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International Fisheries Exhibition 

LONDON, 1883 


















ISLANDS. By W. SAVILLE KENT, F.L.S., F.Z.S. '. . 73 


Law, M.A., &c. 205 

. F.L.S., F.Z.S 251 


TIMES. By W. M. ADAMS, B.A. . . . . .461 






VOL. I H. 




FISHING POPULATION . . . . . . . -9 





GOVERNMENT BRANDS . . . . . . . .29 







FEW things are more remarkable in modern politics than 
the care which is almost everywhere taken to illustrate 
by statistics the science of government. In the United 
Kingdom elaborate arrangements are made with this object. 
Public officers are employed in enumerating the flocks and 
herds ; in recording the crops which are sown ; and in 
counting every bale of goods which is either imported 
into, or exported from, the country. The writer, who 
desires to procure statistical information on almost any 
subject connected with the growth, the health, the con- 
dition, or the industry of the people, is able to obtain it in 
an authoritative form, and in a convenient and cheap volume. 
The success which the " Statistical Abstracts " have achieved 
has induced their authors to extend their scope. The Statis- 
tical Abstract of the United Kingdom has been supplemented 
by statistical abstracts for the Colonies, for India, and for 
even foreign countries. A vast mass of information of 
almost immeasurable value has in this way been collected, 
and the student or the inquirer is able to obtain facts on 
almost every subject to which either his studies or his 
investigations may be directed. 

Yet the politician or the student, who has had occasion 
to consult the excellent statistics which are published by 
the British Government, has probably noticed one remark- 

B 2 


able omission from them. While on every other subject he 
finds information, which is usually full and which is seldom 
inexact, on one subject he fails to obtain any information 
whatever. The editor of the Statistical Abstract does not 
seem to be aware that a large number of persons in the 
British Islands are dependent on fishing for their liveli- 
hood ; that a considerable proportion of the food of the 
inhabitants of these islands consists of fish ; and that one 
of the most important trades of the kingdom is the trade 
in fish. The quantity of fish which is imported into these 
islands from abroad or which is exported from them is 
included in the statistical abstracts. But on the much 
greater questions which are connected with the fisheries 
the employment which they afford, the capital which they 
attract, and the wealth which they produce the Statistical 
Abstract is uniformly silent. 

This silence arises from no fault of the editor of the 
Abstract. He gives no information on the subject of 
fisheries, because no full information is forthcoming which 
is worth publishing. The Fishery Board of Scotland, 
indeed, annually publishes elaborate and detailed accounts 
of the Scotch herring fishery. The Irish Inspectors of 
Fisheries also compile once a year some statistics which, 
however, are admittedly imperfect to illustrate the de- 
velopment, or rather the decay, of the Irish fisheries. But 
in England itself little information is afforded to the student 
who wishes to ascertain the condition of the English 
fisheries. The Inspectors of salmon fisheries are, indeed, 
required to report annually on the state of the English 
salmon fisheries. But the salmon fisheries of England and 
Wales stand in the same relation to the sea-fisheries of the 
country as Croydon to London, or Rutland to Yorkshire. 
The state of the more important fisheries has to be ascer- 


tained by reference to a number of more or less authorita- 
tive publications, and to be inferred, rather than proved, 
from a number of incidental circumstances. There are 
no means of ascertaining with any precision such simple 
facts as the number of boats employed, or the number 
of persons engaged, in the sea-fisheries of England and 

This absence of information naturally increases the diffi- 
culty of any writer who undertakes to describe the fish 
trade of the United Kingdom. Instead of moving on firm 
ground, he is perpetually fearing that the whole basis of 
his argument may give way as he advances. He is forced 
to adduce theories where he ought to state facts, and he 
has to prove elementary propositions which ought to be 
accepted as readily as axioms. The difficulty with which 
his task is thus surrounded is his fittest excuse for any 
imperfections on his part in completing it ; and the best 
service, which he can perhaps hope to accomplish, is to 
induce the Government to supply some of the information, 
the publication of which would have made most of his own 
labours unnecessary. 

And, in truth, if there be any subject on which statistical 
information is desirable, if there be any industry which 

* A return is annually published, by the Registrar- General of 
Shipping and Seamen, of the number of boats, registered under the 
Sea Fisheries Act 1868, belonging to each port in the United Kingdom. 
But the return is imperfect for the following reason : " On the 23rd of 
October, 1877, an Order in Council was obtained by the Board of Trade, 
exempting from registration, &c., undecked boats, fishing or dredging 
on the coasts of England, Wales, and Scotland, and the Islands of 
Guernsey, Jersey, Sark, and Man, and not going outside the distance 
of three miles from low-water mark along the said coasts." Since the 
date of this order, which however never applied to Ireland, and from 
the operation of which Scotland was exempted in 1880, the Registry 
of fishing boats has become more and more imperfect. 


deserves to be illustrated by figures stamped with the 
impress of authority, the fisheries and fishermen of this 
country deserve that recognition. The British Islands, 
from a fisherman's point of view, enjoy a singular ad- 
vantage. There are no other waters in the globe so rich in 
food-producing fish as those of the North Atlantic Ocean ; 
and there is no portion of this great ocean so fishful as that 
part of it which surrounds these Islands. If, however, 
nature has placed the United Kingdom in a pre-eminently 
favourable position, the hardy inhabitants of its maritime 
counties have made the best use of nature's bounty. Their 
veins, still warm with the bold blood of their Saxon and 
Danish forefathers, the people of Eastern Britain especially 
have inherited a love for the sea. Few storms are so 
severe as to drive them from their occupation. Their well- 
found boats court dangers which other and larger vessels 
shun ; and, in the roughest as in the calmest weather, the 
dish of fish, which these bold men have risked lives and 
fortunes in catching, is procurable, if it consist of what the 
trade calls " offal," for a few pence ; if it be composed of 
what the trade calls "prime," for a few shillings in the 
London market. 

Yet it must not be supposed that the inhabitants of all 
the maritime counties of Great Britain or of the United 
Kingdom furnish fishermen in equal proportions. It is 
Eastern Scotland and Eastern England which supplies the 
majority of British fishermen. Cornwall, Devonshire, and 
the Isle of Man are almost the only other parts of the 
kingdom which furnish a class of men who make fishing 
the sole occupation of their lives. In Ireland, indeed, a 
movement has, for years past, been in progress to develop 
the Irish fisheries. But the seas of Ireland are swept by 
Scotch, English, and Manx boats, and, though Irish craft 


are found fishing among them, the Irishmen rarely or never 
repair in their turn to the Scotch and English seas. In 
this respect they are not peculiar. The Highlanders and 
Islanders of Western Scotland, sprung from a common 
ancestry with the Irish, seldom leave their own lochs, or 
their own seas ; the Welshman like the Irishman rarely, if 
ever, leaves his own neighbourhood ; and Welsh boats are 
never seen in English seas. The Cornishman is perhaps 
the only example in the United Kingdom of a man sprung 
from a Celtic ancestry who follows his fish from sea to sea. 
In every other case, it may be suspected that the fishermen 
owe some of their skill and courage to the blood of the 
bold Saxon and Norse Sea Rovers, who, in the early days 
of English History, played their part in what the late Mr. 
Green has called the making of England.* 

This circumstance is of essential importance. In the 
olden time fishing, conducted chiefly in the estuaries of 
rivers, or on the coasts of the sea, was a trade which 
required little skill, and perhaps little courage. Our fore- 
fathers while fishing did not venture far out to sea, but 
kept in close proximity to the shore, either in consequence 
of the frailty of their boats, or of what an early writer has 
called " the fearfulness " of their minds. Much of the fish 
which was served up on table was intercepted in passing 
out to sea with the ebb tide by the dams which any 

* How far the Devonshire and Cornish people may owe their fish- 
ing propensities to the Conquest of South Western Britain by Egbert 
in 815 is perhaps doubtful. The Saxons, it is certain, did not succeed 
in rooting out the Celtic names which still distinguish this part of 
England. But the Saxon conquerors, in all probability, settled and 
fused with the Britons in Cornwall, while they only held a strategical 
position in Wales. No one, at any rate, can look at a Cornish fisher- 
man at the present time, and think that he is descended from the same 
exclusively Celtic stock as the Welsh. 


labourer, who had no more brains than Caliban in "The 
Tempest," was competent to build.* But the increasing 
demands of a populous country have altered this state of 
things. Fishermen are no longer able to wait for the fish 
to come to them, they go to the fish. Every year which 
passes sees the fishing conducted at greater distances from 
our coasts. 

The best fish are frequently caught farthest from the 
land ; the most successful fishermen are consequently 
those who have the boldest hearts and the stoutest 
boats. They are those, therefore, who, other things being 
equal, have embarked most capital in their trade. But 
the man who has invested his fortune in any business 
cannot afford to let his stock lie idle. He must, if he 
hope to profit from his investment, constantly use it. 
The fisherman, however, who would fish throughout the 
year to advantage, must be prepared to lead a nomad life. 
Fish are caught in one part of the ocean in one month, 
and in another in another. The fishermen who follow the 
fish, or, in stricter phrase, go to those seas where the 
fish are found, will always beat the fishermen who fish their 
own seas, and, when fishing is no longer profitable there, 
eke out a scanty livelihood with other work. In the case 
of the latter, their capital lies idle while the capital of their 
rivals is employed, and they themselves are destitute of the 
experience which their rivals acquire. The fishermen of 

* The passage in " The Tempest " is curious. Caliban sings : 
" No more dams I'll make for fish ; 
Nor fetch in firing 
At requiring, 

Nor scrape trenchering, nor wash dish." 

The duties with whi:h Shakespeare associates Caliban are of a 
menial chara< ter requiring no skill ; and the dam was evidently a 
temporary and not a permanent structure. 


the east coast of Britain, the Manxmen, and the Cornish- 
men follow the fish from coast to coast, and, in conse- 
quence, the whole fishing trade of the country is passing 
into their hands. 

It may, perhaps, be convenient, before describing the 
fisheries themselves, to state approximately the employ- 
ment which they afford. In England and Wales there are 
probably about 15,000 fishing boats, affording permanent 
employment to 28,000, and temporary employment to 14,000 
persons. The English statistics are, however, notoriously 
imperfect, and no great reliance can be placed on them. 
In Scotland there were, in 1881, according to the Report of 
the Scotch Fishery Board, 14,809 boats employing 48,121 
persons ; in Ireland the Irish inspectors state that there 
were in the same year 6458 vessels employing 24,528 men 
and boys ; but they add that only 1844 of these boats and 
7534 of these persons were exclusively engaged in fishing. 
In the Isle of Man some 450 boats gave almost continuous 
employment to 2872 fishermen ; while in the Channel 
Islands some 300 boats sustained about 1000 fishermen. 
In the British Islands, therefore, some 37,000 boats give 
constant or occasional employment to 1 1 8,000 fishermen. 

It will at once be seen from these figures that the fishing 
population is distributed unevenly through the different 
branches of the Empire. England and Wales has one 
fisherman for about every 600 of its people ; Ireland has 
one fisherman for every 200 of its inhabitants ; Scotland 
has one fisherman for every 75 ; and the Isle of Man has 
one fisherman for every 19 of its population. But the 
statistics would look very different if they were applied to 
particular localities. Of the 42,000 fishermen of England 
and Wales, nearly one-third, or 13,000, sail from the four 
great ports of the Eastern counties Grimsby, Hull, Yar- 


mouth, and Lowestoft nearly one-sixth, or 6,000, sail from 
the great Cornish and Devonshire ports Penzance, Fal- 
mouth, Fowey, Plymouth, and Dartmouth. These nine 
ports, therefore, supply nearly one-half of all the fishermen 
of England and Wales. The whole coast line of Wales 
does not support so many fishermen as the single town 
of Lowestoft, or the Isle of Man. 

It must not be supposed that the 118,000 fishermen of 
the British Islands are the only persons dependent on 
fishing. The Scotch Commissioners estimate that, while 
there are 48,000 fishermen in Scotland, there are 48,000 
other persons (curers, coopers, &c.) dependent on the 
fisheries. It is unlikely that a similar proportion is to be 
found in other portions of the United Kingdom. The 
Scotch trade, as will hereafter be shown, is essentially a 
trade in cured fish ; the English, Irish, and Manx trade is 
chiefly a trade in fresh fish. It does not require any 
elaborate argument to show that a trade in cured fish must 
necessarily employ more persons than a trade in fresh fish. 
Perhaps it may be safe to assume that, while every fisher- 
man afloat in Scotland finds employment for one other 
person on shore, every two fishermen in the rest of the 
British Islands finds work for one other person. In that 
case the 48,000 fishermen of Scotland give work to 48,000 
other persons ; and the 70,000 other fishermen in the British 
Islands afford employment to 35,000 other persons. And 
thus the grand total may be reached, that 201,000, or say 
200,000, people are dependent on the fisheries of the British 
Islands for their livelihood. 

It is probably even more difficult to ascertain exactly the 
amount of capital embarked in the fisheries than to esti- 
mate the extent of work which they afford. But, in this 
respect, help may again be derived from the returns of 


the Scotch Commissioners. They estimate the total value 
of the boats and gear of the Scotch fishermen at 1,400,000. 
It is certain that the value of each boat in Ireland is not 
greater than the value of each boat in Scotland. Placing 
it at about the same sum the capital employed in the 
Irish sea fisheries may perhaps be computed at 600,000. 
The value of the English boats is much greater than the 
value of the Scotch or of the Irish boats. In Ireland and 
Scotland most of the boats are engaged in drift fishing ; 
and a first-class drift boat, with herring gear complete, is 
worth about 5 50. But in England a large proportion of 
the boats is engaged either in trawling or in line fishing ; 
and a first-class trawler, ready for sea, cannot cost less 
than 1,000 or 1,200; while a cod-smack, fitted for line 
fishing, is worth 1,500. It is certain, therefore, that the 
average value of the 1 5,000 English boats is much greater 
than the average value of the 1 5,000 Scotch boats. Placing 
it at twice the sum, the capital embarked in the English 
fisheries must amount to 2,800,000. The capital em- 
barked in the Manx fisheries is about 240,000 ; and a 
gross capital of about 5,000,000 is, therefore, probably 
employed in the fisheries of the British Islands. 

Thus then, to summarise the conclusions which have been 
already stated, some 200,000 persons are probably em- 
ployed in the fisheries of the British Islands ; and some 
5,000,000 of capital are embarked in these industries. 
These figures enable a rough estimate to be formed of the 
produce of the fisheries. If it be assumed that every 
person employed in fishing earns only "40 a year, and 
that only 10 per cent, is required to pay the interest on, 
and to replace, the capital engaged, the sea fisheries of the 
British Islands must yield a gross sum of 8,500,000 
annually. If to this sum be added a further 800,000, 


the estimated produce of the Scotch, Irish, and English 
salmon fisheries, it will be seen that the gross value of the 
British fisheries must be fixed at some 9, 300,000, or say 
from 9,000, ooo to 10,000,000 a year. It will be shown 
later on that other figures, derived from independent 
sources, go a long way towards confirming the accuracy of 
this estimate. 

The fish which are caught in the British seas may be 
divided, for the purposes of this argument, into two classes : 
I. Bottom fish, or fish which live at or near the bottom of 
the sea. 2. Floating fish, or fish which swim at or near the 
surface of the water. The former class comprises (a) flat fish, 
such as turbot, brill, halibut, sole, plaice, and others ; and (b) 
round fish, as they are called in contradistinction to flat fish, 
such as cod, haddock, and ling. The most important fish 
in the latter class are the cltipeidce (herrings, pilchards, 
sprats) and mackerel. It will be readily understood that 
fish which live at or near the bottom of the sea must be 
caught by engines different from those employed for the 
capture of fish swimming at or near the surface of the 
water. As a matter of fact the fish in the first class are 
caught mainly either by the trawl-net or by lines ; while 
fish in the latter class are taken chiefly in drift-nets and 
seine nets. It may, perhaps, be desirable, before proceeding 
further with the narrative, to describe very briefly these 
several modes of fishing. 

The hook and line, which is still extensively used, is one 
of the most ancient modes of fishing in the world. " Canst 
thou draw out Leviathan with a hook ? " so commences a 
well-known passage in Job ; while in Homer men fish with 
hooks, both in the Odyssey and in the Iliad, though in both 
poems the hooks are made of horn. Line fishing, however, 
as it is now practised differs widely from the art which 


the ancients used. The Grimsby smacks employed in this 
trade are the largest and most costly vessels employed in 
fishing. . The " fleet " of lines which each boat places at the 
bottom of the sea is about seven or eight miles long ; and 
each " fleet " contains from about 4000 to 5000 hooks. It 
will be readily understood that the mere task of baiting 
these hooks involves an enormous amount of labour ; and 
that the work of supplying bait forms of itself a consider- 
able industry. The growing scarcity of mussels, which 
form the best and most convenient bait, and the irksome toil 
inseparable from baiting the long lines, are perhaps slowly 
tending to supersede this mode of fishing with trawling. 
A trawl net is a stout purse-like net, with a wide mouth at 
one end, tapering almost to a point at the other end. The 
mouth of the net is kept open by the upper portion of it 
being attached to a heavy beam of wood, which is sup- 
ported at either end by two heavy iron sledge-like con- 
trivances. The lower portion of the net lies at the bottom 
of the sea. The beam of the largest trawl nets is 50 feet 
in length ; and the great fish markets of the kingdom are 
dependent for a large portion of their supplies of fish on 
the operations of the trawlers. The fish caught in the 
trawl are usually dying or dead when they are drawn on 
to the deck of the vessel. The fish caught by the lines, on 
the contrary, are generally alive. The line smacks, there- 
fore, are usually fitted with wells or chambers into which 
the sea water is admitted, and the fish are brought in these 
wells alive to land. There, many of the cod are kept 
either in chests or cases anchored in the sea ; or more 
simply, though more cruelly, are tied together by the tails, 
and kept in salt water till they are required for the market. 
Then they are drawn up, killed, and sold as live cod 
killed, as the technical phrase runs, " to save their lives." 


Such are the chief modes by which bottom fish are 
caught. Surface fish, it has already been stated, are mostly 
taken either by the seine or the drift net. The seine-net 
a net by which the fish are encompassed, and either drawn 
up on to the shore, or " tucked " into the boat in mid 
ocean is probably the oldest movable net used by man. 
It is largely employed by the Americans in mackerel 
fishing ; but, except in the pilchard fishery of Cornwall, in 
the herring fishery of south-western Scotland, and in the 
salmon fishery, it is not extensively employed in this 
country. The drift net a net which floats in the passage 
of the fish, and in which the fish are caught by enmeshing 
themselves is the engine by which the herrings and 
mackerel are chiefly taken. A first-class boat, fishing for 
herrings, will carry a drift net or fleet of drift nets nearly 
two miles long. It is computed that the Scotch herring 
nets alone would stretch four times across the Atlantic 
from Liverpool to New York. 

Drift nets were originally made of hemp ; in Ireland and 
the Isle of Man they were till lately made of flax ; they 
are now almost universally made of cotton. The greater 
lightness of the cotton has enabled the fishermen to extend 
the length of the net, and, in consequence, the efficiency of 
the engine. But the labour of hauling in even a cotton net 
two miles long is enormous ; and to facilitate the work, 
many of the best boats have of late years been provided 
with small auxiliary steam engines. It seems possible 
that, when these engines are brought into more general 
use, it will be found convenient to supplement the boats 
with an auxiliary screw ; and thus the whole fishing trade 
may, in consequence, be ultimately carried on, under 
certain conditions, by steam vessels. This revolution, how- 
ever, is not yet accomplished. Excepting a few steam 


trawlers, fishing vessels are in all parts of the kingdom 
dependent on their sails, and, in consequence, great atten- 
tion has been paid to the rig of the vessels. 

There are probably few people, even among those who 
are best acquainted with the fisheries, who are at all 
aware of the great alteration which is taking place in this 
respect. Originally the boats used as trawlers were usually 
cutter-rigged ; the boats used for drift fishing were lugger- 
rigged. An example of the old rig of trawlers may still be 
found in Cornwall and in the south of England ; and the 
Scotch and east of England drift boats are still usually 
rigged as luggers. But experience is gradually leading to 
the supercession of both these rigs. As the trawlers increase 
in size, the large mainsail of the cutter is found too heavy 
for the men to work, and in consequence the large trawlers 
on the east coast have been built with a small mizen mast ; 
the size of the mainsail is thereby reduced, and a small 
manageable mizen added. A similar alteration is being 
gradually made in the rig of the drift-boats. The old lug- 
sail has to be lowered on each tack and re-hoisted. Such 
an operation in large boats naturally involves a great deal of 
labour. The lugger, therefore, is being superseded by the 
dandy-rigged vessel ; and the dandy promises to be the 
rig which will ultimately be adopted by all classes of 

* Fishermen use a " dandy " rigged boat, a " dandy " wink, and in 
hand-line fishing a " dandy " line. Mr. Holdsworth, in his book on 
deep-sea fishing, says that the "dandy" wink is the small wink or 
windlass astern of the boat used for hauling in the trawl (p. 67, note). 
The name " dandy " line, he writes in another passage, is not very 
intelligible .... The manner in which the line is worked by moving 
it gently up and down points strongly, however, to " dandle," as the 
real name (p. 154). But, if his interpretation be right in one case, why 
should it not apply to all three ? The dandy mast would then be the 


Any change of rigging, which relieves the work of the 
fishermen, necessarily enables them to prosecute their 
calling with more profit, since it allows them to work their 
boat with a smaller crew. The crews which fishing-boats 
carry depend on the trade in which they are engaged. A 
first-class trawler will carry three, or in some cases four, men 
and a boy ; a first-class drift boat requires seven men and 
a boy ;* while a large Grimsby smack will carry nine to 
eleven hands. In most parts of the British Islands the 
fishermen have an interest in the proceeds of the fishery. 
The owner of the boat, the owner of the net, and the fisher- 
man, all taking a certain proportion of the profits. In most 
parts of the British Islands, again, the lads who are employed 
in the boats are the near relatives of the fishermen engaged. 
But on the east coast of England, and at Hull and Grimsby 
in particular, a different system has arisen, and large 
numbers of lads, strangers to the fishermen and unacquainted 
with the sea, are apprenticed to the fishing trade. As the 
condition of these apprentices has attracted a good deal of 
attention of late years, it may be desirable to add a few 
words upon it. 

It is not difficult to determine the reasons which have 
induced the boat-owners of Hull and Grimsby to engage 
apprentices. The large smacks which are fitted for line 
fishing require the services of many hands ; but they only 
need comparatively inexperienced labour. Almost any boy 
can be trusted to bait a hook ; to haul in a line ; or to take 
a fish off a hook. More unskilled labour is thus required 

short or small mizen mast ; the dandy wink the small windlass ; and 
the dandy line the small hand-line in contradistinction to the long 

* This is the crew carried in Scotland and the Isle of Man. A still 
larger crew is carried by the Yarmouth boats. 


in this branch of fishing than in any other. It so happens 
that Grimsby is situated at a convenient distance from the 
metropolis, where the Guardians of the Poor have always a 
large number of boys whom they are anxious to dispose of. 
A philanthropist might readily conclude that nothing could, 
under such circumstances, be better than to apprentice the 
boy to the healthy life of a fisherman. Yet philanthropy, 
unluckily, makes terrible mistakes when it acts without 
sufficient knowledge and without adequate inquiry. It is 
not every boy who has either the strength or the courage 
which fits him for the hard sea-faring life of a fisherman. 
It is not every master of a vessel who has the patience or 
the heart to make allowances for the short-comings of a timid, 
weak lad. In consequence, a system which was intended to 
work for good, has undoubtedly led to much evil. Some 
impatient masters have cruelly treated their boys, other 
boys have tried to escape the fate of their comrades by 
absconding from the boats and breaking their indentures. 
The magistrates have been compelled to punish the lads 
who have broken their engagement, while, in strict justice, 
the punishment ought perhaps to have fallen on the ill- 
advised people who sent them into an unsuitable calling. 
In 1875 no less than 375 apprentices or on an average, 
rather more than one apprentice each day were committed 
to the County Prison in Lincolnshire, or the Borough 
Prison in Hull. Some cases of unusual cruelty have since 
attracted the attention of the public to the position 
of these poor friendless boys, and the Board of Trade 
has appointed a committee to enquire into the subject. 
It may be hoped that the report which has thus been 
obtained may be the means of alleviating the lot of these 
lads. But the true method of terminating the abuses which 
have occurred, is to take care that the lads who go to sea 
VOL. I. H. C 


shall be, as far as possible, the sons or relatives of the 
fishermen who go with them, or shall at any rate have 
parents or guardians living at the ports. The lot of a lad, 
far from home, far from friends, who is forced to spend much 
of his life on board a fishing-boat far from land, must 
be uncertain, unless it is protected by some such influences.* 
The trawlers, the line smacks, and the drift-boats, all 
frequently fish the same waters. Trawlers, indeed, can only 
work in those parts of the sea where the bottom is soft and 
smooth. The trawl easily gets caught by a rocky bottom, 
and the operations of the trawler are stopped or his gear 
lost. But, with this exception, trawlers and drift-boats 
commonly fish the same waters. It will be readily under- 
stood that different classes of fishermen, using different 
modes of fishing and working in the same places, occa- 
sionally come into collision. A drift-boat, drifting with 
two miles of net in front of it is almost helpless, and a 
trawler coming across the net may break through it and 
carry away a portion of it. The law, indeed, has pro- 
vided against losses of this character ; it has forbidden the 
trawlers to come within three miles of the drift-boat. But, 

* The following are the chief recommendations made by the 

(a) No lad under the age of 16 should be permitted to serve on 
board a vessel exceeding 20 tons net register tonnage, except under a 
written agreement, or an indenture of apprenticeship, to which the 
Mercantile Marine Superintendent or the Board of Trade Officer of 
the district must be a party, with the power to act as the guardian and 
protector of the lad. 

(b) No lad to be indentured before he has reached the age of 13, or 
for a longer period than seven years. 

(c) A month's trial of the sea life to be allowed to a lad before his 
indentures are made absolutely binding. 

(</) The master, in every case, to be held responsible for the lodging 
and food of the lad on shore as well as at sea. 


when large fleets of trawlers and drift vessels, or " drivers " 
(as they are called), are fishing on the same ground at the 
same time, as they do for instance in Mount's Bay, it is 
no easy matter for a fisherman to carry out the law ; and the 
difficulty is increased from the fact that drift-fishing is 
carried on solely at night* 

Provision, indeed, has been made against these collisions, 
the different classes of boats being required to carry dis- 
tinctive lights. A trawler is required to carry one white 
light on its mast-head. A driver is directed by the Sea 
Fisheries Act, 1-867, to carry two lights, one above another, 
three feet apart. So far the directions are plain enough. 

* In the text allusion has only been made to accidental collision. A 
good deal of angry feeling has, however, lately been provoked by the 
discovery that some foreign trawlers were in the habit of carrying a 
sharp instrument which they dragged behind them for the purpose of 
cutting through the warp or rope of any drift-net which fouled the 
trawl. The instrument, which received the expressive nickname of a 
devil, caused great mischief to the nets of the drift fishermen. Their 
loud remonstrances induced the Government to propose the appoint- 
ment of an International Convention to enquire into the matter. The 
Convention, which was attended by representatives from Great Britain, 
Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, met at 
the Hague in 1882. It agreed on the following articles : 

" The use of any instrument or engine which serves only to cut or 
destroy nets is forbidden. The presence of any such engine on board 
a boat is also forbidden. The high contracting parties engage to take 
the necessary measures for preventing the embarkation of such 
engines on board fishing-boats. 

" The high contracting parties engage to propose to their respective 
legislatures, the necessary measures for ensuring the execution of the 
present convention, and particularly for the punishment by either fine 
or imprisonment, or by both, of persons who may contravene the 

The convention still awaits ratification ; but it is expected that it 
will before long be ratified and brought into effective operation by 
laws being passed in the countries which were parties to it. 

C 2 


Unluckily the person who drew them does not seem to 
have observed that the Merchant Shipping Act, 1862, con- 
tained contrary orders. This act declared that all fishing- 
boats, when attached to their nets and stationary, should 
carry one white light, and that this light, and no other, 
should be carried. These conflicting instructions involved 
the drift fishermen in a singular dilemma. If they obeyed 
the rules in the Merchant Shipping Act, they necessarily 
disobeyed the Sea Fisheries Act. They could not, on the 
other hand, observe the Sea Fisheries Act without contra- 
vening the Merchant Shipping Act. After some years 
Parliament came to their assistance, and directed them to 
follow the orders of the Merchant Shipping Act. But this 
decision led to a fresh inconvenience. It forced drift-nets 
and trawlers to carry the same lights, and consequently 
made it impossible for the trawlers to distinguish the drivers. 
The inconvenience was so great that the Government under- 
took to effect a remedy. It placed itself in communication 
with other countries, and endeavoured to arrange a new 
system of lighting to which the fishermen of all nations 
should be bound to conform. After years of negotiation, a 
new arrangement was made under which drift-net fishermen 
were required to carry two red lights, one above the other ; 
and trawlers were bound to carry a red and green light, one 
above the other. But the new regulations proved almost as 
unacceptable to the trade as the law which they had been 
framed to supersede. Neither red nor green lights can be 
seen at anything like the distance at which white lights of 
equal power are visible ; and it is probably impossible to 
devise a red light which it will be practicable for a fisherman 
to use, and a fishing-boat to carry, and which will be visible 
for three miles. This objection was raised so loudly that 
the Government was forced to suspend the operation of 


the new rule before it ever came into force. Since that 
time various proposals have been made for obviating the 
difficulty. But nothing has yet come of these proposals ; 
and the whole subject still remains in an unsettled state. 

The development of the fishery is constantly increasing 
the difficulty of devising adequate means for keeping the 
trawlers and drift-nets apart. But there is one portion of 
the British Islands where collisions of this character rarely 
occur. Except in the Frith of Forth and on the Ayrshire 
coast, there is little or no trawling in Scotland ; * and the 
chief portion of the Scotch fishery is conducted by drift- 
nets and line fishermen. This circumstance, however, does 
not constitute the whole distinction between Scotland and 
the rest of the United Kingdom. In England, with few 
important exceptions, the bulk of the fish caught are caught 
for the fresh market and for the home trade ; in Scotland 
most of the fish are caught for the foreign market and are 
cured. The foreign trade in fish is of such importance that 
it may be desirable to describe it in some detail before 
proceeding to a review of the still more valuable home 

And, in the first place, it may surprise some people to 
learn that the import trade in fish is as important, and 
growing at least as rapidly, as the export trade. In 1842, 
forty-one years ago, 137,000 cwt. of fish were imported 
into the United Kingdom; in 1882, 862,000 cwt, worth 
1,659,000, were so imported. In 1842, on the other hand, 

* In Scotland the word "trawl" is in common use. But the trawl 
of Scotland is not the beam-trawl of England, but the seine-net. It 
may be added that in the United States the trawl is the long line. 
There seems to be something peculiarly irritating to fishermen in the 
name of trawl. Scotch fishermen denounce the seine-net as " a trawl : " 
English fishermen denounce the beam-trawl ; and American fisher- 
men object to the long lines which they call trawls. 


