International Fisheries ExhibitionAS I commence this little history of two sea monsters there comes to my mind a remark made to me by my friend, Mr. Samuel L.Clemens-" Mark Twain "-which illustrates a feeling that many a writer must have experienced when dealing with a subject that has been previously well handled. Expressing to me one day the gratification he felt in having made many pleasant acquaintances in England, he added, with dry humour, and a grave countenance, "Yes ! I owe your countrymen no grudge or ill-will. I freely forgive them, though one of them did me a grievous wrong, an irreparable injury. It was Shakespeare : if he had not written those plays of his, I should have done so! They contain my thoughts, my sentiments! He forestalled me!
SEA MONSTERS UNMASKED
HENRY LEE, F.L.S., F.G.S.,F.Z.S.
SOMETIME NATURALIST OF THE BRIGHTON AQUARIUM
AUTHOR OF 'THE OCTOPUS, OR THE DEVIL-FISH OF FICTION AND FACT'
WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED
INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES EXHIBITION
AND 13 CHARING CROSS, S.W.
In treating of the so-called "sea-serpent," I have been anticipated by many able writers. Mr. Gosse, in his delightful book, 'The Romance of Natural History,' published in 1862, devoted a chapter to it ; and numerous articles concerning it have appeared in various papers and periodicals. But, for the information from which those authors have drawn their inferences, and on which they have founded their opinions, they have been greatly indebted, as must be all who have seriously to consider this subject, to the late experienced editor of the Zoologist, Mr. Edward Newman, a man of wonderful power of mind, of great judgment, a profound thinker, and all able writer. At a time when, as he said, "the shafts of ridicule were launched against believers and unbelievers in the sea-serpent in a very pleasing and impartial manner," he, in the true spirit of philosophical inquiry, in 1847, opened the columns of his magazine to correspondence on this topic, and all the more recent reports of marine monsters having been seen are therein recorded. To him, therefore, the fullest acknowledgments are due.
The great cuttles, also, have been the subject of articles in various magazines, notably one by Mr. W. Saville Kent, F.L.S., in the 'Popular Science Review' of April, 1874, and a chapter in my little book on the Octopus, published in 1873, is also devoted to them. In writing of them as the living representatives of the kraken, and as having been frequently mistaken for the " sea-serpent," my deductions have been drawn from personal knowledge, and all intimate acquaintance with the habits, form, and structure of the animals described. It was only by watching the movements of specimens of the "common squid " (Loligo vulgaris), and the "little squid " (L. media which lived in the tanks of the Brighton Aquarium, that I recognised in their peculiar habit of occasionally swimming half-submerged, with uplifted caudal extremity, and trailing arms, the fact that I had before me the "sea-serpent " of many a well-authenticated anecdote. A mere knowledge of their form and anatomy after death had never suggested to me that which became at once apparent when I saw them in life.
It is a pleasure to me to acknowledge gratefully the kindness I have met with in connection with the illustrations of this book. The proprietors of the Illustrated London News not only gave me permission to copy, in reduced size, their two pictures of the Daedalus incident, but presented to me electrotype copies of all others small enough for these pages-namely, " Jonah and the Monster," Egede's " Sea-Serpent," and the Whale as seen from the "Pauline".
Equally kind have been the proprietors of The Field. To them I am greatly indebted for their permission to copy the beautiful woodcuts of the " Octopus at Rest," " The Sepia seizing its Prey," and the arms of the Newfoundland squids, and also for " electros " of the two curious Japanese engravings, all of which originally appeared in their paper. From the Graphic I have had similar permission to copy all cuts that might be thought suitable, and the illustrations of the sea-serpent, as seen from Her Majesty's yacht Osborne and The City of Baltimore, are from that journal.
