Up to that date it had in gen-
eral been attended only with loss to each
successive association that engaged in it.
In 1732 parliament first adopted the plan
of attempting to encourage and establish
the trade, by giving a bounty to every ship
which should engage in it. The bounty
was at first twenty shillings a ton; but it
was raised in 1749 to double that rate,
upon which, says a late writer, 'a number
of ships were fitted out, as much certainly
in the intention of catching the bounty, as
of catching fish.' The bounty, which was
afterwards reduced to thirty shiUings, again
raised to its former amount, and subse-
quently reduced first to thirty shillings,
then to twenty-five shiUings, and after that
to twenty shillings, was at last altogether
withdrawn in 1824. The trade is at pre-
sent, therefore, carried on without any ar-
tificial support. The Americans, . Ham-
burghers, and Prussians are now almost the
only competitors with whom the English
whalers have to contend. The French re-
volution, and the wars by which it was fol-
lowed, drove both France and Holland from
the field; and neither of these countries
have succeeded in the attempts they have
made since the peace, to re-enter upon a
line of enterprise, their pursuit of which
had been so long interrupted.
The whale ships, which are for the most
part vessels of from three hundred to four
hundred tons burden, commonly leave this
country in time to reach Shetland, where
they complete their ballast and lay in part
of their stock by about the 1st of April,
and to get thence to the ice, so as to com-
mence fishing about the middle or in the
latter part of May. Of late years, how-
ever, the season, which used formerly to
terminate in July, has been occasionally
somewhat extended both at its commence-
ment and its close, — fish being now fre-
quently sought for with success as early as
April, and as late as September, and even
October. The place in which the fishing
is chiefly carried on has also been changed
within these few years. Almost all the
.ships now proceed directly through Davis'
Straits to the great inland sea, called Baf-
fin's Bay, on the other side of Greenland,
the more northern portion of which, and
the outlets from it, were for the first time
explored, in the course of the late voyages
made with a view to the discovery of a
northwest passage to India. In these high
latitudes whales still exist in large num-
bers; but from the greater prevalence of
ice-mountains or ice-bergs, as they are call-
ed, the fishery in Baffin's Bay is probably
still more perilous than that was which used
to be carried on the animal's more an-
cient haunt.