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probably arises from the inconvenience arrow from a bow. When perceived resulting from the waves at the sur. by the fishermen, they generally row face, and the strong power which a away in the direction of the sun, which swell would exert upon a body of such favours their escape, as the creature great length and comparative slender- cannot perceive them when its head is ness. According to Pontoppidan, a turned towards thạt luminary. great Sea-Snake was seen at Amunds “ It is said, that they sometimes fling Vaagen, in Nordfiord, a few years be. themselves in a wide circle round a boat, so fore he wrote. It came in between that the men are surrounded on all sides. the rocks, probably at high water, and This snake, I observed before, generally apdied there, and its carcase tainted the pears on the water in folds or coils; and
from a known custom in that neighbouring air for a long time. A similar animal was seen in the island those places where the body is not seen, but
case, never row towards the openings, or of Karmen, where it perished; and is concealed under the water ; if they did, several more are recorded as having the snake would raise itself up, and overset occurred in other places. The Sea- the boat. On the contrary, they row full Snake, it is said, possesses a very quick against the highest part that is visible, which scent, and has been observed to fly makes the snake immediately dive; and from the smell of castor. On this ac
thus they are released from their fears. This count, the Norwegian fishermen, dur. is their method when they cannot avoid
them; but when they see one of these creaing the warm summer months, when
tures at a distance, they row away with all it is most likely to shew itself, are their might (by which they sometimes injure frequently provided with this sub- their health) towards the shore, or into de stance when they go to sea; and when creek where it cannot follow them.”* they apprehend the near approach of When they are overtaken, without one of these monsters, they sprinkle a being provided with any castor, their little on all sides overboard. The only resource is to throw a scuttle or same device is said by Debes to be re
any light thing at it, which frequently sorted to by the boatmen around the has the effect of making it dive and Feroe Isles, as a protection against the take another course. Trold-Whale, a mischievous species, We come now to the more modern which likewise dreads the shavings of instances of the occurrence of this sinjuniper-wood. Many curious anec- gular animal. The following letter dotes, concerning the power of castor, from the Rev. Mr Maclean of Small may be found in the writings of Tho- Isles to the Secretary of the Wernerian mas Bartholinus.
Natural History Society, will be deemThe Bishop of Bergen mentions, ed sufficient to dispel the doubts of that he has been informed by the those who feel less inclined than our. northern traders, that the sea-snake selves, to place some degree of confisometimes throws itself across a boat dence in the accounts of the earlier in such a manner as to sink it by its writers. weight. One person, in particular,
“ Eigg Island, 24th April 1809. informed him, that he has been near
“ SIR,Your letter of the 1st instant I enough to some of these animals to received, and would have written in answer feel their smooth skin; and he added, thereto sooner, had I not thought it desirthat sometimes they will raise up their able to examine others relative to the anifrightful heads, and snap a man out of mal of which you wish me to give a parti
cular account. a boat, without hurting the rest ; “ but this,” says the bishop,
“ According to my best recollection, I not affirm for a truth, because it is not Eigg, but on that of Coll
. Rowing along
saw it in June 1808, not on the coast of certain that they are a fish of prey."
that coast, I observed, at about the distance Perhaps this animal may be alluded of half a mile, an object to windward, which to by the prophet Amos: "And though gradually excited astonishment. At first they hide themselves in the top of view, it appeared like a small rock. KnowCarmel, I will search and take them ing there was no rock in that situation, I out thence; and though they be hid fixed my eyes on it close. Then I saw it from my sight in the bottom of the elevated considerably above the level of the sea, thence will I command the ser.
sea, and, after a slow movement, distinctly pent, and he shall bite them."-Chap. unusual appearance and magnitude of the
perceived one of its eyes. Alarmed at the ix. v. 3. Its motion is said to be ex
animal, I steered so as to be at no great ceedingly rapid, and is compared by one Norwegian poet to the flight of an * Nat. Hist, of Norway, vol ü, p. 208.
distance from the shore. When nearly in a of the tail. These bristles, while line betwixt it and the shore, the monster, moist, were luminous in the dark; directing its head (which still continued and it was provided with fins or swimabove water) towards us, plunged violently under water. Certain that he was in chace ming paws, which measured four feet of us, we plied hard to get ashore.