Messrs. Nisbet most courteously allowed me to have a copy of the block of the Enaliosaurus swimming, which was one of the numerous pictures in Mr. Gosse's book, published by them, already
referred to. And last, not least, I have to thank Miss Ellen Woodward, daughter of my friend, Dr. Henry Woodward, F.R.S., for enabling me to better explain the movements and appearances of the squids when swimming, and when raising their bodies out of water in an erect position, by carefully drawing them from my rough sketches.
July 21st, 1883.
Extracts from the Book regarding Kraken and Sea Serpents, and their likely identities
The Rev. Hans Egede, known as "The Apostle of Greenland," was superintendent of the Christian missions to that country. He was a truthful, pious, and single-minded man, possessing considerable powers of observation, and a genuine love of natural history. He wrote two books on the products, people, and natural history of Greenland,* and his statements therein are modest, accurate, and free from exaggeration. His illustrations are little, if at all, superior in style of art to the two Japanese wood-cuts shown on page 29, but they bear the same unmistakable signs of fidelity which characterise those of the Japanese. In his "Journal of the Missions to Greenland' this author tell us that...
"On the 6th Of July, 1734, there appeared a very large and
frightful sea monster, which raised itself so high out of the water
that its head reached above our main-top. It had a long, sharp
snout, and spouted water like a whale; and very broad flappers.
The body seemed to be covered with scales, and the skin was
uneven and wrinkled, and the lower part was formed like a snake.
'After some time the creature plunged backwards into the water,
and then turned its tall up above the surface, a whole ship-length
from the head. The following evening we had very bad weather."
The high character of the narrator would lead us to accept his statement that lie had seen something, previously unknown to him (he does not say it was a sea-serpent) even if we could not explain or understand what it was that he saw. Fortunately, however, the sketch made by Mr. Bing, one of his brother missionaries, has enabled us to do this. We must remember that in his endeavour to
portray the incident he was dealing with an animal with the nature of which lie was unacquainted, and which was only partially, and for a very short time, within his view. He therefore delineated rather the impression left on his mind than the thing itself. But although he invested it with a character that did not belong to it, his drawing is so far correct that we are able to recognise at a glance the distorted portrait of an old acquaintance, and to say unhesitatingly that Egede's sea-monster was one of the great calamaries which have -since been occasionally met with, but which have only been believed in and recognised within the last few years. That which Mr. Egede believed to be the creature's head was the tail part of the cuttle which goes in advance as the animal swims, and the two side appendages represent very efficiently the two lobes of the caudal fin. In propelling itself to the surface the squid raised this portion of its body out of the water to a considerable height, an occurrence which I have often witnessed, and which 1 have elsewhere described (see PP. 2,3 and 27). The supposed tail, which was turned up at some distance from the other visible portion of the body, after the latter had sunk back into the sea, was one of the shorter arms of the cuttle, and the suckers on its under side are clearly and conspicuously marked. Egede was, of course, in error in making the "spout" of water to issue from the mouth of his monster. The out-pouring jet, which lie, no doubt, saw, came from the locomotor tube, and the puff of spray which would accompany it as the orifice of the tube rose to the surface of the water is sketched with remarkable truthfulness. In quoting Egede, Pontoppidan gives a copy (so-called) of this engraving, but his artist embellished it so much as to deprive it of its original force and character, and of the honestly drawn Points which furnish Proof of its identity.
Pontoppidan records other supposed appearances of the sea-serpent but from the date of his history I know of no other account of such an occurrence until that of an animal "apparently belonging to this class," which was stranded on the Island of Stronsa, one of the Orkneys, in the year 1808 :
According to the narrative, it was first seen entire, and measured by respectable individuals. It measured fifty-six feet in length, and twelve in circumference. The head was small, not being a foot long from the snout to the first vertebra; the neck was slender, extending to the length of fifteen
feet. All the witnesses agree in assigning it blow-holes, though they differ as to the precise situation. On the shoulders something like a bristly mane commenced which extended to near the extremity of the tail. It had three pairs of fins or paws connected with the body ; the anterior were the largest, measuring more than four feet in length, and their extremities were something like toes partially webbed.
