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It is almost impossible to dismiss this Topic, without expressing surprise that a Nation so industrious
per week. Tythe to each Sean 1l. 13s. 4d. yearly. The Tythe paid by the fishermen is one-twelfth part of their share of the fishmoney, and that Share is one quarter of the whole produce. The fresh fish given to the poor of the neighbourhood from the boat's side would amount, if sold, to about five pounds a Sean yearly.
"The particulars of the means and implements, and of the charges necessarily incurred by the extent of the operations, are as follow:
"A Stop-scan Net, with lead weights at bottom, and corks at top, the Cost of which is about 350l. An Open boat for carrying the Sean, about fifteen Tons burthen, cost 52. 10s.; another Open boat of similar tonnage and value, to assist in enclosing the fish; smaller boat to carry the men from and to the shore, and for other general purposes, cost 251. One or two Boats for carrying the fish to the shore, cost 70l. each. A Tuck-sean, made like the Stop-sean, 108 fathoms long, and ten deep, cost 120l. Many other things are also essential, and the expences of the first out-fit may be estimated from 1,000l. to 1,200l. exclusive of Salt. The number of Men employed on a Sean varies from seventeen to twenty-three; the average may be set at nineteen. The modes of compensation vary in different fishing places, but the general amount is nearly the same. At Newkey they have seven shillings per week, and onefourth of the net proceeds of fish and oil: and the fish being constant visitors to this spot, the general sum obtained by a fisherman is from fifteen to twenty-five pounds, exclusive of his Wages. The season commences about the middle of July, and continues about ten weeks, when the Pilchards disappear. The quantity that may be taken depends on many circumstances: such as whether the fish come within the depth of the sean, the Weather, and the strength of the Tides which frequently break the nets, and set the fish at liberty after they are enclosed; from various other accidents large quantities are often lost. In some instances a Sean will take and cure from 1,000 to 1,500 hogsheads and upwards in a Season; when during the same period, some of the neighbouring Seans have not a single fish. It is not uncommon for the above quantity
and enterprizing as our own, should neglect (as most unaccountably it does) to improve to the utmost a
to be inclosed in a single Sean at one time. The whole number of hogsheads taken in a Season may be estimated from 40,000 to 60,000, of forty gallons each; and each hogshead contains Three Thousand Pilchards.
"The Pilchards pass the Coast in large Shoals, and when within the depth of the Sean, the Boat containing it is rowed round them, the Net being thrown over at the same time; by th means the fish are surrounded with the Stop-sean, both ends of which are then fastened together. The bottom of the Net is kept to the ground by the lead weights; whilst the corks keep the top of it floating on the surface. At low-water the fish are taken up with the Tucksean, and carried to the Cellars or Storehouses, where they are salted, and ranged in heaps from five to six feet in height, and in some instances, ten or twelve feet wide. When a large quantity of fish is inclosed in the Stop-sean, it sometimes requires two or three Weeks to take them all out, as they must not be removed in greater numbers than the Women who salt them can conveniently manage. In the course of this time a variety of accidents occur, by which many fish are lost to the collective amount of several thousand pounds Annually.
