AN ACCOUNT OF A WHALE Seventy four Foot long, Taken at Sutton, near Wisbich, on Tuesday March 14th. 1692/3

An Abstract of a Letter from Sutton near Wisbich, of a Whale taken there 74 foot long, whose Mouth opens 15 Foot, with some Quaeries about it. This Whale 14 Foot longer than that taken by Sir Anthony Dean, 1658. A Whale judged to weigh 100 Tuns. A Temple whose Rafters and Beams were of Whale bone. A Whales Rib of such an Arch, that a Man on a Camel did ride under it. A Whale taken in Kent 22 Yards long, with his Description, and of others. Eight sorts of Whales with their Description. A Whale 30 Ells long▪ Whales cry when they Engender, and bring forth their young alive.

TWo Friends of mine did me the favour to shew me their Letters received last Monday from Sutton near Wisbich, in Lincoln-shire, from William Hide, Esq where he gives an account, That on Tuesday, March 14. 1692/3 was taken in his Lordship, called Sutton▪ Wash, a Whale 74 foot long, whose Mouth open'd 15 Foot wide, capable to receive a Coach and Six Horses. He sent some Stuff taken out from the bottom of the great Whalebone▪Finns in his Mouth, which I tryed, and it will yield no Oyl, and is not Sperma Caeti. He desires to know where the Sperma Caeti lies, in what places the Whalebone grows, and whither any part be Whalebone, other than the Finn; and whether any thing can be made of him beside the Blubber, Whalebone, and Sperma Caeti; and whether the Brains be not Sperma Caeti. An Answer to which I give as follows:

This Whale is a very large one, according to the best of my remembrance, fourteen Foot longer than that taken by Sir Anthony Dean, in 1658 one of the Ribs where­of I believe is in the Court-yard at St. James's; for I think Sir Anthony Dean told me that Whale was but Sixty Foot long. I find in Purchas's, Pilgrims, Vol. 1, pag. 420. mention of a Whale the Seamen judged to be One Hundred Tune in weight.

In Vol. 2. pag. 772. he speaks of a Temple whose Rafters and Beams were of Whale­bone; and the Relator was shewn a Whales Rib of so great a size, that lying on the Ground, with the Convex or howing side upward, in manner of an Arch, it resembled a Gate, the hollow or inward part whereof aloft they could not touch with their Heads, as they rode upon their Camels backs. This Rib the Native said had lain there an hundred Years.

In Vol. 3. pag. 737. there is a Whale described, taken in the Isle of Thanet in Kent, July. the 9th. 1574. shooting himself on Shore, beside Rammesgate, about six at Night, and died about six next Morning, before which time he Roared, and was heard more than a mile on the Land. The length was Twenty Two yards; the neither Jaw Seventy[?] Two Foot in the opening. One of his Eyes (which, in the Greenland VVhale is not much greater than that of an Oxe) was more than six Horses in a Cart could draw. A Man stood upright in the place whence the Eye was taken. The thickness from his back whereon he lay, to his Belly was 14 Foot; his Tail [Page 2] of the same breadth: Three Men stood upright in his Mouth: Betwixt his Eyes 12 Foot: Some of the Ribs 16 Foot long: The Tongue 15 Foot long: His Liver two Cart­loads; Into his Nostrils any Man might have crept: The Oyl of his Head, Sperma Caeti, &e.

In the same Vol. p. 470. is the Description of several sorts and mnaner of killing them; an Epitome whereof take as follows.

The Whale is a Fish about 65 Foot long, and 35 Foot thick, his Head a Third of his Body's Quantity, his Mouth containing a very great Tongue, and all his Finns.

These Finns are rooted in his upper Chap, and spread over his Tongue on both sides his Mouth, being 250 on each side. The longest Finns are plac'd in the midst of his Mouth, and the rest shorten by degrees backward and forward, from ten or eleven Foot long to four Inches in length: His Eye as big as an Oxes, and the former great Eye men­tioned in the Margin: His Body almost round forward, growing still narrower towards his Tayl from his Body: His Tayl is above twenty Foot broad, of a tough solid Substance, as are his two swimming Finns, and they grow forward.

He comes often above Water, spouting eight or nine times before his return; whereby he may be seen two or three Leagues off. Then they make to him, catch him, kill him, and order him for a Market, as may there be seen at large.

There are described eight sorts of Whales: The Grand Bay, which is black, with a smooth Skin, and white underneath the Chaps. The best for Oyl and Finns (the older the better.] This sort yields above 100 Hogsheads of Oyl, and 500 Finns.

2. The Sarda, of the same colour, but less, yielding lesser Finns, and about 70 or 80 Hogsheads of Oyl. This hath naturally growing on his Back white things like Barnacles.

3. The Trumpa, as long as the first, but thicker forwards, of colour more Gray, ha­ving but one Spout in his Head, and the rest have all two. He hath Teeth as thick as a Man's Wrist, a Span long, but no Finns: His Head is bigger than the two former, and in proportion far bigger than his Body. In his Head is the Sperma caeti, which lyeth in a hole like a Well; he yields about forty Hogsheads of Oyl, beside the Sperma caeti.

4. The Otta Sotta, of the same colour with the Trumpa, having white Finns in his Mouth, but not above half Yard long, thicker than the Trumpa, but shorter: He yields the best Oyl, but not above thirty Hogsheads.

5. The Gibarta, black like the two first, having a Finn standing on the top of his Back half Yard long: He is as big as the first: His Finns little or nothing worth, being not a­bove half a Yard long: He yields about twelve Hogsheads of Oyl from his Back, but his Belly yields none.

6. The Sedena, being of a whitely colour, and bigger than any of the former: The Finns not above one Foot long, and yields little or no Oyl.

7. The Sedena Negro, black, with a Bump on his Back, he yields neither Oyl, Finns, nor Teeth, and yet is of great bigness.

8. The Sewria, as white as Snow, of the bigness of a Wherry: yields but one or two Hogsheads of Oyl, nor any Finns, and is good Meat.

In the said Third Vol. p. 649. is mention of a Whale thirty Ells long, and his heighth more than a warlike Pike.

In another place, 'tis said the Whales cry in Engendring; and I am told they give suck, and are Viviparous (bringers forth alive.)

The Whalebone, or Finn grows no where but in the Mouth, and I am told the use of it to the Whale is as a Weare, which he can lay close and widen, that Fish may get in, but then letting them loose, they lie together, and let no Fish go back, and so gets his living.

The Flesh of him will be excellent Manure for Land, and his Ribs, other Bones, swim­ming Finns, and Tayl, will be Curiosities for after Ages; and if a Present were made to the Royal Society, I believe 'twould be very acceptable.

The great Eye is not much stranger than the Fish; but I give the Account faithfully, believe as you please. I am told there are many more sorts of Whales.

If this finds a kind Acceptance, Accounts of other strange things may hereafter be given by

JOHN HOUGHTON, F. R. S.

The Collection for Improvement of Husbandry and Trade comes out every Friday, and may be had now at One Penny each.

London Printed, and are to be Sold by Randal Taylor, 1693.

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