The skin was smooth and of a greyish colour; the eye was of the size of a seal's. When the decaying carcass was broken up by the waves, portions of it were secured (such as the skull, the upper bones of the swimming paws, &c.) by Mr. Laing, a neighbouring proprietor, and some of the vertebrae were preserved and deposited in the Royal University Museum, Edinburgh, and in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, London. An able paper," says Dr. Robert Hamilton, in his account of it,* "on these latter fragments and on the wreck of the animal was read by the late Dr.Barclay to the Wernerian Society, and will be found in Vol. 1. of its Transactions, to which we refer. We have supplied a wood-cut of the sketch " (of which I give a facsimile here) "which was taken it the time, and which, from the many affidavits proffered by respectable individuals, as well as from other circumstances narrated, leaves no manner of doubt as to the existence of some such animal."
Well! one would think so. It looks convincing, and there is a savour of philosophy about it that might lull the suspicious of a doubting zoologist. What more could be required ? We have accurate measurements and a sketch taken of the animal as it lay upon the shore, minute particulars of its outward form, characteristic portions of its skeleton preserved in well-known museums, and any amount of affidavits forthcoming from most respectable individuals if confirmation be required. And yet,
`Tis true, 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true,"
the whole fabric of circumstances crumbled at the touch of science. When the two vertebrae in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons were examined by Sir Everard Home he pronounced them to be those of a great shark of the genus Selache, and as being undistinguishable from those of the species called the " basking shark," of which individuals from thirty to thirty-five feet in length have been from time to time captured or stranded on our coasts. Professor Owen has confirmed this. Any one who feels inclined to dispute the identification by this distinguished comparative anatomist of a bone which he has seen and handled can examine these vertebrae for himself. If they had not been preserved, this incident would have been cited for all time as among the most satisfactorily authenticated instances on record of the appearance of the sea-serpent. As it is, it furnishes a valuable warning of the necessity for the most careful scrutiny of the evidence of well-meaning persons to whom no intentional deception or exaggeration can be imputed.
In 1808, Mr. Maclean, the minister of Eigg, in the Western Isles of Scotland, informed Dr. Neill, the secretary of the Wernerian Society, that he had seen, off the Isle of Canna, a great animal which chased his boat as he hurried ashore to escape from it ; and- that it was also seen by the crews of thirteen fishing-boats, who were so terrified by it that they fled from it to the nearest creek for safety. His description of it is exceedingly vague, but is strongly indicative of a great calamary.
* Jardine's Naturalists' Library: 'Marine Amphibia,'P. 314.
In 1817 a large marine animal, supposed to be a serpent,, was seen at Gloucester Harbour, near Cape Ann, Massachusetts, about thirty miles from Boston. The Linnaean Society of New England investigated the matter, and took much trouble to obtain evidence thereon. The depositions of eleven credible witnesses were certified on oath before magistrates, one of whom had himself seen the creature, and who confirmed the statements. All agreed that the animal had the appearance of a serpent, but estimated its length, variously, at from fifty to a hundred feet. Its head was in shape like that of a turtle, or snake, but as large as the head of a horse. There was no appearance of a mane. Its mode of progressing was by vertical undulations; and five of the witnesses described it as having the hunched protuberances mentioned by Captain de Ferry and others. Of this, I can offer no zoological explanation. The testimony given was apparently sincere, but it was received with mistrust; for, as Mr. Gosse says, "owing to a habit prevalent in the United States of supposing that there is somewhat of wit in gross exaggeration or hoaxing invention, we do naturally look with a lurking suspicion on American statements when they describe unusual or disputed phenomena."