and a half in length, and in shape rewe leaped out on a rock, taking a station as
sembled the wing of a goose without high as we conveniently could, we saw it feathers. * This monster was seen and coming rapidly under water towards the examined by many individuals, who stern of our boat. When within a few yards all agree in regard to its great size and of the boat, finding the water shallow, it general appearance. It remained enraised its monstrous head above water, and, tire for some time, but separated beby a winding course, got, with apparent fore any correct drawing or detailed difficulty, clear of the creek where our boat lay, and where the monster seemed in dan. description could be obtained. †
We shall conclude this investigation ger of being imbayed. It continued to move off, with its head above water, and by presenting our readers with an acwith the wind, for about half a mile, before count of the latest, and one of the most we lost sight of it. Its head was rather satisfactory instances of the appearance broad, of a form somewhat oval. Its neck of the Great Sea Serpent, off the Amesomewhat smaller. Its shoulders, if I can rican coast. This we are fortunately so term them, considerably broader, and enabled to do, by means of a very ju. thence it tapered towards the tail
, which last dicious report published by a commitit kept pretty low in the water, so that a view of it could not be taken so distinctly as
tee appointed by the Linnean Society I wished. It had no fin that I could per
of New England, to collect all the eviceive, and seemed to me to move progres. dence which could be obtained on the sively by undulation up and down. Its subject. length I believed to be from 70 to 80 feet. In the month of August 1817, it was When nearest to me, it did not raise its generally reported, that a very singuhead wholly above water, so that the neck lar animal, of prodigious size, had been being under water, I could perceive no shin- frequently seen in the harbour of Glouing filaments thereon, if it had
Its progressive motion under water I took to be cester, Cape Ann, about thirty miles rapid, from the shortness of the time it took from Boston. In general appearance to come up to the boat. When the head it resembled a serpent, and was said to was above water, its motion was not near so move with astonishing rapidity. It quick; and when the head was most elevat- was visible only in calm and bright ed, it appeared evidently to take a view of weather, and floated on the surface of distant objects.
the water like a number of buoys or “ About the time I saw it, it was seen about the island of Canna. The crews of Such was the general description given
casks following each other in a line. thirteen fishing-boats, I am told, were so much terrified at its appearance, that they of this animal, betwixt which, and the in a body fled from it to the nearest creek
accounts by the Norwegians, our readfor safety. On the passage from Rum to
ers will not fail to observe a striking Canna, the crew of one boat saw it coming coincidence. towards them with the wind, and its head In the report to which we have rehigh above water. One of the crew pro- ferred, the affidavits of a great many nounced its head as large as a little boat, people of unblemished character are and each of its eyes as large as a plate. The collected concerning it, which leaves men were much terrified, but the monster offered them no molestation. From those
no room to apprehend any thing like who saw it, I could get no interesting parti- deceit. These statements, as might • culars additional to those above mentioned. * In this character it agrees with the I remain, Sir, &c.
Great Sea Snake seen by Egede the mis(Signed) DONALD MACLEAN."
+ The accounts of this singular creature A few months after the appearance
are contained in the affidavits made before of this animal off the Island of Coll, the Justices of the Peace for the county, by the dead body of a monstrous Sea-Snake men of character and respectability. For was found driven on shore on Stronsa, several interesting particulars concerning its one of the Orkney Isles. It measured anatomical structure, we refer the reader fifty-five feet in length, and about ten
to Dr Barclay's paper on the subject, pub
lished in the first volume of the Wernerian feet in circumference, and was fur
Society's Memoirs. Sir Everard Home nished with a kind of mane or ridge seemed to consider the Orkney animal as a of bristles, which extended from the Squalus maximus, but this opinion is geneshoulder to within two feet and a half rally regarded as erroneous.