162,000 barrels of herrings and fish of other sorts, worth 
82,000, were exported ; in 1882, 920,000 barrels of herrings, 
worth ,1,383,000, and fish of other kinds, worth 440,000, 
were sent abroad. The import trade has increased rather 
more, the export trade rather less, than sixfold in the forty 
years. The export trade is divided into four branches. 
The first and most important is the trade in Scotch 
herrings ; the second is the trade in cured cod and ling ; 
the third is the trade in Cornish pilchards ; the fourth is 
the trade in fresh fish with Paris and other Continental 
towns. The causes which produce trade are curious ; the 
demands which create it difficult of explanation. The 
earliest and most valuable Scotch herrings are sold to the 
upper classes in Northern and Eastern Europe ; the bulk 
of the Scotch herrings are consumed in the Protestant 
States of Germany ; Cornish pilchards find their principal 
market in Italy ; while the cod and ling, which are caught 
chiefly in the Shetland Islands and Northern Scotland, are 
sold in Spain. It is not, at first sight, clear why the 
German should prefer a herring to a pilchard, and an 
Italian the pilchard to a herring. But the Italian is usually 
a Roman Catholic ; the Roman Catholics buy fish as food, 
and the Italian, therefore, purchases a rich oily fish like the 
pilchard. The higher classes in Spain buy cod for the 
same reasons which make the salt cod of Newfoundland 
the usual dish in English households on the first and last 
day of Lent. The German Protestant, on the contrary, 
eats his herrings, not as his chief food, but as a relish. He 
likes his herrings, as he likes his hams, cured by salt, but 
uncooked by fire. 

It is said in Northern Scotland that the trade between 
Spain and the Shetland Isles in dried fish has existed since 
the reign of Elizabeth. Some vessels of the great Armada 


were wrecked in the Shetlands ; the crews were forced to 
remain there for many months, and, during their residence, 
they formed relations with the inhabitants which, after an 
interval qf nearly three centuries, are still maintained by 
their descendants. About 4,000,000 cod and ling * are 
annually caught by Scotch fishermen ; the catch produces 
about 150,000 cwt. of cured fish, and rather more than half 
of the whole are exported from Scotland. 

It is impossible to give any exact statistics of the produce 
of the pilchard fishery, because there is a large and in- 
creasing consumption of fresh pilchards in Cornwall and 
the adjoining counties. But a private firm has, for many 
years, published statistics of the export trade in this fish, 
which may be relied on with confidence. From these 
accounts it is evident that the pilchard fishery is one of the 
most uncertain of the harvests of the sea. Since 1869 the 
export trade has varied from rather more than 6,000 hogs- 
heads in 1869 to nearly 46,000 hogsheads in 1870. But 
the average export trade of pilchards may probably be 
placed at about 12,000 hogsheads a year, the average value 
at about 3 a hogshead. 

The curing of pilchards is not carried on with much 
care. The fish are piled on the stone floors of the curing- 
houses in masses five or six feet high, each layer of fish 
being covered with salt. The "bulk," as it is termed, is 
left thus piled up for a month. During this period the 
weight of the mass forces the oil out of the fish, and this 

* The cod fishery of Scotland is probably capable of development. 
It is insignificant compared with the Norwegian cod fishery. " I was 
informed by Mr. Smidt, the Secretary to the Society for the Propa- 
gation of the Norwegian Fisheries, that the coast of Norway, from the 
Lofoten Islands (latitude 68 N.) to Finmark (latitude 71 N.), annually 
produces 50,000,000 cod fish, but the production in 1877 amounted to 
70,000,000 cod " (20th Ann. Rep. Insp. Salmon Fisheries, p. 22). 


oil is run into cisterns and is used by the poor of Cornwall 
for lighting purposes. At the end of the month the fish 
are taken from the bulk and packed in hogsheads. As 
each hogshead contains about 2,500 fish, and is worth, 
according to the season, from about 2 to about 4, five 
to ten cured pilchards are sold for one penny. It is, 
perhaps, doubtful whether the same amount of nutritious 
animal food is procurable at as low a price in any other part 
of Europe. 

It must, however, be admitted that, if pilchards cured in 
Cornwall form a cheap article of food, very little care is 
exercised by the curer. Far different is the course pursued 
with Scotch herrings. The Scotch herring fishery has been 
a favourite object of protective legislation. Sir Robert Peel, 
in the great debates on free trade, once declared that every 
one was in favour of free trade until his own interests were 
affected : he had " a Scotch correspondent who was a 
good free trader in everything except herrings." Many 
Scotchmen of the present day, who would resent the alle- 
gation that they were Protectionists as an insult, are still, 
in their hearts, of the same opinion as Sir Robert Peel's 
correspondent, and think that free trade is inapplicable to 
herrings. Yet the Scotch herring fishery is a standing 
example of the wisdom of free trade ; and it is probable 
that the remnant of protection which still clings to it is 
actually more harmful than beneficial to the fishermen. 

The Scotch herring fishery has had a history of about 
1 20 years. In the first half of the last century, Young, in 
a passage in the " Night Thoughts," which has frequently 
been quoted, declared that the British looked on 

" Shamefully passive, while Batavia's fleet 
Defrauds us of the glittering finny swarms, 
That heave our firths, and crowd upon our shores." 


The complaint which was thus raised by Young was 
echoed in other quarters ; and in 1750 a company was 
formed with a nominal capital of .500,000 for managing 
the fishery. But the company was not left dependent on its 
own exertions. Parliament offered a bounty of 30^. a ton 
on all decked vessels fitted out for the fishery, and Frederick, 
Prince of Wales, the father of George III., became the 
patron of the company. But neither the patronage of the 
Court nor the bounty of Parliament saved the enterprise 
from failure. In 1757 the company was forced to ask for 
higher bounties, and, in the thirty years ending in 1782, 
Parliament actually spent more than .300,000 in de- 
veloping a fishery which, notwithstanding this expenditure, 
was with difficulty supported. In 1786 a new society, 
which still exists, was formed for the extension of the 
fishery. The society purchased estates in Mull, in Skye, 
on the west coast of Ross-shire, and subsequently at Wick 
on the east coast of Caithness, and built on them fisher- 
men's houses. But it achieved only a doubtful success. It 
has long since ceased to take any direct part in the fishery, 
though it still draws from its property an income which is 
heavily burdened. It is very doubtful whether it has, in 
any way whatever, effected the object of its promoters.* 

The system of bounties, which was originally thought 
indispensable for the prosperity of the fishery, continued to 
exist for more than fifty years after its institution. Bounties 
were granted, in the first instance, on every ton of shipping 

* It is an instructive circumstance that the Germans, this century, 
have undergone the same experience which disappointed our fore- 
fathers last century. A company has been formed by some patriotic 
Germans to promote the German herring fishery. It has been sup- 
ported by loans free from interest, and by heavy protective duties 
Yet " neither help at home nor protection against the foreigner enables 
the company to nourish." Inspector's 2oth Ann. Rep., p. 29. 


employed in the fishery. The result was obvious. As 
Adam Smith put it in the "Wealth of Nations," vessels 
were fitted out to catch the bounty, and not to catch the 
fish. This evident result induced a Protectionist Parliament 
to propound a fresh remedy. In addition to the bounties 
on the tonnage of the vessels, a bounty of 2s., which was 
subsequently raised to 4^., was paid on every barrel of 
herrings cured. There is no doubt that under this system 
the fishery was rapidly developed. The number of herrings 
cured rose from about 90,000 barrels in 1809 to more than 
350,000 barrels in 1828, when the bounty was abolished. 
But it is not clear whether the vast increase in the trade 
was due to the existence of the bounty. During the nine- 
teen years which succeeded the abolition of the bounty the 
trade continued to increase at an almost equal rate, and 
560,000 barrels of herrings were cured in 1847, 640,000 
barrels in 1848, and 770,000 barrels in 1849. 

Bewildered, perhaps, at the rapid increase of a trade 
which, in the first instance, had seemed to require so much 
fostering protection, many people imagined that the increase 
of the fishery must produce its own ruin, and that a fish 
which was being caught in season and out of season would 
sooner or later be exterminated. Influenced by such 
arguments as these, Parliament in 1851 adopted a new 
policy, and initiated a system of restrictive legislation. 
These restrictive measures retarded the development of the 
fishery, and, at the close of the seventeen years during 
which they lasted, the average quantity of herrings cured 
was no larger than it had been at the beginning. In 1867, 
in accordance with the wise recommendation of a special 
commission, restrictive legislation was repealed. The 
fishery, in consequence, increased ; and in 1874, for the first 
time in its history, upwards of 1,000,000 barrels of herrings 


were cured. Then, however, a decrease to 942,000 barrels 
in 1875, and to 598,000 barrels in 1876, created a fresh 
alarm. A new Commission was appointed to investigate the 
allegation that the fishery was being over fished. The Com- 
mission thought the decrease was due to accidental causes, 
and declined to recommend a return to protective measures. 
Their opinion has been justified by the result. In the five 
succeeding years the fishery yielded on an average 1,035,000 
barrels a year. In 1880 no less than 1,473,000 barrels of 
herrings were cured in Scotland. 

This rapid increase is the more remarkable because the 
great majority of the herrings cured have always been 
cured for export, and the course of the export trade has 
entirely changed. During the first third of the present 
century most of the herrings were exported either to the 
West Indies or to Ireland. The slave-owners of the West 
Indies found Scotch herrings a cheap food for their slaves, 
and bought large quantities of them annually. But the trade 
was actually destroyed by the abolition of slavery, and the 
export of herrings, to "places out of Europe," which had 
always exceeded 50,000 barrels, and which occasionally 
was more than 80,000 barrels, dwindled away to nothing. 
Ireland, however, still continued to purchase large quan- 
tities of herrings till after the famine of 1847. The poverty 
of the people in the first instance, and the rapid decrease of 
the population afterwards, terminated the Irish demand ; 
and Ireland, instead of taking 100,000, or even 180,000 
barrels of herrings a year, now only purchases about 20,000 
barrels annually. 

Thus the two main markets, which had stimulated the 
growth of the Scotch herring fishery during the first half 
of the present century, were cut off from the exporter, and, 
if no new demand had arisen, the trade must have perished. 


At the time, however, at which the Irish and West Indian 
markets were closed, a variety of circumstances stimulated 
the Continental demand for Scotch herrings. The trade 
with the Continent commenced in the closing year of the 
great war. But up to 1843 the Continent never purchased 
100,000 barrels of Scotch herrings. Since that time the 
Continental trade has been rapidly developed. .The 
measures of Sir Robert Peel had probably, indirectly, the 
effect of enabling Germans and Russians to increase their 
purchases, while the reduction and the ultimate repeal 
of the timber duties lessened the cost of the barrels in 
which the herrings were packed. The Continent purchased 
upwards of 250,000 barrels of herrings in 1850, upwards of 
290,000 barrels in 1860, 486,000 barrels in 1870, and 
976,000 barrels in 1880. The whole of this vast increase, it 
should be recollected, has taken place during a period in 
which bounties have ceased, and in which trade, so far as 
this country is concerned, has been free. 

It must not be supposed that this great trade in fish has 
risen without difficulty or without competition. On the 
contrary, the Germans have for some years placed heavy 
import duties on cured herrings with the express intention 
of protecting their own fishermen. But protection has 
proved absolutely powerless to develop the fisheries of 
Germany; and the German fishing fleet, though it is 
fostered by the patronage of the wealthy and protected by 
the import duties of the Legislature, lies idle in Emden, 
while the German markets are supplied by Norwegian, 
Dutch, and British fishermen. The competition of Norway 
and Holland has, in fact, proved much more formidable 
than the import duties of the German Legislature, and, if 
Britain should ever lose the trade, the loss will apparently 
be due to the competition of these nations and not to the 


protective duties of Germany. The increased attention, 
which both Dutch and Norwegian fishermen are paying to 
the cure, is being rewarded by a constantly increasing sale 
of Dutch and Norwegian herrings in German markets.* 

In the past all three nations have taken exceptional 
measures to secure the sale of their own fish. The Dutch, 
Norwegian, and British Governments have been in the 
habit of branding the barrels in which the herrings are 
packed ; and the brand has been taken as a guarantee 
both of the quantity as well as of the quality of the fish. 
In Scotland the brand is a survival of the bounty system. 
The bounty was paid on each barrel of herrings branded, 
and the brand was retained after the bounty had been 

A system, which has no example in any other industry, 
which is a mere survival of a policy of protection, and 
which is opposed to all the maxims which regulate modern 
legislation, has naturally been the subject of attack. In 
1848 the Treasury instructed one of the ablest members of 
the Civil Service the late Sir John Lefevre to enquire 
into the matter. Sir John naturally reported that "the 
system of authenticating the quality of goods by the 
agency of a Government officer is objectionable in prin- 

* The figures will be found in the Appendix to the Report of the 
Select Committee on the Scotch Herring Brand. It is there stated, 
on the authority of a Report published in 1857, that the quantity of 
herrings imported from Great Britain into the ports of Stettin, 
Konigsberg, Hamburg, Dantzic, and Harburg, increased from 100,297 
barrels in 1848 to 318,263 barrels in 1855 > whilst the Dutch imports 
into the same places declined from 5,019 to 1,300 barrels, and the 
Norwegian from 194,862 to 122,423 barrels. In 1879, however, Nor- 
way sold to Germany 630,127 barrels ; Scotland 545,993 barrels, and 
Holland 98,026 barrels. It is plain, if these figures are reliable, that 
the Dutch and Norwegian trades are increasing more rapidly than 
the Scotch trade. 


ciple ; " but he hesitated to risk the possible " derangement 
and contraction " of the foreign trade, which he thought 
might result from its abandonment. He took the middle 
course, therefore, of suggesting that a fee should be charged 
for the brand, and that the enterprising curer should be 
encouraged, by the prospect of saving his fee, to rely on 
his own brand instead of that of the Government. Nothing 
came of the report till 1855, when the Treasury decided on 
abolishing the brand. The remonstrances, however, which 
the decision excited in Scotland induced it, instead of 
abolishing the brand, to appoint a new Commission to 
enquire into it. The new Commissioners spoke with an 
uncertain sound. One of them recommended the termina- 
tion of the system ; two of them adopted Sir John Lefevre's 
compromise, and proposed that the brand should be re- 
tained, but that a fee should be charged for it. The 
Treasury adopted the advice of the majority of the 
Commissioners, the brand was saved, and the fee was 

This arrangement has not, however, had the effect of 
terminating the controversy. In 1866 an able Commission, 
the ablest Commission to which the subject of fisheries 
has ever been referred, condemned the brand;* in 1870, 
however, a new Commission appointed by the Treasury 
declined " to undertake the responsibility of advising " its 
discontinuance. Finally in 1881, a Select Committee of 
the House of Commons recommended its retention. 

These various reports and conflicting opinions have 
necessarily involved the subject in a good deal of con- 
fusion ; and statesmen still hold contrary opinions on the 
expediency of the brand, who would be unanimous in 

* The Commission of 1866 consisted of Mr. (now Sir J.) Caird, Pro- 
fessor Huxley, and Mr. G. S. Lefevre, Sir J. Lefevre's son. 


condemning the introduction of a similar system into any 
other branch of industry. The great and increasing im- 
portance of the trade, the circumstance that the brand 
places, or is supposed to place, the small curer on a level 
with the large one, the knowledge that branded herrings 
command a higher price in the German markets than 
unbranded herrings, are all confidently quoted as reasons 
for continuing the system ; while the fact that the fees, 
charged for the brand, exceed the cost of the establishment 
which awards it, is cited as a conclusive argument for its 

These views, however, would be stated with less confi- 
dence if men would condescend to apply general principles 
of policy to this particular question. If it be a legitimate 
function of Government to guarantee by its brand the 
quality or quantity of a particular article, there is no 
reason whatever why the Ministry should draw the line at 
herrings. The Government used to undertake to guarantee 
the quality of cured cod ; at an earlier period it actually 
stamped linen and woollen goods; and there is no very 
clear reason why if its action is justifiable in one case, it 
should not be extended to all industries. The advocates 
of the herring brand, indeed, declare that, as the pur- 
chaser is unable to examine for himself the quality of the 
herrings packed in the barrel, there is an exceptional 
reason for giving to him the guarantee which a Govern- 
ment brand affords. But it is obvious that the argument, 
if it has any cogency, is capable of almost indefinite exten- 
sion. Take, for instance, the most important industry in 
which Englishmen are engaged. The Chinese complain 
that cotton goods are constantly adulterated by excessive 
or impure sizing. Will the Government undertake to guar- 
antee that every bale of cotton goods is free from improper 


sizing ? The cotton manufacturers might very possibly 
undertake to pay a small fee for the privilege of such a 
guarantee, and the Government might consequently obtain 
a remunerative duty. The folly of such a course would, 
however, at once prevent its adoption. Government, it 
would be said, has nothing to do with the manufacturers. 
It must leave them to attend to their own business, 
and to bear the consequences of their own errors ; or, if 
they are dishonest enough to commit them, to suffer the 
penalty which sooner or later attends fraudulent practices. 

Nor is it quite clear that the brand does afford the 
guarantee which it is its whole object to supply. Com- 
plaints of the bad quality of branded herrings occasionally 
reach Scotland from German buyers. Those who desire to 
see the complaints themselves will find samples of them in 
the " Appendix to the Report of the Select Committee on 
the Herring Brand." It was broadly stated to that Com- 
mittee that the brand was awarded to a low average of 
cure ; it was stated that even this average was not main- 
tained. Its existence, therefore, was alleged to discourage 
improvement, and to afford no real protection to the 

It is said, however, that the brand has the effect of 
placing the small curer on a level with the large one ; and 
that its abolition would give an advantage to the large 
capitalist whose private brand would be known, and so 
tend to ruin the smaller one. It is an obvious reflection 
that this argument, if it be sound, is applicable to other 
industries besides that of the curer ; but it is equally 
evident that it is no part of the function of Government to 
try to remove the advantageous distinctions which men 
have secured from their own industry or from their own 
skill. If a large curer has from his success succeeded in 


obtaining a certain reputation for his own fish, it is not just 
that he should be deprived of the advantage which he is 
entitled to derive from the pains which he has taken, or 
that he should be placed on a level with other and less 
successful men. Protection to the small curer may too 
often mean protection to the less energetic tradesman. 

But there is another and a graver objection to the 
continuance of the brand. Any government guarantee 
necessarily implies conformity with certain prescribed con- 
ditions. The brand has, therefore, the effect of stereotyping 
the trade and preventing improvement. The herrings must 
be packed in specified barrels, mao!e in one particular way ; 
they must be cured in a prescribed manner and mixed with 
a given proportion of salt. If an intelligent curer ventures 
to think that he can improve the process, he must do so at 
the certain risk of losing the brand, and so of lowering the 
value of his fish. If even, as happened in the great fishing 
of 1880, the stock of available barrels is exhausted, the 
curers are unable to supplement the deficiency by using 
Norwegian barrels, since their use would not entitle them to 
the brand. Everything, in fact, must be done by rule ; 
every departure from regulation must be followed by a 
pecuniary loss to the curer, and the trade, in consequence, 
is carried on, year after year, in the same unvarying manner, 
with a Conservative aversion from change, which would 
be worthy of the Chinese Empire. 

Nor is there any reason for assuming that the trade 
would, in any sense, suffer from the abolition of the brand. 
In the first place there is no brand on the west coast of 
Scotland ; and there is a large trade between the west 
coast of Scotland and the Continent in " matties," * or 
young herrings cured. In the next place, the brand does 

* Mattie is a Dutch word ; it signifies, literally, maiden. 
VOL. I. H. D 


not fulfil the purposes for which it was designed. It has 
been already stated that the Continental buyers occa- 
sionally complain that they buy branded herrings which 
are not of a quality that would entitle them to the brand 
It is difficult to see how any other result could happen. 
The duty of the fishery officers, who award the brand, 
becomes more difficult precisely as the take becomes 
larger ; and, however zealous the officers may be, it is 
impossible for them to see all the contents of every barrel.* 
The brand, therefore, occasionally covers bad articles. It 
might be possible to argue that a brand, which proved the 
quality of the fish as accurately as the stamp of the Mint 
proves the quality and quantity of the gold in a sovereign, 
served a useful purpose. It is difficult to see what advan- 
tage can ensue from a brand which does not and cannot 
fulfil this object. It is a mere wanton restriction on the 
curer, which should be got rid of at the first opportunity. 

It is remarkable too that this conclusion, still stoutly 
resisted in Scotland and Parliament, has already been 
accepted by other nations. Some years ago Norwegian 
herrings were regularly branded; and in 1856 Admiral 
Sullivan, the member of the Commission of 1855, who 
dissented from the conclusions of the majority of its 
members, wrote of Norwegian herrings that "with the 

* The fishery officers are required to test the quality of the fish by 
opening a certain proportion of the barrels presented for the brand at 
the .rate of 

9 barrels per hundred in parcels of loo barrels. 
8 from 100 to 300 barrels 

7 of above 300 barrels. 

The barrels selected for examination are, as a general rule, to be 
opened alternately ; i.e. No. I is to be opened at the head end : No. 2 
at the bottom end, and so on. Report Select Committee on Herring 
Brand, p. 253. 


exception of a small and unimportant portion, they are 
so inferior in quality when caught that no mode of cure 
will enable them to compete on equal terms with the 
Scotch, which appear to have the entire command of the 
principal German and Polish markets." Since these words 
were written the brand or " brack," as it is called in Norway, 
has fallen into disuse ; and the Norwegian herrings now 
constitute the principal supply, and command the highest 
prices in the German markets. So plain a lesson, which 
has not yet been learned by statesmen in England, has not 
been lost on the Dutch, who, in their turn, have abolished 
the brand. The striking fact, therefore, remains that 
this country, which had the distinction of initiating free 
trade, is the only nation having an important fish trade 
which still clings to an obsolete and vicious system. The 
fishery continues to flourish ; but it flourishes in spite of, 
not in consequence of, the brand. 

It is perhaps necessary to add that the brand affixed to 
the barrel is supposed to indicate the quality of the fish. 
The highest brand is awarded to what are technically called 
crown full herrings, that is large herrings full of roe, care- 
fully gutted with a knife. The next highest brand is given 
to crown matties, a " maiden " fish that is, smaller herrings 
with minute roes. Shotten herrings, or herrings which have 
cast their roe, are branded as crown spent ; while herrings 
of all these qualities, packed in the same barrel, are branded 
crown mixed. The barrel contains 26f imperial gallons, 
or 32 gallons English wine measure. 

It has been already stated that the chief market for 
Scotch herrings is found in the Protestant States of 
Germany ; but a large number of herrings cured in a 
different way are sold in the United Kingdom. These 
consist of red herrings, kippered herrings, and bloaters. 

D 2 


Red herrings are fish which after being kept in the salt 
pickle from two to fourteen days, are washed, dried, hung 
up in the smoking-house on spits, and smoked with oak or 
ash smoke for ten or fourteen days more. Kippered 
herrings, after being salted, are cut open and slightly 
smoked ; while bloaters are the best fish that can be 
procured, smoked for a much shorter period. Red 
herrings are usually packed in barrels or boxes, and 
are either exported or sold in the large towns. In this 
country, however, they are perhaps gradually being super- 
seded by the kipper and the bloater ; and a large and 
increasing trade is continually being conducted in these two 
kinds of cured fish.* 

In addition, however, to the trade in cured herrings, large 
and increasing numbers of herrings are annually sold fresh. 
The railways, in fact, by ensuring a rapid delivery, have 
enabled fish to be sold fresh, which half a century ago could 
not possibly have reached the fish markets in good order. 
The fish which are caught on the English, Manx, and Irish 
coasts, are to a great extent disposed of in this way ; and 
fresh herrings form one of the cheapest kinds of animal food 
procurable in the United Kingdom. 

Herrings are measured in Scotland by the cran. A cran 
contains thirty-six gallons and holds from about 800 to 1000 

* The colour is given to the red herring which is occasionally a 
yellow herring by the fuel with which it is smoked ; by altering the 
fuel the curer can alter the colour of the cured fish. Perhaps few 
people know that the term kipper is derived from the kype or hook on 
the lower jaw of the spawning male salmon. The male salmon from 
this kype became known as the kipper. The male fish was usually 
cured, and known as kipper salmon. The term was soon corrupted 
into kippered salmon, and the word "kipper" turned into a verb 
became synonymous with to cure. Bloaters are an invention of the 
present century. 


herrings. A barrel of full herrings contains 700 to 750 fish. 
As, however, a certain proportion of herrings is unsuitable 
for the curer, probably one cran of herrings must be caught 
for every barrel of herrings that is cured. In other words, 
about 1,000,000,000 herrings must be annually caught in 
Scotland for the purposes of the curer. Assuming that only 
one herring is sold fresh in Scotland for every four that are 
cured, the surprising number of 1,250,000,000 of herrings 
must be annually taken in Scotland. In Ireland and the 
Isle of Man herrings are measured by the mease, which 
contains 525 fish ; and the Irish fishery, according to the Irish 
Inspectors, produces from about 50,000 to about 200,000 
mease a year, or from about 25,000,000 to about 100,000,000 
fish a year. In England, herrings are usually sold by the 
last, each last nominally containing 10,000, but in reality 
13,200 fish.* It is impossible to give any accurate statistics 
of the yield of the English Herring Fishery. But it will, 
perhaps, be reasonable to assume that its produce is half as 
great as that of the Scotch fishery. In other words, that it 
yields 600,000,000 or 625,000,000 of fish a year. It is 
probable, therefore, that British fishermen draw nearly 
2,000,000,000 herrings annually from the British seas. The 
value of these fish, placing them at a farthing apiece, must 
exceed 2,000,000. 

From a naturalist's point of view, sprats, or "garvies," 
as they are called in Scotland, are closely connected with 
herrings. They are caught in enormous quantities in the 
estuary of the Thames and in the estuaries of eastern 
Scotland. It is said that as much as 200 tons of these fish 

* The Last, a German word, is computed in this way : 

4 herrings = I warp. 
33 warps = I hundred, 
lo hundred = I thousand. 


have been brought to London in a single day ; and they are 
sold wholesale in London by the bushel for from 2s. to 8s. 
They are so numerous that it is frequently impossible to 
dispose of them for food ; and large quantities are occasion- 
ally sold at a still lower price as manure. The season for 
sprat fishing commences early in November and lasts for 
about three months. No food equally nutritious is ever 
procurable at so cheap a rate by the poor. If sprats were 
only as dear as salmon, perhaps no food would be more 
prized on the table of the rich. 

No available means exist for determining the value of the 
Sprat fisheries : the same thing is true of Whitebait. The 
Whitebait of commerce consist of a variety of small fish ; 
but chiefly of young sprats and young herrings. They are 
mainly caught in the estuaries of the Thames and of the 
Medway, but they are found on almost every part of the 
British coasts, and fisheries for them are gradually springing 
up in various places. They are commonly sold in London at 
about is. a quart, and are thus included among the cheaper 
kinds of fish. The destruction of them year after year is 
enormous ; and there is perhaps no better proof of the 
marvellous fertility of the sea than may be deduced from 
the circumstance that the continuous destruction of white- 
bait is making no impression whatever on the supply either 
of sprats or of herrings. 

The Mackerel fishery is conducted in many places by the 
same boats and by the same fishermen as the herring 
fishery. Its importance has gained for the fish a singular 
exemption. By an old act of Charles II., which is still in 
force, no wares, goods, fruit, herbs and chattels, may be sold 
on Sunday. By an act of George III., which is also on the 
Statute Book, fish brought to London on Saturday night is 
expressly ordered to be publicly sold on Monday morning. 


But a different rule is applied to mackerel, and permission 
is given for its sale either before or after Divine Service on 
Sunday. The distinction probably arose from the convic- 
tion that a rich oily fish like the mackerel, which commonly 
reached London in hot summer weather, could not be 
kept fresh for the additional twenty-four hours. The strict 
observance of the Sabbath, however desirable it might be, 
could not compensate for the loss of valuable food. Mackerel 
used usually to be taken in the English and in the Bristol 
channels, but of late years a large fishery for this fish has 
sprung up at Kinsale in the south of Ireland. The fishery 
is attended by English, Scotch, Manx, and Irish boats, and 
is every year extending further and further round the south- 
west coast. The Irish inspectors compute the value of the 
mackerel caught off the coast of Kerry and Cork at nearly 
.150,000, but a further sum must be added to this amount 
for the fish taken off the coast of Clare. It is probable that 
the Irish mackerel fishery thus produces a gross sum of 
175,000 annually : if the whole of the Channel fisheries 
for mackerel is only of the same value as those off the Irish 
coast, the mackerel fishery of the British Islands must be 
worth 350,000 annually. 

Thus the drift fishermen, fishing for surface fish, are 
dependent for their harvest on herrings, mackerel, sprats, 
and pilchards.* If the yield of the herring fishery may be 
placed at 2,000,000 ; that of the mackerel fishery at 
350,000 ; that of the pilchard fishery at 50,000 36,000, 
for the foreign, and 14,000 for the home trade it will, 

* These fish are not, of course, solely caught with drift nets. 
Herrings in Loch Fyne are caught with a ground seine net ; or, as it 
is locally termed, a trawl net. Pilchards are also largely, and mackerel 
occasionally, caught with seines. Sprats are caught with seines in 
some places, and in stow boat nets in the estuary of the Thames. 


perhaps, be justifiable to assume that these fisheries and 
the fishery for young sprats and young herrings, known as 
whitebait, yield to the fishermen a gross revenue of from 
2,500,000 to 2,750,000 a year. This sum, which is 
purposely computed in the most moderate manner, repre- 
sents the value of the fish on the coast, and not its much 
higher value in the markets. 

Before proceeding to deal with the great line and trawl 
fisheries which form the main source of the fish supply, it 
may be convenient to add a few words on the fisheries for 
migratory fish. There are four kinds of migratory fish which 
are taken in this country : Salmon, including in the term 
all migratory fish of the family; smelts, the fyerlan of France, 
or the sparling of northern England ; shad or twait, and 
eels ; of these, salmon are by far the most important. 
They are caught by fixed nets on the coasts of Scotland 
and by fixed engines in the rivers, by seine-nets, or by net and 
coble, to use the Scotch term for a seine-net ; and by drift- 
nets off the coast of Northumberland and in some parts of 
Ireland. The Irish Salmon Fisheries are estimated to yield 
579> a year. This estimate, however, has been made by 
computing the value of the fish at is. 6d. a Ib. Placing 
it at the more moderate price of is. a Ib., the yield of these 
fisheries may be estimated at about 400,000. The value 
of the Scotch salmon fisheries is certainly not less than 
250,000 annually, and probably reaches 300,000. The 
yield of the English Salmon Fisheries has been frequently 
computed at 100,000 a year. 

