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Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon
we shall be lost in its unshored, harborless immensities. Ere
that come to pass; ere the Pequod's weedy hull rolls side
by side with the barnacled hulls of the leviathan; at the outset
it is but well to attend to a matter almost indispensable to
a thorough appreciative understanding of the more special
leviathanic revelations and allusions of all sorts which are to


Page 145

It is some systematized exhibition of the whale in his broad
genera, that I would now fain put before you. Yet is it no easy
task. The classification of the constituents of a chaos, nothing
less is here essayed. Listen to what the best and latest authorities
have laid down.

“No branch of Zoology is so much involved as that which is
entitled Cetology,” says Captain Scoresby, A. D. 1820.

“It is not my intention, were it in my power, to enter into
the inquiry as to the true method of dividing the cetacea into
groups and families. * * * Utter confusion exists among
the historians of this animal” (sperm whale), says Surgeon
Beale, A. D. 1839.

“Unfitness to pursue our research in the unfathomable
waters.” “Impenetrable veil covering our knowledge of the
cetacea.” “A field strewn with thorns.” “All these incomplete
indications but serve to torture us naturalists.”

Thus speak of the whale, the great Cuvier, and John Hunter,
and Lesson, those lights of zoology and anatomy. Nevertheless,
though of real knowledge there be little, yet of books
there are a plenty; and so in some small degree, with cetology,
or the science of whales. Many are the men, small and great,
old and new, landsmen and seamen, who have at large or in
little, written of the whale. Run over a few:—The Authors of
the Bible; Aristotle; Pliny; Aldrovandi; Sir Thomas Browne;
Gesner; Ray; Linnæus; Rondeletius; Willoughby; Green;
Artedi; Sibbald; Brisson; Marten; Lacépède; Bonneterre;
Desmarest; Baron Cuvier; Frederick Cuvier; John Hunter;
Owen; Scoresby; Beale; Bennett; J. Ross Browne; the Author
of Miriam Coffin; Ohnstead; and the Rev. T. Cheever.
But to what ultimate generalizing purpose all these have written,
the above cited extracts will show.

Of the names in this list of whale authors, only those following
Owen ever saw living whales; and but one of them was a
real professional harpooneer and whaleman. I mean Captain


Page 146
Scoresby. On the separate subject of the Greenland or right-whale,
he is the best existing authority. But Scoresby knew
nothing and says nothing of the great sperm whale, compared
with which the Greenland whale is almost unworthy mentioning.
And here be it said, that the Greenland whale is
an usurper upon the throne of the seas. He is not even by any
means the largest of the whales. Yet, owing to the long
priority of his claims, and the profound ignorance which, till
some seventy years back, invested the then fabulous or utterly
unknown sperm-whale, and which ignorance to this present day
still reigns in all but some few scientific retreats and whale-ports;
this usurpation has been every way complete. Reference
to nearly all the leviathanic allusions in the great poets of past
days, will satisfy you that the Greenland whale, without one
rival, was to them the monarch of the seas. But the time has
at last come for a new proclamation. This is Charing Cross;
hear ye! good people all,—the Greenland whale is deposed,—
the great sperm whale now reigneth!

There are only two books in being which at all pretend to
put the living sperm whale before you, and at the same time,
in the remotest degree succeed in the attempt. Those books
are Beale's and Bennett's; both in their time surgeons to
English South-Sea whale-ships, and both exact and reliable men.
The original matter touching the sperm whale to be found in
their volumes is necessarily small; but so far as it goes, it is of
excellent quality, though mostly confined to scientific description.
As yet, however, the sperm whale, scientific or
poetic, lives not complete in any literature. Far above all
other hunted whales, his is an unwritten life.

Now the various species of whales need some sort of popular
comprehensive classification, if only an easy outline one for
the present, hereafter to be filled in all its departments by subsequent
laborers. As no better man advances to take this
matter in hand, I hereupon offer my own poor endeavors. I


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promise nothing complete; because any human thing supposed
to be complete, must for that very reason infallibly be faulty.
I shall not pretend to a minute anatomical description of the
various species, or—in this place at least—to much of any
description. My object here is simply to project the draught of
a systematization of cetology. I am the architect, not the builder.

