p. 320-21, on the decline of the industry, and the sources of its history: Thus dies old-fashioned whaling. There is only one way now to see it, and that is in its records and relics. Of records there are many, beginning away back with the days of Basque and Norseman and coming on down, through the Spitzbergen days—both English and Dutch accounts of them—the later Arctic whaling of the Hull and the Dundee fleet, and the "southern whale fishery" to our own American whaling. Of those earlier days some few first-hand accounts still survive, and of American whaling there are literally hundreds of log books and account books—the one showing life at sea; the other, the counting-house side of the game.
Some few of these records—copies of the old books on early
and later whaling, and a few scattered logs and journals and account books—are to be found in a few large libraries and sometimes in the most unexpected places. In the New Bedford Free Public Library, however, is such a collection as one could hardly believe possible. Possible or not, there it is and for any one to see and read in: five hundred or more logs and as many account books just as they came from captains and owners and the grown children of captains and owners, who have given them freely to swell the library’s big collection of whaling literature. A complete file of the New Bedford Shipping List and Merchant’s Transcript is there, too, with lists of vessels; notices of arrivals and departures; oil market and bone market reports; news of mutinies, wrecks, record cargoes, and newly discovered whaling grounds; advertisements of riggers and outfitters—everything "of interest to whalemen."
Downstairs in the newspaper room are pictures of whaling, beginning—chronologically speaking—with three highly informing old woodcuts of the Jonah incident. There are copies of the very early copperplates of Spitzbergen whaling, and Japanese prints of whaling off their own coast. There are German prints, French prints, and English prints, lithographs and photographs and water colours from the stiffest and most absurdly unreal whales in—or rather, on—the petrified waves of an ocean that knows its place and keeps it, to the very modern and vividly real oil paintings by Clifford Ashley, of whaling as it actually
was, out of New Bedford in the days of her whaling glory. And as you go out of the library you will stop again, as you did when you came in, beside the bronze statue of "The Whale- man" in the bow of a whaleboat, iron in hand, watching for the moment to strike.