On the 15th of May, 1833, a party of British officers, consisting of Captain Sullivan, Lieutenants Maclachlan and Malcolm of the Rifle Brigade, Lieutenant Lister of the Artillery, and Mr. Ince of the Ordnance, whilst crossing Margaret's Bay in a small yacht, on their way from Halifax to Mahone Bay, " saw, at a distance of a hundred and fifty to two hundred yards, the head and neck of some denizen of the deep, precisely like those of a common snake in the act of swimming, the head so far elevated and thrown forward by the curve of the neck, as to enable them to see the water under and beyond it. The creature rapidly passed, leaving a regular wake, from the commencement of which to the fore part, which was out of water, they judged its length to be about eighty feet." They "set down the head at about six feet in length (considerably larger than that of a horse), and that portion of the neck which they saw at the same." "There could be no mistake-no delusion," they say; " and we were all perfectly satisfied that we had been favoured with a view of the true and veritable sea-serpent." This account was published in the Zoologist, in 1847 (P. 1715), and at that date all the officers above named were still living.
The next incident of the kind in point of date that we find recorded carries us back to the locality of which Pontoppidan wrote, and in which was seen the animal vouched for by Captain de Ferry. In 1847 there appeared in a London daily paper a long, account translated from the Norse journals of fresh appearances of the sea-serpent. The statement made was, that it had recently been frequently seen in the neighbouhood of Christiansand and Molde. In the large bight of the sea at Christiansand it had been seen every year, only in the warmest weather, and when the sea was perfectly calm, and the surface of the water unruffled. The evidence of three respectable persons was taken, namely, Nils Roe, a workman at Mr. William Knudtzon's, who saw it twice there, John Johnson, merchant, and Lars Johnoen, fisherman at Smolen. The latter said he had frequently seen it, and that one afternoon in the dog-days, as lie was sitting in his boat, lie saw it twice in the course of two hours, and quite close to him. 'It came, indeed, to within six feet of him, and, becoming alarmed, he commended his soul to God, and lay down in the boat, only holding his head high enough to enable him to observe the monster. It passed him, disappeared, and returned; but, a breeze springing up, it sank, and he saw it no more. He described it as being about six fathoms long, the body (which was as round as a serpent's) two feet across, the head as long as a ten-gallon cask, the eyes large, round, red, sparkling, and about five inches indiameter : close behind the head a mane like a fin commenced along the neck, and spread itself out on both sides, right and left, when swimming. The mane, as well as the head, was of the colour of mahogany. The body was quite smooth, its movements occasionally fast and slow. It was serpent-like, and moved up and down. The few undulations which those parts of the body and tail that were out of water made, were scarcely a fathom in length. These undulations were not so high that he could see between them and the water.
In confirmation of this account Mr. Soren Knudtzon, Dr. Hoffmann, surgeon in Molde, Rector Hammer, Mr. Kraft, curate, and several other persons, testified that they had seen in the neighbourhood of Christiansand a seaserpent of considerable size.
Mr. William Knudtzon, and Mr. BochIum, a candidate for holy orders, also gave their account of it, much to the. same purport; but some of these remarks are worthy of note for future comment. They say, ' its motions were in undulations, and so strong that white foam appeared before it, and at the side, which stretched out several fathoms. It did not appear very high out of the water ; the head was long 'and small in proportion to the throat: as the latter appeared much greater than the former, probably it was furnished with a mane."
Sheriffe Gottsche testified to a similar effect. " He could not judge of the animal's entire length ; he could not observe its extremity. At the back of the head there was a mane, which was the same colour as the rest of the body."