But it is a ponderous task; no ordinary letter-sorter in the
Post-office is equal to it. To grope down into the bottom of the
sea after them; to have one's hands among the unspeakable
foundations, ribs, and very pelvis of the world; this is a fearful
thing. What am I that I should essay to hook the nose of this
leviathan! The awful tauntings in Job might well appal me.
“Will he (the leviathan) make a covenant with thee? Behold
the hope of him is vain!” But I have swam through libraries
and sailed through oceans; I have had to do with whales with
these visible hands; I am in earnest; and I will try. There are
some preliminaries to settle.

First: The uncertain, unsettled condition of this science of Cetology
is in the very vestibule attested by the fact, that in some
quarters it still remains a moot point whether a whale be a
fish. In his System of Nature, A. D. 1776, Linnæus declares,
“I hereby separate the whales from the fish.” But of my own
knowledge, I know that down to the year 1850, sharks and
shad, alewives and herring, against Linnæus's express edict, were
still found dividing the possession of the same seas with the

The grounds upon which Linnæus would fain have banished
the whales from the waters, he states as follows: “On account
of their warm bilocular heart, their lungs, their movable eyelids,
their hollow ears, penem intrantem feminam mammis lactantem,”
and finally, “ex lege naturæ jure meritoque.” I submitted all
this to my friends Simeon Macey and Charley Coffin, of
Nantucket, both messmates of mine in a certain voyage, and
they united in the opinion that the reasons set forth were


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altogether insufficient. Charley profanely hinted they were

Be it known that, waiving all argument, I take the good old
fashioned ground that the whale is a fish, and call upon holy
Jonah to back me. This fundamental thing settled, the next
point is, in what internal respect does the whale differ from
other fish. Above, Linnæus has given you those items. But in
brief, they are these: lungs and warm blood; whereas, all
other fish are lungless and cold blooded.

Next: how shall we define the whale, by his obvious externals,
so as conspicuously to label him for all time to come?
To be short, then, a whale is a spouting fish with a horizontal
There you have him. However contracted, that definition
is the result of expanded meditation. A walrus spouts
much like a whale, but the walrus is not a fish, because he is
amphibious. But the last term of the definition is still more
cogent, as coupled with the first. Almost any one must have
noticed that all the fish familiar to landsmen have not a flat,
but a vertical, or up-and-down tail. Whereas, among spouting
fish the tail, though it may be similarly shaped, invariably
assumes a horizontal position.

By the above definition of what a whale is, I do by no means
exclude from the leviathanic brotherhood any sea creature
hitherto identified with the whale by the best informed
Nantucketers; nor, on the other hand, link with it any fish
hitherto authoritatively regarded as alien.[1] Hence, all the
smaller, spouting, and horizontal tailed fish must be included in


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this ground-plan of Cetology. Now, then, come the grand
divisions of the entire whale host.

First: According to magnitude I divide the whales into
three primary BOOKS (subdivisible into Chapters), and
these shall comprehend them all, both small and large.

I. The Folio Whale; II. the Octavo Whale; III. the
Duodecimo Whale.

As the type of the Folio I present the Sperm Whale; of
the Octavo, the Grampus; of the Duodecimo, the Porpoise.

FOLIOS. Among these I here include the following chapters:—I.
The Sperm Whale; II. the Right Whale; III. the
Fin Back Whale; IV. the Hump-backed Whale; V. the
Razor Back Whale; VI. the Sulphur Bottom Whale.

BOOK I. (Folio), Chapter I. (Sperm Whale).—This whale,
among the English of old vaguely known as the Trumpa
whale, and the Physeter whale, and the Anvil Headed whale, is
the present Cachalot of the French, and the Pottsfich of the
Germans, and the Macrocephalus of the Long Words. He is,
without doubt, the largest inhabitant of the globe; the most
formidable of all whales to encounter; the most majestic in
aspect; and lastly, by far the most valuable in commerce; he
being the only creature from which that valuable substance,
spermaceti, is obtained. All his peculiarities will, in many
other places, be enlarged upon. It is chiefly with his name
that I now have to do. Philosophically considered, it is absurd.
Some centuries ago, when the Sperm whale was almost wholly
unknown in his own proper individuality, and when his oil was
only accidentally obtained from the stranded fish; in those
days spermaceti, it would seem, was popularly supposed to be
derived from a creature identical with the one then known in
England as the Greenland or Right Whale. It was the idea
also, that this same spermaceti was that quickening humor of
the Greenland Whale which the first syllable of the word
literally expresses. In those times, also, spermaceti was exceedingly


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scarce, not being used for light, but only as an ointment
and medicament. It was only to be had from the
druggists as you nowadays buy an ounce of rhubarb. When,
as I opine, in the course of time, the true nature of spermaceti
became known, its original name was still retained by the
dealers; no doubt to enhance its value by a notion so strangely
significant of its scarcity. And so the appellation must at last
have come to be bestowed upon the whale from which this
spermaceti was really derived.

