• Harpoon Guns Used On 1849 New Bedford Whaling Voyage

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    LEMUEL GODDARD was an American sperm-oil merchant in England, a partner of the prominent New Bedford ship owners Jirch Swift and Frederick Allen, who owned the Paulina, a three-masted Bark.

    CAPTAIN JOHN TATCH was a 36-year-old German immigrant who took the ship on a three-year whaling voyage to the Indian Ocean from December 1849 until May 1853.

    The Enderby Family of London founded the South Seas Whale Fishery Company and established a maritime settlement on a volcanic island south of New Zealand, which ultimately ended in financial disaster.

    The Greener Light Harpoon Gun, made by a well-known British firearms firm, enabled American whalemen of the mid-19th century to fire a small harpoon from a shoulder rifle.  The gun made cinematic history, used by shark hunter Robert Shaw in the classic film JAWS.


    2 ¼ pp, 8 x 10, ALS by Goddard, London, Nov. 9, 1849, discussing the excellence of the Greener guns, the price of whale oil and bone, to Swift & Allen, New Bedford, Mass.


    “…I was very happy to learn you had at last succeeded in finding a ship that would suit Capt. Tatch…the Paulina…will be just that vessel, tho I know some of your folks don’t like Barques.  In this country, we think them preferable…They are suited at much less expense. I wish the Paulina and Capt. Patch…every success and hope she will prove a fortunate ship. By the Zurgari that sailed for Boston this week, I sent Capt. Delano one of Greener’s celebrated guns that so much has been said about, with a set of Harpoons…Would it not be as well to let Capt. Tatch take it out with him and test them.  The testimonial from all the English Capts. are amazingly strong and no ship now sails without 2 or 3 of them on board.  You saw the account of Enderby’s failure. It will not affect the Whaling Co…Sperm Oil is prime at 82 to 83 Pounds…I am getting my name a little posted up with East India and China…and don’t mean to let Barings have all these nice cumshaws. They have just recd a cargo of Whale Oil from Manilla which will be sold by auction on Wednesday…Whalebone 185 Pounds and sales making at this price…”


    Sent from aboard the Steamer to Swift & Allen with integral address leaf containing Goddard’s blue hand stamp, 19 cents of postage.


    Folds, light expected toning.   Bleed through makes the letter a difficult to read.


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