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The British Whaling Trade$
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Gordon Jackson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780973007398

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780973007398.001.0001

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Chapter 2 Lost Hopes and Expensive Failures, c. 1670-1750

Chapter 2 Lost Hopes and Expensive Failures, c. 1670-1750

(p.23) Chapter 2 Lost Hopes and Expensive Failures, c. 1670-1750
The British Whaling Trade

Gordon Jackson

Liverpool University Press

For almost a century English whaling was a dismal affair conducted on a level akin to an Englishman with a thimble emptying the same tun as a Dutchman with a bucket: the latter's good fortune was the former's despair. Nothing, it seemed, could generate the kind of success enjoyed in the Netherlands or guarantee the profits required to revive the trade. The most notable thing, perhaps, was the want of English interest in the Arctic during the Commercial Revolution of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries as merchants turned their attention to the East and West Indies and to North America, where more profitable outlets for investment were found. Most of the raw materials required in England could be obtained from Europe or America, and whale oil was, after all, only one of many such materials. It could be obtained so easily and so cheaply that there was little incentive for Englishmen to trouble themselves with re-learning the Arctic trade when there were so many other things to divert them....

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