It seems, therefore, not unreasonable to assume that the 
salmon fisheries of the British Islands yield to the fishermen 
some 800,000 annually. It is perhaps fair to suppose that 
the fisheries for other migratory fish eels, twait, and smelts 
produce at least 100,000 a year. If then the value of 


the drift fisheries and of the analogous fisheries for pilchards, 
sprats and whitebait, may be placed at from 2,500,000 to 
2,750,000, and that of the fisheries for migratory fish at 
900,000, it is a safe and moderate estimate to compute 
the produce of the whole of these fisheries at 3,500,000 

These fisheries, however, important as they are, bear no 
comparison with the great fishery for bottom fish, which used 
to be exclusively taken by lines, but which are now chiefly 
captured by trawl-nets. It is no exaggeration to say that 
London and the great centres of population are dependent 
for their supply of fish on trawlers ; and that if, from any 
cause whatever, trawling were suddenly terminated, its ter- 
mination would be followed by famine in the fish market. 
No clear history of trawl-fishing has ever yet been written ; 
and its origin is uncertain. There are, however, many 
reasons for believing that trawling, to a limited extent, has 
been practised for centuries in British waters, and that 
trawlers worked in Torbay in the reign of Elizabeth. 

Trawling, however, if it were practised by our ancestors, 
was chiefly confined to Devonshire, and was carried on in 
only a humble fashion. The vast extension of this mode 
of fishing did not take place till our own time. Till, indeed, 
railways were invented the present system was impossible, 
since no means were available for carrying the tons of fish, 
which were thus caught daily, from the ports to the markets. 
Trawling is now carried on off almost all the coasts of this 
country. The Fleetwood trawlers work in Morecambe Bay, 
the Liverpool trawlers on the smooth bottom of the sea 
between the Isle of Man and Lancashire, while they occa- 
sionally leave their ordinary grounds and go as far south 
as Aberystwyth, The Brixham trawlers working mainly 
in Torbay and Mount's Bay also frequently visit the 


Bristol Channel, while Dover, Ramsgate, Hastings, Rye, 
and other ports all contribute their trawlers to the English 

But the main home of trawling at the present time is to 
be found in the ports which fringe the North Sea, and it is 
no exaggeration to say that these ports form the most 
important fishing stations, and the North Sea the most 
productive fishery, in the world. Most people have some 
acquaintance with the shape of the North Sea. It is com- 
paratively small, it is shallow, and it is surrounded on 
three sides by the different countries of Europe which are 
watered by large rivers. All these conditions are favour- 
able for the production of fish of a high quality. The 
rivers bring down from the adjacent land a vast quantity 
of minute life which forms the food of young fish ; the 
sandy plateaux which fringe the shores are the nurseries 
for the fry ; while the deeper depressions, which are to be 
found here and there in the bottom of the sea, afford shelter 
for the mature fish in cold and stormy weather. The gulf 
stream is unable to force its way into the basin of this sea, 
and its waters are consequently colder than those of the 
Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea. Its colder waters, though 
unfavourable for mackerel and a few other fish, improve 
the quality as food of its cod, its haddock, and its other 

The bottom of the sea resembles the surface of the land. 
It is an undulating pasture intersected by valleys- in some 
places and hills in others. The submarine slopes and 
depressions in the North Sea are not indeed very great. 
The hills and valleys, like those of Eastern England, are of 
moderate height and depth, and there are few if any places 
in it, south of the 55th parallel, which are more than 
300 feet deep. Just as the shepherd drives his flocks in 


summer to the hills and in winter to the valleys, so in 
summer the fish frequent the sandy elevated plateaux 
beneath the sea, while in winter they withdraw into the 
deeper submarine depressions. The sandy or muddy 
eminences in which the fish are found in summer fringe 
the coasts of England, Holland, Germany, and Denmark. 
But in addition to the elevations which surround the basin 
of the sea, a great block of high tableland, about 200 miles 
long and about 30 miles broad, runs from south-west to 
north-east almost in the middle of the sea. This is the 
Dogger Bank where, rather more than a hundred years ago, 
Dutch and English fought a sharp and indecisive action, and 
where now hundreds of British, Dutch, and French fisher- 
men obtain a livelihood. In the immediate vicinity of the 
south of the Dogger, the land abruptly slopes away into a 
valley which was probably once a river estuary, and which 
is now known as the outer Silver Pit ; while south of this 
again the southern shore of the old watercourse is formed 
by some elevated ground known as the Well Bank. 
Between the Well Bank and the English coast the high 
tableland is intersected by two deep depressions, known as 
the Sole Pit and the Silver Pit. North-west of these again, 
the stony foreshore which runs from Flamborough Head 
bears the name of California. 

These salient features in the physical aspect of the North 
Sea ought to be understood by any one who desires to 
form a clear idea of the fishing trade of the United 
Kingdom. The names which, in modern times, have been 
given to some .of these submarine valleys and hills, such as 
the Silver Pit, the outer Silver Pit, and California, sufficiently 
indicate the importance which fishermen attach to the 
grounds. In cold weather, indeed, the flat fish are congre- 
gated together in the valleys and fall an easy prey to the 


trawler ; and the chief fishing port of the United Kingdom, 
Grimsby, owes its origin and prosperity to the fact that it 
is immediately adjacent to the Silver Pit. 

This fact is so curious that it is worth while to trace the 
rise of Grimsby during the last half century. Rather more 
than fifty years ago, Grimsby is said to have owned one 
fishing- boat. In 1843 the Silver Pit was first worked, but 
it was worked by Brixham and other vessels coming to the 
port. But the trade, when it once began, rapidly developed. 
The Manchester and Sheffield Railway was carried into 
the port. Large sums of money were spent in building 
docks, the fishing fleet increased by " leaps and bounds," till, 
in 1 88 1, the port, which in 1830 had possessed one boat, 
owned 607 vessels registering 35,000 tons, and employing 
nearly 4000 persons. 

The North Sea trawlers follow two systems of fishing. 
Some of them, fishing the adjacent grounds, return con- 
stantly to port, and send their fish direct by railway to 
London or to other populous towns ; others of them repair 
in fleets to the distant grounds, and are absent from home 
for weeks at a time. In consequence of their prolonged 
absence they in turn have created a fresh industry. 
Steamers are employed to repair to the fleet and take the 
fish which have been caught from the boats, and carry them 
to England. Boats for this purpose ply from Hull, from 
Grimsby, and from London. The fish are carried from the 
smack to the steamer in open boats, and some loss of life 
unfortunately results from this ferrying trade. No means, 
however, have yet been invented of transferring the fish from 
the smack to the steamer without the assistance of the 
small open boats. 

In addition to the legitimate trade of carrying the fish 
from the fleet to the market, another more objectionable 


system has of late years sprung up in the fishing fleet. 
When men are absent from home for long periods, they 
require to be supplied with various articles ; and, in conse- 
quence of the demand which has thus sprung up, smacks 
have been fitted out for the sale to the fishing fleet of 
spirits, tobacco, and other things. As these smacks buy 
their goods abroad, and do not return to a British port 
before they are sold, they naturally escape the customs 
duties, and are consequently able to sell spirits and tobacco 
at the lowest possible rate. Cheap drink is perhaps always 
objectionable, and an unregulated liquor traffic is usually 
liable to abuse. The boat-owners complain that the 
coopers, as these smacks are called, are floating grog-shops 
of the worst description, and that they are under no control 
whatever. They demoralise the fishermen and tempt them 
to part with fish and gear for spirits and tobacco. It is 
not, however, easy to see how these evils, great as they are, 
can effectually be terminated. If coopering were forbidden 
in English vessels, the only result would be to drive the 
trade under a foreign flag. The true method of terminating 
abuse probably consists in endeavouring to make the trade 
itself more respectable. If the boat-owners would encourage 
smacks sailing under proper control, and dealing not merely 
in spirits but in coffee and other necessaries, to attend the 
fleet, the respectable trade might perhaps in the long run 
destroy the disreputable one. If people will not condescend 
to supply a well-ascertained demand in a regular way, 
irregular means of meeting it are certain to arise. 

It is not very easy to obtain any reliable statistics of the 
value of the trawling trade. The same ports which own 
the chief trawlers own the chief smacks engaged in the line 
trade ; and the fish which "both classes of vessels produce 
are consequently sold through the same markets. Nearly 


75,000 tons of fish are, however, sent away annually by 
railway from Hull and Grimsby alone. It is, perhaps, a 
fair assumption that for every three tons brought away from 
Grimsby by land, one ton is either Carried direct from the 
smacks to London or sold in the neighbourhood. If this 
assumption is accurate, some 100,000 tons of fish must be 
annually caught by the Hull and Grimsby boats. Placing 
the value of these fish at the ports at rather less than 
2d. a lb., or 20 a ton, the smacks of these ports must 
annually obtain fish worth 2,000,000. It is almost^ certain 
that the fish caught by lines and trawls in all the other 
ports of the kingdom exceed in quantity the fish caught 
by the trawlers of Hull and Grimsby alone. If it is only 
equal to the quantity caught by the boats of these two 
ports the trawl and line fish of the British Islands must be 
worth 4,000,000 annually. 

Thus, if the estimates in the foregoing pages be reliable, 
it is possible to form some idea of the value of the fishing 
industry of the British Islands. It was shown on an early 
page of this essay that merely testing it by the value of the 
capital employed and the number of fishermen engaged, it 
was probable that the fishery produced from 9,000,000 to 
10,000,000 a year. It has now been shown specifically 
that the trawl and line fisheries in all probability yield 
4,000,000, the herring fishery 2.000,000, the salmon 
fishery 800,000, the mackerel fishery 350,000, and that 
the fisheries for pilchards, whitebait, and smelts bring up 
these totals to at least 7,500,000 annually. To these 
must be added the fisheries for fish, which, strictly speak- 
ing, are not fish, for crustaceans, such as lobsters, crabs, 
prawns, and shrimps : and for molluscs, such as oysters, 
mussels, whelks, and winkles. 

It is no easy matter to give any estimate, which is worth 


publishing, of the value of these fisheries. It is stated in 
the last edition of the " Encyclopaedia Britannica " that 2000 
gallons of shrimps a day are sent away occasionally from 
Leigh in Essex. Assuming that the whole annual catch is 
only fifty times the catch of a single day, 100,000 gallons of 
shrimps must be taken at Leigh alone. Their value, at I s. a 
gallon, would be 5,000 a year. But Leigh is not the only 
or the chief home of the fishery. Wherever a sandy shore 
fringes the coast shrimpers are at work, and their gross take 
must be very large. If it be only twenty times the take at 
Leigh, it must amount to 100,000 annually. Perhaps it will 
surprise still more persons to learn that the cockles which 
are gathered in Morecambe Bay are sold for at least 
20,000 a year,* and that more than 2,500 tons of peri- 
winkles are annually consumed in London. Yet More- 
cambe Bay is not the only place in which cockles yield a 
fertile harvest to the neighbourhood, and London is not the 
only large town where people buy periwinkles by the ton 
load. Shrimps, cockles, and periwinkles form, however, 
only a small portion of the trade in shell fish. The more 
important portions of this trade are the trade in mussels, 
the trade in lobsters and crabs, and the trade in oysters. 

More than thirty years ago, according to a return which 
was published by the Deep Sea Fishery Commissioners of 
i866,f 498,000,000 oysters, or, in round numbers, 500,000,000 
oysters were sold in London. Placing them at only a 
halfpenny apiece, and omitting the large quantities sold on 
the coast and other places, the value of the oysters sold 
must have exceeded 1,000,000. There is reason for 
fearing that the continual decrease of oysters during the 
last quarter of a century must have diminished these sales. 
But, if the number has decreased, the price has increased ; 
* See " Fisheries Comm.," 1879, P- 2 38 t p - 457* 


and the total value of the smaller quantity of oysters sold 
now must be at least as great as that of the larger quantity 
of oysters sold thirty years ago. If, however, the oysters 
alone are worth 1,000,000, it is not a very excessive 
estimate to presume that the other shell fish lobsters, 
crabs, prawns, shrimps, mussels, cockles, whelks, and 
winkles produce another 1,000,000. In other words, 
while the fish taken off our coasts yield some 7, 5 00,000 
annually, the shell fish raise the total yield of the harvest 
of the sea to 9,500,000. 

These figures, it will be seen, agree with the original esti- 
mate based on the number of fishermen employed, and on 
the estimated capital embarked in the fisheries. And, if 
attention be paid to another portion of the trade, it will be 
seen that the calculation is further corroborated. Hitherto 
this essay has dealt chiefly with the catching of the fish ; 
but no account of the fish trade would be complete without 
some explanation of the manner in which the fish caught 
are distributed. The distribution is effected in four ways : 
(i) The largest proportion of the fish caught is conveyed 
inland by railway to the great markets ; (2) a further pro- 
portion is carried to the markets by sea or river ; (3) large 
quantities of fish are exported ; and (4) considerable 
numbers of fish are consumed near the ports where they 
are taken. 

In 1881, 206,000 tons of fish were conveyed inland by 
railway from the English ports, 59,000 tons were conveyed 
inland from the Scotch ports, and 7000 tons were conveyed 
inland from the Irish ports. The fish sent away from the 
various ports by train amounted in the aggregate to 
272,000 tons. If the value of the fish is placed at 20 a 
ton, the fish so carried must have been worth 5,440,000 ; 
42,000 tons of fish were carried direct from the sea to 


Billingsgate ; estimating them again at 20 a ton, the total 
value of the fish carried by railway to inland towns, and by 
water to Billingsgate, must be worth 6,280,000. It has 
been already shown that the value of the fish exported 
exceeds 1,820,000 a year. It is possible, therefore, accu- 
rately to account for fish worth 8, 100,000. If it be recol- 
lected that Liverpool, one of the most important fish 
markets in the country, is largely supplied by water, that 
Shields, Edinburgh, and, to a certain extent, Glasgow, are 
also supplied by water, and that all round the coasts a 
population counted by tens of thousands in the summer 
season is consuming fish, it seems not unfair to assume 
that another 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 worth offish may 
be accounted for, and that the gross yield of the fisheries 
may again be raised to 9,000,000 or 10,000,000 a year. 

There are several points connected with these figures 
which are well worth attention. The first circumstance 
which will strike everyone is the insignificance of the yield 
of the Irish fisheries. Only 7,000 tons of fish were conveyed 
inland by Irish railways. It is true that large quantities 
of fish are taken direct from the Irish ports to Holyhead 
and Milford ; but, if it be assumed that the whole of the 
fish taken inland from these two ports was Irish, the Irish 
fisheries will still only supply 20,000 tons of fish to the 
markets. The Irish fishermen are mainly engaged in 
supplying the home markets ; the Scotch fishermen are 
largely occupied in supplying the foreign markets ; and yet 
Ireland only sends one ton of fish to the home markets for 
every three tons which the Scotch fisheries, after complying 
with the requirements of a great foreign trade, are able to 
consign to them. It may be thought that the situation of 
Ireland, its distance from London, and the intervening 
channel are responsible for this state of things. But there 

VOL. I. II. E 


are islands on the west of Scotland which are as remote 
from the markets as Ireland itself. The Western Hebrides, 
till lately, sent their fish to London either by Glasgow or 
by Strome Ferry. In 1880 the opening of the Oban railway 
gave them a new outlet for their industry; and, in iSSi, 
upwards of 12,000 tons of fish were despatched from Oban 
alone by railway, while upwards of 1,000 tons were sent 
from Strome Ferry. The remote islands, which are known 
as the outer Hebrides, are probably, therefore, sending two 
tons of fish to the British markets for every three tons that 
arrive from the whole of Ireland. 

The desultory operations of the Irish fishermen will be 
still better understood if the figures are examined in another 
way. The 42,000 fishermen of England and Wales despatch 
to the home and foreign markets 260,000 tons of fish, or 
about six tons for each fisherman. The 48,000 Scotch 
fishermen send about 60,000 tons of fish to the home 
markets, and about 100,000 tons of fish to the foreign 
markets, or nearly 4 tons to each fisherman. But the 
24,000 Irish fishermen only send away about 20,000 tons 
of fish, or less than I ton for each fisherman : and these 
figures, striking as they are, do not, it must be recollected, 
represent the whole truth.* A large proportion of the Irish 
fish are not caught by Irish fishermen, but by Scotch, 
Manx, and English fishing-boats. A large proportion of 
the English and Scotch fish, moreover, is consumed on the 
coasts, while there is no large consumption of fish on the 
Irish coasts. 

These facts will appear still more remarkable if they be 

* In the preceding figures I have assumed (i) that all the herrings 
exported were exported from Scotland ; (2) that 10 barrels of herrings 
weigh i ton ; (3) that all the other fish exported were exported from 
England. I have computed this at 22,000 tons. 


compared with the statistics for Wales. Irish fishermen 
have been the favourite object of state patronage for years : 
so long as this patronage continues there will always be a 
race of Irish fishermen. But no politician has yet risen up 
who has demanded state patronage for Welsh fishermen ; 
and in consequence, the Welsh fisheries can hardly be said 
to exist at all. If Holyhead and Milford be excluded, the 
whole of the Welsh ports did not send 1,000 tons of fish by 
railway to the markets in 1 88 1. Yet North Wales on a clear 
day can look upon the hills of the Isle of Man, which has 
nurtured the hardiest race of fishermen in the world ; South 
Wales is not much more distant from the opposite coasts of 
Cornwall whose people draw a rich harvest from the sea ; 
while in West Wales stranger boats pursue a profitable 
herring fishery. It is almost an inevitable deduction from 
these facts that the Welsh and Irish fisheries do not prosper 
because the Welsh and Irish people do not take readily to 
sea-fishing as a pursuit. 

Of the 272,000 tons of railway-borne fish, which were 
carried inland in '1881, about 90,000 tons were brought to 
London. The Metropolis, therefore, in addition to the large 
quantities of fish which it received direct from the sea, 
absorbed one-third of the whole of the fish carried inland 
by railway. The supply of fish to London has been steadily 
increasing for several years ; rising from about 95,000 tons in 
1875, to about 130,000 tons in 1880. Out of this vast supply 
of 130,000 tons, more than three-fourths, or 100,000 tons, 
were drawn from the North Sea. London, however, is not 
the only market which is dependent on the North Sea. 
Out of the 206,000 tons of fish which are borne annually 
from English ports by railways, 164,000 tons are carried 
from ports situated on the North Sea. The North Sea, 
therefore, is the main source of the fish supply of the United 

E 2 


Kingdom, and its fisheries are more productive than many 
countries. If it be recollected, indeed, that in addition to 
British fishermen, its waters are fished by Norwegian, 
Danish, German, Dutch, Belgian and French fishermen, 
some idea will perhaps be formed of the fertility of this sea. 
It is probable that fishermen extract from its waters every 
year fish worth 25,000,000. 

It must not be supposed that the whole of the fish brought 
to London are consumed in the Metropolis. On the con- 
trary, London is the central source of the supply of a district 
which every year tends to become larger. One of the most 
certain consequences of improved locomotion is the con- 
centration of trade. It is found practically more convenient 
for buyers and sellers to meet in one place than to scatter 
themselves among a great many places. In nothing is this 
tendency more perceptible than in the fish trade. London 
and Birmingham, and, to a lesser extent, Manchester and 
Liverpool, are the markets from which nearly the whole of 
England is supplied with fish ; and London is annually 
becoming to a greater extent the centre of the supply. 
Gentlemen residing in distant counties have their dish of 
fish regularly sent to them by a London tradesman : fish- 
mongers in provincial towns receive their fish uniformly 
from Billingsgate ; and Billingsgate is thus becoming a 
central fish exchange for the whole country. 

This state of things could not have arisen except from 
two circumstances. In the first place, the development of 
the railway system has enabled large and small parcels of 
goods to be despatched at a comparatively slight cost to 
distant places ; and, in the next place, the importation and 
the manufacture of ice have made it possible to keep 
perishable goods from decay during transit. As distributors 
of fish, the railways would have -lost half their utility without 


ice ; while ice, as a preservative, would have been too heavy 
for the old conveyances to have carried. Ice, as an article 
of commerce, has not had a history of fifty years. Before 
the development of railways and the trade in ice, fish were 
brought to London in welled smacks. The welled smacks 
are not even now entirely superseded. They are still used 
in the Grimsby line trade, and Dutch eels are brought to 
the Thames in the same way.* But the railway has become 
the great carrier of fish ; the railways bring the fish whole- 
sale to Billingsgate ; they distribute them subsequently in 
small parcels throughout the country. 

If these facts be borne in mind, it will be easily under- 
stood that space is eminently desirable at Billingsgate. A 
market which is already the centre of an enormous trade, 
and which every year is required to transact a larger business, 
must provide adequate accommodation for those who 
frequent it. Unfortunately Billingsgate does not fulfil these 
requirements. Built originally at a time when London was, 
compared with its present dimensions, a small town, and 
when the fish trade was only a humble undertaking, it is 
inadequate to supply the wants of the largest capital in the 
world. Nor is it easy to see how its shortcomings can be 
dealt with. Situated as it is in the centre of London, the 
surrounding land is occupied by property of a valuable 

* There is a curious circumstance connected with the carriage of 
Dutch eels which is worth recording. The increasing pollution of 
the Thames made it impossible to bring even eels alive to London. 
" For ten years," so said Sir Robert Peel in the House of Commons 
in 1828, "the water was deteriorating in quality, as was found by 
various fishermen who had found it necessary to abandon this mode 
of obtaining a livelihood, in consequence of the insalubrity of the 
water driving away the fish. In truth, the fishermen's trade was 
destroyed ; and, strange to tell, eels imported from Holland would not 
live in Thames water." 


character, and the expense of acquiring additional space in 
the immediate neighbourhood would strain the resources 
even of so wealthy a corporation as the Court of Common 
Council. This* circumstance has induced some authorities 
to believe that the true way of relieving Billingsgate is to 
build a new wholesale market in another part of the city. 
The Corporation has actually, in the last few months, 
devoted to the fish trade, a market constructed for other 

The reason commonly assigned for the construction of a 
second market is plausible. Part of the fish which London 
receives so it is said arrives by railway ; another portion 
of it comes by water. The railway-borne fish, it is argued, 
should be consigned to a market conveniently near to the 
termini of the great railways ; the river-borne fish should 
be sold in a market contiguous to the river. One class of 
fish should, therefore, be sent to a place like Smithfield ; the 
other class can continue to be disposed of in Billingsgate. 
This argument, plausible as it is, crumbles away when it is 
tested, What is a wholesale market ? It is obviously 
a place where buyers and sellers meet, and where all the 
operations of the trade should be concentrated. The ordi- 
nary tradesman, if he can get all his fish at one market, 
will not take the trouble or incur the expense of driving 
every morning to two markets. He will select one of the 
two markets, and to that market he will go ; and his 
selection will not depend on mere considerations of 
geography. The best fish reaches London by water. The 
tradesman who wishes to have the best possible turbot, for 
instance, on his slab, must go to the waterside market. But 
it is easy to see that, if this be true, the railway-borne fish 
will also go to the same market. The salesman at Aberdeen 
or at Grimsby will not consider which of the two markets 


will be most accessible from Liverpool Street or King's 
Cross ; he will simply ascertain which of the two markets is 
attended by the retail tradesmen, and at which of the two 
markets his fish will consequently command the best price. 
No expenditure on the part of the Common Council will 
induce the retail fishmonger to drive to Smithfield if he can 
get all the fish which he requires at Billingsgate. It is 
certain that he will be able to get fish at Billingsgate which 
he will not get at Smithfield ; and to Billingsgate he will 
accordingly go. The moment this is made plain to country 
salesmen they will as a matter of course send all their fish 
to Billingsgate ; and Billingsgate will thus be never super- 
seded except by a new market on the waterside. 

It does not, of course, follow from this reasoning that it is 
inexpedient to establish other fish markets in other parts of 
the Metropolis for the convenience of the retail trade. The 
only possible argument against the institution of retail 
markets seems to be that they are opposed to the habits of 
the ordinary London householder who, as a rule, seems to 
expect that his tradesman shall come to him, and that he 
shall not be required to go to his tradesman. But the suc- 
cess which has attended the establishment of co-operative 
stores proves that the householder, for the sake of an ap- 
preciable advantage, will change his habits ; and, if fish can 
be bought more cheaply at a retail market than in a shop, 
the householder in the long run will probably go to the 
market. But a retail market of this description will depend 
on the wholesale market for its daily supply. Its institution 
will in no way remove the necessity for one wholesale 

What then are the requirements which a wholesale 
market should possess, and does Billingsgate fulfil them ? 
"A market does not deserve the name which does not 


afford (i) accommodation for buyers and sellers; (2) 
standing room, and, where perishable articles are con- 
cerned, standing room under covered ways for the vans 
which are being unpacked ; and (3) easy access." * The 
accommodation in Billingsgate itself is scanty ; but it is 
perhaps sufficient. The accommodation outside the market 
is disgracefully insufficient. The vans which bring the fish 
into it are forced to stand while they are unpacked in the 
adjoining street ; and this street which only extends along 
one side of the market is a narrow and inconvenient 
thoroughfare. The vans, therefore, are often delayed in 
their approach to the market, they are frequently forced to 
move on while vans with other fish for which there might 
be a greater demand at the moment are being brought up 
and unpacked, and these operations, which would be objec- 
tionable in any case, are doubly objectionable in the case 
of a perishable article like fish on a hot summer morning. 

The time, therefore, has obviously arrived when the 
market and its approaches should be rendered adequate, or 
the market itself should be removed to some other situation. 
It must rest with the Corporation of London to determine 
which of the two courses should be taken. The Corpora- 
tion owns the market, and is therefore the only body 
which can be expected to improve it. The reasons which 
make improvement preferable to removal must be plain to 
every one. Nothing is so conservative as trade, and 
nothing is so difficult as to alter the channel in which a 
particular trade flows. It may take time before any 
market, however convenient it may be, can supersede 
Billingsgate. On the other hand, the expense of making 
the approaches adequate for the trade is enormous. Bil- 

* I have quoted in this paragraph a report of my own on the 


lingsgate stands on one of the most valuable sites in 
London. It is no exaggeration to say that unless its area 
is doubled, and Thames Street is broadened from end to 
end, all the necessary conditions of an adequate market 
will not be fulfilled. Improvements of such a character, 
however, will not cost merely thousands, or tens of thou- 
sands, but hundreds of thousands of pounds ; and it is for 
the Corporation to determine whether the game is worth 
the candle, or whether it would not be better to build 
at once a new market on another and new site at the 

People who think hastily, or who do not think at all, 
usually suppose that the high price of fish in London is 
consequent on the inconvenience of Billingsgate ; and they 
frequently use the oddest of arguments to support their 
conclusions. Fish they say is cheap enough at Billings- 
gate, it may be purchased for 2d. per Ib. ; but it is dear in 
the west end shops, and is not procurable for less than 
%d. a Ib. It may be doubted whether such statements as 
these have any real basis. Those who have most ac- 
quaintance with the case will hesitate to believe that the 
average price of all the fish sold at Billingsgate ever falls 
so low as 2d. per Ib., or that the average price of all the 
fish sold by retail in London ever rises so high as 8d. 
Large as the profits of the retailers may be, they are not 
so large as common rumour supposes. If, however, the 
price of fish in west end shops is high, it is certain that 
the crowded streets of Billingsgate is not solely responsible 
for it. If the inconveniences of the market enhanced the 
price, it is obvious that they would raise the price in 
Billingsgate itself. They can have no effect on the price 
when the fish has once passed into the hands of the retailer. 
The whole gist of the ordinary complaint, however, is that 


fish is cheap at Billingsgate and dear when it reaches the 
consumer's hands ; and it is plain, therefore, that if the 
complaint is well founded the cause must be sought outside 
of the market. 

It may, under the circumstances, be worth while to 
consider what are some of the causes which legitimately 
raise the price of fish to the consumer. It has hitherto 
been assumed in this paper that the fishermen on an 
average receive 20 a ton, or rather less than 2d. a Ib. 
for the fish which they catch ; but it must be recol- 
lected that this average price is computed from a great 
many items. The average price of salmon for instance 
exceeds is. per Ib. ; the average price of sprats on the 
coast is represented by a fraction of id. a Ib. It cannot, 
under such circumstances, be possible to state the average 
value of all fish with anything like precision ; but the esti- 
mate of id. a Ib. is perhaps sufficiently accurate. It 
requires very little reflection to perceive that this sum must 
be largely increased before the fish reach the hands of the 
consumer. In the first place the fish are sold on the coasts 
by a salesman ; they are packed in the railway vans ; in 
hot weather they are packed in ice ; the railway freight 
from the ports to London has to be paid ; the carriage 
from the railway terminus to Thames Street has to be 
charged ; the porterage from the van to the market has to 
be added ; market dues at Billingsgate raise the price still 
further ; the salesman at Billingsgate necessarily expects 
his own profit ; and, lastly, the retailer has to charge his 
own expenses in driving to the market to buy his fish, the 
rent of his shop, and the cost of distributing the fish to the 
consumer. In addition to all these expenses, a certain loss 
must be experienced in dealing with a perishable article 
like fish in hot weather. The price which the consumer 


must pay, therefore, must be sufficient to cover this loss, 
and the retail price of fish must exceed and largely exceed 
the price received for it by the fishermen on the coasts. 

It may perhaps be possible to place approximately this 
excess of cost in figures. The charges on the coast, for 
selling and packing the fish and for ice, may probably be 
placed at about 1 a ton, the cost of conveyance to London 
at 2 IQS. to 3 a ton, the carriage to the market, porterage 
and market dues and the salesman's commission at another 
i. The initial price, therefore, on the coast is raised from 
an average of 20 to an average of 24 ios., or 2$ before 
the fish leaves the wholesale market. If the retailer's 
profits and his labour in going to and in carrying the fish 
from Billingsgate be placed at 25 per cent, the price 
will further be raised to 31 5^., and if a further 15^. be 
added to cover the cost of fish which either decays, or 
which is sold at a nominal price to prevent its decay, the 
average retail price will be raised from 20, the value of 
the fish on the coast, to 32, its price to the consumer. 

This additional price, it must be recollected, would be 
much more serious in the case of the cheap fish which the 
trade, by a most unlucky name, calls " offal," * than with 
respect to the dear fish which are technically known as 
" prime." The transit charges, the market dues, the sales- 
men's commissions, and the expenses and a portion of the 
profits of the retailer would, in every case, have to be borne 
before the fish reached the consumer. If these charges 
reached on an average 10 or 11 a ton, they would repre- 

* "Trawled fish is divided for market purposes into two classes, 
distinguished by the names of 'prime' and ' offal' ; the former con- 
sisting of turbot, brill, soles, and dorys, and the latter of haddock, 
plaice, and other kinds of inferior fish." Holdsworth's " Deep Sea 
Fishery," p. 15. 


sent an addition of id. a Ib. to the price ; and the fish, 
therefore, if they were given away on the shore, could not 
be retailed in London for less than a id. a Ib. 