"When the fish are taken out of the Salt, and packed in hogsheads, they are pressed very hard with great weights, by the power of a strong lever; by this means the Oil is extracted, and which runs out of the casks through holes made for that purpose. The pressing continues about fourteen days, when the hogsheads are headed up, and the fish are then fit for the Merchant. Some fish are considerably more productive of Oil than others: those taken in the early part of the season, in general, produce the most, but the fish taken in the latter part are commonly the best. Fortyeight hogsheads of Pilchards generally yield a Tun, or 252 gallons of Oil; the price of which during war is from 24l. to 271. per Tun, in peaceable times the value is decreased. The Salt necessary to cure a hogshead of fish is about 420 pounds; and the usual quantity of Salt provided for each Sean is three thousand bushels; on this there is an import duty of about twopence halfpenny per bushel of
branch of Commerce of which the Advantage seems incalculable, and the Success certain. We are sur rounded by a golden Mine, which we look upon with unconcern; at the same time that we exceed our Capital in the most perilous Speculations: that immense superiority of advantage, which an extended line of Coast presents to the British Islands for the improvement of the fishing trade, a Trade which, besides that it is convertible into a source of prodigious wealth, offers considerations of great moment to the Statesman, whose first concern it ought ever to be, to meliorate the moral condition of the People. To colonize our Coasts, is an object of deeper in
84lbs. The expences of curing a hogshead of fish, for Cask, Salt, Labour, &c. is from 21s. to 23s. of which the charge for salt is nearly 6s. The fish have lately sold from 35s. to 42s. per hogshead, inclusive of the Bounty of 8s. 6d. on Exportation. The Bounty has lately been extended to those intended for Home consumption. The number of persons employed in salting, packing, pressing, and preparing the fish for exportation, of which about two-fifths are Women, the rest Men, is at least five thousand. The rope-makers, blacksmiths, shipwrights, sail-makers, &c. are upwards of four hundred. The twine-spinners, which are women, are one hundred and fifty. The makers and menders of Nets are chiefly Women and Children employed by the Twine-manufacturers, and in all about six hundred, but Nets are also made during the Winter by the Fishermen and their families. These numbers are exclusive of the Seamen employed in the shipping of the produce of this Fishery, which is almost wholly consigned to Italy. The Capital engaged in the Trade is at the lowest 300,000l. reckoning the Seans, Nets, Boats, &c. at a fair appraisement, and making every allowance for wear; the Cost must have been considerably more. Some attempts have lately been made to open a Market for Pilchards with the Metropolis, but the quantity hitherto sold has been insufficient to defray the Expences."
terest than to populate new regions of the Globe, or to subject distant climates to our Empire. In prosecuting the fishing trade, neither immediate nor immense profit to the maritime Settlers must or can reasonably be looked for; those who engage in it ought to meet on the part of Government with all the Aid which the nature and object of the undertaking demands; let those who enter upon it pursue it with a view to private Profit, but let the Statesman encourage it as an object of national Utility. To prosecute it with effect, its progress must be slow, and its scale moderate; the end can never be obtained through the wild spirit of adventure, it must primarily be considered, as finding Occupation for the idle; as it improves, it will furnish employ for the capital of the Speculator. If a Bounty were given to the first Settlers, and continued annually for a time, as circumstances might require, it would be much more beneficially bestowed than Bounties usually are. Certain immunities from Taxation, for a given period, might be likewise held forth as an Encouragement; and to these might be added such other incitements as wisdom and policy might suggest. The true and effective wealth of a Nation consists not in the Gold that accumulates, nor the Diamonds that glitter in the coffers of the Rich, but in the sweat wiped from the brow of the Indigent; it is comprised in the augmentation of the means of subsistence, in the vigorous and active Habits of the Poor, in the stability of their Occupation, in the sobriety of their Morals, and in the modes of obtaining sufficiency and comfort, through the medium of
honest and unoppressive Labour. Under this conviction, a wise Government will ever be strenuous to enlarge the sphere of useful traffic, and to expend the industry of its people upon the most valuable objects. Fishery, as affording a supply of nutritive and cheap sustenance to all, more especially the inferior classes, is unbounded: the hardy and robust habits of life likewise, which Fishermen assume and encounter, are friendly at all times to the strength and independence of a State; selecting, as they naturally would do, with care, the most eligible Station which our Shores (taking in a circumference of more than 3000 miles) presented to their choice, they would become more peculiarly so. Stationary in their abode, and multiplying their habitations as their numbers increased, they would, in process of time, form so many frontier Towns; our Coast would not then, as now it does, leave us naked and exposed to the Descent of our Enemies. These Towns would become the nurseries of healthy and able Seamen, a circumstance of extreme weight in the Counsels of a maritime Nation.
It may perhaps be alleged, that the Fishery could not be a perpetual employment, and that, consequently, the persons engaged in it would be unoccupied several parts of the Year: but this Objection has little force; there are many manufactories inseparably connected with this branch of traffic, such as dressing of Hemp, spinning of Twine, making of Nets, Ropes, Boats, Barrels, &c. which would provide sufficient business during those intervals of leisure which the fishery might afford. The same