We must take one more Norwegian account, for it is a very important one. The venerable P. W. Deinbolt,*(Hitherto erroneously printed "Deinboll.") Archdeacon of Molde, gives the following account of an incident that occurred there on the 28th of July, 1845 : ,
" J. C. Lurid, bookseller and printer; G. S. Krogh, merchant, Christian Flang, Lurid's apprentice, and John Elgenses, labourer, were out on Romsdal-fjord, fishing. The sea was, after a warm, sunshiny day, quite calm. About seven o'clock in the afternoon, at a little distance from the shore, near the ballast place and Molde Hooe, they saw a long marine animal, which slowly moved itself forward, as it appeared to them, with the help of two fins, on the fore-part of the body nearest the head, which they judged by the boiling of the water on both sides of it. The visible part of the body appeared to be between forty and fifty feet in length, and moved in undulations, like a snake. The body was round and of a dark colour, and seemed to be several ells in thickness. As they discerned a waving motion in the water behind the animal, they concluded that part of the body was concealed under water. That it was one continuous animal they saw plainly from its movement. When the animal was about one hundred yards from the -boat, they noticed tolerably correctly its fore parts, which ended in a sharp snout; its colossal head raised itself above the water in the form of a semi-circle ; the lower part was not visible. The colour of the head was dark-brown and the skin smooth; they did not notice the eyes, or any mane or bristles on the throat. When the serpent came about a musket-shot near, Lund fired at it, and was certain the shots hit it in the head. After the shot it dived, but came up immediately. It raised its neck in the air, like a snake preparing to dart on his prey. After he had turned and got his body in a straight line, which he appeared to do with great difficulty, he darted like an arrow against the boat. They reached the shore, and the animal, perceiving it had come into shallow water, dived immediately and disappeared in the deep. Such is the declaration of these four men, and no one has cause to question their veracity, or imagine that they were so seized with fear that they could not observe what took place so near them. There are not many here, or on other parts of the Norwegian coast, who longer doubt the existence of the seaserpent. The writer of this narrative was a long time sceptical,as he had not been so fortunate as to see this monster of the deep; but after the many accounts he has read, and the relations lie has received from credible witnesses, he does not dare longer to doubt the existence of the sea-serpent.
', P. W. DEINBOLT.
" Molde, 29th Nov., 1845.'
We may at once accept most fully and frankly the statements of all the worthy people mentioned in this series of incidents. There is no room for the shadow of a doubt that they all recounted conscientiously that which they saw. The last quoted occurrence, especially, is most accurately and intelligently described-so clearly, indeed, that it furnishes us with a clue to the identity of the strange visitant.
Here let me say-and I wish it to be distinctly understood-that I do not deny the possibility of the existence of a great sea serpent, or other great creatures at present unknown to science, and that I have no inclination to explain away that which others have seen, because I myself have not witnessed it. " Seeing is believing," it is said, and it is not agreeable to have to tell a person that, in common parlance, lie " must not trust his own eyes." It seems presumptuous even to hint that one may know better what was seen than the person who saw it. And yet I am obliged to say, reluctantly and courteously, but most firmly and assuredly, that these perfectly credible eye~witnesses did not correctly interpret that which they witnessed. In these cases, it is not the eye which deceives, nor the tongue which is untruthful, but the imagination which is led astray by the association of the thing seen with an erroneous idea. I venture to say this, not with any insolent assumption of superior acumen, but because we now possess a key to the mystery which Archdeacon Deinbolt and his neighbours had not access. to, and which has only within the last few years been placed in our hands. The movements and aspect of their sea monster are those of an animal with which we are now well acquainted, but of the existence of which the narrators of these occasional visitations were unaware ; namely, the great calamary, the same which gave rise to the stories of the. Kraken, and which has probably been a denizen of the Scandinavian seas and fjords from time immemorial. It must be remembered, as 1 have elsewhere said, that until the year 1873, notwithstanding the adventure of the Alecton in 1861, a cuttle measuring in total length fifty or sixty feet was generally looked upon as equally mythical with the great sea-serpent. Both were popularly scoffed at, and to express belief in either was to incur ridicule. But in the year above mentioned, specimens of even greater dimensions than those quoted were met with on the coasts of Newfoundland, and portions of them were deposited in museums, to silence the incredulous and interest zoologists. When Archdeacon Deinbolt published in 1846 the declaration of Mr. Lund and his companions of the fishing excursion, he and they knew nothing of there being such an animal. They had formed no conception of it, nor had'they the instructive privilege, possessed of late years by the public in England, of being able to watch attentively, and at leisure, the habits and movements of these strangely modified mollusks living in great tanks of sea-water in aquaria. If they had been thus acquainted with them, I believe they would have recognised in their ,supposed snake the elongated body of a giant squid.
