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have been strictly guarded from danger. Carp and Eels of very large dimensions are sometimes caught in ponds that have been carefully secured from common depredators, and at the same time neglected by the Owners for a long series of years, which extra size may be justly ascribed to their great Age; nor is there risque that the old fishes in such situations will be starved, by the multitude of younger ones increasing so much as to deprive them of food; for on whatever the small fry may subsist, Providence seems to have designed that the larger should never want, whilst the smaller were beside them; for fishes, in general, are observed to prey upon others of any sort, that can be swallowed by them. In August 1799, the Earl of ESSEX fished a large pond near Radnor Forest, which had been stocked fifty-eight years. Carp and Eels were the only fish found in it; of the former, one hundred brace were taken that weighed from fourteen to fifteen pounds each Carp; of the latter, the largest exceeded eight pounds.
The dietetical uses of fish are to us the most important part of their History, a part that is happily free from that uncertainty and darkness, in which many other circumstances relating to their manners and economy are still involved: it is not exactly meant here to refer to the great Epicures of former times, who have made themselves noted for the delicious style of preparing their fish: for instance, APICIUS for having taught Mankind to suffocate fish in Carthaginian pickle; QUIN, for rescuing from oblivion the John Doree, and for overcoming the
vulgar prejudices on account of its Deformity. Superstition had indeed allowed the Doree to rival the Haddock, in the honour of having been the fish, from whose mouth St. PETER took the Tribute Money; perhaps it is rather difficult at this time to decide this dispute, but the Doree asserts an origin and right to the Spots in question, of a much earlier date than the Haddock; as St. CHRISTOpher, (who by the way was of Colossal stature, and whose Image at Auxerre is near seventy feet high,) in wading through an arm of the Sea having caught a fish of this kind en passant, as an eternal memorandum of the fact, left the impression of his finger and thumb on its sides, to be transmitted to all posterity; but however doubtful its title to religious notice, Mr. Quin and the sauce he composed for it, has beyond controversy established the Doree's reputation with the Bon Vivant. Mrs. GLASS has contributed her Eel pie; and Mr. TULL, to give them a finer flavour, has humanely made known his invention of spaying Carp: laying aside these farfetched auxiliaries to heighten the flavour of fish, almost every European one, whilst in season, is nutritive*. The Art of Navigation may be said to have
* It has however been said by a learned Writer upon Diet and Regimen," that Fish, though of a tender flesh, afford upon the whole but weak nourishment. They are more or less difficult to digest, according to the different kinds of Water in which they live. Those living in Ponds, ditches, and other standing waters, are certainly less wholesome than River fish, whose exercise is greater, and whose natural Element is purer; for standing water easily putrefies, and the fish lodging in the mire of such reservoirs,
completed Man's conquest of the Ocean, and to have brought a vast accession both to his subsistence and enjoyments, by the capture of so many animals, where Nature seemed to have placed them beyond his reach. The austere, scrupulous regulations of the Romish Church, have tended more than any other circumstance to enhance the value, and increase the quantity of this species of food: so rigid was the Precept upon this point, that in the year 1629, CLAUDE GUILLON was beheaded at St. Claude in Burgundy, for eating a morsel of Horseflesh on a Fish-day*; an Exchange, which (considering the severe punishment annexed to the act, and putting Palate out of the account) it is to be presumed nothing but the
continually feed upon the putrid parts. But the same kind of River fish is also of various qualities, according to their different nourishment. Thus, those caught in Rivers contiguous to great towns are less salubrious than others; because they necessarily receive great quantities of the impurities thrown into such rivers. Salt-water fish are perhaps the best of any: their flesh is more solid, more agreeable and healthy, less exposed to putrescency, and less viscid. These excellent qualities they possess when fresh, and with respect to Herrings, it is certain that of all the Sea-fish they are most easily digested. Fish dried in the open air, and afterwards boiled soft, digest speedily. Salted Sea-fish have all the properties of Salt-flesh, and consequently its disadvantages; and as well as smoked fish, are injurious to the stomach, and afford little nutrition, with the exception of Salt Herrings, which, if eaten in small quantities, dissolve the slime in the stomach, stimulate the appetite, create thirst, and do not readily putrefy by long keeping."
* In 1546, a short time preceding the Burning of GEORGE WISHART, four men were hung in Scotland for eating of a Goose upon a Friday.
Inability to buy fish could have induced him to make. To supply, therefore, the imaginary abstinence of the devout or superstitious, large demands are annually made upon the Sea; and to make up the deficiency of this precarious supply, Ponds have been dug, and fish, like land animals, rendered domestic. The late Dr. FRANKLIN remarked, that," he who takes a fish out of the water, finds a piece of Money." What a mine of Wealth had our own Coasts presented, which had been little resorted to; and it is something singular, that Fish for the supply of the London Market were never brought by Land Carriage until 1761*.
* By an account of the amount of premiums, bounties, and sums of money expended under the authority of the Act of the 41st GEORGE III. cap. 99, " for granting Bounties for taking and bringing Fish to the Cities of London and Westminster, and other places in the United Kingdom;" it appears that the total quantity of Fish brought to Billingsgate Market, by the different candidates for the bounties, were, for the year,
Tons. cwt. qrs. lbs.
Skaite, Thornback, &c.
312 10 1 8 1,030 3
623 O 0 0
The distribution of the Bounty in the Port of London, was as follows:
171 9 1 8
649 8 2 14
No. 4,677,500 or
cwt. qrs. lbs. 2,173 10 3 14
To 13 vessels bringing the largest quantities of £. S. d. Cod, being upwards of 20 tons, each 50%. : 650 0 0 To 12 single vessels bringing the largest quantities of Skaite, &c. being upwards of 20 tons,
480 0 0
It is remarkable, that only three kinds of fish have been transported from foreign parts into GREAT BRITAIN: the CARP, the TENCH, and the GOLD-FISH;
To two persons bringing the largest quantities £. S. .d. of Herrings, No. 886,000
100 0 0
To four persons bringing the largest quantities
of Sprats, bushels 6,222
For the largest quantity, No. 384,500
The Bounty paid for the largest quantity brought to Market to the 31st Dec. 1802, of fresh Skaite, Turbot, &c. viz. 40 tons
For the largest quantity, not less than 75,000 of Mackerel, or 30 tons
Skaite, Hake, &c.
Cod and Haddock
Skaite, Hake, &c.
For the next largest quantity, not less than 37,500 of ditto, or 15 tons N. B. No return has been made of the quantities of Fish caught.
15 0 0
The Bounty paid for the greatest quantities of Fish caught between the 1st of Dec. 1801, and the 1st of Sept. 1802, was : Bounties. S. 3. 166 0 6 30 5 0
Tons. cwt. qrs. lbs.
2 0 0
31 10 0
Cod and Haddock
3 5 3 7
21 0 0
N. B. The total quantity of Fish brought into this Market in the Year preceding appears to have been 58 tons.
For the greatest quantities of Fish caught between the 1st of December 1802, and the 1st of August 1803 :
Tons. cwt. qrs. lbs.
3 10 2
140 O 0 150 0.0
50 0 0
15 7 2
30 0 0
Bounties. L. S. d. 180 10 0
15 0 0
25 0 0
20 0 0