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SUCH is the natural progress of Man in Society, that the wearisome pursuits, which are the first and sole means of his Subsistence, often rank afterwards among the prime sources of his diversion and enjoy
In that state of Barbarism which precedes the introduction of the Arts, Fishing and Hunting form the chief employ of the savage Adventurer, who, finding in them the means of life, naturally makes their improvement an object of his skill and perseverance. The method by which the first Men drew their prey from the Waters was, without doubt, sufficiently simple; but after a long and steady application to the same pursuit, the most unskilful in time become expert, contrivances are suggested, improvements are discovered; and the mind, travelling in one tract, goes slowly on towards the last stage of proficiency. When, at length, the Æra of commerce and refinement arrives, the seas and rivers, which before drew only the necessitous to their shores, now present a recreation to the sedentary, and an amusement to opulent leisure.
Atque alius latum fundâ jam verberat amnem
Angling, or the taking of Fish with a rod, hook, and line, is said to have been practised 1498 years
previous to the Christian Æra; some have carried its Antiquity to a period still more remote, and have insisted, that the elder children of SETH'S (one of ADAM'S Sons) family were instructed by their Father in this pastime, and that from them the present race of Men have derived and continued it: on this subject, however, traditionary history has not been very minute. Abandoning, therefore, these very early Authorities, it will suffice to remark, that the Art of Angling has been the relaxation and amusement of many very great and learned Men for Ages, and that, as a peaceful and harmless pleasure, it can boast an undoubted superiority over most others.
"This sober Sport becomes the gentle mind,
Peace waits the Float, and Health attends behind;
Smiling she comes, from ev'ry fragrant grove,
O! source of bliss, in which the wise may join,
Nor fear Rebuke where mounts the Theme divine! *”
The intention of this Work is by no means to dis
* The Stanzas wrote by Mr. COTTON to invite Mr. ISAAC WALTON, when in his Eighty-third year, to visit him in Derbyshire, are not only descriptive of the Day proper to enjoy, but also of the power of this Amusement to confer Ease and Comfort beyond the more boisterous pastimes. After describing the bad Weather that part of England had experienced in some previous lines, he proceeds:
If the all-ruling Power should please,
pute the date of its origin, but to endeavour at elucidating and arranging the modes best adapted to encourage the zeal of its votaries, and by stating the ancient and modern rules for advancing it to perfection; thereby to give the practitioner the information most calculated to promote his success. The description of the Apparatus needful for the Angler naturally first offers itself; and, although the fashion is to extol the ingenuity of former times, it may perhaps admit of much question, whether the Amateurs now living cannot be more neatly and better equipped by USTONSON, than they were at