When swimming, these squids propel themselves backwards by the out-rush of a stream of water from a tube pointed in a direction contrary to that in which the animal is proceeding. The tail part, therefore, and the body tapers towards this, almost to a blunt point. At a short distance from the actual extremity two flat fins project from the body, one on each side, as shown in Figs. 16 and 18, so that this end of the squid's body somewhat resembles in shape the government "broad arrow." It is a habit of these squids, the small species of which are met with in some localities in teeming abundance, to swim on the smooth surface of the water in hot and calm weather. The arrowheaded tail is then raised out of water, to a height which in a large individual might be three feet or more ; and, as it precedes the rest of the body, moving at the rate of several miles an hour, it of course looks, to a person who has never heard of an animal going tail first at such a speed, like the creature's head.
The appearance of this "head" varies in accordance with the lateral fins being seen in profile, or in broad expanse. The elongated, tubular-looking body gives the idea of the neck to which the " head " is attached ; the eight arms trailing behind (the tentacles are always coiled away and concealed) supply the supposed mane floating on each side ; the undulating motion in swimming, as the water is alternately drawn in and expelled, accords with the description, and the excurrent stream pouring aft from the locomotor tube, causes a Ion- swirl and swell to be left in the animal's wake, which., as 1 have often seen, may easily be mistaken for an indefinite prolongation of its body. The eyes are very large and prominent, and the general tone of colour varies through every tint of brown, purple, pink, and grey, as the creature is more or less excited, and the pigmentary matter circulates with more or less vigour through the curiously moving cells.
Here we have the " long marine animal " with " two fins on the forepart of the body near the head," the "boiling of the water," the 11 moving in undulations," the " body round, and of a dark colour," the " waving motion in the water behind the animal, from which the ' witnesses concluded that part of the body was concealed under water," the "head raised, but the lower part not visible ... .. the sharp snout," the "smooth skin," and the appearance described by Mr. William Knudtzon, and Candidatus Theologiae BochIum, of "the head being long and small in proportion to the throat, the latter appearing much greater than the former," which caused them to think " it was probably furnished with a mane." Not that they saw any mane, but as they had been told of it, they thought they ought to have .seen it. Less careful and conscientious persons would have persuaded themselves, and declared on oath, that they did see it.
I need scarcely point out how utterly irreconcileable is the proverbially smooth, gliding motion of a serpent, with the supposition of its passage through the water causing such frictional disturbance that " white foam appeared before it, and at the side, which stretched out several fathoms," and of " the water boiling around it on both sides of it." The cuttle is the only animal that I know of that would cause this by the effluent current from its "syphon tube." I have seen a deeply laden ship push in front of her a vast hillock of water, which fell off on each side in foam as it was parted by her bow; but that was of man's construction. Nature builds on better lines. No swimming creature has such unnecessary friction to overcome. Even the seemingly unwieldy body of a porpoise enters and passes through the water without a splash, and nothing can be more easy and graceful than the feathering action of the flippers of the awkward-looking turtle.
We now come to an incident which, from the character of those who witnessed it, immediately commanded attention, and excited popular curiosity. In the Times of the 9th of October, 1848, appeared a paragraph stating that a sea-serpent had been met with by the Daedalus frigate, on her homeward voyage from the East Indies. The Admiralty immediately inquired of her commander, Captain M'Quhae, as to the truth of the report; and his official reply, as follows, addressed to Admiral Sir W. H. Gage, G.C.H., Devonport, was printed in the Times of the 13th of October, 1848.
H.M.S. Daedalus, Hamoaze, " October 11th, 1848.
