Extract from Thomas Jefferson’s Observations on the Whale-Fishery

The Refinery for whale oil lately established at Rouen, seems to be an object worthy of national attention. in order to judge of it’s importance, the different qualities of whale oil must be noted ... the Spermaceti whale found by the Nantucketmen in the neighborhood of the Western islands ... yeilds no smell at all. it is used therefore within doors to lighten shops, & even in the richest houses for antichambers, stairs, galleries &c ... The Groenland whale oil is next in quality ... but it has a smell insupportable within doors, & is not luminous.

PrC (DLC). Published in PTJ, 14:249–50.
Thomas Jefferson
Date Range
November 19, 1788
Quotes by and about Thomas Jefferson
Quote Category