It is no doubt true that one half of these charges could be 
avoided if the consumer went to Billingsgate and purchased 
his own fish ; and it is alleged that if Billingsgate were 
made more convenient and more accessible many con- 
sumers would take this course. But very little reflection 
will show that this course could not be taken by the ma- 
jority of householders. It must be a more inconvenient and 
costly thing for a householder to travel to Billingsgate for 
the sake of buying sixpennyworth of fish than to pay a 
tradesman a shilling for bringing the fish to his own door. 
Even then if the smaller householder could afford to pay 
as much as a is. for his fish, and the price of fish in the 
retail market was twice as much as its cost at Billingsgate, 
most people would find it cheaper and easier to employ a 
retail tradesman. The retailer, in fact, is carrying out the 
great principle of the subdivision of labour which is, in one 
sense, the cause and in another sense the consequence of 
modern progress ; and it would be absurd to suppose that 
his services could be dispensed with by a civilised com- 

Fish sold at Billingsgate are sold as a rule by auction. 
Fish sold on the coast in smaller ports, where there are no 
licensed auctioneers, are usually sold by what is called 
Dutch auction. On the coast the fish is generally bought 
by a buyer who is in direct communication with some firm 
at Billingsgate, which acts as the buyer's salesman. At 
Billingsgate the fish is either bought by the retailer direct, 
or by a middleman, who is known in the market as a 
" bomaree." The " bomaree " fulfils the same functions in 
the fish market which the " regrater " used to discharge in the 


corn market. He buys fish for which there is no imme- 
diate demand at the moment, and sells it again later on in 
the day. A good many people think that the interposition 
of the " bomaree " has the effect of fui ther raising the price of 
fish and that it is therefore injurious. The clamour which 
Englishmen of another generation used to raise against the 
"regrater" is raised now against the "bomaree." The 
" bomaree," however, is really fulfilling a useful purpose. But 
for his intervention many small retail tradesmen would be 
forced to attend the market at an hour when their attendance 
would be inconvenient to them. The " bomaree " enables the 
small costermonger to postpone his visit to Billingsgate 
till he has disposed of his purchases of the previous day. 
Middlemen are never popular characters, yet the middle- 
man, if his functions are examined, will generally be found 
to supply a public want, and to fulfil a useful purpose. 

Such are some of the features in the trade of fish. An 
army of 120,000 persons is employed in catching them; 
an army of 80,000 other persons probably find employ- 
ment in curing them, or in other ways are dependent on 
the fishermen ; and an army of io,ooo to 20,000 persons 
is employed in selling them. 

There is a singular distinction between the tastes of 
different parts of the community in respect to fish.* Some 
of the fish which the English eat are disliked by the Scotch, 
while the Scotch in their turn eat some fish which are not 
relished by the English. The Scotchman rarely eats a 
mackerel, and never eats an eel. He carries his dislike of 

* The distaste of some nations for fish is remarkable. In the I2th 
Book of the Odyssey, Ulysses' companions would not eat fish till they 
were actually starving. Menelaus in the 4th Book says the same 
thing of his own companions ; and Plutarch declares that " among 
Syrians and Greeks to abstain from fish was esteemed a piece of 


eels to such an extent that he does not even catch for the 
English market the eels with which many Scotch rivers 
abound. The herring, the haddock, and the salmon are the 
fish ordinarily found on Scotch tables ; and the haddock 
in Scotland almost fills the position which is occupied in 
England by the sole. On the other hand, Englishmen 
neglect many excellent kinds of fish. The pilchard, perhaps 
from the difficulty of carrying so oily a fish, rarely finds 
a market in England outside Cornwall. So excellent a fish 
as the halibut is not commonly eaten in London. The 
skate and the ling are comparatively seldom seen in the 
west end shops ; while the poorer classes, who eat cockles 
in Lancashire, and mussels in the Midland Counties, buy 
whelks and periwinkles in the London streets. 

Perhaps, however, the most curious distinction between 
Scotch and English may be found in their respective pre- 
ferences for the female and the male crab. In England 
the female crab is hardly saleable ; and probably the roe, 
which she carries inside her shell till it is ripe for extrusion, 
is chiefly used as dressing for turbot. In Scotland, on the 
contrary, the male crab is hardly ever eaten, and people 
will not buy a whole crab which is not a female. In the 
shops in Aberdeen the claws of the male crab are sold 
separately ; the bodies are frequently unsold. It would 
probably be difficult to find another instance, so marked, of 
the different habits or tastes of two people who are united 
in one nation by the tie of a common language and common 

It has been the object of the preceding pages to describe 

* In the same way the French send their lobsters to England ; 
while the crav fish of Cornwall find a rare market in London, and are 
sold in Paris. The " trout " of the Tweed (salmo eriox) would be 
rejected by any London epicure ; they command in the Paris market 
as high a price as salmon. 


briefly the salient features of the fish trade of the United 
Kingdom. With this purpose an attempt has been made 
to show how fish are caught, to estimate the amount of 
capital, embarked in the fisheries, the extent of the employ- 
ment which they afford, and the value of the food which 
they produce. The fish have subsequently been followed 
from the markets to the consumer ; and the manner in 
which their distribution is effected has been described. 
This account, however, would be hardly complete if it were 
to stop at this point. Most people who pay any attention 
to the subject of fisheries, are occupied rather with the 
future than with the present condition of the industry. It is 
hardly possible to take up a paper, or to hear a conver- 
sation which relates to fishery matters, witho.ut listening to 
or reading gloomy* anticipations of the approaching ex- 
haustion of the fish of the sea ; and it is therefore necessary 
before concluding these pages to make a few remarks on this 
part of the subject. 

And, in the first place, people do not seem to be 
aware that the predictions which are freely hazarded 
of the approaching exhaustion of the sea are not new. 
They anb almost as old as English literature. Three 
hundred and thirty years ago a Bishop of St. David's 
declared that the scarcity of herrings was due to the 
covetousness of fishers, who in times of plenty took so 
many that they destroyed the breeders. The good 
Bishop who pronounced this positive opinion was burnt 
shortly afterwards at Carmarthen for heresy. But his 
opinions on fishery questions survived his martyrdom ; and 
a few years afterwards Parliament complained that "in 
divers places they fed swine and dogs with the fry and 
spawn of fish ; and otherwise, lamentable and horrible to be 
reported, destroy the same, to the great hindrance and 
decay of the Commonwealth." " Lamentable and horrible 


to be reported " the destruction continued, notwithstanding 
the action of the Legislature ; and it occurred to another 
Bishop that, as Parliamentary action had failed, recourse 
might be had to a Higher Power. Bishop Wilson, probably 
convinced like all around him of the decay of the fishery, 
added a paragraph to the Litany, and desired his clergy to 
pray every Sunday to God to restore the blessings of the 
sea. But though the prayer was offered up and abundantly 
answered, the same complaints continued. A few years 
afterwards, according to Mr. Lecky, the Irish fisheries 
decayed in consequence of the introduction of trawling on 
the Irish coast ; while, to come down to our own time, in 
the year in which the Queen ascended the throne, a petition 
presented to Parliament declared that the fishermen of 
Scotland, Ireland, and Holland had found out the 
breeding places of the herrings, and had resorted there to 
catch them, and that since the discovery was made the fish 
generally, throughout the west and north of Scotland, had 
annually decreased. What would the good Bishop of 
St. David's have said, 330 years ago, if some seer had told 
him that the time was coming when British fishermen would 
draw 2,000,000,000 herrings annually from the British seas, 
and that the fisheries would still go on increasing ? What 
would Parliament have said in 1558 if it had known that 
the " lamentable and horrible " practices which it denounced 
would be continued for upwards of three centuries, and that 
at the end of that time the British fisheries would yield a 
produce twenty times as valuable as the revenue which 
Elizabeth had at her disposal ? What would Parliament 
have said in 1837 if some statesman had used such language 
as this : This fishery which you declare is being destroyed, 
has never yet produced 500,000 barrels of cured herrings a 
year ; a little more than forty years hence it will regularly 
produce 1,000,000 barrels? Yet such a prediction would 


have been literally fulfilled. The statements which thus 
have been made for 330 years of the approaching ex- 
haustion of the herring fishery have, one after another, been 
falsified by the result. Of course the wolf may come at 
last. But the shepherd, who has been told for 330 
years that the wolf was always coming, and has never yet 
known him come, may venture to hope for the security of 
his flock for a little time longer. 

But some people are not satisfied with such an argument 
as this. Their ancestors, they think, may have been wrong 
in supposing that the limited machinery at their disposal 
was capable of exhausting the sea. But modern energy 
has developed the fishery to such an extent that existing 
appliances for the capture of fish bear no comparison with 
the old engines which they have superseded. All fish, so 
they argue, must in one stage of their existence be young 
and small ; if they are killed when they are young, it is 
impossible that they can grow till they are old; and, by 
destroying a fish when it is young, we are really killing a 
creature of no value, which, if we only wait patiently, will 
become of great value. But, in the first place, people do 
not act in this way in other matters. They do not hesitate 
to eat an egg worth a penny, because it might, if it were 
put into an incubator, be gradually developed into a chicken 
worth three and sixpence ; and in the next place there is 
no certainty, there is even no reasonable probability that 
the little fish which a man declined to kill would develop 
into a mature fish fit for food. On the contrary the chances 
against it doing so are extraordinarily great. The mortality 
among fish in the earlier stages of their existence is so large 
that the destruction of small fish by man, wasteful as it 
may seem, can have no appreciable effect on the stock of 
fish in the sea, 

VOL. I. II. *" 


To make the foregoing assertion good, it may perhaps be 
legitimate to use an illustration, which the present writer 
has used twice before, and which has never been answered. 
It may be assumed as a matter beyond dispute that 
European fishermen are drawing more than 3,000,000,000 
of mature herrings annually from the North Sea. It has 
been proved that predaceous birds and predaceous fish 
catch annually at least as many herrings as are caught by 
the fishermen. Yet at the end of the fishing season there 
is no perceptible diminution in the size of the shoals. It is 
unlikely that one herring out of every thousand has been 
killed : it is improbable that one herring out of every 
hundred has been killed : it is certain that one herring out 
of every ten has not been killed ; but, to put the matter 
beyond all doubt, it shall be assumed that one herring out 
of every two is killed. In that case 6,000,000,000 herrings 
are killed, and 6,000,000,000 herrings are left alive. In 
order to maintain the existing stock of herrings in the sea, 
these 6,000,000,000 herrings ought, in the course of the 
succeeding year, to produce another 6,000,000,000 adult 
herrings, or, if half the surviving herrings are females, 
each female herring must produce two adult herrings. 
But each female herring deposits from 20,000 to 50,000 
eggs. Take the lowest of these numbers. Out of every 
20,000 eggs which the female herring extrudes, 19,998 
herrings must either fail to be hatched, or must perish in 
some of the earlier stages of existence. Suppose that man 
by his so-called wasteful operations succeeds in destroying 
8 out of the 19,998 eggs or fish, or in other words 
24,000,000,000 whitebait, nature will still have to account 
for the destruction of the remaining 19,990 eggs or young 
fish. If she did not do so, the North Sea in the course of 
a few years would become a solid mass of herrings. 


It is obvious, therefore, that the destruction of fish by 
man, large as it seems at first sight, is like a drop of water 
in the bucket when it is compared with the prodigious 
natural waste which is simultaneously going on. It is 
absurd, therefore, to suppose that any necessity can exist 
for restricting the operations of the fishermen. It may 
perhaps be added that it is almost impossible to devise 
any regulations which will effectively prevent the cap- 
ture of immature fish, and which will not simultaneously 
interfere with the legitimate operations of the fishermen. 
Most, if not all, the modes of fishing involve some waste, 
The most efficient engines of capture are precisely those 
which are the most destructive ; and any legislative pre- 
cautions, calculated to preserve the fry of fish, will un- 
doubtedly diminish the supply, and consequently increase 
the price, of fish as food. People, therefore, who are 
interested in cheap fish should cease to demand restrictive 
legislation. The fisheries of the British Islands languished 
under the patronage of the great, and made no real 
progress under the patronage of the Legislature. They 
have attained their present prosperity under a system of 
freedom. "When the subject enjoys the fruit of his 
industry," wrote Pope in a note on a well-known passage 
of the Odyssey, " the earth will always be well cultivated 
and bring forth abundance ; the sea will furnish the land 
with plenty of fishes, and men will plant when they are 
sure to gather the fruit." It was the misfortune of 
England that her statesmen for one hundred years did not 
realise the full moral of this passage, or see that the true 
way to promote every industry was to leave it alone.* 

* The passage in Homer is a very remarkable one. " Under a good 
government," says Ulysses to Penelope, "the land brings forth its 
fruit, and the sea yields its fish." 

F 2 


These truths require perhaps to be impressed on the 
public at a moment when one section of the people is 
endeavouring to impose restrictive regulations on fishermen, 
and another section is trying, by an unnecessary and there- 
fore unwise patronage, to develop an industry which is 
already prosperous. But it must not be supposed that, 
because free trade in fishing is better than protection, and 
the independence of an honest man is worth more than all 
the patronage of all the aristocracy, nothing can be done 
either by legislation or in other ways to promote the deve- 
lopment of British fisheries. The few pages to which this 
essay may still extend, cannot perhaps be more usefully 
occupied than by considering this portion of the subject. 

In the first place, the State can do what no private 
individual can possibly do. It can collect and publish 
periodical and authoritative statements of the condition of 
the fisheries. This information can easily be collected by 
officers who already exist, and no appreciable expense will 
therefore be incurred in obtaining it. Its publication will 
be of great advantage. In State affairs, as in other matters, 
the possession of knowledge is essential to the administrator ; 
and many of the wild proposals which are constantly made 
for the regulation of the fisheries, would probably be 
dropped if the steady and satisfactory progress of the 
industry were established by figures. Those who desire 
to resist the introduction of restrictive laws as well as those 
who clamour for their passage, are, or ought to be, equally 
interested in procuring the statistics, by which the sound- 
ness of their own opinions must ultimately be tested. 

In the next place, the State can provide, or can ask other 
nations to aid it in providing for what for want of a better 
word may be termed the Police of the Seas. The con- 
tinuous development of the fishery is constantly making 


regulations for preserving order and preventing collision 
more and more necessary. A central authority alone can 
devise means for regulating the traffic of the ocean, or can 
determine what lights or other marks shall be borne by 
distinctive classes of vessels. The State has, from the first, 
recognized its obligation to discharge this function. But it 
has still much to do before it can rest from its labours. The 
whole question of lights at sea the most important of all 
the subjects arranged by the State which affects the 
fisheries is in a confused and unsatisfactory position. 
The decision of the Hague Convention is still unratified. 
These and other questions await solution ; and the State, 
and the State alone, is capable of solving them. 

In the third place, though in this respect greater caution 
is necessary, the State may probably do something to pro- 
mote the construction of harbours in which the fishing-fleets 
may find shelter in bad weather, or in which facilities may 
be afforded for landing fish. The State, indeed, could pro- 
bably undertake no more pernicious function than the 
construction of fishing-harbours. If it be once known that 
the Treasury is willing to build harbours for localities, local 
bodies and individuals will cease to build them for them- 
selves. The Imperial Exchequer, however liberal it may 
be, can never hope to do so much as the localities them- 
selves, and its readiness to build harbours will actually lead 
to fewer harbours being built. The true course, apparently, 
for the Government, is to encourage local efforts by offering 
to advance money for the purpose on easy terms. It will 
thus avoid the embarrassing duty of selecting the precise 
spots which are most worthy of attention, and it will escape 
the invidious distinction of preferring one place to another. 
Much may, indeed, be urged for the policy of constructing 
one or two harbours of refuge at exposed points of the 


coast. But such harbours are not required, and ought not 
to be made for fishing reasons alone ; and their provision 
must be defended on broader grounds than it is possible 
properly to bring forward in an essay on the fish-trade of 
the United Kingdom. 

These three things the preparation of adequate statis- 
tics ; the provision of proper police regulations for ensuring 
order at sea: and the facilitating the construction of adequate 
fishing-harbours are the three points on which the action 
of the State may properly be employed in promoting the 
fishing industry. There are one or two minor points in 
which it is possible that interference may be beneficial, but 
speaking broadly, on all other matters, State intervention is 
probably injurious; and the best service that the Govern- 
ment can render to fishermen, is to leave them alone. 
Mr. Huxley once stated that fishermen should be left to 
pursue their calling " how they like, when they like, and 
where they like." As a general proposition, to which Mr. 
Huxley would probably himself admit a few minor ex- 
ceptions may be made, the present writer is convinced of 
the truth of Mr. Huxley's dictum. 

Though, however, the action of the State should thus be 
limited, other persons may do something to promote the 
fishing-trade. The Corporation of London might assist in 
this way by improving Billingsgate and its approaches, or by 
substituting for it some more convenient water-side market. 
The various railway companies might do something in the 
same direction by reconsidering the terms on which they 
now carry fish ; while private enterprise might also be 
of use in devising some adequate scheme for the in- 
surance of fishermen's lives, their boats and their gear. 
These are means by which both the State and the public 
may usefully promote the fisherman's industry. Except 


by such expedients as these, the truest method of assisting 
fishermen is to leave them alone. The fisherman of the 
British Islands has attained his present position by his own 
unaided efforts ; his best friends desire that he should be 
neither hampered by the restrictions of law nor spoilt by the 
smiles of patronage. To both dangers he is exposed at 
the present time. His importance has won for him friends ; 
and his new friends are always suggesting new legislative 
regulations for his protection, or for the protection of the 
fish which he takes. Hitherto these suggestions have been 
disregarded by Parliament. It may be hoped that the time 
will never come when they may receive more attention. In 
fishing, as in other industries, freedom is the first condition 
of success, and the man who is fettered by restrictive laws 
is little better than a slave. Perhaps some readers may 
recollect what was said of the slave : 

" Jove fixed it certain that whatever day 
Makes man a slave takes half his worth away." 



















APPENDIX , , . . , . . . .20! 


THE object of this handbook is to place before the reader a 
brief descriptive summary of the entire fish-fauna of the 
British Islands. Within the limited space at disposal it 
has been found impossible in certain instances to give more 
than an enumeration of the various specific forms, though 
in most such cases, as exemplified by the Cod-fish, 
Herring, and Salmon tribes, compensation for this deficiency 
is made in the corresponding handbooks published or 
about to be published on the several subjects of "Food 
Fishes," " Fish Culture," and " Distribution and Consump- 
tion of Fish." In a similar manner all complete details 
relating to the morphological structure and developmental 
phenomena of fishes have been left in charge of the writers 
engaged upon the treatises pertaining to " Fish Morpho- 
logy" and the "Life History of Fishes," while all legis- 
lative enactments and statistics concerning our home- 
fisheries are appropriately relegated to the handbooks 
entitled " The Law in relation to Fish and Fisheries," and 
" The Fish Trade of the United Kingdom." Apart from 
the several topics now enumerated, there remains to be 
recorded a vast fund of information concerning the habits 
of fish, their peculiar modes of locomotion, variations and 
adaptations of form and colour, assumed during their 
growth to the adult state, or adopted for the purpose of 


concealment, and in connection with their breeding seasons ; 
the nest-forming propensities and parental solicitude often 
displayed in the protection of the eggs and young, usually 
by the male fish, are all matters of high interest both to 
the biologist and general reader, that can be studied 
successfully in connection only with living examples accli- 
matised in aquaria. Many original observations in this 
direction, made by the author during the times he held the 
position of Naturalist and Curator to the several large 
public aquaria of Brighton, Manchester, Great Yarmouth, 
and Westminster, and for the most part previously recorded 
in the columns of 'Nature/ the 'Field/ and the official 
guide-books written by him for the above-named institutions, 
have been accordingly embodied in these pages. In this 
connection attention may be more particularly directed to the 
accounts here given of the Red Mullet, p. 88, the Black 
Bream, p. 92, the Angler, p. 101, the Dragonet, p. 127, the 
Smooth Blenny, p. 136, Whitebait, p. 171, and the Sea 
Horses, p. 177. In such manner it is anticipated that 
this little handbook will be found a useful guide to the 
numerous visitors interested in that highly popular section 
of the Exhibition buildings, the Aquarium Corridor, flank- 
ing the west side of the Horticultural Gardens, and which 
it is hereafter proposed to retain as a permanent and highly 
important adjunct of the Science and Art Department. 
With the assistance of this handbook they will have an 
opportunity of identifying the various fish exhibited, and of 
comparing and verifying the descriptions here given of their 
more remarkable habits and peculiarities. To facilitate 
such reference and comparison the index at the end of this 
book will be found to include all the names of the various 
fishes living in the Aquarium, and whose titles are affixed 
on tablets at the sides of the tanks. 


This handbook has at the same time been compiled with 
the view of providing a complete reference catalogue 01 
index to the fine series of spirit-preserved British marine 
and freshwater fishes collected by Dr. Francis Day, 
which after exhibition in their present position in the East 
Quadrant will be given to the nation, and placed perma- 
nently on view in the Buckland Fish Museum. This 
museum, it is hopefully anticipated, will on the close of the 
Exhibition be enriched by many kindred acquisitions. As 
will be observed, the numbers quoted in these pages in con- 
secutive order after the popular and technical titles of each 
fish, coincide with the same numbers inscribed on the 
labels attached to the jars which contain the above-named 
fish collection, while an extended special description of the 
individual specimens thus exhibited is frequently given in 
the text. In like manner, by way of exemplifying certain 
rare forms, not in the Day Collection, and the larger sizes 
to which our indigenous fishes not unfrequently attain, 
reference is constantly made to the magnificent series oi 
coloured plaster casts prepared by the late Mr.. Frank 
Buckland, and to the many preserved specimens contained 
in the Buckland Museum, now thrown open to the public 
in conjunction with the Exhibition Courts. 

The classificatory system adopted in this handbook 
accords substantially with that adopted by Professor 
Huxley in his ' Manual of the Anatomy of Vertebrated 
Animals/ the diagnosis of the minor subdivisions or 
families being derived mainly from the special works on 
fishes by Dr. Albert Giinther and Dr. Francis Day. 
English readers desirous of extending their acquaintance with 
the morphology offish, and with the varieties and distribution 
of our indigenous icthyological fauna, may advantageously 
consult the following books, 'The Anatomy of Verte- 


brated Animals/ by Professor T. H. Huxley, F.R.S., 1871 ; 
Gegenbaur's ' Elements of Comparative Anatomy/ trans- 
lated and revised by Professor E. Ray Lankester, 1878; 
'A History of the Fishes of the British Islands/ by 
Jonathan Couch, 4 vols., with coloured figure of each species, 
1858; 'A History of British Fishes/ by William Yarrell, 
2 vols., 1859; 'An Introduction to the Study of Fishes/ 
by Dr. Albert Giinther, 1880; a 'Familiar History of 
British Fishes/ by Frank Buckland, 1878 ; and 'The Fishes 
of Great Britain and Ireland/ by Dr. Francis Day, F.L.S., 
F.Z.S., now in course of publication. 

The author has, in conclusion, to acknowledge his in- 
debtedness to Messrs. Cassell, Petter & Galpin, the Com- 
mittee of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 
and Messrs. Adam & Charles Black of Edinburgh, for their 
kind courtesy in supplying him with electrotypes of the 
wood engravings in their possession, utilised for the illus- 
tration of this handbook. 


May 22nd, 1883. 





THE class of fishes embraces an extensive series of 
vertebrated or backboned animal forms exhibiting the 
utmost diversity in size, form, habits, and organisation. The 
more highly organised fish types so closely approach 
structurally certain members of the class Amphibia in- 
cluding the Frogs, Newts, and Salamanders as to be with 
difficulty distinguished from the representatives of that 
section, while the lowest known type (Amphioxus), No. 232, 
is so deficient in all those characters by which ordinary fish 
are recognised, and is in other respects so structurally 
modified, as to form a connecting link with the lower or 
invertebrate animal series. Defined in its most general 
and comprehensive sense the class of fishes may be 
described as a group of vertebrate animals of essentially 
aquatic habits. The limbs, when present, take the form of 
two pairs of ventrally developed appendages, which, while 
homologous with the fore and hind limbs of the higher 
vertebrata, are not divided in a similar manner by articula- 
tions into the distinct regions of arm, forearm, and hand, or 


thigh, shank, and foot, as obtains in such higher animals ; 
the wrist-like development of the pectoral fins in the 
Angler-fishes or Pediculati may be cited among the 
nearest modifications in this direction. In place of this 
the limbs are composed, for the most part, of a series of 
soft parallel bony or cartilaginous rays invested by a 
continuous expansion of the integument, and thus form 
efficient paddle-like locomotive organs or fins, the fore and 
hind pairs of these appendages being known respectively 
as the pectoral and ventral fins. In addition to these paired 
fins all fishes invariably possess a greater or less number 
of median unpaired fins, these are the dorsal or back fins, 
the anal or vent fins, and the caudal or tail fin. All of 
these unpaired fins are supported by cartilaginous or bony 
fin rays, which are joined to the body through the medium 
of special spinous processes ; this structural constitution of 
the median fins is especially characteristic of fishes, and 
obtains in no other animals. The heart in all fishes, except- 
ing Amphioxus, consists of a single auricle and ventricle, 
the blood is cold and red, its component corpuscles being 
distinctly nucleated, and of an oval shape. All fishes 
respire the oxygen dissolved in the water by the means ol 
gills or branchiae. These are supported upon a greater or 
less number of bony or cartilaginous structures, the visceral 
arches, developed immediately behind the head, and which 
are brought into direct relation with the surrounding water 
in front by the opening of the mouth, and behind by the 
gill cleft or clefts. The skin, naked in some fishes, is more 
usually covered with overlapping scales, or may be pro- 
tected by a series of closely set bony plates, or by variously 
distributed tubercles or spines. All fishes are dioecious 
(bisexual), the majority being oviparous, but some, in- 
cluding notably certain representatives of the Shark tribe, 


are viviparous, that is, produce their young alive. The 
fecundity of fishes is in excess of that of any other division 
of the animal kingdom. The number of eggs contained in 
the roe of a single Cod frequently exceeds eight or nine 
millions, while the roe of a large Turbot weighing twenty 
pounds was found to contain over fourteen million eggs. 
The average number of eggs produced by a Salmon having 
a weight of twenty pounds is twenty-seven thousand, and 
that of a Herring from twenty to fifty thousand. 

The number of known species of fish distributed through- 
out the salt and fresh waters of the globe falls but little 
short of nine thousand, out of which as many as two 
hundied and thirty-two are included in the fish-fauna of 

FIG. I. AUSTRALIAN MUD-FISH (Ceratodus Forsteri). 

the British Islands. Of these, some twenty-eight or thirty 
are inhabitants of purely fresh water, twelve or thirteen are 
" anadromous," migrating periodically from salt to fresh 
water or the converse, while the remainder are exclusively 
marine forms. The fish class as a whole is sub-divided by 
our highest authority (see Professor Huxley's 'Anatomy 
of Vertebrated Animals ') into as many as six leading 
sections or orders. These, commencing with the most 
highly organised, and descending to the lowest or least 
specialised group, take the following sequence : I. The 
Dipnoi or Mud-fishes ; II. The Teleostei or ordinary bony 
fishes ; III. The Ganoidei or Sturgeon tribe ; IV. The Elas- 
mobranchii, including the Sharks and Rays ; V. The 
VOL. i. H. G 


Marsipobranchii, comprising the Lampreys ; and VI. The 
Pharyngobranchii, represented only by that lowest known 
and very remarkable vertebrate form, the Lancelet, Amphi- 
oxus. Of the six foregoing groups, but one, that of the 
Dipnoi, is wanting to our indigenous fauna. This order, 
which among existing forms includes only the African and 
American Mud-fishes Protopterus and Lepidosiren, and the 
Australian Ceratodus, is of especial interest to the biologist, 
since it constitutes a stepping-stone to the tailed amphibia, 
or Newts and Salamanders, with which, indeed, anatomi- 
cally, the species possess many points in common. The 
African type, Lepidosiren annectans, has been frequently 
brought alive to this country, and several fine casts, illus- 
trating its singular form, are on view in the Buckland 
Museum. A figure of the yet more remarkable and very 
recently discovered Ceratodus Forsteri, inhabiting the fresh 
waters of Queensland, Australia, is given overleaf. The 
enumeration and description of our highly representative 
British fish-fauna may now be proceeded with. 

ORDER l.Teleostei. 

Fishes having a spinal column that always contains dis- 
tinctly ossified vertebral centra, and the primordial cartilage 
of the skull more or less completely replaced by bone. 

(A canthopterygit). 

A greater or less portion of the rays of the dorsal, anal, 
and ventral fins not articulated, but represented by sharp- 
pointed indurated spines; the lower pharyngeal bones 
usually distinct. Air-bladder in the adult fish without a 
pneumatic duct 



This most highly organised group of the Acanthopterygian 
or spine-firmed fishes, typified by the common Perch of our 
freshwater ponds and rivers, is represented by five additional 
British species, all of which, with but one exception, are in- 
habitants of salt water. The subjoined characters may be 
cited as common to all its members, and as serving to 
distinguish them from other spine-finned fishes, which in 
many points they closely resemble. The body is usually 
of an oblong form ; the branchiostegal rays, supporting the 
membraneous gill covers, are from five to seven in number ; 
the anterior portion of the dorsal fin is distinctly spinous ; 
the scales are in most instances conspicuously ctenoid or 
pectinated, and do not extend over the surface of the 
vertical fins as in the exotic Squamipinnes, e.g. Chcetodon ; 
the cheeks are not protected by bony plates as in the 
Gurnards, and there are no filamentous processes, barbels, 
developed upon the lower jaw as pbtains among the next 
family of the Red Mullets (Mullida). An air-bladder is 
almost invariably present. 

The Freshwater Perch (Percafluviatilis\ No. I, relegated 
by most ichthyologists to the first place among the members 
of its tribe, is too familiar in form to need elaborate 
description. Its rich ground colour of golden-brown, varie- 
gated usually by five or six transversely-set broad bands of 
black, and bright red ventral, anal, and caudal fins, render 
it one of the most beautifully marked of our freshwater 
species. With the angler it is a prime favourite, being of 
essentially gregarious habits, and taking baits so freely as 
to afford most excellent sport. In the famous Norfolk 
Broads, where Perch are very abundant, and grow to large 
dimensions, it has been observed that the fish assemble 

G 2 


together in shoals according to their sizes, the smaller and 
larger individuals keeping to themselves, and repelling the 
intrusion of those that materially differ from them in this 
respect ; a similar phenomenon has been observed in the 
case of many gregarious marine species. Perch may attain 
to a weight of as much as five or six pounds, one scaling 
two pounds, however, being considered a fine fish. The 
spawn of the Perch is a very beautiful object, and is not 
unfrequently deposited by the fish in the tanks of aquaria. 
The individual eggs are very minute, about the size of 
millet seeds, but when extruded are invested with and 

FlG. 2. THE i-ERCH (Perca fluviatilis). 

bound together by a copious matrix of semi-transparent 
mucilage, and in this form deposited in reticulated lace-like 
bands upon or among water-weeds or other suitable sub- 
merged objects. The spawning season of the Perch ranges 
from March to June. The number of eggs contained 
in the roe of two fish, weighing respectively three pounds 
two ounces and two pounds eleven ounces, was calcu- 
lated by Mr. Frank Buckland to amount to no less 
than 155,620 in the former and 127,240 in the latter 
of the two examples. Casts of these two fish are now 
on view in the Buckland Museum. Perch obtained from 
different localities are subject to considerable colour 


variation ; the characteristic transverse bands may be 
increased from the more normal one of five or six to as 
many as eight ; in place of being distinct they may combine 
with each other either superiorly or inferiorly, or they may 
on the other hand be altogether absent. The American 
Perch, formerly distinguished by the title of Perca fia- 
vescens, is now generally recognised to be a variety only of 
the British and continental species. The only other British 
freshwater representative of the Perch family is the Pope 
or Ruff (A cerina cernud], No. 3, a fish corresponding closely 
in its general form with the Perch, but readily distinguished 
from it by the confluence of what in the Perch constitutes 
a first and second dorsal fin, and by its more sombre 
colouring, which consists usually of a ground tint of yellowish 
brown, diversified with thickly sprinkled black or dark- 
brown spots. The Pope is a small fish, rarely exceeding a 
length of four or five inches ; the example in the Day 
Collection, (No. 3B.), measuring as much as six inches, 
being of exceptional dimensions. 

