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THE

QUARTERLY REVIEW.

JULY, 1813.

Art. I.-The First and Second Reports of the Committee of the

Fish Association for the Benefit of the Community, respecting the Measures to be adopted for the Supply of the Metropolis

and its Neighbourhood, 1813. An Account of a Supply of fish for the manufacturing Poor;

with Observations, by Sir Thomas Bernard, Bart. 1813. A Dissertation on the Pullic Fisheries of Great Britain, explaining the Rise, Progress, and Art of the Dutch Fishery,

&c. &c. By Henry Schultes. 1813. 'THE coasts of Great Brittaine doe yeeld such a continual sea

harvest of gaine and benefit to all those that with diligence doe labour in the same, that no time or season in the yeare passeth away without some apparent meanes of profitable imployment, especially to such as apply themselves to fishing, which, from the beginning of the yeare unto the latter end, continueth upon some part or other upon our coastes, and therein such infinite shoales and multitudes of fishes are offered to the takers, as may justly move admiration, not only to strangers but to those that daily bee employed anjongst them.'* Such was the observation of that' learned knight, Sir John Boroughs, in the year 1633, the truth of which is as indisputable now, as it was then. If, indeed, we except the agricultural improvement of a country, there is no other source of national wealth and strength more productive and permanent, than that of the fisheries, and more particularly, when the circumstances and situation of its coasts are favourable for the prosecution of them on a grand scale. The greater the extent of coast compared with the area of the land which it embraces, the nearer will the benefits derivable froin the fisheries approach to those which are drawn from the soil. Our sea-girt islands are most happily situated in both respects. In addition to a highly productive soil, the seas wbich surround us afford an inexhaustible mine of wealth--a harvest, ripe for gathering at

* The Sovereignty of the British Seas proved by Records, History, and the Municipal Laws of this Kingdom, by that Learned Knight Sir Johu Büroughs, Keeper of The Records in the Tower of London, 1633. VOL. 18. NO. XVIII.

S

every

every time of the year---without the labour of tillage, without the expense of sees or manure, without the payment of rent or taxes. Every acre of those seas is far more productive of wholesome, palatable, and nutricious food than the same quantity of the richest land; they are tields which, perpetually. white to harvest,' require only the labourer's willing hand to reap that never failing crop which the bounty of Providence has kindly bestowed.

These islands are, indeed, favoured in a peculiar manner fos carrying on the fisheries to the greatest possible extent. Not only the seas belonging to them, but all their numerous inlets, creeks, bays, and havens; the lochs, the lakes, and the rivers all swarm with esculent tish. They are blessed, moreover, with an abundant population to enjoy this plentiful harvest--they have capital to supply all the necessary means for collecting, preparing, and distributing this valuable article of human sustenance-they have the uncontrolled command of the sea, which not only secures their fishermen from the molestation of an enemy, but prevents the interference of a rival in the field. An increased and increasing population ensures a consumption at home; and mines of salt, as inexhaustible as the supply of fish, enable us to export with advantage the surplus produce to such foreign nations as afford, in return, those necessaries and luxuries of life, that are not raised by ourselves.

But other considerations combine at this moment to excite us to a vigorous prosecution of the tisheries. Food of every description has risen to an extravagant and unprecedented price; butchers' meat, once in ordinary use, is now nearly beyond the reach of the great mass of the people; the labouring poor can scarcely hope to taste it; and as to fish, whether in the metropolis or the great inland towns of England, that may be considered as a prohibited article, even to the middling ranks in life. If then the seas which surround Great Britain and Ireland arc, and nobody will deny that they are, capable of affording an inexhaustible supply of fish--if tishermen are able with all imaginable ease to take it in unlimited quantities--and if, netwithstanding, the supply is not equal to the demand, either in the home or the foreign market, there must be soine defect or discouragement, or some want of systematic regulations, to withhold so important an article of food from the community at large. Highly, however, as we estimate the public advantages derivable from the fisheries, and they can scarcely be too highly estimated, we are not sanguine enough to join in the confident expectations of Mr. Schultes, that the establishment of a national fishery' (on his own plan of course)' would extiuguish the poor's rate, afford universal employment, prevent the necessity of vaval impress, increase trade, diminish taxes, supply constant

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