BOOK I. (Folio), Chapter II. (Right Whale).—In one respect
this is the most venerable of the leviathans, being the one
first regularly hunted by man. It yields the article commonly
known as whalebone or baleen; and the oil specially known as
“whale oil,” an inferior article in commerce. Among the fishermen,
he is indiscriminately designated by all the following
titles: The Whale; the Greenland Whale; the Black Whale;
the Great Whale; the True Whale; the Right Whale. There
is a deal of obscurity concerning the identity of the species thus
multitudinously baptized. What then is the whale, which I
include in the second species of my Folios? It is the Great
Mysticetus of the English naturalists; the Greenland Whale of
the English whalemen; the Baliene Ordinaire of the French
whalemen; the Growlands Walfish of the Swedes. It is the
whale which for more than two centuries past has been hunted
by the Dutch and English in the Arctic seas; it is the whale
which the American fishermen have long pursued in the Indian
ocean, on the Brazil Banks, on the Nor' West Coast, and
various other parts of the world, designated by them Right
Whale Cruising Grounds.

Some pretend to see a difference between the Greenland
whale of the English and the right whale of the Americans.
But they precisely agree in all their grand features; nor has
there yet been presented a single determinate fact upon which
to ground a radieal distinction. It is by endless subdivisions


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based upon the most inconclusive differences, that some departments
of natural history become so repellingly intricate. The
right whale will be elsewhere treated of at some length, with
reference to elucidating the sperm whale.

BOOK I. (Folio), Chapter iii. (Fin-Back).—Under this
head I reckon a monster which, by the various names of Fin-Back,
Tall-Spout, and Long-John, has been seen almost in every
sea and is commonly the whale whose distant jet is so often
descried by passengers crossing the Atlantic, in the New York
packet-tracks. In the length he attains, and in his baleen, the
Fin-back resembles the right whale, but is of a less portly girth,
and a lighter color, approaching to olive. His great lips present
a cable-like aspect, formed by the intertwisting, slanting folds of
large wrinkles. His grand distinguishing feature, the fin, from
which he derives his name, is often a conspicuous object. This
fin is some three or four feet long, growing vertically from the
hinder part of the back, of an angular shape, and with a very
sharp pointed end. Even if not the slightest other part of the
creature be visible, this isolated fin will, at times, be seen plainly
projecting from the surface. When the sea is moderately calm,
and slightly marked with spherical ripples, and this gnomoulike
fin stands up and casts shadows upon the wrinkled surface,
it may well be supposed that the watery circle surrounding it
somewhat resembles a dial, with its style and wavy hour-lines
graved on it. On that Ahaz-dial the shadow often goes back.
The Fin-Back is not gregarious. He seems a whale-hater, as some
men are man-haters. Very shy; always going solitary; unexpectedly
rising to the surface in the remotest and most sullen
waters; his straight and single lofty jet rising like a tall misanthropic
spear upon a barren plain; gifted with such wondrous
power and velocity in swimming, as to defy all present pursuit
from man; this leviathan seems the banished and unconquerable
Cain of his race, bearing for his mark that style upon his
back. From having the baleen in his mouth; the Fin-Back is


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sometimes included with the right whale, among a theoretic
species denominated Whalebone whales, that is, whales with
baleen. Of these so called Whalebone whales, there would
seem to be several varieties, most of which, however, are little
known. Broad-nosed whales and beaked whales; pike-headed
whales; bunched whales; under-jawed whales and rostrated
whales, are the fishermen's names for a few sorts.

In connexion with this appellative of “Whalebone whales,”
it is of great importance to mention, that however such a nomenclature
may be convenient in facilitating allusions to some kind
of whales, yet it is in vain to attempt a clear classification
of the Leviathan, founded upon either his baleen, or hump, or
fin, or teeth; notwithstanding that those marked parts or features
very obviously seem better adapted to afford the basis for a
regular system of Cetology than any other detached bodily
distinctions, which the whale, in his kinds, presents. How then?
The baleen, hump, back-fin, and teeth; these are things whose
peculiarities are indiscriminately dispersed among all sorts of
whales, without any regard to what may be the nature of their
structure in other and more essential particulars. Thus, the
sperm whale and the humpbacked whale, each has a hump;
but there the similitude ceases. Then, this same humpbacked
whale and the Greenland whale, each of these has baleen; but
there again the similitude ceases. And it is just the same with
the other parts above mentioned. In various sorts of whales,
they form such irregular combinations; or, in the case of any
one of them detached, such an irregular isolation; as utterly to
defy all general methodization formed upon such a basis. On
this rock every one of the whale-naturalists has split.

