Description of an interesting if unsuccessful experiment to adapt a life-saving device to a “gun-harpoon to attack whales.” This was during a summer voyage of Scoresby aboard the Baffin. As often in whaling journals, especially during summer months, there is nothing here about leisure or professional reading by the men other than Scriptural readings, accompanied by standard invocations of providence.
p. 2-3, April 8: At eight o’clock, the captain, as I found to be his usual custom on concluding the Sabbath, ordered all the boys and young men into his cabin, alternately to read a verse in the Bible, for three or four chapters; after this, we all fell upon our knees, and he offered up an extempore and most impressive prayer, which, for composition and fervent supplication, I have seldom heard excelled, and which I shall, with his permission, here annex.
A Prayer on the Commencement of the Voyage to Greenland
… Sanctify the dispensations of thy providence to usward, whether prosperous or adverse, agreeable or painful….may we read your word with profit, and find it to be the power of God unto salvation.
p. 48-9, May 27, after Captain Scoresby denied permission to attack a nearby whale on the Sabbath: Thus did the Sabbath bring with it the charms of peace, while our Christian captain taught the lessons of gentleness and forbearance to the crew. In the morning service he read to them a most appropriate and impressive sermon from the twentieth chapter of Exodus, and the eighth verse: “Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy.” This religious lecture was evidently felt by his hearers and their hearts were not only softened, but reconciled to a temporary respite from the work of violence.
p. 120, an encomium to Scoresby: My situation and experience will justify one other remark; never was there a more vigilant, indefatigable, and zealous officer, than the distinguished arctic navigator, who commanded the Baffin; never one who had so much practical experience in the navigation of ice; or, perhaps, in whom were united those various philosophical and scientific talents, essentially requisite for success in attempting discoveries hitherto prevented by a frozen boundary. I feel the most confident persuasion, that should Captain Scoresby ever be selected for public service, he would prove himself an ornament to his profession, and an honour to his country.