A Whaling Voyage in the Bark “Willis” 1849-1850.

A loosely edited version of Millet’s Journal of 1849-50.

p. iii-iv: Samuel Millet, the’ author of the journal which is here presented for the first time, apparently knew the value of dramatic incidents and realized that happenings even of no great importance to him might prove of interest to one in an entirely different walk of life. Many of the old whaling logs and journals are more full of "wails" than of whales and their authors must have agreed with Dr. Samuel Johnson who said "being on a ship is being in jail with a chance of being drowned." Samuel Millet, however, although rather inclined to believe that "far away hills always look green," was, as a whole, of a cheerful disposition and though he often called attention to the hardships and privations he was forced to undergo, he never lost an opportunity to enjoy himself or to make the best of his rather hard lot. The bark "Willis" was a small vessel of but one hundred and sixty-four tons and was built at Mattapoiset in 1838 by Ebenezer Cannon, a noted ship-builder. He and his sons and grandsons built many of the finest whaling vessels of their time. She made twelve voyages between 1844 and 1866. It was on her fourth voyage, Captain Taber in command, that Samuel Millet kept this journal. [Thomas Perkins, Boston, July 4, 1924]

p. 27-44. A chapter devoted to “The Manner of Capturing the Whale in 1671” in Spitzbergen, together with a considerable bibliography, occupies the major portion of the book. Unclear how much of this is Millet’s work.