But it may possibly be conceived that, in the internal parts
of the whale, in his anatomy—there, at least, we shall be able
to hit the right classification. Nay; what thing, for example,
is there in the Greenland whale's anatomy more striking than
his baleen? Yet we have seen that by his baleen it is impossible


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correctly to classify the Greenland whale. And if you
descend into the bowels of the various leviathans, why there you
will not find distinctions a fiftieth part as available to the
systematizer as those external ones already enumerated. What
then remains? nothing but to take hold of the whales bodily,
in their entire liberal volume, and boldly sort them that way.
And this is the Bibliographical system here adopted; and it is
the only one that can possibly succeed, for it alone is practicable.
To proceed.

BOOK I. (Folio), Chapter iv. (Hump Back).—This whale
is often seen on the northern American coast. He has been
frequently captured there, and towed into harbor. He has a
great pack on him like a peddler; or you might call him the
Elephant and Castle whale. At any rate, the popular name for
him does not sufficiently distinguish him, since the sperm whale
also has a hump, though a smaller one. His oil is not very valuable.
He has baleen. He is the most gamesome and lighthearted
of all the whales, making more gay foam and white
water generally than any other of them.

BOOK I. (Folio), Chapter v. (Razor Back).—Of this whale
little is known but his name. I have seen him at a distance
off Cape Horn. Of a retiring nature, he eludes both hunters
and philosophers. Though no coward, he has never yet shown
any part of him but his back, which rises in a long sharp ridge.
Let him go. I know little more of him, nor does anybody else.

BOOK I. (Folio), Chapter vi. (Sulphur Bottom).—Another
retiring gentleman, with a brimstone belly, doubtless got
by scraping along the Tartarian tiles in some of his profounder
divings. He is seldom seen; at least I have never seen him
except in the remoter southern seas, and then always at too
great a distance to study his countenance. He is never chased;
he would run away with rope-walks of line. Prodigies are told
of him. Adieu, Sulphur Bottom! I can say nothing more that
is true of ye, nor can the oldest Nantucketer.


Page 154

Thus ends BOOK I. (Folio), and now begins BOOK II.

OCTAVOES.[2] These embrace the whales of middling
magnitude, among which at present may be numbered:—I.,
the Grampus; II., the Black Fish; III., the Narwhale; IV.,
the Thrasher; V., the Killer.

BOOK II. (Octavo), Chapter i. (Grampus).—Though this
fish, whose loud sonorous breathing, or rather blowing, has
furnished a proverb to landsmen, is so well known a denizen of
the deep, yet is he not popularly classed among whales. But
possessing all the grand distinctive features of the leviathan,
most naturalists have recognised him for one. He is of moderate
octavo size, varying from fifteen to twenty-five feet in
length, and of corresponding dimensions round the waist. He
swims in herds; he is never regularly hunted, though his oil is
considerable in quantity, and pretty good for light. By some
fishermen his approach is regarded as premonitory of the advance
of the great sperm whale.

BOOK II. (Octavo), Chapter ii. (Black Fish).—I give the
popular fishermen's names for all these fish, for generally they
are the best. Where any name happens to be vague or inexpressive,
I shall say so, and suggest another. I do so now,
touching the Black Fish, so called, because blackness is the rule
among almost all whales. So, call him the Hyena Whale, if
you please. His voracity is well known, and from the circumstance
that the inner angles of his lips are curved upwards, he
carries an everlasting Mephistophelean grin on his face. This
whale averages some sixteen or eighteen feet in length. He is
found in almost all latitudes. He has a peculiar way of showing


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his dorsal hooked fin in swimming, which looks something
like a Roman nose. When not more profitably employed, the
sperm whale hunters sometimes capture the Hyena whale, to
keep up the supply of cheap oil for domestic employment—as
some frugal housekeepers, in the absence of company, and quite
alone by themselves, burn unsavory tallow instead of odorous
wax. Though their blubber is very thin, some of these whales
will yield you upwards of thirty gallons of oil.

