Author is a pious, anti-papist clergyman travelling in a whaler from South Seas to Boston, observing whaling practices and especially critical of Sabbath breaking customs of whalers.
p. 70-71, finds the author reading: A volume of the Family Library, on "Polar Seas and Regions," which I have been reading with great interest on shipboard, says, that the basis of subsistence for the numerous tribes of the Arctic world is found in the genus medusa, which the sailors graphically describe as sea-blubber.
. 79: There are some points in the whale’s physiology… which are so well described in parts of a sailor’s yarn that I have found in a loose number of the Sailor’s Magazine, of which most excellent periodical we have several on board…." [a publication of the American Seaman’s Friend Society]
p. 162: For the well-deserved commendation of this [whaling] branch of American industry, all persons in any way connected with it will be as pleased as we in the Commodore Preble have been at the way in which New England enterprise was toasted at the New England Society’s last dinner in New York. There is an account of the Anniversary of the Pilgrims’ Landing, and the festivities of the occasion, in a paper to which we have been treated from an outward-bound whale ship just fallen in with. How greedily we have devoured it, none but a news-hungry whaleman knows.
p. 169, in chapter on wintering over on South Georgia: There was nothing to do in the evenings…. We had the radio, and we carried plenty of books and magazines, but these luxuries can be galling at times. We could sleep, of course, or we might muster up enough courage to poke a nose out into the freezing atmosphere and observe the heavens of the Southern Hemisphere.
p. 204: Mux and skimshander are the general names by which they express the ways in which whalemen busy themselves when making passages, and in the intervals of taking whales, in working up sperm whales’ jaws and teeth and right whale bone into boxes, swifts, reels, canes, whips, folders, stamps, and all sorts of things, according to their ingenuity.
p. 244, p. 244-64: Chapter XVI is an extended harangue against sabbath-breaking on whalers, based on scriptural teachings and Puritan morals. .
p. 305-06, describing the “repulsive hole called the forecastle: Here, with no possibility of classification and separate quarters, with few or no books, or opportunity to use them if they were possessed, with the constant din of roystering disorder, superabundant profanity, and teeming lasciviousness of conversation and songs, with no Sabbath, no prayer, no words and efforts of superiors to win them to something better and worthier, three fourths of their forty months’ absence are passed. When they are on shore, or lying in port to refit, corruptions, by libidinous intercourse with impure women, intemperance, and other abominations, vary, while they by no means improve, their condition.—Christian Reflector.