SIR,-In reply to your letter of this date, requiring information as to the truth of the statement published in the Times newspaper, of a sea-serpent of extraordinary dimensions having been seen from H.M.S. Daedalus, under my command, on her passage from the East Indies, I have the honour to acquaint you, for the information of my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that at 5 o'clock P.m. on the 6th of Aug. last, in lat. 24' 44' S. and long. 9'22 E', the weather dark and cloudy, wind fresh from the N.W. with a long ocean swell from the W., the ship on the port tack, head being N.E. by N., something very unusual was seen by Mr. Sartoris, midshipman, rapidly approaching the ship from before the beam. The circumstance was immediately reported by him to the officer of the watch, Lieut. Edgar Drummond, with whom and Mr. Wm. Barrett, the Master, I was at the time walking the quarter-deck. The ship's company were at supper. On our attention being called to the object it was discovered to be an enormous serpent, with head and shoulders kept about four feet. constantly above the surface of the, sea, and, as nearly as we could approximate by comparing it with the length of what our maintopsail yard would show in the water, there was at the very least sixty feet of the animal afleur d'eau, no portion of which was, to our perception, used in propelling it through the water, either by vertical or horizontal undulation. It passed rapidly, but so close .under our lee quarter that had it been a man of my acquaintance I should easily have recognised his features with the naked eye; and it did not, either in approaching the ship or after it had passed our wake, deviate in the slightest degree from its course to the S.W., which it held on at the pace of from twelve to fifteen miles per hour, apparently on some determined purpose.
"The diameter of the serpent was about fifteen or sixteen inches behind the head, which was without any doubt that of a snake ; and it was never, during the twenty minutes it continued in si-lit of our lasses, once below the surface of the water; its colour dark brown, and yellowish white about the throat. It had no fins, but something like the mane of a horse, or rather a bunch of seaweed, washed about its back. It was seen by the quartermaster, the boatswain's mate, and the man at the wheel, in addition to myself and the officers above mentioned.
"I am having a drawing of the serpent made from a sketch taken immediately after it was seen, which I hope to have ready for transmission to my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty by to-morrow's Post- PETER M'QUHAE, Captain."
The sketches referred to in the captain's letter were made under his supervision, and copies of them, of which he certified his approbation, were published in the Illustrated London News on the 28th of October, 1848.
Lieutenant Drummond, the officer of the watch mentioned in Captain M'Quhae's report, published his memorandum of the impression made on his mind by the animal at the time of its appearance. It differs somewhat from the captain's description, and is the more cautious of the two.
"I beg to send you the following extract from my journal. H.M.S. 'Daedalus,' August 6, 1848, lat. 25' S., long. 9'37'E, St. Helena 1,015 miles. In the 4 to 6 watch, at about 5 o'clock, we observed a most remarkable fish on our lee-quarter, crossing the stern in a S.W. direction. The appearance of its head, which with the back fin was the only portion of the animal visible, was long, pointed and flattened at the top, perhaps ten feet in length, the upper jaw projecting considerably; the fin was perhaps 20 feet in the rear of the head, and visible occasionally ; the captain also asserted that he saw the tail, or another fin, about the same distance behind it ; the upper part of the head and shoulders appeared of a dark brown colour, and beneath the under-jaw a brownish white. It pursued a steady undeviating course, keeping its head horizontal with the surface of the water, and in rather a raised position, disappearing occasionally beneath a wave for a very brief interval, and not apparently for purposes of respiration. It was going at the rate of perhaps from twelve to fourteen miles an hour, and when nearest was perhaps one hundred yards distant; in fact it gave one quite the idea of a large snake or eel. No one in the ship has ever seen anything similar; so it is at least extraordinary. It was visible to the naked eye for five minutes, and with a glass for perhaps fifteen more. The weather was dark and squally at the time, with some sea running.
-EDGAR DRUMMOND, Lieut. H.M.S. 'Daedalus;' Southampton, Oct. 28, 1845."