BOOK II. (Octavo), Chapter III. (Narwhale), that is, Nostril
—Another instance of a curiously named whale, so
named I suppose from his peculiar horn being originally mistaken
for a peaked nose. The creature is some sixteen feet in
length, while its horn averages five feet, though some exceed
ten, and even attain to fifteen feet. Strictly speaking, this horn
is but a lenghtened tusk, growing out from the jaw in a line a
little depressed from the horizontal. But it is only found on the
sinister side, which has an ill effect, giving its owner something
analogous to the aspect of a clumsy left-handed man. What
precise purpose this ivory horn or lance answers, it would be
hard to say. It does not seem to be used like the blade of the
sword-fish and bill-fish; though some sailors tell me that the
Narwhale employs it for a rake in turning over the bottom of
the sea for food. Charley Coffin said it was used for an ice-piercer;
for the Narwhale, rising to the surface of the Polar Sea,
and finding it sheeted with ice, thrusts his horn up, and so
breaks through. But you cannot prove either of these surmises
to be correct. My own opinion is, that however this one-sided
horn may really be used by the Narwhale—however that may
be—it would certainly be very convenient to him for a folder in
reading pamphlets. The Narwhale I have heard called the
Tusked whale, the Horned whale, and the Unicorn whale. He
is certainly a curious example of the Unicornism to be found in
almost every kingdom of animated nature. From certain cloistered
old authors I have gathered that this same sea-unicorn's


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horn was in ancient days regarded as the great antidote against
poison, and as such, preparations of it brought immense prices.
It was also distilled to a volatile salts for fainting ladies, the same
way that the horns of the male deer are manufactured into
hartshorn. Originally it was in itself accounted an object of
great curiosity. Black Letter tells me that Sir Martin Frobisher
on his return from that voyage, when Queen Bess did gallantly
wave her jewelled hand to him from a window of Greenwich
Palace, as his bold ship sailed down the Thames; “when Sir
Martin returned from that voyage,” saith Black Letter, “on
bended knees he presented to her highness a prodigious long
horn of the Narwhale, which for a long period after hung in the
castle at Windsor.” An Irish author avers that the Earl of Leicester,
on bended knees, did likewise present to her highness
another horn, pertaining to a land beast of the unicorn nature.

The Narwhale has a very picturesque, leopard-like look, being
of a milk-white ground color, dotted with round and oblong
spots of black. His oil is very superior, clear and fine; but
there is little of it, and he is seldom hunted. He is mostly
found in the circumpolar seas.

BOOK II. (Octavo), Chapter IV. (Killer).—Of this whale
little is precisely known to the Nantucketer, and nothing at all
to the professed naturalist. From what I have seen of him at
a distance, I should say that he was about the bigness of a
grampus. He is very savage—a sort of Feegee fish. He sometimes
takes the great Folio whales by the lip, and hangs there
like a leech, till the mighty brute is worried to death. The
Killer is never hunted. I never heard what sort of oil he has.
Exception might be taken to the name bestowed upon this whale,
on the ground of its indistinctness. For we are all killers, on
land and on sea; Bonapartes and Sharks included.

BOOK II. (Octavo), Chapter V. (Thrasher).—This gentleman
is famous for his tail, which he uses for a ferule in thrashing
his foes. He mounts the Folio whale's back, and as he swims,


Page 157
he works his passage by flogging him; as some schoolmasters
get along in the world by a similar process. Still less is known
of the Thrasher than of the Killer. Both are outlaws, even in
the lawless seas.

Thus ends BOOK II. (Octavo), and begins BOOK III.

DUODECIMOES.—These include the smaller whales. I.
The Huzza Porpoise. II. The Algerine Porpoise. III. The
Mealy-mouthed Porpoise.

To those who have not chanced specially to study the subject,
it may possibly seem strange, that fishes not commonly exceeding
four or five feet should be marshalled among WHALES—a
word, which, in the popular sense, always conveys an idea of
hugeness. But the creatures set down above as Duodecimoes
are infallibly whales, by the terms of my definition of what a
whale is—i. e a spouting fish, with a horizontal tail.