First among the series of fishes belonging to the marine 
division of the Perch family must be mentioned the Bass or 
Basse (Labrax lupus), No. 2. The silvery sheen of the 
scales of this fish, combined with its somewhat salmon-like 
size and proportions, has won for it in various parts of our 
coasts the local title of the " White Salmon ; " and as a 
variety of such noble fish, the prickly dorsal fin having first 
been carefully removed, it is not unfrequently foisted upon 
the uninitiated. Its Latin name of lupus or " wolf," which it 
has inherited from the Romans its Greek generic title of 
Labrax also signifying a " sea- wolf " is presumed to have 
been conferred upon it with reference to its voracious 
appetite, and to its habit of congregating in shoals, and 
hunting down the smaller species of fish upon which it 


feeds. The Bass grows to a large size, examples of fifteen, 
sixteen, or even twenty pounds being not uncommon, such 
finer specimens being mostly taken near the mouths of 
rivers and the entrances of harbours to which they are 
especially partial. Though strictly a marine fish the Bass 
will ascend rivers into brackish water, and, as the writer 
proved in the tanks of the Manchester Aquarium, may be 
cultivated in purely fresh water. The ancient Romans, 
from whom we might even yet take many a useful lesson 
in the art of pisciculture, were well aware of the accommo- 
dating habits of the Bass, and are asserted, on the authority 
of Columella, to have even bred it in their freshwater ponds. 
The Bass is one of the few sea species that may be success- 
fully fished for with a rod and fly, excellent sport being 
obtained with it in this manner, more especially along the 
rocky coast-line of Devonshire and Cornwall. The cast of 
a fine specimen of the Bass, length two feet nine inches, 
weighing sixteen pounds, will be found among the collection 
in the Buckland Museum. 

The Comber or Smooth Serranus (Serranus cabrilla), No. 
4, met with in tolerable abundance on the coast of Cornwall, is 
a fish of relatively small dimensions, not exceeding one foot 
in length, whose aspect, colour, and habits greatly resemble 
those of the Wrasses (Labridce). As a species of this last- 
named group, the writer has indeed received it from the 
above-named locality, in company with living examples of 
the Ballan, Blue-Striped, and other Wrasses, for stocking the 
tanks of the Brighton, Westminster, and other Aquaria. 
The entire absence, however, in the Comber of the protru- 
sile fleshy lips that constitute so prominent a character in 
the Wrasses, serves at once to distinguish this fish from all 
members of that family. The ground colour of the Comber 
is usually a tawny yellow, becoming lighter towards the 


ventral region, interrupted by three or four narrow longi- 
tudinal bands of a stone-grey or pale-bluish hue which 
extend from the region of the head to the root of the tail, 
more or less numerous spots of the same tint decorating the 
elongated dorsal fin. This fish is not of sufficient size nor 
sufficiently abundant to be used as food, and when caught 
is usually cut up for bait. A close ally to the Comber is 
the so-called Giant Perch or Dusky Perch (Serranus gigas\ 
No. 5, a perfect monster compared with the freshwater 
representatives of the Perch family, attaining in its full 
growth to a length of three to four feet, and a weight of from 
sixty to over one hundred pounds. It is a somewhat rare 
visitor to our shores. The Mediterranean and Atlantic sea- 
board, as far south as the Cape of Good Hope, being its more 
ordinarily frequented habitat. The examples so far cap- 
tured in British waters were taken at Polperro, Falmouth, 
Penzance, and other points on the Cornish coast. The 
small example preserved in spirit in the Day Collection is 
necessarily a very young one. The Stone Bass (Polyprion 
cernium), No. 5, is another of the Sea Perches, local and 
irregular in its appearance on the British coast, and whose 
headquarters, as in the preceding form, are to be sought 
in the Mediterranean and other southern seas, where it 
attains to a size equal to, or it may be even greater than that 
of the so-called Giant Perch examples of as much and even 
over six feet in length having been recorded. It has been 
observed as a peculiarity in the habits of the Stone Bass 
that it is almost invariably captured in the neighbourhood 
of floating timbers and other wreckage, which it apparently 
frequents to feed upon the small fish and various Crustacea, 
Molluscs, and other animals so abundantly associated with 
the flotsam of the ocean. In a similar manner these fish 
will also attach themselves to a vessel, whose bottom after 


a long voyage has become foul with Barnacles (Lepadid<z), 
and follow her from the high seas to her port of destination. 
The habit just recorded of the Stone Bass has won for it 
from the Devonshire fishermen the local title of the " Wreck- 
fish." The colour of the species is usually a greyish- 
brown or stone colour, irregularly marked with spots and 
blotches of a lighter hue. The last fish on the list of the 
British Percidae is the Dentex (Dentex vulgaris), No. 6 ; this 
is likewise only an occasional wanderer to our shores, finding 
its true home in more southern latitudes ; in both shape and 
in its bright colouration, which consists of various tints of 
gold, silver, and light blue, it very closely resembles certain 
members of the Sparidce or Sea-Breams. The long conical 
so-called canine teeth, developed to the number of four in 
each jaw, are highly characteristic of this species, and in the 
larger examples, ranging from three to four feet long one 
exposed for sale in the Falmouth fish market in August 
1851 measured no less than fifty-six inches must constitute 
very formidable weapons of defence. 


Fish of an elongated shape ; the branchiostegal rays, 
supporting the gill membrane, four in number ; two long 
cirrhi or barbels, connected with the hyoid apparatus, 
dependent from the lower jaw ; scales large, entire or 
very finely serrated ; dorsal fins, two in number, widely 

The Red Mullet or Surmullet (Mullus barbatus), No. 8, 
with its apparent variety M. surmuletus, is the only British 
representative of this distinct little family group, which 
includes some forty additional species, for the most part 
inhabitants of the tropics. The characteristic red or brilliant 



pink hue of the fish, as exposed for sale in the markets, is 
produced artificially by the undoubtedly cruel practice of 
removing its scales immediately after capture and while 
still alive, such process causing the permanent contraction 
and correspondingly more brilliant display of the red 
pigment contained in the colour-cells or chromatophores 
distributed over the surface of the body. A similar brilliant 
colouration is transitorily exhibited by the fish when dying 
under ordinary conditions, and it was one of the favourite 

FlG. 3. RED MULLET (Mullus surmuletus). 

pastimes of the barbaric Romans to hold banquets for the 
express purpose of watching the changing colours of the 
Red Mullet during its death agonies, fabulous prices being 
paid for examples of more than ordinary size. The epicure 
Asinius Celer is thus, by way of example, stated to have 
expended a sum equal to no less than sixty-five pounds of 
our currency upon a single fish, and even higher prices than 
this are authentically recorded. The so-called Surmullet 
or " Striped Red Mullet," which is actually much more abun- 


dant on our coasts than the plain Red Mullet, and is distin- 
guished by the presence of from three to five yellow bands 
developed along each side, from the head to within a short 
distance of the caudal fin, is now regarded as a local variety 
only of the uniformly red species or typical M. barbatus, 
which is the more common and most esteemed on the coasts 
of Toulon and Provence. Some authorities premise that the 
red is the male and the striped form the female, and others 
that the latter, being invariably the larger, is alone the full- 
grown fish. It is, at all events, certain that the two are 
specifically identical, every intermediate condition between 
the two having been recorded. Dr. Day, in Part I. of his 
< Fishes of Great Britain,' 1880, is unable to express a 
decided opinion regarding the food of the Red Mullet, 
authorities differing in this respect, and the tradition of the 
ancients being that they were very foul feeders, delighting 
especially to batten, as is the case with Eels, on putrid 
substances, including corpses. These fish, however, were 
cultivated in the tanks of the Brighton Aquarium so long 
since as the year 1873, and their natural habits observed 
and recorded by the writer in the official guide-book to that 
Institution, published that same year. It was then shown 
that shrimps, worms, and other small living marine animals, 
form the chief staple of their food, the fish assembling in 
shoals and systematically beating over the whole ground 
and rockwork of their tanks, after the manner of well- 
trained sporting dogs, their pliant barbels, used as feelers, 
being thrust into every crevice in search of their favourite 
food. No prettier sight, indeed, is afforded in a well-stocked 
aquarium than " feeding time " at the Red Mullet tank, 
when a handful of live Shrimps being thrown in, these 
Crustacea at once bury themselves in the sand, and are 
thence one by one dislodged by the hungry fish after 


careful hunting in the manner above described. On the 
British coasts the Red Mullet rarely exceeds a weight of 
from one to two pounds, with a length of twelve or fourteen 
inches. Occasionally, however, they have been taken over 
three pounds in weight, and in the Mediterranean they grow 
to yet larger dimensions. 


Body oblong, usually much compressed ; scales entire or 
very minutely serrated ; branchiostegal rays, five to seven in 
number ; eyes lateral ; teeth usually so differentiated as to 
constitute a distinct cutting and grinding series ; the dorsal fin 
single, formed by a spinous and soft portion of nearly equal 
development ; the air-bladder present, often bifid pos- 

The Sea-Breams, recognised externally by their laterally 
flattened or compressed form, and by their possession of 
functionally modified cutting and grinding teeth, are 
herbivorous and carnivorous fishes, inhabiting the shores of 
all tropical and temperate seas, as many as nine species 
occurring in British waters. The majority possess a strong 
family likeness to one another, and exhibit but little vari- 
ation in either shape or colour, the prevailing tints being a 
golden-red, blue or silvery hue, more intense on the back, 
and thence shading off to the ventral region, a darker spot 
being sometimes developed immediately behind the head, 
or upon what may be called the shoulder. In the Spanish 
Bream (Pagellus bogarevid), No. 14, and the Erythrinus, or 
king of the Breams (Pagellus erythrinus\ No. 17, as excep- 
tions, small thickly distributed spots of a brilliant azure-blue 
are conspicuously visible throughout the entire dorsal 
region. Specimens of the last-named very beautiful fish, 


obtained from Mevagissey, Cornwall, through Mr. Matthias 
Dunn, were successfully introduced by the writer in the year 
1876 to the tanks of the Westminster Aquarium, being the 
first and so far only examples of the species thus acclima- 
tised. The Boops or Bogue (Box yulgaris), No. 10, is a 
somewhat aberrant member of the Bream family, which, in 
addition to its un-Breamlike elongated form, has three or 
four yellow streaks developed along the sides of the body, 
parallel with the lateral line ; this pattern of ornamentation 
is, however, shared to some extent by the next-mentioned 
species. The teeth along the front border of the mouth in 
the Bogue differ again from those of the ordinary Sea-Breams 
in having a flattened trifoliate shape. Among the commoner 
representatives of the Bream family may be mentioned the 
Black Sea-Bream or Old Wife (Cantharus lineatus), No. 9, a 
species pretty plentifully distributed upon the south and 
western shores of England, and taken abundantly during the 
summer months off Brighton. It is usually referred to as a 
solitary species (Couch, Yarrell, Day, &c.), but such assump- 
tion is not supported by the writer's experience, who, when 
fishing for it with hook and line in the above-named locality, 
has observed that on one being caught, a rapid succession 
of captures almost invariably followed, showing that the fish 
fed in companies. Through a long observation of its habits 
in the tanks of various aquaria, it has likewise been always 
found to swim in shoals. In connection with the examples 
kept at the Brighton Aquarium some data of high interest 
were observed and recorded by the writer,* relating to 
the phenomena of reproduction. On the arrival of the 
spawning season, which takes place during the early spring 
months, the full-grown males, separating themselves from 

* W. Saville Kent, " On Permanent and Transitory Variations in the 
Colour of Fish," ' Nature,' May 8th, 1873. 


the general shoal, commence excavating deep hollows in 
the sand and shingle forming the flooring of their large 
tank, measuring some twenty feet in length and breadth. 
Each of the males thus separated from his fellows, now 
mounts guard over his respective hollow and the adjacent 
area, and vigorously repels, with certain exceptions, the too 
close approach of every member of the deserted shoal. The 
exceptions in question are the mature females, which by 
every means in his power he endeavours to entice within 
the charmed circle over which he rules supreme, and which 
is ultimately shown to be a spawning bed, prepared by 
him for the female fish. One of the most curious circum- 
stances attending these spawning operations, however, is 
the remarkable transformation of colour undergone by the 
male. Losing his ordinary attire of silvery grey, he 
gradually grows darker and darker, until he has assumed the 
almost black hue characteristic of the fish under ordinary 
conditions, some time after death, the lips alone remaining 
ashy pale, and his aspect under these auspices being 
preternaturally grim. The hatching out of the ova de- 
posited was unfortunately not accomplished, they appar- 
ently coming to an untimely end through the attacks of the 
non-breeding shoal, and as indeed commonly happens 
where a large number of fish are confined within the limits 
of an aquarium tank. The hitherto reputed solitary 
habits of the Black Bream, and also the tradition that the 
male attaches itself to one mate for life, were thus disproved 
by these observations : The male, as in the case of the Stickle- 
back, though grim-looking as Othello, proves himself the 
very gayest of gay Lotharios in his attentions to the fairer 
sex, and is indeed never so happy as when he can succeed in 
decoying one female after the other to share the honours of 


his deeply excavated bridal abode. As will have been antici- 
pated, the Black Sea-Bream takes its name with reference 
to the sooty hue it assumes after death, its synonym of the 
" Old Wife " being a local title by which it is known to 
south coast fishermen. Among the remaining members 
of the Sea-Bream family, upon which limited space 
precludes extension, have to be mentioned the Couches 
Sea-Bream (Pagrus vulgaris\ No. II ; the Gilt-head 
(Pagrus auratus], No. 12 ; the common or Red Sea-Bream 
(Pagellus centrodontus), No. 13 ; the Axillary Sea-Bream 
(Pagellus Owenii), No. 1 5 ; and the Acarne (Pagellus acarne), 
No. 1 6. The majority of these will be found included 
among the spirit-preserved series in the Day Collection. 
None of the Sea-Breams are held in high estimation as food- 
fish, their flesh being coarse and insipid. A length of from 
twelve to eighteen inches with a weight of five or six pounds 
represents the average size attained by the adults of the 
largest members of the Sea-Bream family, such as Nos. 9 and 
13, taken on the British coast. The cast of an unusually fine 
example of the latter form, Pagellus centrodontus, having a 
length of twenty-two inches, and which weighed, when fresh 
from the sea, no less than eight pounds, is on view in the 
Buckland Museum. 


Body more or less compressed ; the cleft of the mouth 
lateral or sub-vertical, furnished with feeble villiform teeth ; 
eyes usually approximated towards the top of the head ; a 
greater or less number of the head bones, and especially 
those of the pre-operculum, armed with defensive spines, 
dorsal fin single, its larger anterior moiety spinous ; branch!- 


ostegal rays five to seven in number ; air-bladder present 
or absent. 

The so-called " Norway Haddock," or Bergylt (Sebastes 
norwegi'cus), No. 18, a fish of Bream-like aspect, but 
differing from the members of the group last described in 
the spinous armature of the pre-operculum and other head- 
bones, and in the feeble, villous character of the dentition, is 
our only indigenous example of the Scorpcenidcz. It is a 
northern deep-water fish, not uncommon off the coasts of 
Norway, Greenland, and among the Faroe Islands, but 
becoming rare further south. Full-grown specimens of this 
type are said to attain to a length of no less than four feet ; 
the example, about eighteen inches long, exhibited in the 
Day Collection, was captured by the Hull fishermen in 
March of the present year, 1883. The colour of this fish 
when living is a bright vermilion or carmine red, becoming 
lighter towards the ventral region. Although but sparingly 
represented in British waters, the exotic species of the 
Scorpoenida are exceedingly numerous, widely distributed, 
and wonderfully diverse. Thus, while our indigenous 
Sebastes more nearly simulates a Bream in both form and 
habits, the typical genus Scorpcena includes some forty 
tropical or sub-tropical species, that more closely resemble 
in some respects the Cottidce, or Bullheads, and in others, 
the Anglers, or Pediculati, being devoid of an air-bladder, and 
leading like them a sedentary life at the bottom of the 
ocean. Many of them, in a similar manner, have their 
skins wonderfully marbled or mottled, and are commonly 
adorned in the region of the head with simple or variously 
branched membranous appendages. In Chorismodactylus 
again, which in other respects agrees closely with Scorpcena, 
the three anterior rays of the pectoral fins are freely movable, 
and so constructed that the fish is enabled with their aid to 


walk upon the ground at the bottom of the sea, the modifi- 
cation in this species being therefore in the direction of the 
Gurnard family next described. 


Body oblong, sub-cylindrical ; the skin naked or scaled ; 
the head usually abnormally large and broad, armed with 
defensive spines ; the mouth furnished with bands of feeble 
villiform teeth, its cleft lateral ; the eyes lateral or ap- 
proximated towards the top of the head ; dorsal fin more 
generally double, its spinous portion being the less developed ; 
branchiostegal rays from five to seven in number ; air-bladder 
present or absent. 

The genus Cottus, including the Bullheads and that of 
Trigla, embracing the Gurnards or Mail-cheeks, are the 
only representatives of the family found in British waters ; 
the group otherwise is abundantly developed throughout 
the Arctic, Temperate, and Tropical seas, the majority being 
inhabitants of shallow water. The Bullheads, remarkable 
for their large, ungainly heads, which when disturbed they are 
capable of still further distending, and thus opposing as 
defensive weapons the sharp spinous processes with which 
the pre-operculum more especially is armed, are somewhat 
repulsive-looking fishes, found usually lurking among stones 
in the neighbourhood of the shore. Being destitute of a 
swimming bladder, they are incapable of supporting them- 
selves for any length of time in mid-water, and are 
in the habit of lying in wait behind stones, seaweeds, and 
other submarine objects, and thence pouncing out upon 
their unsuspecting prey. The Bullheads are exceedingly 
voracious fish, scarcely any animal organisms coming amiss to 


them, and Blennies, Gobies, and other fishes of at least half 
their own size, being the common food of the marine 
species. A single freshwater variety, the little Miller's 
Thumb, or River Bullhead (Coitus gobio). No. 19, is 
distributed throughout the clear streams and rivers of 
Great Britain, but where it rarely attains a greater length 
than three or four inches. In addition to the preserved 
specimens in the Day Collection, living examples of 
this species will be found in the large window aquarium in 
the Buckland Museum. The marine varieties include the 
so-called Father-lasher, Sea-Scorpion, or common Sea-Bull- 
head (Cottus scorpius], No. 20, a beautifully mottled variety, 
which while on our shores, not known to exceed fifteen 
inches in length, is reported to attain to four or five times 
these dimensions upon the coast of Greenland. This 
variety has been described by Couch under the title of 
Cottus grcenlandicus. The spawn of the Sea-Bullhead, 
which consists of a closely united mass of small yellow 
eggs, having much the appearance of boiled sago, are often 
met with under stones within tide-marks, and have 
frequently, within the writer's experience, been deposited 
by the fish in the tanks of aquaria. The long-spined Bull- 
head or "Lucky Proach " (Cottus bubalis), No. 21, closely 
resembles the preceding species, but has longer head 
spines and frequents deeper water, while the Four-horned 
Bullhead (Cottus quadricornis\ No. 22, is a rare form, 
seldom entering British waters, and confined almost ex- 
clusively to the Artie regions. 

The second division of the Cottida, represented by the 
Gurnards, genus Trigla, are exclusively salt-water fish, 
distributed extensively throughout the Temperate and 
Tropical seas. As many as six species are included in 
the British list, all of which are esteemed for food. A very 

VOL. I. H. H 


remarkable structural feature in the Gurnards is connected, 
with the peculiar modification of the pectoral fins, certain, 
usually three, of the rays of which are detached from the 
others, separately movable, and so constituted that they 
form ambulatory organs, wherewith these fish are in the 
habit of literally walking along the bottom of the 
sea. This assertion may be easily verified by a brief 
observation of their habits in the tanks of an aquarium. 
The remaining pectoral rays, united by membrane and 

Fig. 4. STREAKED GURNARD (Trigla lineata). 

forming the true fin, are also very largely developed, and in 
an allied exotic genus, Dactylopterus, to such an abnormal 
extent, that the fish is enabled with their aid to take 
long leaps above the surface of the water, and is comprised 
within the category of so called Flying- Fishes. In many of 
the British Gurnards, the upper surface of the large 
pectoral fin is beautifully and brilliantly coloured, and 
notably in the so-called Sapphirine Gurnard (Trigla 
hirundo), No. 25, in which this region is ornamented with 
a central ocellus, and surrounding markings of various shades 


of dark and palest blue ; these fins vying, as a whole, in 
brilliancy with the resplendent wings of the most gorgeous 
tropical butterflies. To see this remarkable colouring to its 
greatest advantage, it is requisite to look upon these fish 
vertically through the water; and no more interesting 
and attractive adjunct to a marine aquarium could be in- 
troduced than a shallow salt-water pond, exposed to the 
full light of day, devoted to the exhibition of the various 
members of the Gurnard tribe. The remarkable leg-like 
conformation of the elements of one portion of the pectoral 
fin, and the wing-like aspect of the other, is well illustrated 
in the spirit-preserved example (No. 23a) of the Streaked 
Gurnard (Trigla lineatd). The remaining British members 
of the genus Trigla are the Cuckoo Gurnard (71 cuculus), 
No. 24 ; the Grey Gurnard ( T. gurnardus), No. 26 ; the 
Piper Gurnard (71 lyrd), No. 27 ; and the Lan thorn Gurnard 
(71 obscura), No. 28. Many of the Gurnards possess the 
faculty of emitting a dull croaking sound, both beneath 
and immediately after being taken out of the water, said to 
be caused by the forcible ejection of gas from their air- 
bladder by a duct which communicates with the gullet. With 
reference to this peculiarity, the common or Grey Gurnard 
is distinguished in Scotland by the title of the " Crooner," 
or " Croonach," a derivative from the Gaelic verb " croon " 
to croak. Gurnards of the largest size measure as much 
as or even over two* feet, but from one foot to eighteen 
inches is the more average adult length of our British 
species. Preserved examples of nearly all our indigenous 
forms will be found in the Day Collection. 


Body elongated, sub-cylindrical or angular, invested with a 
complete cuirass of keeled osseous scales or plates ; the 



head armed with projecting spines, the dentition feeble ; 
branchiostegal rays six or seven in number; air-bladder 
present or absent. 

Two genera only, each represented by but a single species, 
are found in the British waters. In the one form, known as 
the Armed-Gurnard (Peristethus cataphractum\ No. 30, the 
similarity to an ordinary Gurnard is very great, a certain 
number of the pectoral fin rays being in a like manner 
freely detached and subserving as ambulatory organs. 
This species, while moderately abundant in the Mediter- 
ranean where it grows to a length of two feet, is ex- 
ceedingly rare on the British coast ; the example on view 
in the Day Collection was presented to the exhibitor by 
Dr. Hubrecht of the Ley den Museum. The second type, 
or Armed-Bullhead (Agonus cataphractus\ No. 29, is 
a small species rarely exceeding a length of six inches, and 
is very plentiful on the shallow, sandy shores around our 
coasts. But for its mail-clad body it might be easily 
mistaken for one of the ordinary Bullheads, it being 
destitute of the free, leg-like pectoral rays that characterise 
the preceding form. Among the exotic members of the 
Cataphracti are included the remarkable Flying Gurnards, 
in which the pectoral fins are so abnormally developed 
that the fish are enabled by their aid to take short flights, 
or more correctly long leaps, above the surface of the 
water. These Flying Gurnards, referable to the genus 
Dactylopterus, exclusively inhabit the Indian Ocean and 
other tropical waters, it being another Flying-fish (Exocetus 
volitans), which more nearly resembles a Herring, that is 
met with in temperate latitudes. 



The head and anterior region of the body of abnormal 
size ; jteeth relatively minute, villiform or cardiform ; the 
gill-opening reduced to a small foramen situated in or near 
the axilla ; the spinous dorsal fin developed far forward, 
represented by a few isolated spines only, which frequently 
present the appearance of tentacles ; the carpal-bones at 
the base of the pectoral fin prolonged in an arm-like manner. 
The surface of the skin scaleless, or armed only with small 
scattered spines or tubercles ; branchiostegal rays five or six 
in number ; an air-bladder present or absent 

FIG. 5. ANGLER (Lophius piscatoritts). 

The well-known Angler, Fishing- Frog, Sea-Devil or Toad- 
fish as it is variously called (Lophius piscatorius), No. 31, 
is the only British representative of the remarkable 
group of fishes distinguished by the title of the PediculatL 
The singular conformation of the bones of the fore-limbs 
corresponding with those of . our wrists convert these 
structures as a whole, which in ordinary fishes remain 
as simple fins, into leg-like organs, with which the fish can 
creep slowly about at the bottom of the sea, while some of 
the foreign forms, genus Antennarius, familiarly known as 
Walking-fishes, actually perambulate the shore when the tide 
goes down in search of food. Scarcely less extraordinary 


is the modification throughout the Pediculati of the spinous 
first dorsal fin, the anterior rays of which are developed 
separately, so far forward as to be even in front of the 
eyes ; one of them mostly bearing at its free extremity 
the laminate membraneous appendage, which, in conjunction 
with its supporting ray, is usually described as the "rod 
and bait," from whence the European Angler, in particular, 
derives its popular name. A very remarkable osseous ring- 
joint at the base of this first spinous ray interlocks into a 
similar ring developed from the substance of the skull; 
this arrangement admits of the free play to and fro, with 
the current of the ray in question, and no doubt assists in 
maintaining the illusion presently described. That the fish 
deliberately used this structure, as a fisherman does his rod 
and line, for the purpose of alluring and capturing other 
smaller fish, is a matter of tradition handed down to us 
from the time of Pliny and Aristotle, and which scarcely 
any authority since their time has ventured to gainsay. 
Nevertheless, like many of the delightful natural history 
romances bequeathed to us by the ancient philosophers 
that of the asserted navigating habits of the Paper 
Nautilus being a prominent illustration this one of the 
Angler-fish will, it is anticipated, have to be relegated to 
the limbo of disproved fiction. The plain and certain 
ground of facts, all the same, has frequently more startling 
revelations in store for us than the most fervid imaginations 
of philosophers, and that this assertion holds good in the 
case now under consideration must undoubtedly be 
admitted. It is here proposed to show, in fact, that the 
Angler is one of the most interesting examples upon which 
nature has exercised her handicraft, in the direction of 
concealing the identity of her prottgt, such ingenuity being 
sometimes utilised with the object of protecting the organism 


from the attacks of other animals, or, as illustrated in the 
present instance, for the purpose of enabling it by stealth 
to obtain prey, which it lacks the agility to hunt down 
after the manner of ordinary carnivorous fishes. To 
recognise the several details here described, it will not 
suffice to refer to examples simply and usually most 
atrociously stuffed, nor even to those preserved in spirit, 
in which all the life colours are more or less completely 
obliterated, and the various membraneous appendages shrunk 
up and distorted. In place of this, a healthy Hvirig example 
fresh from the sea, or better still, acclimatised in the tanks 
of an aquarium, must be attentively examined, and where- 
upon it will be found that this singular fish throughout 
the whole extent of its superficies may be appropriately 
designated a living sham. Such an example of the Angler, 
measuring no less than four feet long, imported by the writer 
to the tanks of the Manchester Aquarium in November 1874, 
furnished the material for an article communicated by him 
to the ' Field,' * in which the greater portion of the data here 
submitted were first described. It was in the first place 
observed on that occasion that the fish, while quietly reclining 
upon the bottom of its tank, presented a most astonishing 
resemblance to a piece of inert rock, the rugose prominences 
in the neighbourhood of the head lending additional strength 
to this likeness. This resemblance being recognised, it was 
next found, on a little closer inspection, that the fish consti- 
tuted in connection with its colour, ornamentations, and 
manifold organs and appendages, the most perfect facsimile 
of a submerged rock, with that natural clothing of sedentary 
animal and vegetable growths, common to boulders lying 

* W. Saville Kent, " On an Angler at the Manchester Aquarium," 
'Field,' November 14, 1874: id. Westminster Aquarium, 'Field,' 
November 7, 1876. 


beneath the water, in what is known as the Laminarian 
Zone. In this manner the numerous simple or tabulated 
membraneous structures, dependent from the lower jaw, 
and developed as a fringe along the lateral line of the 
body, imitate with great fidelity the little flat calcareous 
sponges (Grantias), small compound ascidians, and other 
low-organised zoophytic growths that hang in profusion 
from favourably situated submarine stones. That famous 
structure, known as the angler's "rod and bait," finds 
its precise counterpart in the early growing phase of 
certain sea-plants such as the oar- weed (Laminar id), while 
the more posterior dorsal fin rays, having short lateral 
branchlets, counterfeit in a like manner the plant-like hy- 
droid zoophytes, known as Sertularia. One of the most 
extraordinary mimetic adaptations was, however, found in 
connection with the eyes, structures which, however perfectly 
the surrounding details may be concealed, serve, as a rule, 
to betray the animal's presence to a close observer. In the 
case of the Angler, the eyes during life are raised on 
conical elevations, the sides of which are separated by 
darker longitudinal stripes into symmetrical regions, the 
structure as a whole, with its truncated summit upon which 
the pupil opens, reproducing with the most wonderful 
minuteness the multivalve shell of a rock-barnacle (Balanus). 
To complete the simile the entire exposed surface of the body 
of the fish is mapped out by darker punctated lines into irre- 
gular polygonal areas, whose pattern is at once recognised 
by the student of marine zoology as corresponding with 
that of the flat, cushion-like expansions of the compound 
tunicate, Botryllus violaceus. Thus disguised at every point, 
the Angler has merely to lie prone as is its wont * among 

* The picture reproduced in even many recent popular Natural 
History Works of the Angler poised tranquilly in mid- water, fishing for 


the stones and debris at the bottom of the sea, and to wait 
for the advent of its unsuspecting prey, which, approaching 
to browse from what it takes to be a flat rock differing in 
no respect from that from off which it obtained the last 
appetising morsel of weed or worm finds itself suddenly 
engulphed beyond recall within the merciless jaws of this 
marine impostor. The voracity of the Angler is proverbial, 
the enormous width of its gape and the great elasticity of 
its integument permitting it to seize and devour fish of other 
species almost equal to itself in bulk. Of smaller fish no less 
than three-quarters of a hundred of herrings, and in another 
instance twenty-one flounders and a John Dory, have been 
taken from the stomach of a large Angler. When greatly 
pressed with hunger examples have been known to ascend 
and seize gulls and other sea-birds floating on the surface 
of the water, while they not uncommonly gorge the fish 
already caught on the fisherman's lines. Adult examples 
of the Angler are reported to attain a length of six or seven 
feet, from three to four feet being, however, a more common 
measurement. In the Buckland Museum will be found the 
cast of a specimen measuring no less than five feet two 
inches, while another cast of a smaller fish represents an 
example captured in the act of swallowing a Bass, scarcely 
inferior to itself in length, The additional sobriquet of the 
" Pocket-fish " has been conferred by fishermen upon the 
Angler, with reference to the pouch-shaped branchial 
cavities with which the minute gill-opening communicates. 
Tradition has ascribed to these branchial pouches a variety 
of functions, one being that they subserved as pockets, 

its prey, is altogether erroneous and impossible ; the species possesses 
no air-bladder, and unless laboriously engaged in propelling itself 
through the water with its caudal fin,. sinks helplessly to the bottom. 


wherein the fish stowed away any superabundant supply of 
food, and another that they supplied refuges to which the 
young retreated for safety when alarmed. As a matter of 
fact these gill pouches are almost invariably found to 
contain examples of that interesting parasitic crustacean 
Lerneotoma lophii. The spawn of the Angler is reported 
by Professor Spencer Baird, of the United States Fishery 
Commission, to form a floating sheet of mucous of from 

FIG. 6. YOUNG ANGLER (Z. plSCCltorius). 

sixty to one hundred feet square, the number of ova 
computed to have been contained in such a mass deposited 
by a specimen measuring four and a half feet long, being no 
less than 1,427,344. The earliest pelagic condition of the 
Angler, as shown in the accompanying figure, differs in a 
remarkable manner from the parent form, and more especi- 
ally in the luxuriant development of the fins and fin rays. 