naturally be anticipated, do not agree the place where it had disappeared. It in every minute particular, as the
ap- did not seem more shy in consequence pearance of the animal would neces- of the shot, but continued playing on sarily assume various aspects, accord- the water as before. The seventh ing to its position, the extent of its witness observed it on the 17th day body visible at one time, and the ra- of the month, extended on the water pidity of its motion; but in regard to to the length of from forty to sixty its great size and snake-like form they feet, with its head raised about a foot
above the surface. It remained still The person who makes the first de- for some time, and then started off position saw it for nearly half an hour, with great velocity. Colour
dark. at a distance of 250 yards when near- The eighth witness saw it on the est. At that distance he could not evening of the same day; he came take in the two extremes with his glass within two oars length of it, but there at one view. He saw eight different was not sufficient light to enable him portions or bunches, which he consi- to give any description. In length it ders as caused by the vertical motion was at least fifty feet, and appeared of the animal. The size is not speci- straight. The ninth witness observed fied. The second witness depones, it the next day, while in a sail boat, that on the 10th day of August he ob- coming out of a cave, and immediate served a strange marine animal, which ly hove to. It passed under the stern he believed to be a serpent. It con- of the boat, and then turning towards tinued in sight for an hour and a half, him again, it crossed by the boat's bow. and moved through the water with He saw fired at, and thought it great rapidity—at the rate of a mile in was hit, as it afterwards appeared more two, or at most three, minutes. He shy. The length was considered to be observed the same animal on the 23d about seventy feet. The form of the of the same month. It then lay per- curve, when it turned in the water, fectly still, extended on the water, and resembled a staple; the head seemed shewed about fifty feet of its body. . to approach towards the body for some Colour dark brown. The third wit- feet, then the head and tail appeared ness saw it in the same place, and moving rapidly in opposite directions, judged it to be between eighty and and when these were on parallel lines, ninety feet in length, with a head they appeared not more than two or formed somewhat like that of a rattle- three yards apart. The last deposia snake, but nearly as large as that of a tion contained in the American Report, horse. At one time it shewed about being one of the most detailed and fifty distinct portions of its body, and particular, we shall quote it at full appeared rough and scaly. He saw length. him on three different days, and on
“ I, Elkanah Finney of Plymouth, in the 13th of August it was visible almost the whole day. When it moved and say: That about the 20th of June
the county of Plymouth, mariner, testify on the surface of the water, its motion
A. D. 1815, being at work near my house, was slow,' at times playing about in which is situated near the sea-shore in Plya circles, and sometimes moving nearly mouth, at a place called Warren's Cove, straight forward. The fourth witness where the beach joins the main land ; my saw it on the 14th August, when it son, a boy, came from the shore, and in shewed about forty feet. When look- formed me of an unusual appearance on the ing at it through a glass, he saw it surface of the sea in the cove. I paid little open its mouth, which appeared like attention to his story at first; but as he per
sisted in saying that he had seen something the mouth of a serpent. The fifth
very remarkable, I looked towards the cove, and sixth witnesses also saw it on that where I saw something which appeared to day, when the latter was within a dis- the naked eye to be drift sea-weed. I then tance of thirty feet. He fired his gun, viewed it through a perspective glass, and loaded with ball, at its head, and was in a moment satisfied that it was some thought he must have hit it, as he aquatic animal, with the form, motion, and took good aim. When he had fired, appearance of which I had hitherto been unthe monster immediately turned round, acquainted. It was about a quarter of a as if it intended coming towards him, mile from the shore, and was moving with but it sunk down, and going directly appeared to be about thirty feet in length ;
great rapidity to the northward. It then under the boat, made its appearance the animal went about half a mile to the again, at about a hundred yards from northward ; then turned about, and while
turning, displayed a greater length than I be amply sufficient to dispel the doubts had before seen ; I supposed at least an even of the most sceptical, and the sahundred feet. It then came towards me, tisfactory manner in which the opiin a southerly direction, very rapidly, until nions of Pontoppidan, and the writers he was in a line with me, when he stoppedwho preceded him, have been thus conand lay entirely still on the surface of the
I then had good view of him firmed, should render us extremely through my glass, at the distance of a quar
cautious in considering such opinions ter of a mile. His appearance in this situa- as vague and hypothetical, merely betion was like a string of buoys. I saw per- cause they do not accord with the haps thirty or forty of these protuberances measure of our own experience. or bunches, which were about the size of a We shall conclude our quotation on barrel. The head appeared to be about six this subject by the following extracts. or eight feet long, and where it was connected with the body was a little larger than the Honourable Lonson Nash, one of
The first is from a letter written by the body. His head tapered off to the size the committee appointed by the Linof a horse's head. I could not discern any mouth. But what I supposed to be his un
næan Society of New England; the der jaw had a white stripe extending the other from a communication by the whole length of the head, just above the Rev. William Jenks, addressed to
While he lay in this situation, he Judge Davis, the president of the Soappeared to be about a hundred or a hun- ciety. dred and twenty feet long. The body appeared to be of a uniform size.