BOOK III. (Duodecimo), Chapter I. (Huzza Porpoise).—
This is the common porpoise found almost all over the globe.
The name is of my own bestowal; for there are more than one
sort of porpoises, and something must be done to distinguish
them. I call him thus, because he always swims in hilarious
shoals, which upon the broad sea keep tossing themselves to
heaven like caps in a Fourth-of-July crowd. Their appearance
is generally hailed with delight by the mariner. Full of fine
spirits, they invariably come from the breezy billows to windward.
They are the lads that always live before the wind.
They are accounted a lucky omen. If you yourself can withstand
three cheers at beholding these vivacious fish, then heaven
help ye; the spirit of godly gamesomeness is not in ye. A
well-fed, plump Huzza Porpoise will yield you one good gallon
of good oil. But the fine and delicate fluid extracted from his
jaws is exceedingly valuable. It is in request among jewellers
and watchmakers. Sailors put it on their hones. Porpoise
meat is good eating, you know. It may never have occurred


Page 158
to you that a porpoise spouts. Indeed, his spout is so small
that it is not very readily discernible. But the next time you
have a chance, watch him; and you will then see the great
Sperm whale himself in miniature.

BOOK III. (Duodecimo), Chapter II. (Algerine Porpoise).
A pirate. Very savage. He is only found, I think, in the
Pacific. He is somewhat larger than the Huzza Porpoise, but
much of the same general make. Provoke him, and he will
buckle to a shark. I have lowered for him many times, but
never yet saw him captured.

BOOK III. (Duodecimo), Chapter III. (Mealy-mouthed
).—The largest kind of Porpoise; and only found in
the Pacific, so far as it is known. The only English name, by
which he has hitherto been designated, is that of the fishers—
Right-Whale Porpoise, from the circumstance that he is chiefly
found in the vicinity of that Folio. In shape, he differs in
some degree from the Huzza Porpoise, being of a less rotund
and jolly girth; indeed, he is of quite a neat and gentlemanlike
figure. He has no fins on his back (most other porpoises
have), he has a lovely tail, and sentimental Indian eyes of a
hazel hue. But his mealy-mouth spoils all. Though his entire
back down to his side fins is of a deep sable, yet a boundary
line, distinct as the mark in a ship's hull, called the “bright
waist,” that line streaks him from stem to stern, with two separate
colors, black above and white below. The white comprises
part of his head, and the whole of his mouth, which makes
him look as if he had just escaped from a felonious visit to a
meal-bag. A most mean and mealy aspect! His oil is much
like that of the common porpoise.

Beyond the Duodecimo, this system does not proceed, inasmuch
as the Porpoise is the smallest of the whales. Above, you
have all the Leviathans of note. But there are a rabble of uncertain,
fugitive, half-fabulous whales, which as an American


Page 159
whaleman, I know by reputation, but not personally. I shall
enumerate them by their forecastle appellations; for possibly
such a list may be valuable to future investigators, who may
complete what I have here but begun. If any of the following
whales, shall hereafter be caught and marked, then he can readily
be incorporated into this System, according to his Folio, Octavo,
or Duodecimo magnitude:—The Bottle-Nose Whale; the
Junk Whale; the Pudding-Headed Whale; the Cape Whale;
the Leading Whale; the Cannon Whale; the Scragg Whale;
the Coppered Whale; the Elephant Whale; the Iceberg
Whale; the Quog Whale; the Blue Whale; &c. From Icelandic,
Dutch, and old English authorities, there might be quoted
other lists of uncertain whales, blessed with all manner of uncouth
names. But I omit them as altogether obsolete; and can
hardly help suspecting them for mere sounds, full of Leviathanism,
but signifying nothing.

Finally: It was stated at the outset, that this system would
not be here, and at once, perfected. You cannot but plainly
see that I have kept my word. But I now leave my cetological
System standing thus unfinished, even as the great Cathedral
of Cologue was left, with the crane still standing upon the top
of the uncompleted tower. For small erections may be finished
by their first architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the
copestone to posterity. God keep me from ever completing
anything. This whole book is but a draught—nay, but the
draught of a draught. Oh, Time, Strength, Cash, and Patience!


I am aware that down to the present time, the fish styled Lamatins
and Dugongs (Pig-fish and Sow-fish of the Coffins of Nantucket) are
included by many naturalists among the whales. But as these pig-fish
are a nosy, contemptible set, mostly lurking in the mouths of rivers, and
feeding on wet hay, and especially as they do net spout, I deny their
credentials as whales; and have presented them with their passports to
quit the Kingdom of Cetology.


Why this book of whales is not denominated the Quarto is very
plain. Because, while the whales of this order, though smaller than those
of the former order, nevertheless retain a proportionate likeness to them
in figure, yet the bookbinder's Quarto volume in its diminished form does
not preserve the shape of the Folio volume, but the Octavo volume does.