The body more or less elongated and compressed ; certain 
bones of the head usually armed with spines, the pre- 
operculum without a bony stay ; the teeth minute, villiform ; 
one or two dorsal fins, the anterior spinous portion being 
always the shorter ; an air-bladder generally absent ; 
branchiostegal rays varying from five to seven in number. 

The Weever-fishes, of which there are two British repre- 
sentatives, the Greater Weever (Trachinus draco), No. 32, 
and the Lesser Weever (Trachinus viper a), No. 33, enjoy 
the unenviable reputation of being the only fish indigenous 
to this country that possess undoubted poisonous properties. 
Although not provided with true poison glands, like the exotic 
genus Uranoscopus and its allies, it has been demonstrated 
that the mucous membrane in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of the opercular spines and the spinous dorsal fin 
excrete an active virus that render wounds from these fish, 
and more especially the smaller Weever, exceedingly painful 
and even dangerous. On the Continent, where the larger 
species is commonly exposed for sale in the markets, an 
enactment exists requiring the prior removal of these 
formidable spines. The most efficacious antidote for 
wounds received from the Weever has been found, in 
modern times, to be olive oil, to which a few drops of opium 
have been added. In ancient days a so-called "tisane," 
thickened with the brains of the offending fish or the body 
of the fish itself cut open and applied to the wound, were 
reckoned among the more effective remedies. The two 
species of Weevers are inhabitants of the sandy shores 
around our coasts, the larger variety, attaining a length 
of from twelve to seventeen inches, inhabiting deeper 


water ; and the smaller form, rarely exceeding the dimen- 
sions of four or five inches, occurring abundantly close 
to land. 

Among the titles by which the last-named form is 
locally recognised may be mentioned those of the Adder- 
Pike, Black-fin, and Sting-fish ; that of the Cat-fish and 
Sting-bull being applied in a like manner to the larger 
variety. The colours in the two species closely correspond, 
consisting of a grey or yellowish ground-tint, darkest on 
the back, and ornamented on the sides by numerous oblique 
lines of blue, brown, and yellow ; the spinous dorsal fin, as 
a marked contrast in both types, being an intense black 
this last-named peculiarity is well shown in the spirit- 
preserved examples in the Day Collection. 


Body usually elongated, spindle-shaped, slightly com- 
pressed, naked or covered with minute scales ; teeth well 
developed, pre-operculum without a bony stay, the bones of 
the head not armed with defensive spines ; dorsal fins two 
in number, the second one and also the anal fin, usually 
separated posteriorly into a number of minute finlets ; 
branchiostegal rays seven or eight in number ; an air-bladder 
present or absent. 

The members of the Mackerel tribe, as edible fishes, take 
equal rank with those of the Herring and Cod families, and 
are accordingly made the subject of special notice in the 
Handbook devoted to the food species. All are of 
essentially pelagic habits, abounding, usually in shoals, 
throughout the Temperate and Tropical seas, and subsisting 
on other marine fishes. The common Mackerel (Scomber 
scomber), No. 34, which may be taken as the type of its 


tribe, is captured off our coasts throughout the year, while 
at certain seasons it approaches the shores in prodigious 
numbers, impelled by instincts connected with their breeding 
habits, or in pursuit of the shoals of young Clupeidce, 
Herrings, Pilchards, &c., upon which they in large measure 
subsist. The gorgeous colouring of a Mackerel taken freshly 
from the water almost defies description or reproduction 
with the artist's brush. The dorsal region reflects the most 
brilliant metallic shades of green and blue, intersected by 
some three dozen narrow V-shaped bands, which pass 
obliquely forwards towards the lateral line ; a single dark 
stripe is usually developed from the pectoral fin along the 
course of but a little beneath this line, while the whole 
surface of the sides and abdomen below this point are 
iridescent with every colour of the rainbow purple, gold 
and silvery shades struggling for the mastery. Sometimes 
this lower region of the body is variegated with small spots 
and blotches, while well-marked varieties, formerly re- 
garded as distinct species, and described under the titles of 
the " Scribbled " and " Dotted " Mackerel, have the more 
customary dorsal bands replaced by a uniform series of 
black dots or scribblings. These several varieties will be 
found well represented among the preserved examples in 
the Day Collection. From fourteen to sixteen inches is the 
ordinary length of the common Mackerel, examples 
measuring eighteen inches being of very rare occurrence. 
Some idea of the abundance of this valuable food-fish may 
be gained from the record, that as many as 300,000 were, in 
May 1868, netted in one morning off the Scilly Isles. The 
Spanish Mackerel (Scomber colias], No. 35, much resembles 
the common species, but grows to a considerably larger 
size, and is only an occasional wanderer to our shores, 
its headquarters being the Mediterranean. Among the 


preserved specimens of the common Mackerel in the Day 
Collection is an example, No. 34 c, round the body of 
which, on its first capture, an indiarubber ring had been 
fastened and the fish returned to the sea ; as subsequently 
caught and now exhibited, the ring has constricted the 
body at the point of contact to about one-half its natural 
girth. No interference with its ordinary vital functions 
had apparently resulted from this novel experiment in 
tight lacing. 

Closely allied to the Mackerels, but vastly exceeding 
them in dimensions, are the various species of Tunnies and 

FIG. 7. TUNNY (Orcyma thynnus). 

Bonitos. While but occasional visitants to British waters, 
their capture and preservation, more especially that of the 
Common or Short-finned Tunny (Orcynus thynnus]. No. 36, 
constitutes one of the most important fishing industries 
along the Mediterranean sea-board. A length of from 
eight to nine feet, with a weight of 500 to 1000 pounds and 
upwards, are the ordinary dimensions and weights of adult 
examples of the Common Tunny, though these may be 
greatly exceeded. The cast of an example of this species, 
measuring eight feet, captured at Dawlish, Devonshire, is on 
view in the Buckland Museum. The remaining members 
of the Mackerel family, that like the Common Tunny are 


only irregular wanderers to our shores, are the Long-finned 
Tunny (Orcynus germo), No. 37 ; the Bonito (Thynnus 
pelamys), No. 38 ; the Short-finned Tunny or Pelamid 
(Pelamys sarda}, No. 39; and the Plain Bonito (Auxis 
rochei), No. 40. Young examples of the greater number of 
these species will be found among the spirit series in 
the Day Collection. A remaining very remarkable fish, 
referred by most authorities to the Scombridce, but which 
possesses but few points in common with the typical 
Mackerels, is that species of sucking-fish known as the 
Common Remora (Echeneis remora), No. 41. This fish 
differs from the sucking-fishes belonging to the family 
Discoboli in that the adhesive organ or acetabulum is 

FIG. 8. SUCKING-FISH (Echeneis remora}. 

developed dorsally, immediately on the crown of the head, 
instead of upon the ventral surface of the body, being^ 
indeed, a peculiar modification of the anterior dorsal fin. 
The habits of the Remora are very singular, it not being a 
free roving fish, but always found in company with larger 
species, such as members of the Shark tribe, to which they 
affix themselves by their dorsal sucker, swimming off momen- 
tarily to obtain food, and returning again to the shelter of 
their selected hosts. In like manner these fish will also 
attach themselves to vessels, sometimes to the number of 
several hundreds, finding an abundant supply of food 
in the kitchen grease and garbage of an even less savoury 
description that is more or less continually thrown 
overboard. From the classic days of Ovid and Pliny, to 


within a comparatively recent date, it was implicitly believed 
that a Remora, by fixing itself to the bottom of a vessel, 
was able to retard or arrest its progress, this miraculous 
property being made accountable by some authorities for 
that inactivity of the ship commanded by Mark Antony 
which lost him the famous battle of Actium : a Remora, 
at an early hour of the engagement, having, it was asserted, 
affixed itself to the keel of his vessel. This variety of 
sucking-fish is essentially an accidental visitor to our coasts, 
its true home being the warmer seas of the tropics ; the 
Blue Shark (Carcharias glaucus) is the fish with which, 
following its natural habits, it has been usually found 
associated when captured in British waters. 

FAMILY X. BLACK-FISHES (Stromateida). 

Body oblong, compressed, covered with very minute scales ; 
dentition feeble ; the oesophagus armed with numerous 
barbed, horny processes ; the pre-operculum without a bony 
stay ; the dorsal fin single, elongate, without a distinct 
spinous subdivision ; branchiostegal rays seven in number. 

This family contains but a small number of pelagic fish, 
two of which are rarely taken in British waters. These are 
the Cornish Centrolophus (Centrolophus britanicus\ No. 42, 
and the Black-fish (Centrolophus pompilus), No. 43. The last- 
named species is remarkable for being generally captured 
in attendance upon certain of the larger Sharks, or even 
vessels, after the manner of the true Pilot-fish. The 
fish takes its name from the exceedingly dark umbra- 
geous hues it assumes when dead ; it attains to a length of 
from two to three feet. Examples of both species of 
Centrolophus, must be placed on the list of desiderata for 
the Museum of Economic Pisciculture. 



Body compressed, oblong, or elongated ; teeth small, 
conical ; the oesophagus unarmed ; no bony stay to the 
pre-operculum ; the dorsal fin single, elongate, without a 
distinct spinous portion ; branchiostegal rays five to seven 
in number. 

This family group takes its name from the so-called 
Dolphin (Coryphcena hippurus) of the Mediterranean and 
sub-tropical seas, from whence is derived that conventional 
representation of the Dolphin so largely utilised for artistic 
purposes from early days to the present time. It is not 
to be confounded with the true Dolphin (Delphinus\ which 
is not a fish but a small cetacean, or member of the Whale 
tribe. The only British representatives of the Cory- 
Phoenicia^ and these being but accidental stragglers from 
deeper or warmer seas, are Ray's Bream (Brami Rayi), 
No. 44, of which an example will be found in the Day 
Collection, and also a cast in the Buckland Museum ; 
the Opah, or King-fish (Lampris luna), No. 45, a com- 
pressed, Dory-shaped fish, resplendent with every colour 
of the rainbow, the back being bluish-green, the sides 
violet, fins and tail bright red, and large oval silvery spots 
being distributed irregularly over the entire surface of 
the body ; and lastly, the Diana-fish (Luvarus imperialis), 
No. 46, a species which, having in the adult state ai> 
elongated body and elevated forehead, very nearly resembles 
the typical " Dolphin " (Coryphcend) of the Mediterranean. 
The capture of but two examples in British waters has 
been so far recorded, both from the Cornish coast. One 
of these, measuring three feet nine inches, has been 
deposited in the British Museum. Its colours in life, 

like those of the Coryphcena, are very brilliant, those of the 
VOL. I. H. 


specimen above referred to, as described by Mr. Cornish 
(' Zoologist,' p. 500, 1866), being back, steel-grey ; a broad, 
scarlet band along the sides, which are likewise, as it were, 
sprinkled with gold dust; the abdomen silvery, fins and 
tail bright crimson. The young of this species differ so 
remarkably in shape from the parent form, that it was up 
to within a recent date regarded as a distinct fish, and 
figured and described in works on ichthyology under the 
title of Diana semilunata. Several very superiorly stuffed 
examples of the Classic Dolphin (Coryphcena hippurus) are 
included among the fine collection of Indian fishes brought 
to this country by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, when 
returning from his famous Indian tour, in the year 1876, and 
which, after exhibition at the Zoological Society's Gardens, 
he generously deposited as a loan in the Buckland Museum. 
This Indian collection will be found well worth the visitor's 
attention ; the skill with which many of the fish have been 
preserved by native taxidermists being rarely surpassed by 
British artists. 


Body more or less compressed, oblong or elevated ; teeth 
conical ; the pre-operculum without a bony stay ; the spinous 
dorsal fin continuous with or separated from the more 
considerable softer portion ; no extensive series of dorsal and 
anal finlets as in the true Mackerels ; a more or less 
complete row of keeled, spine-bearing plates or scales 
usually developed along the lateral line ; branchiostegal 
rays seven in number. 

The Scad, Horse-Mackerel, or Bastard Mackerel (Caranx 
trachurus). No. 47, enjoys an almost cosmopolitan dis- 
tribution, and is occasionally so abundant on our south- 


western coast-line, that as many as ten and even twenty 
thousand have been enclosed and brought to land at a 
single haul of the seine. This fish is but little valued for 
the table. Its distinction from the common Mackerel may 
be at once recognised by the absence of the series of 
minute dorsal and ventral finlets in the region of the tail, 
which characterise the last-named species, and also by the 
presence of a row of sharp, spinous scales or plates, which 
form a continuous series throughout the entire length of the 
lateral line. Twenty inches represent the longest dimen- 
sions attained by the adult Scad ; its colour is usually dull 
blue along the back, and silvery beneath the lateral line. 
The well-known Pilot-fish (Nancrates ductor\ No. 48, is so 
called by reason of its characteristic habit of associating 
with various species of Sharks, which fish it is asserted to 
swim in front of, and guide to its prey. On this account 
it is popularly known among sailors as the " Shark's 
provider." In illustration, however, of the fact that the 
partnership established between the two fish is not always 
to the advantage of the Shark, it has frequently been known 
to entice its bulky companion to swallow a baited hook, 
which it would otherwise have left unnoticed. The Pilot-fish, 
like the Remora, frequently attaches itself to vessels for 
the sake of the discharged garbage, following them with 
such perseverance as to be often brought into harbour. On 
one occasion two Pilot-fish were thus known to accompany 
a sailing-vessel during a voyage of eighty days, between 
Alexandria and Dartmouth, they having become so tame 
on its arrival at the latter port, that they were easily 
captured, and, it is a matter of regret, killed and eaten. 
The Pilot-fish rarely exceeds a small Mackerel in dimensions, 
its colour being likewise somewhat similar, consisting of a 
bluish-grey ground, variegated by five or six broad transverse 

I 2 


bands of a darker hue. The Rudder-fish, or Black Pilot 
(Pammelas perciformis), No. 49, and the Derbio, or Glaucus 
Mackerel (Lichia glauca), No. 50, are two rarer forms, some- 
what resembling the true Pilot-fish, but with relatively 
shorter bodies, that are usually referred to the Carangidte, 
and lead the way to the compressed, short-bodied species 
known as the Boar-fish, or Cuckoo-fish (Capros aper), 
No. 51. This little fish, which in shape much resembles 
a John Dory, but rarely exceeds six inches in length, and 
is usually coloured a bright orange-red, with occasionally a 
variable number of darker vertical bands, is not uncommon 
off the Cornish coast, preferring moderately deep water in 
the neighbourhood of rocks. Though of no value as a food- 
fish, it is a great favourite for exhibition in aquaria, its 
quaint shape, bright colours, and habit of swimming 
fearlessly in the middle of the water, rendering it specially 
suited for such a purpose. It has been observed by the writer, 
of examples imported by him from Mr. Matthias Dunn, of 
Mevagissey, Cornwall, to the Brighton, Manchester, and 
Westminster Aquaria, that the ordinary slow locomotion 
of the Boar-fish, as in the case of the John Dory, is 
accomplished solely by the screw-like undulations of the 
soft-dorsal and anal fins. 


Body elevated, greatly compressed ; naked, or covered 
with small scales or bucklers ; teeth, small, conical ; no bony 
stay to the pre-operculum ; the dorsal fin composed of a 
distinct, soft and spinous portion ; branchiostegal rays seven 
or eight in number. 

This small marine group contains less than a dozen 
existing species, referable to the two genera Zeus and 


Cyttus, and of which but one form, the well-known John 
Dory (Zeus faber\ No. 52, is an inhabitant of British 
waters. Its popular name is apparently a corruption of 
the French "Jaune Doree," significant of its typical hue 
of golden-yellow. The large, dark circular spot, with a 
surrounding lighter annulus developed immediately behind 
the pectoral fin, gave rise in earlier days to the tradi- 
tion that this fish represented the species from which St. 
Peter obtained the tribute-money, the spot on each side 

FIG. 9. JOHN DORY (Zeus fader). 

being regarded as inherited marks left by the Apostle's 
finger and thumb when capturing the fish. Unfortunately 
for the tradition the Dory is not an inhabitant of Lake 
Gennesaret whence the fish was taken, while a like distinc- 
tive mark is common to numerous marine and freshwater 
species. The high reputation enjoyed by the Dory as a 
table delicacy will be found duly chronicled in the hand- 
books treating of fish as food. The habits of the species 
as observed by the writer, of several examples successfully 
introduced into the tanks of the Brighton Aquarium, are 


highly interesting. The manner in which the Dory swims 
by the rapid undulation of the soft dorsal and anal fins 
only, referred to in the account given of the Boar-fish, was 
recorded by the writer so long since as the year 1873,* the 
only species of which a very similar mode of locomotion, 
by means of the unpaired fins, had been hitherto observed, 
being the Sea-horses and Pipe-fishes, belonging to the 
Family Syngnathidce. As a rule, when undisturbed, the 
Dory remains perfectly quiescent in mid-water in the 
vicinity of the rockwork of its tank, and against which it 
frequently leans for support. Like the Angler it is a 
fish that captures its prey by stealth, and not by the 
exercise of superior activity. That the Dory is a most 
voracious feeder, is exemplified by the fact that as many 
as twenty-five young Flounders and three half-grown Sea- 
Bullheads have been abstracted from the stomach of an 
example measuring only twelve inches and a half in its total 
length ; while another Dory, weighing but I Ib. I oz., was found 
to contain eighteen Sprats, two Sand-Smelts, and a Cuttle- 
fish, with the remains of other species in a decomposed state. 
When confined in an aquajium it is necessary to supply it 
with living food, and in the case of those so kept at Brighton, 
it was observed that the Dories either waited passively 
until the fish provided swam sufficiently near as to be 
engulphed by a single snap of their highly-extensile jaws, 
or they approached them so slowly and stealthily by means 
of the scarcely-perceptible vibratory action of the two 
vertical fins, before referred to, that their advent was either 
not noticed or viewed with unconcern, until, with the 
rapidity of a flash of lightning, one or more victims in the 
shoal had disappeared within the Dory's capacious mouth. 

* W. Saville Kent, " On Fish Distinguished by their Action." 
'Nature,' July 31, 1873. 


A length of from eighteen to twenty-two inches, with a 
weight of from twelve to eighteen pounds, represent the 
largest proportions which the John Dory attains upon our 
coasts. It enjoys an almost cosmopolitan distribution, 
extending from Norway throughout the Atlantic ; and a 
variety of the same species, according to some autho- 
rities, is met with at the Cape of Good Hope, South 
Australia, and Japan. 


Body compressed, naked, or with rudimentary scales ; 
the upper jaw, comprising the ethmoid, vomerine and pre- 
maxillary bones, produced into an ensiform or sword-shaped 
process ; teeth absent, or very minute ; branchiostegal rays 
seven in number. 

The European Sword-fish (Xiphias gladius), No. 53, 
common in the Mediterranean, where it is the subject of an 
important fishing industry, is not an unfrequent visitor to 
our own shores. It is one of the largest Acanthopterygian 
fishes, attaining to a length of twelve or fifteen feet and 
upwards, in aspect not unlike a Tunny, having superadded 
to it the very formidable sword-like rostrum from which it 
takes its name. The precise use of this structure, except 
as a weapon of offence, is one of the zoological problems 
that have yet to be solved. According to ancient tradition 
the fish is accustomed to use its sword for impaling the 
fish, upon which it feeds, like larks upon a spit ; a difficulty 
connected with such an interpretation is, however, an ex- 
planation of the method by which after capture in such 
manner he detaches his prey and conveys it to his 
mouth. Modern writers have suggested that it uses its 


rostrum for turning up the sand in search of worms and 
other bottom food ; the fact, however, that Pilchards, 
Cuttles, and other pelagic forms have generally been found 
within the stomachs of examples that have been dissected, 
tends to negative this interpretation. As another alterna- 
tive it might be suggested that the Sword-fish uses its 
weapon for securing food, as the Saw-fish (Pristis anti- 
quorum) is reported to do its saw, namely, by swimming, 
or metaphorically running a-muck among the shoals of 
smaller fish, numbers of which, by vigorously applied 
lateral strokes of its rostrum, the Saw-fish thus disables and 
then devours at leisure. The irreconcilable enmity subsist- 
ing between the Sword-fish and all species of the Whale 
tribe is a matter of tradition, the Fox-Shark (Alopecias), 
being its reputed ally in its attacks upon the leviathan of 
the deep. Many instances have been recorded in 
which Sword-fishes have attacked moving vessels, probably 
mistaking their submerged hulks for their hereditary foe. 
In the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons is the 
section of the bow of a South-Sea whaler, the solid wood 
of which has been transfixed by the rostrum of one of these 
fish to the depth of thirteen and a half inches, the weapon 
having luckily broken off in the hole, and so prevented 
what might have proved a dangerous leak. In the Buck- 
land Museum will be found two fine casts of specimens of 
the Sword-fish, each measuring over eight feet in length, 
captured respectively at Ramsgate, and Leigh near South- 
end ; and also the portion of a ship's side, which had been 
pierced, first through a sheathing of one inch thickness, next 
through a three-inch plank, and beyond that into four and 
a half inches of solid timber, by the sword of the tropical 
form (Histiophorus). It was estimated by a mechanical 


engineer that it would have required nine strikes of a 
hammer weighing twenty five pounds to drive an iron bolt 
of similar shape and size to an equal depth in the same 


Body elongate, compressed, mostly clothed with serrated 
scales ; teeth disposed in villiform bands, sometimes with 
supplementary canines ; the pre-operculum unarmed and 
without a bony stay, branchiostegal rays seven in number ; 
air-bladder usually present, frequently with branching 

The Maigre or Scicena (Scicena aquila), No. 54, is the 
only member of this family that can with certainty be 
included among our British species, the reported capture of 
the Umbrina (Umbrina cirrhosa\ on one occasion, at the 
mouth of the river Exe, not being accepted as trustworthy. 
In shape and size the Scicena bears no slight resemblance 
to the Giant-Perch (Serranus gigas), already described ; 
but from which and all other members of the Percoid family 
it may be readily distinguished, from the absence of 
conspicuous spines and serrations on the opercular bones. 
Its colours during life are, according to Couch, very brilliant. 
The general surface of the body being a rich bronze-yellow, 
the antero-dorsal region and head light green, the first 
dorsal fin brilliant pink, the remaining fins being darker 
with perhaps a tinge of red. After death the brilliant 
colouration of the body soon fades to a coppery or neutral 
tint, leaving the fins a more or less uniform dull red. 
The Scicena is in the habit of congregating in shoals, and it 
has been observed that it possesses the faculty of emitting 
sounds, audible at the surface of the sea from a considerable 


depth, such sounds having been variously compared by 
fishermen to bellowing, buzzing, purring, and whistling. 
It has been suggested that the reputed song of the 
Mythological Sirens took its origin from the noises 
emitted by shoals of this fish. The casts of two fine 
Scioenae, measuring each about five feet with a weight 
of eighty pounds, are on view in the Buckland Museum. 
A young spirit-preserved specimen will also be found 
among the series forming the Day Collection. Many of the 
exotic members of the genus Scicena ascend the mouths 
of rivers into perfectly fresh water. 

FAMILY XVI. HAIRTAILS (Trickiuridce). 

Body elongated, much compressed, scales rudimentary or 
absent ; the gill openings wide ; teeth well developed ; the 
dorsal and anals fins greatly elongated, many rayed ; 
ventral fins absent or rudimentary ; caudal fin sometimes 
wanting ; branchiostegal rays seven or eight in number.. 

The flattened, somewhat Eel-like fishes comprised in this 
family are represented in British waters by two species, 
both of which are of rare occurrence in these latitudes, 
their native habitat being the warmer regions of the 
Atlantic. The first species, known as the Silver Hairtail 
(Trichiurus lepturtis\ No. 55, taking its name from the 
almost hair-like tenuity of its caudal termination, attains to 
a length of about two feet six inches, its colour, when fresh, 
being, as described by the late Mr. Frank Buckland, 
comparable to that of a new shilling or a lady's satin 
shoe. This silvery pigment, which invests the whole body 
in the form of a very delicate membrane, becomes so 
readily detached after death, that it is almost impossible 
to preserve an example representing any approach to the 


aspect of the fish in its living state. An half-grown 
specimen of this rare type will be found among the spirit- 
preserved series belonging to the Day Collection, and the 
cast of an adult in the Buckland Museum. The second 
British representative of the Trickiuridcz is the so-called 
Scabbard-fish (Lepidopus caudatus\ No. 56, a fish of much 
larger dimensions, attaining to a length of five or six feet or 
more, its body in shape being very elongated, flattened, or 
sword-like, and, as witnessed by the writer off the coast of 
Portugal, flashing when freshly taken from the water like 
burnished silver. In the spring months of the year, when 

FIG. 10. SILVER HAIRTAIL (Trichiurus lepturus). 

it migrates from the deeper waters of the ocean towards the 
shore for the purpose of spawning, it is very plentiful along 
the coasts of southern Europe, and there constitutes an 
important fishery. The Scabbard-fish is distributed abun- 
dantly throughout the tropical waters of the Atlantic, and has 
been taken so far south as the Cape and New Zealand ; 
examples recorded from the last-named station are, ap- 
parently, as is the case with British specimens, accidental 
wanderers only from warmer latitudes. A dried specimen, 
and also a cast of the Scabbard-fish, will be found in the 
Buckland Museum. 



Body elongate, naked or scaled ; teeth usually small, 
sometimes including distinct canines ; spinous dorsal fin or 
moiety of the dorsal fin the less developed, its membrane 
supported by simply flexible spines ; the ventral fins 
usually (in all British species) united with each other in 
such a manner as to form a funnel-shaped disc ; branch- 
iostegal rays four to six in number. 

The Goby family includes a very large number of small 
carnivorous fishes that are essentially inhabitants of the 
literal zone, some of them adapting themselves to a fresh- 
water habitat. As many as nine species are included in the 
British list, the largest form, known as the Black Goby or 
Rock Goby (Gobius niger), No. 59, attaining to a length 
of eight or nine inches, while certain of the smaller ones 
measure no more than one or two inches. 

The Black Goby, which may be taken as the type of its 
family, is frequently met with beneath large stones at low 
water, it selecting such a habitat not only as an ordinary 
domicile, but as a nursery where it may safely deposit and 
hatch its spawn. The eggs, as frequently observed by the 
writer, are of a very singular shape, being elongate, ovate, 
or fusiform, about three times as long as broad, and are 
attached vertically by one of the smaller ends in a single, 
closely approximated layer, that may extend over an area 
of many square inches of the undersurface of the rock 
selected. Over these eggs the male fish now mounts guard, 
vigorously repelling all would-be intruders with whom he 
can cope on equal terms, and in those instances in which 
the disturbing influences are apparently too strong for him 
such as human interference resorting, in self-defence, to 
an artful stratagem. On several occasions, when shore- 



collecting in the Channel Islands, the writer has, in fact, on 
turning the rocks over in search of specimens, dislodged 
what at first sight, from the apparently large size of its 
head, w,as taken for a Bullhead (Coitus), but which on closer 
examination proved to be an example of the Rock Goby, 
with its opercula and branchiostegal membranes abnor- 
mally distended, with the evident intention of passing itself 
off as one of those spiny-headed Cottidce, which are not to 
be handled with impunity. A like imitation of a hurtful or 
stronger form is adopted, as a means of protection, by 
harmless and weaker species in many departments of the 
Animal Kingdom. The coalescence into a single funnel- 
shaped organ of the usually separated pair of ventral fins, 
is a very distinctive feature of the Gobies, and prepares the 
way for that further modification of this region, that obtains 
among the true Sucking-fishes, Discoboli and Gobiesocidce. 
This funnel-shaped fin expansion is, indeed, utilised by the 
Gobies as an adherent organ or acetabulum, these fish, as 
may be verified by watching them in an aquarium, being able 
with the aid of such structure to adhere firmly to the 
smooth surface of the glass front of their tank. Some of 
the smaller Gobies are remarkable for their brilliant 
colouration, one in particular, the Paganellus (Gobius 
paganellus\ No. 58, having its brown-mottled body 
relieved by the dorsal fins, which are ornamented with 
two broad, longitudinal bands of red and blue. This 
fish grows to about half the length of the Black Goby, but 
is relatively shorter and thicker. On the Jersey coast, at 
very low spring tides the vertical rise and fall averaging 
at such times between forty and fifty feet the writer has 
obtained a species of Goby that is yet more brilliantly 
coloured, and which he has not yet been able to identify 
precisely with either any British or Continental form 


hitherto described. In form and general details it most 
closely resembles the Two-spotted Goby (Gobius Ruthen- 
sparri), No. 59, and, like it, has a dark spot or ocellus on 
each side, both at the base of the tail and near the axilla of 
the pectoral fin. The proportions of all the fins are, how- 
ever, much larger, and the second dorsal and anal ones in 
particular have their hinder rays so much prolonged as to 
reach nearly to the base of the tail. In life the two long 
dorsal fins have each three narrow, sub-parallel, bright 
crimson longitudinal bands on a pale blue ground ; about 
fourteen or fifteen conspicuous bright emerald-green spots 
are developed at somewhat irregular distances along the 
lateral line, the remaining surface of the body being 
variegated with various shades of brown, grey, and yellow. 
Possibly this form is identical with Couch's (Gobius 
bi-ocellatus\ which Dr. Day, " British Fishes," proposes to 
unite with G. ruthensparri, but it is certainly distinct from 
the type specimens of the last-named form contained in the 
Day Collection, and the colouration, here described from 
living examples, though possibly assumed only at the breed- 
ing season, has not been recorded of any other species. The 
remaining British members of the Goby family are the One- 
spotted Goby (Gobius minutus), No. 60 ; the Speckled Goby 
(G. parnelli), No. 61 ; the Painted Goby (G. pictus), No. 62 ; 
the Four-spotted Goby -(G. quadrimaculatus\ No. 63 ; the 
Transparent Goby (Apkia pellucida), No. 64 ; and Nilsson's 
Goby (Crystallogobius Nilssonii), No. 65. 