I saw no “ I have seen and conversed with the part of the animal which I supposed to be woman, who was said to have seen the ser. a tail. I therefore thought he did not dis. pent dormant on the rocks, near the water, cover to me his whole length. His colour to whom you refer in yours; but she can was a deep brown or black. I could not give no material evidence. She says that discover any eyes, mane, gills, or breathing she saw something, resembling a large log holes. I did not see any fins or legs. The of wood, on the rocks, on the extreme eastanimal did not utter any sound, and it did ern point of Ten Pound island (a small not appear to notice any thing. It remain island in our harbour), resting partly on ed still and motionless for five minutes or the rocks, and partly in the water. The
The wind was light, with a clear distance was about half a mile. She took sky, and the water quite smooth. He then a glass, looked at the object, and saw it moved to the southward ; but not with so
Her attention was for a short time rapid a motion as I had observed before. arrested, by some domestic avocation, and He was soon out of my sight. The next when she looked for the object again, it had morning I rose very early to discover him. disappeared. There was a fresh breeze from the south, You request a detailed account of my ob. which subsided about eight o'clock. It then servations relative to the serpent. I saw him became quite calm, when I again saw the on the 14th ultimo, and when nearest, I animal about a mile to the northward of judged him to be about two hundred and my house, down the beach. He did not fifty yards from me. At that distance I display so great a length as the night be judged him (in the largest part) about the fore, perhaps not more than twenty or size of a half barrel, gradually tapering tothirty feet. He often disappeared, and was wards the two extremes. Twice I saw him gone five or ten minutes under water. I with a glass only for a short time, and at thought he was diving or fishing for his other times with the naked eye for nearly food. He remained in nearly the same si- half an hour. His colour appeared nearly tuation, and thus employed, for two hours. black-his motion was vertical. When he I then saw him moving off, in a north-east moved on the surface of the water, the track direction, towards the light-house. I could in his rear was visible for at least half a not determine whether its motion was up mile. and down, or to the right and left. His His velocity, when moving on the surquickest motion was very rapid ; I should face of the water, I judged was at the rate suppose at the rate of fifteen or twenty miles of a mile in about four minutes. When an hour. Mackerel, manhaden, herring, immersed in the water, his speed was greatand other bait fish, abound in the cove, er, moving, I should say, at the rate of a where the animal was seen.
mile in two or at most three minutes. When (Signed) ELKANAH FINNEY.” moving under water you could often trace There are several other affidavits him by the motion of the water on the surequally satisfactory in regard to the face, and from this circumstance I conclude
he did not swim deep. He apparently went occurrence of this extraordinary creature, with the whole of which, how- draw a line.
as straight through the water as you could
When he changed his course, ever, we do not consider it necessary. it diminished his velocity but little—the two that we should trouble our readers. extremes that were visible appeared rapidly What we have already written must moving in opposite directions, and when
they came parallel, they appeared not more to be an exaggeration. A gentleman of inthan a yard apart. With a glass I could not telligence (Rev. Alden Bradford of Wiscastake in, at one view, the two extremes of the set, now Secretary of the Commonwealth), animal that were visible. I have looked at inquired of Mr Cummings whether the apa vessel at about the same distance, and pearance might not be produced by a numcould distinctly see forty-five feet. If he ber of porpoises following each other in a should be taken, I have no doubt that his train; but Mr Cummings asserts, that the length will be found seventy feet at least, animal held its head out of the water about and I should not be surprised, if he should five feet till he got out to sea ; for when be found one hundred feet long. When I seen he was going out of the bay, and Mr saw him, I was standing on an eminence, Cummings was ascending it. The colour on the sea shore, elevated about thirty feet was a bluish green about the head and neck, above the surface of the water, and the sea but the water rippled so much over his body was smooth.
that it was not possible to determine its tint. If I saw his head, I could not distinguish The shape of the head was like that of a it from his body ; though there were sea- common snake, flattened, and about the faring men near me, who said that they size of a pail. He was seen approaching, could distinctly see his head. I believe passing, and departing, Till this, Mr they spoke truth ; but not having been Cummings was as incredulous, in respect to much accustomed to look through a glass, its existence, as many of his neighbours. I was not so fortunate.
The weather was calm, and it was the I never saw more than seven or eight dis month of August, in which month, Mr tinct portions of him above the water at Cummings remarks, that as far as he has any one time, and he appeared rough; heard, the Serpent makes his appearance on though I supposed this appearance was pro
the coast.' duced by his motion. When he disappear- I am inclined to suppose, that Mr Cumed, he apparently sunk directly down like a mings' account is that, which in one of the rock."
public papers was lately alluded to, as hava The information conveyed by Mring been communicated to the American notes kept by him in America, and the (then of Bath, now an attorney of Boston), Jenks is extracted from manuscript Academy of Arts and Sciences, but mislaid.
Aug. 23, 1809.
Mr Charles Shaw, letter which contains them is dated informed me, that a Capt. Lillis, with whom September 17, 1817.
he had sailed, observed cursorily in conver-
One of those which were seen by Mr plank. The schooner was of about eighteen
Having, we trust, by means of the horizontal. The British supposed the length preceding extracts and observations, of that, which they saw, to be three hun. sufficiently cleared away all doubts dred feet, but this Mr Cummings imagines from the minds of such of our readers