Body elongate, usually somewhat depressed, the pre- 
operculum without a bony stay ; teeth not developed on the 
palate, only in the jaws ; dorsal fins two in number, the 


anterior one often abnormally prolonged its membrane 
supported with from four to seven flexible spines ; 
branchiostegal rays, five or six in number ; air-bladder 

The Dragonets, classed with the Gobies by some autho- 
rities, but differing from them in the normal, separated 
condition of their ventral fins, are distinguished by the 
same literal habits, one species, the gemmeous Dragonet or 
Yellow Skulpin (Callionymus fyra), No. 66, being not 
uncommon on the flat, sandy shores of the south-east coast. 
The male is remarkable not only for its brilliant colouration 
but also for the extraordinary development of the anterior 

FIG. II. DRAGONET (Callionymus lyra). 

dorsal fin, the first ray of which in the adult fish reaches, 
when folded back, from its origin a little behind the head 
to the base of the tail, the fin when erected bearing no slight 
resemblance to the narrow lateen sail of an Oriental fishing- 
yawl. The colour of the body in the same fish is orange 
or yellowish, diversified with numerous longitudinal stripes, 
spots and markings of blue and lilac, a similar variegation 
extending to the dorsal fins. At the breeding season these 
colours are yet more highly intensified, the darker shades 
developing to deep ultramarine and violet, reflecting a 
metallic sheen. The female, which is dressed in paler tints 
of russet-brown, and is devoid of the prolonged dorsal fin 


which characterises the male, was originally described as 
a distinct species, under the title of the Dusky Skulpin 
(Callionymus dracunculus\ and it is interesting to find that 
the male, in its immature condition, agrees in form and 
colour with the adult female. The phenomena attending 
the spawning operations of the Dragonet, as witnessed by 
the writer of examples confined in the tanks of various 
aquaria, are very remarkable, and were briefly referred to 
by him in ' Nature' of July 30, 1873. At such times, the 
male, resplendent in his bridal livery, swims leisurely round 
the female, who is reclining quietly on the sand, his opercula 
abnormally distended, his glittering dorsal fin erect, and 
his every effort being concentrated upon the endeavour to 
attract the attention and fascinate the affections of his 
chosen mate, much after that manner of courting commonly 
pursued by the male birds of the Pheasant family and 
other Gallinacese usually termed "shewing." The female, 
at first indifferent, becomes at length evidently dazzled by 
his resplendent attire and the persistency of his wooing, 
she rises to meet him, the pair so far as such a course ii; 
practicable with fishes rush into each other's arms, and, witl 
their ventral areas closely applied, ascend perpendicularly 
towards the surface of the water. In connection with thes 
manoeuvres, it may be safely predicated that the ova ar-* 
extruded and fertilised, but in the limited depth of wate 
of an aquarium tank, the matrimonial tour cannot 
apparently, be sufficiently prolonged to assure the consum 
mation of this act ; the fish after reaching the surface being 
projected by their previously gained impetus slightly above 
the water, when, falling apart, they sink slowly to the 
bottom, and the process after short intervals is repeated. 
It is, however, by no means impossible nor even improbable 
that the fertilisation of the eggs in Callionymus may take 


place while the fish are projected above the surface of the 
water, as has been actually recorded by Alexander Stenzel, 
of Tankow, of the freshwater Continental " Nase " or 
" Zupe " (Chondrostona nasus}. A fine pair, male and female, 
of gemmeous Dragonets will be found mounted side by 
side in the spirit series forming the Day Collection. Un- 
fortunately no method yet attempted has resulted in the 
successful preservation of the colours as in life of the male. 
A second more southern form, the Spotted Dragonet 
(Callionymus maculatd), No. 67, has on one occasion been 
taken off the British coast. 


Body inflated, transversely expanded or oblong, naked 
or tuberculated ; teeth minute ; the gill openings narrow ; 
one or two dorsal fins ; the ventral fins, each with one spine 
and five rudimentary rays, the pair being so united by 
membrane as to form a round, strongly adhesive suctorial 
disc or acetabulum ; branchiostegal rays five or six in 
number ; air-bladder absent. 

The Lump-fish, Lumpsucker, Sea-Owl, Sea-Hen, or 
Cock-and-Hen-Paddle, as it is variously named (Cyclopterus 
lumpus), No. 68, is one of the most grotesque-looking of 
our British fishes. Its inflated, ungainly body, peculiar 
semi-transparent consistence, and tubercular armature, con- 
duce to impress a stranger that he has before him some 
quaint organism from the waters of China and Japan, in the 
composition of which, as not infrequently happens, nature 
has been materially assisted by human intervention. The 
efficient adhesive organ or sucking disc, modified from the 
ventral fins developed on the under surface, completes the 
sum of its peculiarities, and provides the fish with an efficient 

VOL. I. H. K 


grapnel wherewith the animal, naturally a weak, clumsy 
swimmer, can, as it were, lay to in a storm, or ride securely 
anchored within the swirl of the strongest current. The 
young of the Lump-fish or Sea-Hen, which may be appro- 
priately named Sea-Chickens, are, in the living state, even 
more remarkable in appearance than the adults, they being 
much more transparent and of a bright sea-green hue, as 
though modelled in green glass or beryl. In marine 
aquaria,, where they are usually exhibited during the 
spring months of the year, they form most attractive 
objects, swimming fearlessly in the water, or ccming to 

FIG. 12. LUMP-FISH (Cydopterus lumpus). 

anchor on the glass-work of their tank, and manifesting 
apparently a strong predilection for a game of hide-and- 
seek with the visitors from behind the supporting mullions. 
In this position one or more specimens are usually to be 
detected, through the sudden apparition of a comical green 
head with goggle eyes, or the momentary flourish of a 
little stumpy tail. In another minute, perhaps, one little 
fellow, finding himself an object of admiration, takes 
"heart of grace," shuffles forward for a few inches along 
the glass, still adhering by his sucker, and thus permits an 
unobstructed view of his entire organisation. These Lump- 


fish, young and old, feed voraciously on live shrimps, the 
" chickens " exhibiting extraordinary precocity in the chase 
and capture of these Crustacea. Any one of them will 
rush after and attack a Shrimp as Jong or longer than 
himself ; generally, too, he contrives to master it, and with 
much puffing and panting, and many a struggle to swallow 
it whole, with the exception perhaps of the long horns or 
antennae, which will not go down, but are left ludicrously 
projecting from the little glutton's mouth. Such indeed is 
the greediness of these youthful Lump-fish, that if allowed 
this crustaceous diet without discretion they literally gorge 
themselves to death. The Lump-fish is not only the 
largest representative of its tribe, but, as compared with 
other forms, attains to a considerable size. Examples mea- 
suring in length from twenty inches to two feet, and with a 
weight of from twelve to fifteen pounds, are not infrequent. 
Several admirable casts of such fine adult specimens will 
be found in the Buckland Museum, the most interesting 
illustration being, however, included in the Day Collection, 
where in the jar No. 68 a-e is exhibited a series ranging from 
a length of half an inch only to six inches, or about one 
third the size of the adult fish. It is interesting to observe 
that in the younger stages a membraneous first dorsal fin is 
distinctly developed ; but, as growth progresses, this becomes 
gradually imbedded within, and finally entirely obliterated 
by an outgrowth of the rough skin of the dorsal surface. 
The periodical arrival of the Lump-fishes upon our coasts 
during the earlier spring months is for the purpose of 
spawning. The eggs, deposited in a large mass among 
fissures of the rocks, are bright salmon-colour, and other- 
wise much resemble in size and aspect masses of dryly- 
boiled sago. Mr. Frank Buckland ascertained that the roe 
of a female fish weighing eleven pounds contained no less 

K 2 


than 194,112 eggs. These, after deposition, are jealously 
guarded by the male, who will not hesitate even to attack 
so formidable an antagonist as the Wolf-fish (Anarrhicas 
lupus} in defence of his prospective progeny. The remaining 
British representatives of the family Discoboli are the two 
small smooth-skinned fishes, the Sea-Snail or Unctuous- 
Sucker (Liparis vulgaris\ No. 69, and the Montagu's or 
Network- Sucker (Liparis Montagui), No. 70. Examples 
of these varieties, which rarely attain to a greater length 
than from three to six inches, will be found among the 
spirit series forming the Day Collection. 


Body elongate, depressed anteriorly, devoid of scales ; 
teeth conical or compressed ; a single spineless dorsal fin, 
developed towards the caudal region of the body ; ventral 
fins widely separated, having developed between them an 
adhesive apparatus whose periphery is limited anteriorly 
by these fins but posteriorly by a cartilaginous ex- 
pansion of the coracoid bones ; branchiostegal rays five 
or six in number. 

The family of the Gobiesocida is represented in British 
waters by three or four species only, belonging to the 
genus Lepidogaster. All are of small size, rarely 
exceeding two or three inches in length, and are for the 
most part inhabitants of the literal zone, being abundantly 
met with under stones in the rock-pools left by the 
receding tide. All of them are noted for their brilliant 
colouring, which often varies considerably among individuals 
of the same species, though even here there are certain 
distinctive markings generally to be found. Thus in 
the Cornish Sucker (Lepidogaster gouanii\ No. 71, two 


large dark blue ocelli are constantly developed on the top 
of the head immediately behind the eyes. In the 
Connemara Sucker (L. decandolii), No. 72, two or three 
posteriorly converging brilliant scarlet lines ornament the 
sides of the head, while in the third form, known as the 
Bimaculated or Doubly-spotted Sucker (L. bimaculatus), 
No. 73, two dark ocelli are developed on the sides of the 
body, just behind the distal termination of the pectoral 
fins. During several years residence in the Channel Islands 
the writer has become acquainted with what will probably 
have to be regarded as a fourth British species of the genus 
Lepidogaster, but which, by Couch and other writers, has 
apparently been overlooked as a variety only of L. 
bimaculatus. While exhibiting manifold variations in the 
general ground colour of its body, which may be repre- 
sented by different shades of red, green, or brown, the two 
lateral ocelli, distinctive of the last-named type, are never 
found ; but in lieu of this a single, very conspicuous dark- 
coloured streak is developed along each side of the head, 
the eye being stationed immediately in its centre and 
interrupting it at this point. Additionally to these dis- 
tinctive markings, important structural differences are found 
to exist in the composition of the dorsal, anal, and caudal 
fins, and more especially in that of the ventral acetabulum. 
Finally it is found to affect a different habitat, for while L. 
bimaculatus is to be obtained only with the aid of the 
dredge at some little distance from the shore, the form 
here introduced is a strictly literal species, obtainable 
beneath stones in the rock- pools at all ordinary ebb-tides. 
This distinction in the habitats of the spotted and so-called 
unspotted varieties of the last-named type is alluded to in 
Couch's " British Fishes," as important evidence in support 
of the probable specific distinctness of the unspotted form. 


Being unable also to identify it with any of the various non- 
British Continental members of the same genus, the writer 
has proposed provisionally to distinguish this apparently 
new type by the title of Couch's Sucker (Lepidogaster 
couckii), No. 73. While most plentiful on the shores of 
Jersey and Guernsey, this little fish is tolerably abundant 
also on the Devonshire and Cornish coasts. All of the flat- 
headed Suckers are most interesting additions to small 
aquaria, they speedily becoming so tame as to feed fearlessly 
from the hand, and their bright colours and lively habits 
adding greatly to their attractiveness. They breed freely 
in captivity, a favourite nidus for the deposition of their 
ova being the empty shells of bivalve molluscs. The 
males, as in the case of the Lump-fish (Cydopterus), mount 
guard over the eggs till hatched. 


Body elongate, compressed, naked, or clothed with 
minute scales ; teeth well developed, diversely modified ; a 
single dorsal fin usually extending throughout the entire 
length of the dorsal region, the boundary between its 
spinous and soft portions being indistinct or indicated by 
a simple notch ; ventral fins composed of but few rays, often 
rudimentary or absent ; branchiostegal rays five to seven in 
number ; air-bladder absent. 

The majority of the members of the Blenny family are 
small literal fish, distributed abundantly throughout the 
temperate and tropical seas, and represented by as many as 
eight British species. Among these there occurs an excep- 
tional type inhabiting deeper water, which, compared with 
its congeners, is a perfect monster. This is the well-known 
Wolf or Cat-fish (Anarrhicus lupus), No. 74, the first popular 


appellation bearing reference to its ferocious disposition, and 
the second to the somewhat cat-like form of its large, rounded 
head. In the adult state the Wolf-fish attains to a length 
of as much as five or six feet or more. The most striking 
structural feature concerning this species is the complex 
armature of its mouth, a series of long, conical, canine-like 
teeth, being developed anteriorly, shorter, pointed, tubercular 
teeth at the sides, and a median band of massive, flattened 
crushing teeth, functioning as molars, occupying the centre 
of the palate. As might be anticipated from its formidable 
dental formula, just described, the food of this species 
consists essentially of hard-shelled organisms such as 
Molluscs, Crustacea, and Echinoderms, crushed remains of 
each of which zoological groups will be abundantly found 
among the stomach contents of freshly caught specimens. 
For the capture of such prey, and more especially for the 
detachment from submarine rocks of strongly adherent 
Molluscs and Echini, and for the subsequent trituration of 
their hard shells the prehensile canines and massive palatal 
teeth are respectively eminently adapted. 

In common with other members of the Blenny family 
the Wolf-fish is unusually pugnacious, turning savagely 
upon its assailants, and capable with the aid of its 
trenchant teeth of inflicting exceedingly severe wounds. 
For this reason it is customary with fishermen, on cap- 
turing this fish, to knock out its front teeth, and to 
dispatch it as soon as possible. An instance is recorded 
of an example caught by some North Sea trawlers, 
which seized a mop handle that was held out to it 
so savagely and pertinaciously that it allowed itself to be 
swung overboard before it would release its hold, and one 
of its teeth being even then left embedded in the wood. 
Living examples of this very formidable and somewhat 


repulsive-looking type were imported by the writer, through 
Messrs. Jeffs and Blake, of Gt. Grimsby, from the North 
Sea to the tanks of the Manchester Aquarium. Its habits, 
as there observed in confinement, were found to be essen- 
tially nocturnal, the fish remaining perfectly quiescent 
throughout the day on the shingle at the bottom of their 
tank, but arousing from their lethargy and swimming about 
in search of food on the approach of night. Preserved 
specimens and also several casts of fine examples of the 
Wolf-fish are on view in the Buckland Museum. 

Among the typical Blennies, considerably resembling the 

FIG. 13. SMOOTH BLENNY (Bknnius pholis). 

Wolf-fish in shape, but of relatively pigmy proportions, 
are the Gattoruginous Blenny (Blennius gattorugieri), 
No. 75, eight or nine inches long, having two curious 
antennae-like tufts on the top of its head ; Montagu's 
Blenny (Blennius galerita), No. 76, two or three inches long, 
with a single head tuft ; the Butterfly Blenny (Blennius 
ocellaris\ No. 77> length six or seven inches, and so-called 
with reference to the elevated, wing-like contour of, and 
eye-like spot developed upon, the dorsal fin, and lastly, the 
Shanny, or Smooth Blenny (Blennius pholis), No. 78, whose 
dimensions nearly accord with those of the last-named 
fish. Examples of each of these types will be found 


among the spirit-preserved series in the Day Collection. 
The Smooth Blenny, which is the commonest of all these 
forms, occurs abundantly in rock-pools between tide-marks 
all around our coasts, and is remarkable as a species that 
will voluntarily leave the water in the pools and bask on 
the rocks in the sunshine, hurriedly tumbling or scrambling 
into its native element again on the sound of approaching 
footsteps, or other cause of alarm. The spawning habits 
of this fish, as witnessed by the writer in connection with 
examples acclimatised in the Manchester Aquarium, proved 
highly interesting, certain of the phenomena observed 
demonstrating the possession by the male, at least, of an 
amount of attachment and sagacity rarely if ever previously 
recorded of fish life. In a tank containing some forty or 
fifty examples of this Blenny, a pair had selected a narrow 
ledge, high up on one side, for the purpose of a nursery. 
The eggs were deposited in a single layer upon the ledge, 
first by one and subsequently by a second female, the species 
being thus shown to be polygamous. The male had mean- 
while undergone a wonderful colour transformation, much 
after the manner of the male of the Black Bream (Cantharus 
lineatus), previously described. All the gay mottlings of yellow 
and brown that usually characterise the species had given way 
to a uniform tint of deep sooty black, the large, prominent 
lips alone remaining nearly white, his appearance under such 
circumstances being particularly ferocious and forbidding. 
Thus attired he now mounted guard over the female fish and 
eggs, his self-appointed task, as presently seen, proving no 
sinecure. The discovery was soon made, in fact, by the 
other members of the community, that Blennies' eggs were 
a choice gastronomic delicacy, and thenceforward our little 
friend was scarcely allowed an interval of peace. While 
one fish was being repulsed in front, another descended upon 


and made off with the coveted booty in the rear ; or, as 
frequently happened, there was a concerted attack along his 
lines of more than half-a-dozen fish. Thus overpowered by 
numbers, there was but little chance of a young family 
descending from the rocky fortress, and, indeed, several 
times within the course of an entire month spent by the 
little Blenny in the arduous endeavour to guard his embryo 
brood, the little aerie was mercilessly stripped of every egg. 
At the end of that period an untimely end befel our little 
hero ; wearied out with his exertions he was at length 
unable to cope with the odds arrayed against him, and was 
found one morning literally torn to pieces at the foot of the 
ledge he had so long defended, a huge fellow, nearly twice 
his size, and who had doubtless been chiefly instrumental 
in bringing about his overthrow, now occupying the post of 
honour. One other little episode concerning the object of 
this notice remains to be chronicled : While the female was 
depositing her spawn, an operation which extended over 
several days, her brave little partner was seen on several 
occasions to descend to the bottom of the tank, and hurriedly 
snatching up a fragment of the food supplied for the 
general weal, to return with it aloft and place it at the 
disposal of his lady-love. 

The remaining members of the family Blennidce include 
Yarrell's Blenny (Carilophus ascani\ No. 79, a rare form, 
somewhat resembling (Blennius gattorugine), examples of 
which are among the desiderata of the Buckland and Day 
Collections ; the Spotted Gunnell, or Butter-fish (Centronotus 
gunnellus\ No. 80, an elongate, much compressed Eel- 
like form, attaining a length of ten or eleven inches, and the 
Viviparous Blenny, or Eel-pout (Zoarces viviparus\ No. 81, 
remarkable as representing the only undoubtedly viviparous 
British Acanthopterygian fish. The young when born are 


about an inch and a quarter long, and from 200 to 300 
are usually found within an adult female fish. Large adult 
examples of this species measure as much as two feet, but 
a length of about one foot or fifteen inches represents the 
more ordinary size. The still larger dimensions of from 
two to three feet long, is said to be attained by an allied 
American species, Zoarces anguillaris. 


Body very elongate, compressed, clothed with minute 
cycloid scales ; teeth moderate in size, pointed ; preoperculum 
without a bony stay ; dorsal and anal fins very long, more 
or less continuous with the caudal fin ; branchiostegal rays 
six in number. 

The Red Band-fish, or Red Snake-fish (Cepola rubescens), 
No. 82, an elongate form with an attenuate tail not 
unlike that of Trickiurvs, is the only British representative 
of this small family group. Although generally regarded as 
a rare fish, few winters pass without one or more specimens 
being washed up by the storms upon our shores, from the 
deeper waters which they normally inhabit. Its colours 
when living are very attractive, the ground hue being 
bright red or even carmine, intermixed with yellow, and 
the fins being more or less tinged with rose-colour. A 
length of twenty- two inches represents the longest recorded 
British example. It is a common form in the Mediter- 
ranean. A preserved specimen, captured at Exmouth, is 
included in the Day Collection. 



Body elongate, compressed, riband-shaped, devoid of 
scales ; dorsal fin extending the whole length of the 
body ; anal fin entirely wanting ; caudal fin absent, or if 
present, rudimentary, and developed at an angle diverging 
from the normal longitudinal axis ; branchiostegal rays six 
in number. 

The Ribbon-fishes, represented by two British species, the 
Deal-fish, or Vaagmaer (Trachypterus arcticus\ No. 83, and 
Bank's Oar-fish, or Ribbon-fish (Regalecus Banksii), No. 84, 
are rare forms, inhabiting the deeper, colder waters of the 
ocean, diseased or disabled specimens only being at long 
intervals found floating helplessly on the surface or cast 
upon our shores. Both species are remarkable for the 
relative thinness of their compressed bodies, whence their 
name of Ribbon-fishes. Bank's Oar-fish, more especially, 
attaining to a length of from sixteen to twenty feet, yields no 
more than from two to three inches as its greatest thickness. 
Casts of a fine example of this species, captured at Dunnett 
Bay, Caithness, in July, 1877, as also of a shorter specimen 
from the Mediterranean, will be found in the Buckland 
Museum. In both instances, unfortunately, the very slender, 
oar-like pectoral fins and crest-like elevated rays at the 
commencement of the dorsal fin had been removed or lost 
at the time of capture. The development of these elongated 
appendages would appear to vary at different ages, and 
probably in connection with the separate sexes. The fish 
known as Hawkin's Gymnetrus, figured erroneously in 
Buckland's "British Fishes" as possessing a large fan- 
shaped tail the caudal region was actually wanting in the 
type when stranded near Penzance and four pedunculated, 
paddle-shaped ventral rays, is now generally regarded as 


an imperfectly observed example only of Regalecus BanksiL 
It is by no means improbable that many of the tales 
concerning the existence of the Sea-Serpent have originated 
in connection with these Ribbon-fishes, and which, swim- 
ming along the surface of smooth water, would create an 
undulating wave behind them, which would add apparently 
very considerably to their actual length. 


Body more or less elongate, sub-cylindrical, clothed with 
cycloid scales ; teeth minute ; dorsal fins two in number, the 
first armed with feeble spines ; branchiostegal rays five or 
six in number ; air-bladder present. 

The Sand-Smelts are small, gregarious fishes, rarely 
exceeding a length of six or seven inches, distributed 
throughout the temperate and tropical seas, one form, the 
common Sand-Smelt, or Atherine (Atherina presbyter), 
No. 85, being exceedingly abundant upon the south coast of 
England. It must not be mistaken for the true Smelt 
(Osmerus eperlanus\ one of the Salmonidce, whose family 
affinities will be at once recognised by its possession of the 
characteristic functionless or adipose posterior dorsal fin. 
A reputed second but much rarer British Sand-Smelt 
is Boyer's Atherine (A therina Boyeri), No. 86, more usually 
inhabiting the Mediterranean and the Atlantic as far south 
as Madeira, but which is reported to have been taken on one 
or two occasions upon the Cornish coast. The first-named, 
commoner species, is much esteemed as an article of food 



Body more or less oblong and compressed, clothed with 
cycloid or ctenoid scales ; cleft of the mouth narrow, teeth 
absent, or feebly developed ; dorsal fins two in number, the 
anterior one composed of four strong spines ; branchiostegal 
rays five or six in number ; air-bladder large. 

The Grey Mullets are gregarious, shore-frequenting fishes, 
which not infrequently ascend the mouths of rivers into 
brackish and even fresh water. All the species are much 
esteemed for the table, two of them, the common or thin- 
lipped Grey Mullet (Mugil capita), No. 87, and the Lesser 
or Thick-lipped variety (Mugil chelo), No. 88, being abun- 
dant on the British coasts. When fished for and enclosed 
by nets, Grey Mullets display much ingenuity in their 
endeavours to avoid capture, one or more of the number 
often making its escape by leaping over the corked border 
of the net into the open sea again, and the whole shoal 
quickly following suit at the same point like a flock of 
sheep over a meadow fence. Being acquainted with the 
proclivities of these Mullets, the Levant and other Mediter- 
ranean fishermen take the precaution to extend extra 
netting above the surface of the water, from pieces of cane 
fastened perpendicularly to the cork line the escape of the 
fish in the manner above described being thus effectually 
debarred. Fine examples of the larger or common Grey 
Mullet attain to as great a length as two or three feet ; all 
the species closely resemble each other in colour, their ground 
tint being a silvery grey, variegated by from six to eight 
darker steel-blue longitudinal lines along the sides, the 
head and cheeks usually reflecting a bronze or golden tint. 
Grey Mullets become remarkably tame when acclimatised 
in aquaria ; examples introduced by the writer to the 


Manchester tanks were accustomed to take their food quite 
leisurely from their keeper's hand. The entire absence of 
cirrhose appendages or barbels upon the lower jaw readily 
distinguish the Grey Mullets from the members of the 
true Mullets or Surmullets, family Mullida, previously 

FAMILY XXVI. STICKLEBACKS (G aster osteidce). 

Body elongated, compressed, scaleless, but more or less 
protected by bony scutes ; the mouth cleft oblique ; teeth 
villiform, opercular bones unarmed ; the first dorsa) fins 
composed of isolated spines, ventral fins articulated with 

FIG. 14. THREE-SPINED STICKLEBACK (Gasterosteus acukdtus). 

the pubic bones, each consisting usually of one spine and 
one soft ray ; branchiostegal rays three in number ; air- 
bladder present. 

The Stickleback family includes some half-a-dozen 
known species of small-sized fish, distributed throughout 
the Arctic and Temperate regions of the northern hemi- 
sphere. All of these are referable to the same genus 
(Gasterosteus), and are, with one exception, naturally inhabi- 
tants of fresh water, but at the same time susceptible of 
acclimatisation in brackish and even salt water. Of the 
three British species the commonest and most familiar type 
is the three-spined Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus\ No. 
89, abundant in almost every canal, pond, or stream in the 


neighbourhood of our larger cities. Under its various local 
names of the "Tittler," "Tittlebat," and "Jack Sharp," it there, 
not infrequently, first awakens and stimulates into activity 
among the youthful population that passion for distinction 
in the art of angling, which in after years yields more 
substantial fruit in the form of many a distinguished votary 
of that gentle craft, of which the famous Sir Isaac Walton 
was at once the founder and high priest. The nest-building 
habits of the Sticklebacks, including both the marine and 
freshwater species, are well known and of great interest, and 
may be easily observed of examples kept in confinement. 
The task of building the nest devolves upon the male fish, 
who at the breeding season usually the spring or early 
summer assumes as his nuptial attire, in the case of the 
present species, G. actdeatus, the most gorgeous tints of 
scarlet, green, and silver. 

The nest itself is composed of fine vegetable fibres, matted 
together into an irregular spheroidal mass, having a hollow 
centre and a round hole at the top. His work completed 
he now sallies out, and after the apparent exercise of much 
persuasive eloquence, induces first one and subsequently 
several female fish to return with him and deposit their 
eggs within the little arbour. Over the nest with its 
enclosed treasures, and, indeed, over a considerable area 
surrounding it, he now mounts guard, and vigorously repels 
the too close approach of either a comrade of his own 
species or any other fish. It not infrequently happens 
that two individuals select such contiguous spots for their 
nests, that there is a constant trespass on one side within 
the magic circle over which the other fish would exercise a 
monopoly. This gives rise to implacable hostilities between 
the rival claimants, which are usually prosecuted with such 
vigour, that the weaker .of the two is either slain, being 


literally ripped open by the ventral spines of his opponent, 
or is driven ignominiously from the field. It has been 
observed that the victor in these combats immediately ac- 
quires a far more brilliant hue than he previously possessed, 
with an augmented display of activity and defiance in his 
bearing. The vanquished, on the other hand, if he escapes 
with his life, loses all his gay tints, and retires into 
obscurity among the females and more peaceable members 
of the shoal. 

The Three-spined Stickleback is remarkable for the great 
number of sports or varieties into which it developes in 
different localities, and in accordance with the nature of its 
surroundings. Such varieties are manifested chiefly in 
connection with the protective armature of vertical bony 
plates developed along the sides of the body ; those affecting 
a salt-water habitat, and thus being exposed to a greater 
number of enemies, being the most completely armed, and 
those confined to quiet inland waters being the least 
protected in this respect. Dr. Day, in his ' Fishes of Great 
Britain,' enumerates, in addition to the normal form, as 
many as six such local varieties of this type, the majority 
of which will be found in the spirit-preserved collection that 
bears his name. These include the Rough-tailed Stickle- 
back (G. trackiurus), with from thirty to forty plates each 
side, the Half-encuirassed Stickleback (G.semiloricatus), with 
twenty-two or twenty-three vertical plates, the Half-armed 
variety (G. semiarmatus], with ten to fifteen such plates, and 
the Quarter-armed or Smooth-tailed Stickleback (G.gymnu- 
rus), with from four to six shields only. The two remaining 
varieties are the Short-spined form (G. brachycentrus), with 
very short dorsal and ventral spines, and the so-called Four- 
spined Stickleback (G. spinulosa), with a rudimentary fourth 
dorsal spine developed between the two hindmost spines 

VOL. I. H. L 


of the normal type. These several varieties have been 
regarded as separate species by many writers, but since 
every gradation between them may be successfully traced, 
they evidently possess no sound claim for such distinction. 
A length of three and a half inches represents the largest 
dimensions recorded of British examples of G. aculeatus. 
A second undoubted freshwater indigenous species is the 
so-called Tinker or Ten-spined Stickleback (Gasterosteus 
pungitius), No. 90, which takes its first name from the 
almost black tint it usually assumes in the breeding season, 
and its second one with reference to the number of spines 
which usually occupy the position of the ordinary first 
dorsal fin. It is the smallest British freshwater fish, it but 
rarely exceeding two inches in length. In habits it closely 
resembles the three-spined species, and in some localities is 
the more abundant of the two. The third British species, 
known as the Sea or Fifteen-spined Stickleback (Gasteros- 
tius spinackia), No. 91, is an essentially marine form that 
occasionally ascends rivers into brackish water. With 
reference to its somewhat snake-like contour it is known in 
some localities as the "Sea-Adder," a title, however, 
which is more commonly applied to the Pipe-fishes 
(Syngnathidce) . From five to six inches represents the 
length to which it most ordinarily attains. 


Body oblong, or elevated and compressed, covered with 
minute scales, or protected by a cuirass of non-confluent 
ossifications ; the anterior bones of the skull forming an 
elongated tube with a small terminal, toothless mouth ; 
dorsal fins two in number, the first one containing a single, 


abnormally developed spine ; branchiostegal rays three or 
four in number ; air-bladder large. 

The Trumpet or Bellows-fish (Centriscus scolopax\ No. 92, 
a small compressed form, not altogether unlike the Boar- 
fish (Capros aper), but distinguished from that form by its 
elongated snout and single, long dorsal spine, is the only 
member of this small family that has been taken, and then 
on very rare occasions, in British waters. In common with 
a few other allied forms it is an essentially sub-tropical 
type, finding its home in the warmer waters of the Medi- 
terranean and more southern seas, stray wanderers only 
reaching these latitudes accidentally. An illustrative 
example of this singular species is still a desideratum for 
the Buckland Museum. 


Body oblong or elongated, clothed with cycloid scales ; 
the lips often highly protrusile ; teeth absent from the palate, 
elsewhere well developed ; dorsal fin single, the spinous 
portion as long or longer than the soft ; branchiostegal rays 
five or six in number ; air-bladder present. 

The family of the Wrasses, or Rock-fishes, as they are 
sometimes called, includes a large number of literal rock- 
frequenting fishes, abundantly distributed throughout the 
temperate and tropical zones, seven or eight species 
frequenting the British seas. A structural peculiarity that 
specially distinguishes many of these fishes, and whence 
they derive their technical name of Labridce, or Lipped-fishes 
(from labrum, a lip), is connected with the formation -of 
their lips, which are very large, fleshy, prehensile, and so 
folded as to permit of their protrusion to some distance 

beyond the oral aperture. The family, as a whole, is 

L 2 


further remarkable for the brilliant colouration of its com- 
ponent members, many of the British species in common with 
their allies the Parrot-fishes of the tropical seas having 
to be reckoned amongst the most gorgeously tinted examples 
of the entire fish series. In this connection it is further 
found that the two sexes are often so differently coloured 
as to have been for a long time regarded as separate 
species, while in other instances, again, it is difficult to 
find two individuals of the same form that correspond 
precisely with one another in the hue and pattern of their 
markings. The Spotted, or Ballan Wrass (Labrus macu- 
latus), No. 93, is our commonest and largest indigenous type, 

FIG. 15. BALLAN WRASS {Labrus maculatus). 

adult examples often measuring from fifteen to eighteen 
inches in their total length. The ground colour of this fish 
may run through various, shades of brown, blue, green, or 
yellow, diversified usually by reticulations on the cheeks 
and anterior regions of brilliant red, similar coloured spots 
and other lines and markings being developed over the 
remaining surface of the body. The bright grass-green 
variety of the Ballan Wrass shading off to yellow on the 
abdomen, and with yellow streaks along the sides, was 
formerly named by Couch, the Green-streaked Wrass (La- 
brus lineatus)\ and another form, the Comber, or Dunovan's 
Wrass (Labrus Dunovani). A yet more brilliantly coloured 


species is the Cuckoo, or Blue-striped Wrass (Labrus mixtus), 
No. 94, the male of which, in the adult state, has numerous 
irregular broad bands and markings of the richest cobalt- 
blue, distributed upon a general ground colour of orange 
or paler yellow, these colours during the breeding season 
becoming greatly intensified, and usually supplemented by 
an opaque whitish or pale green patch on the top of the head 
and dorsal region. The female, for a long time regarded 
as a distinct species, and known by the title of the Three- 
spotted Wrass (Labrus triinacttlatus], has an orange- 
red ground colour, variegated only by the presence of 
three conspicuous black spots, with intervening white 
patches on the dorsal region in the neighbourhood of the tail. 
It is a remarkable fact that the young males are similarly 
coloured, but gradually develope the blue lines, patches, 
and other markings of the adult fish as they advance 
towards maturity. The Corkwing, or Baillon's Wrass 
(Crenilabrus melops\ No. 95, a smaller specise, rarely exceed- 
ing six inches in length, somewhat resembles young 
examples of Labrus maculatus, its normal ground colour 
being green, with bright scarlet and blue reticulations ; but 
it is to be distinguished from that form by the usual 
presence of seven or eight obscure vertical bands upon the 
sides of the body, and a single darker spot close to the 
base of the caudal fin. Jago's Goldsinny (Ctenolabrus. 
rupestris), No. 96, has likewise a black spot at the root of 
the tail, but the ground colour is a rich golden-brown. In 
the Small-mouthed Wrass, or Rock-cook (Centrolabrus 
exoletus\ No. 97, the male fish is resplendent with brilliant 
violet stripes and markings. Two remaining members of 
the Wrass family that occur very rarely on the British coasts, 
are the Scale-rayed Wrass (Acantkolabrus palloni), No. 98, 
and the Rainbow- Wrass (Coris. julis), No. 99, which is a 


common form in the Mediterranean. The majority of 
the preceding types will be found well represented in the 
preserved series forming the Day Collection. Unfortunately 
no method has yet been discovered of preserving their vivid 
colours as in life. Visitors to the Exhibition will, never- 
theless, have an opportunity of verifying the descriptions 
given of these Wrasses, by an examination of the living 
examples of various species that have been already 
introduced into tanks of the Aquarium in the West Arcade. 
A highly interesting fact connected with the Wrasses, is 
their habit of moving about only by daylight, and of repairing 
to the rocks to sleep at night. On taking a lantern to 
their tanks after dark, they will be found in various 
recumbent positions on the ledges or on the crannies of the 
rockwork, and are so lethargic that they may be handled. 
Grey Mullets likewise sleep at night, but floating at the 
surface of the water. 


Vertical and ventral fins, without spinous rays ; the 
ventral fins, if present, jugular or thoracic. Air-bladder, 
when developed, without a pneumatic duct. 


Body more or less elongated, covered with small cycloid 
scales ; the gill openings wide ; dorsal fins one, two, or 
three in number, occupying nearly the whole length of 
the back ; one or two anal fins ; the caudal fins free, 
or united with both the last dorsal and anal fins ; bran- 


chiostegal rays seven or eight in number; an air-bladder 
usually present ; one or more cirrhose appendages, barbels 
frequently developed from the chin or upper lip. 

The Cod family, restricted in its distribution to the colder 
waters of the Temperate and Arctic seas, represents one of, if 
not quite the most commercially important group included 
within the fish fauna of the world, and since in such 
connection it will receive especial attention in the Hand- 
books devoted to Food Fishes and Sea- Fishing, an enume- 
ration is simply here given of the large number of forms 
that frequent British waters. The well-known Cod (Gadus 
morrhua), No. 100, which occupies the head of the list with 
respect to size, abundance, and general utility, is remarkable 

FIG. 16. LING (Alolva vulgar is). 

for developing several very distinct local varieties, which, 
with a certain class of zoologists, have been admitted to the 
rank of separate species. The so-called " Lord-fish " is one 
of these in which a greater or less number of the caudal 
vertebrae having coalesced together, the head is relatively 
very long, and in reference to which peculiarity it formerly 
received the title of Gadus macrocephalus. In the so-called 
Speckled-Cod (Gadus punctatus], of Fleming, numerous 
black dots are thickly developed over the dorsal surface, 
which have been shown by Dr. Day to be due to the 
presence of a parasitic organism. While the " Red Cod " is a 
variety inhabiting the deeper waters of the ocean, and 
apparently owing the colour from whence it derives its name 
to its dietary, which is said to consist almost entirely of 


young Lobsters and Star-fish. The largest recorded example 
of the Common Cod, captured on our coasts, would appear 
to be the fish weighing seventy-eight pounds, and measuring 
five feet eight inches, taken at Scarborough in the year 
1755, and said, on Pennant's authority, to have been sold 
for the modest sum of one shilling. The Haddock (Gadus 
<zglefinus\ No. 101 ; the Whiting Pout, Rock Whiting, or 
Bib (G. luscus), No. 102 ; the Silver Whiting (G. inerlangtts\ 
No. 104 ; the Green Pollock, Coal-fish or Saithe (G. mrens\ 
No. 1 06; the Common Pollock (G. pollachius), No. 107; 
the Hake (Merlucius vulgaris), No. 108 ; and the Ling 
(Molva vulgaris\ No. no, are all familiar examples of the 
Cod family of high economic value. In addition to these 
there are several forms which are not sufficiently abundant, 
or do not attain to a sufficient size, to be of commercial 
importance. The Power-Cod (Gadus minutus\ No. 103 ; 
and the various species of Rocklings (Motella mustela), No. 
112 ; (M. cimbria), No. 113 ; (M. tricirrhatd), No. 114; and 
(M. macropktkalma), No. 115, belong to this series, as also 
do the Lesser Fork-head or Tadpole-fish (Raniceps raninus\ 
No. 116 ; and the Greater Fork-beard or Torsk (Brosmius 
brosme), No. 117. The most interesting form of all, 
however, to the zoologist is, perhaps, the Burbolt, or Eel- 
pout (Lota vulgaris), No. in, this fish being the only 
indigenous member of the Cod family that is restricted 
to fresh water. It is a nocturnal species, growing to 
a length of two or three feet, much addicted to hiding 
itself within holes and crannies on the river banks 
during the daytime, and sallying out in search of food 
at night. In contour it very much resembles the Ling 
(Molva), it being one of those elongated, Eel-shaped forms, 
in which the hinder dorsal and anal fins extend 
throughout the greater length of the body. An anticipa- 


tion or foreshadowing of this Eel-like continuity of the fins 
in question is met with in those typical Cod-species in 
which as many as three dorsal and two anal fins take the 
place of the short single or double dorsal, and single anal 
fin developed in ordinary fishes. A highly remarkable, 
but as yet apparently unexplained physiological function is 
associated with the first dorsal fin in the genus Motella. 
As may be observed of examples confined in the tanks of 
an aquarium, this fin is sunk within a deep groove, above 
which, although of a considerable length, it is elevated to a 
very small extent. During life, even while the fish is 
otherwise quiescent at the bottom of the water, this fin 
is in a constant state of vibration, undulating from before 
backwards, much after the manner of the dorsal fin of the 
Pipe-fish (Syngnathus) when used for locomotion, but more 
rapidly and continuously. The Rocklings are literal species, 
that in a state of nature usually lie hid beneath stones, or 
among the tangled masses of sea-weed that line the shore ; 
and it would seem by no means improbable that the un- 
dulations of this fin, in connection with its groove, subserve 
the purpose of bringing fresh streams of water to the 
vicinity of the respiratory organs, the fish being thus 
enabled to live in small holes and crannies, that would 
otherwise be too stagnant for its healthy existence. The 
commonest form, known as the Five-bearded Rockling 
(Motella musteld), is very plentiful around our coasts. It is 
distinguished, as its name implies, by the possession of five 
cirrhose appendages or barbels, four of which are developed 
from the upper and one from the lower lip. Its ordinary 
length is about twelve inches, and its colour in life is a rich 
chestnut or olive brown, with, bronze reflections. A larger 
and yet more handsome species is the Three-bearded 
Rockling (Motella tricirrhatd), attaining to a length of as 



much as twenty inches ; the colour of the body in the adult 
fish varies from cream colour to a light or reddish chestnut, 
variegated with innumerable black spots or blotches, while 
the long dorsal and anal fins are tinged with brilliant, 
crimson. Fine examples of this species are included 
in the spirit-preserved series of the Day Collection. 


Body elongated ; the vertical fins usually confluent, 
without any anterior dorsal or anal sub-divisions ; the 

FIG. 17. SAND-EEL (Ammodytes tobianus). 

ventral fins rudimentary, represented merely by a pair 
of bifid filaments, or entirely absent ; branchiostegal rays 
seven or eight in number ; air-bladder present or absent. 

The Bearded Ophidiom (Ophidiom barbatum), No. 1 1 8, 
and Drummond's Echiodon (Fierasfer dentatus\No. 119, 
are two elongated Eel-like forms, which, while plentiful in 
the Mediterranean, are very rarely taken upon our coasts. 
Much more abundantly represented members of the same 
group are the Launches, or Sand-Eels, including the Greater 
Launch (Ammodytes lanceolatus), No. 120, the Lesser 
Launch (A. tobianus), No. 121, and the Smooth . Launch 


(A. cicirellus), No. 122. The last-named species is a 
Mediterranean form, somewhat doubtfully recorded from 
British waters. The two former fish are very plentiful, 
gregarious in habits, and, when freshly caught, highly 
esteemed for the table on the South coast and in the 
Channel Islands. The Sand-Eels take their names from 
their habit of burrowing in the sand, out of which they are 
dislodged in vast numbers at ebb-tide with forks, rakes, 
spades, and every implement available for the purpose. 
Sand-eeling excursions by moonlight at the low spring 
tides, in the sandy bays of the islands of Jersey and 
Guernsey, constitute a favourite and highly exciting pas- 
time, indulged in indiscriminately by the members of both 
sexes and all ranks. While the common form or Lesser 
Sand-Eel rarely measures six inches in length, the larger one 
may sometimes exceed twice these dimensions. 


Body terminating in a long, compressed, tapering tail, 
clothed with spiny, keeled, or striated scales ; dorsal fins two 
in number, the anterior one very short, the second very 
long, continued to the end of the tail ; the anal fin very 
long, corresponding in its development v/ith the second 
dorsal ; no distinct caudal fin. 

This family is restricted to a few deep sea or abyssal 
forms, which are likened by Dr. Giinther to " Deep sea 
Gadidae." Of the forty known species, a single type, the 
Norwegian Coryphcenoid (Coryphcenoides rupestris), No. 
123, that attains to a length of eight or ten inches, has 
been rarely taken in deep water off the Faroe and 
Shetland Islands. 


FAMILY IV. FLAT FISHES (Pleuronectidce). 

Body flattened, strongly compressed, naked or clothed 
with scales, one of the sides coloured, the other normally 
colourless ; both eyes, in adult fish, located on the superior 
or coloured surface, the bones of the two sides of the head 
unequally developed, those forming the lower surface almost 
rudimentary ; a single long dorsal and anal fin ; branchi- 
ostegal rays six to eight in number ; air-bladder absent. 

The Flat fishes, in common with the Cod fishes and 
Herring tribe, rank among those forms which from an 
economic view are of the highest utility to man, and con- 
stituting as they do one of the most important subjects of 
our fishing industries, their more elaborate description 
may be appropriately left to the handbooks- devoted to our 
Food-fishes and Sea Fisheries. The remarkable structural 
peculiarity which distinguishes the Pleuronectidae from all 
other fish, i.e. the unsymmetrical development of the head, 
and the location of the two eyes upon one side of this 
region, it is singular to relate, does not represent the con- 
dition in which as young fish they first leave the egg. At 
such an early period they are bilaterally symmetrical, with an 
eye on either side like all ordinary fish, but from the acquired 
habit of lying constantly on one side, the eye-socket on the 
side directed towards the ground becomes gradually oblite- 
rated, and the eye itself, pushing its way over the top of the 
head, ultimately takes its place near the other eye on that 
side, which is popularly known as the upper surface. Simul- 
taneously with this migration of the visual organ, the pig- 
mentary substances which give to the adult fish its charac- 
teristic tint become developed only on that side, the so-called 
upper surface, which is exposed to the light, the opposite or 
underneath one remaining colourless. In the majority of our 



British species it is the right-hand side which lies upper- 
most, and is consequently coloured, the reverse, however, ob- 
taining in the Turbot (Rhombus maximus\ No. 126 ; the Brill 
(Rhombus lcevis\ No. 127 ; Eckstrom's and Muller's Top- 
knot (Zeugopterus unimaculatus and Z.flunctatus^Nos. ia8 
and 129 ; and the Sail-fluke and Megrim (Arnoglossus megas- 
toma and A. laterna), Nos. 130 and 131. Reversed examples 
of a normally right or left coloured species are, however, not 
unfrequent, as also so-called " double " examples, in which 
the characteristic colour is developed on both sides of the 
body, and " albinos," with both surfaces more or less com- 
pletely colouress. Examples illustrating all of these abnormal 
developments will be found in the spirit-preserved series in 
the Day Collection. The largest British representative of the 
Pleuronectidse is the Halibut, or Holibut (Hippoglossus 
mdgaris\ No. 124, taken in the North Sea, but attaining 
to its largest dimensions in the colder waters off Newfound- 
land, Greenland, and Iceland. An example is recorded by 
Olassin to have been captured near the last-named station, 
that measured but little short of twenty feet, while a length 
of six or seven feet, with a weight of from 300 to 500 Ibs. 
is of frequent occurrence. The long rough Dab (Hippogloss- 
oides limandoides), No. 125, much resembles the Holibut in 
its proportions, but rarely exceeds a length of twelve or 
fifteen inches, and is distinguished from it among other points, 
according to Dr. Day's 'British Fishes/ by the possession 
of a strong, spur-like spine developed in front of the anal 
fin, which, according to the same authority, is absent in the 
Holibut. In the type specimen of the last-named fish con- 
tributed by Dr. Day to the Buckland Museum, there is, 
nevertheless, an exceedingly strong spine developed in the 
position indicated, while in that of the Rough Dab it is 
scarcely perceptible. In several other Flat fish, including 


the orange-spotted Plaice (Pleuronectes platessd), No. 123; 
the Pole, or Long Flounder (P. cynoglossus\ No. 134; 
the Dab (P. limandd), No. 135 ; and the common Flounder 
(P. flesus], No. 136, a similar spine is more or less con- 
spicuously developed, while in the remaining member of 
the same genus, the Smear Dab (P.microcephalus\ No. 133, 
it is altogether absent* 

Of the genus Solea, including the various species of Soles, 
there are four distinct British forms. These are the common 
Sole (Solea vulgaris), No. 137, so highly esteemed for the 

FIG. 18. PLAICE (Pleuronectes platessa). 

table. The yellow-coloured Lemon Sole (Solea lascaris), 
No. 138, an inferior fish, often substituted for ordinary 
soles since these have become so scarce, in a great measure 
through the wholesale destruction of the young fry by machine 
trawling, and the use of fine meshed nets during the spring 
months of the year. The Variegated Sole (S. variegata), 
No. 139, is a smaller and rarer form, remarkable for the 

* No special use has hitherto been apparently assigned to this 
anteriorly directed anal spur ; possibly it may be utilised in some way 
like the bony accessory organs of the Shark during the congress of the 
sexes while in the case of a large fish like the Holibut it might sub- 
serve as a formidable offensive weapon. 


ornamental bands of a darker hue that are developed on a 
ground of rich chestnut-brown ; and lastly the Solonette, or 
Little Sole (S. luted), No. 140, rarely exceeding a length 
of four inches, and having small brown or darker spots 
scattered over a ground tint of uniform stone-grey. 
In illustration of the large size to which the ordinary 
Sole, if left undisturbed, will not unfrequently attain, 
reference may be made to the casts of a pair from the 
Irish coast now on view in the Buckland Museum, which 
weighed together no less than twelve pounds. Their 
length in each instance closely approaching two feet. 

All of the Pleuronectidae are remarkably elegant swim- 
mers, propelling themselves through the water by graceful 
undulations of their entire body. The Soles are especially 
worthy of notice in this respect, and as has been observed 
of examples acclimatised in aquaria, possess the faculty of 
converting their body, with its continuous fringe-like dorsal 
and anal fins, into a complete sucking-disc, wherewith they 
can adhere at will to the glass sides of the tank in which 
they are confined. The scales in the majority of the 
Pleuronectidae are very beautiful as microscopic objects, 
being of the ctenoid type, deeply serrated and delicately 
sculptured. In the Turbot (Rhombus maximus\ as a 
remarkable exception, there are no scales at all, but 
the surface of the body is roughened with bony tubercles, 
giving some ground for the anticipation that this form 
may possibly have been evolved from an ancestral line 
distinct from that whence the ordinary scale-covered Flat 
fishes sprang. 

Although the Pleuronectidae are usually regarded as an 
essentially marine group, one species, the Flounder (Pleu- 
ronectes flesus\ ascends rivers into brackish and even 
fresh water. Examples of this fish are on view in one of 


the freshwater tanks in the Buckland Museum, which have 
lived there in company with purely fluviatile species for a 
period of several years. 

ORDER lll.Physostomi. 

All the fins rays articulated, excepting the first ray in 
the dorsal and pectoral fins, which are frequently more or 
less ossified. The bladder when existing, provided with a 
distinct pneumatic duct 


Margin of upper jaw formed partly by the premaxillary 
and partly by the maxillary bones, both of which are 
provided with teeth. Opercular bones not fully developed ; 
rows of luminous eye-like spots developed along the lower 
surface of the abdomen, and sometimes on other regions of 
the body. 

Two small and rare species that naturally inhabit the 
deeper waters of the ocean, but are occasionally washed 
upon our coasts after stormy weather, have to be included 
in the British list. These are the Half-armed Silverspots 
(Argyropelecus hemigymnus\ No 141, and the Sheppy 
Argentine (Maurolicus pennantii), No. 142. Both possess 
in common those ventral rows of problematic structures 
that, shining like burnished silver, have won for them the 
popular title of "Silver Spots," and which in an allied 
exotic form (Astronethes) have been demonstrated by 
Professor Reinhardt to be endued with undoubted phos- 


phoric properties. The external resemblance of the 
first-named type to the immature state of some laterally 
compressed fish, such as a Dory or Boar-fish has been 
observed by previous writers, while the Sheppey Argen- 
tine may be compared in shape and proportions to a young 
Sprat or Herring. Examples of both these species will be 
found among the spirit series of the Day Collection. 


Margin of the upper jaw formed by the pre-maxillary 
and maxillary bones ; barbels not developed ; dorsal fins 
two in number, the anterior of normal construction, the 
posterior one destitute of fin rays, simply membranous, and 
constituting the so-called " dead," or " adipose " fin ; the 
ova passing into the abdominal cavity before extrusion. 

The Salmon tribe is of such high importance from a 
commercial point of view, and has now for several centuries 
occupied so prominent a position in our State legislation, 
that one or more handbooks are deservedly being devoted 
to its biography, innumerable varieties, and highly perfected 
methods of artificial cultivation. Such being the case, the 
briefest possible space is here allotted to this group, the 
reader specially interested in the Salmonidae being referred 
to the companion handbooks for further information. 
As is befitting so estimable and noble a fish, the lordly 
Salmon, or "King of Fishes," as his worshippers have 
dubbed him (Salmo salar), No. 143, takes his place at the 
head of the family tree. No more instructive introduction 
to the various aspects, proportions, and growth phases of 
this important species could be obtained than a visit to the 
magnificent series of casts included in the Buckland 

Museum, all the clever handiwork of the enthusiastic 
VOL. I. ii. M 


naturalist to whom the nation is indebted for the collection 
that bears his name. The value of many of these casts 
is greatly augmented through the fact that they were 
painted with life-like fidelity by the late Mr. H. L. Rolfe, 
whose skill in this artistic department was so prominent as 
to have won for him with icthyologists the justly-merited 
title of " The Landseer among Fishes ! " Among this, so-to- 
say, " classic series " of Salmon casts, will be found that very 
monster of his tribe, the celebrated Tay Salmon, or " King 
of Scots," as Frank Buckland named him, which weighed 
in the flesh no less than 70 Ibs., and measured from snout 

FIG. 19. SALMON (Salmo salar). 

to tail as much as four feet five inches. Here also the 
renowned Rhine fish, weighing a pound less than his Scotch 
contemporary, but with the larger dimensions of four feet 
eight inches, and many a noble fifty pounder, hailing in 
almost every instance from " across the border." Next to 
these we find a long line of dissipated Kelts, distinguished 
by their lean proportions and incurved projecting jaws, so 
advantageously utilised by the male fish in excavating the 
gravelly spawning beds wherein the female deposits her 
many thousand eggs. The several earlier developmental 
phases of the Salmon, including the gayly spotted and 


banded "parr," silvery "smolts," and half-grown "grilse," 
may be advantageously studied in the spirit series forming 
the Day Collection. A singular circumstance connected 
with the Salmon, and pertaining also to other members of 
its tribe, is the fact that the males may become sexually 
mature, have their milts fully developed, and fecundate the 
eggs of the female when not advanced beyond the " parr " 
stage, and measuring only five or six inches in length. 
Examples of such precociously developed Salmon were in 
March of the present year, 1883, sent to the writer by Sir 
Edmund Buckley from his estate at Dinas Mawddwy, North 
Wales, and who informed him that it is in that neighbour- 
hood regarded as a distinct species, locally known as the 
" Samlet," and held to be distinct from the ordinary parr. 
In support of this view, females of this early " parr " stage 
with matured ovaries are likewise reported to have been 
taken, but no well authenticated instances of such an 
abnormal development are as yet on record. 

The marine and estuary-frequenting Salmon-trout, 
Salmon-peal, or Sea-trout (Salmo truttd), No. 144, includes 
two well-marked varieties, the so-called White Salmon 
"Whitling," or Hirling, the S 1 . albus of many writers, 
and the Welsh and Cornish forms, locally known as the 
" Sewin " Blue-poll, or Bull-trout, distinguished by ea rlier 
ichthyologists by the titles of 5. cambricus and 5. 
eriox. As ably demonstrated in Dr. Francis Day's 
'Fishes of Great Britain,' which all interested in the 
history and affinities of the Salmonidae should consult 
this species passes by imperceptible gradations into the 
purely fluviatile river -Trout (S. fario), No. 146, with 
its varieties too abundant for enumeration in this brief 
handbook, and likewise, there is good reason to believe, 
into the famous non-migratory Loch Leven Trout (Salmo 

M 2 


levenensis), No. 145, which has for many years past been 
the subject of successful culture at Sir J. Gibson 
Maitland's world-renowned fishery establishment at Howie- 
town, N. B. The Alpine Char (S. alpinus\ No. 147, 
confined to the deep elevated lakes of Great Britain and 
Ireland, runs in like manner through innumerable variations, 
which are figured and described in Couch's ' Fishes of the 
British Islands ' under the several titles of the Willoughby's 
Char of Windermere, the Torgoch of Llanberris, Gray's 
Char from Lake Melvin, the Enniskillen, or Cole's Char 
from Lough Esk and other Irish lakes, while the typical 
Alpine Char, abundant throughout the Scandinavian penin- 
sular, is reported from the Highlands of Scotland. The 
male fish in many of these varieties is distinguished during 
the breeding season for the brilliant vermilion hue of the 
lower region of the body, and numerous spots that decorate 
its sides. The American Brook Trout, or Char (S. 
fontinalis), No. 148, has now become so thoroughly acclim- 
atised in many of the rivers of this country as to claim 
admittance to the British list. The marginal bands of a 
creamy hue that decorate the pectoral fins serve to dis- 
tinguish it readily from any of the many varieties of 5. 
fario. Many interesting hybrid forms have been obtained 
belonging to this species and the last-named type. The true 
Smelt, Sparling, or " Cucumber-Smelt," as it is sometimes 
called with reference to its delicious cucumber-like aroma 
when freshly caught (Osmerus eperlanus\ No. 149, is 
among the smallest of the British Salmonidae, rarely ex- 
ceeding a length of nine or ten inches. It is of eminently 
gregarious habits, being captured in abundance between 
the autumn and early spring months on various parts of 
our coasts, and during the latter season entering the 
mouths of rivers to deposit their spawn. The several 


species of Corregoni are likewise gregarious Salmonidae, 
restricted, however, like the Chars, with one exception (No. 
1 50, which is both a marine and freshwater form), to our 
larger upland lakes, and subject in a similar manner to 
much local variation. In their size, shape, and their silvery 
colouration they bear no inconsiderable resemblance to 
the members of the Herring tribe, whence their popular name 
of "Freshwater Herrings," but may be immediately 
distinguished from such fish by the possession of a distinct 
adipose dorsal fin. The four British species as recognised 
by most authorities are the Houting, or sharp-snouted 
Corregonus (Corregonus oxyrhynchus\ No. 150 ; the Guiniad 
of Bala, and other North Wales lakes (C. clupeoides)* No. 
151 ; the Vendace of Scotland (C. vendesius), No. 152 ; and 
the Pollan and Powan of Ireland and Northumberland (C. 
pollan), No. 153. The Grayling (Thymallus vulgaris), No. 
154, is an example of the Salmon family, specially abun- 
dant in the streams of Hampshire and other of our 
southern counties. The Hebridal Smelt (Argentina 
sphyrcena), No. 155, which closes the list of the British 
Salmonidse, is a small northern marine type, not unfre- 
quently taken among the islands to the North of Scotland, 
and of which a preserved specimen will be found in the 
series forming the Day Collection. 

FAMILY III. PIKES (Esocidce). 

Body covered with scales ; barbels none. Margin of upper 
jaw formed mesially by the intermaxillary and laterally by 
the maxillary bones ; no adipose fin, the single dorsal fin 
developed towards the caudal extremity of the body. 

* Specimens of this type from Bala Lake, the gift of Sir Watkin 
Williams Wynn, Bart., are on view in the Buckland Museum. 


The genus Esox, including a single British species, the 
common Pike, or Jack (Esox lucius), No. 156, and some 
half-a-dozen exotic species, all inhabitants of fresh water, is 
alone comprised in the family Esocidae. The above-named 
well-known British type is the largest of our purely fresh- 
water fishes, and in connection with its remarkable voracity 
enjoys a world-wide reputation. Every description of fish, 
with the exception, perhaps, of the prickly Perch, water- 
fowl, and even water-rats fall victims to its insatiable appetite, 
and instances have been recorded even of large Pike 
greatly pressed by hunger seizing the muzzles of cattle and 
horses when repairing to the riverside to drink. A weight 
of as much as sixty or seventy pounds is not unfrequently 
attained by a full-grown Pike. Numerous admirable casts 
of monster specimens of this destructive fish will be found 
in the Buckland Museum, and likewise an example of a 
half-grown fish which was captured in the act of gorging 
one of its own species about equal to itself in size. 

FAMILY IV. SAURY PIKES (Scombresocidce). 

Body covered with scales, those developed along each 
side of the belly keeled or carinate ; upper jaw-bones con- 
stituted as in the Esocidse ; the lower pharyngeal elements 
united into a single bone ; dorsal fin developed opposite 
the anal one towards the caudal region ; no adipose fin ; 
air-bladder without a pneumatic duct. 

This family includes the Gar-fish, Gor-bill, or Long-nose 
(Belone vulgaris\ No. 157; the Saury Pike or Skipper 
(Scombresox saurus), No. 158 ; and the Flying-fish (Exocetus 
evolans)) No. 159. The two first-named types are com- 
pressed elongated forms remarkable for the beak-like 
prolongation of their upper and lower jaws, suggestive of 


the modification already recorded of the Sword-fish, only 
in these two instances it is the lower in place of the upper 
jaw that is the more developed. A remarkable peculiarity of 
the Gar-fish when boiled, is the fact that the bones assume 
a bright green hue ; this circumstance has won for it the title 
of the " Greenbone," and among the uninitiated has given 
rise to the erroneous idea that the tint is due to the presence 
3f copper, and that the fish is therefore unfit for food. A 
very interesting series of the metamorphoses of this species 

FIG. 20. FLYING-FISH (Exocetus volitans). 

from the egg to the full-grown fish will be found in the 
spirit series of the Day Collection. Young examples in 
which only the lower jaw is abnormally developed, were 
originally described as a distinct species under the title 
of the " Half-beak " (Hemirampkus). The greater Flying- 
fish (Exocetus volitans), No. 159, rarely captured in British 
waters, in shape, size, and colour much resembles a Herring, 
with the exception that the pectoral fins are so enormously 
developed that the fish is enabled with their assistance to 


make long leaps, resembling flight, above the surface of the 
water. It is in the habit of associating in shoals, and where 
abundant, in the Mediterranean and more southern seas, 
is the favourite prey of the Dolphin-fish (Coryphand), and 
the Albatross, and other sea-birds, which pursue it un- 
relentingly through air and water as represented in the 
accompanying illustration. A British example of the 
Flying-fish is among the more important desiderata of 
the Buckland Museum. The Lesser Flying-fish (Exocetus 
evolans), is doubtfully reported as having been on one or 
more occasions taken off the British coast. 

FAMILY V. CARP TRIBE (Cyprinida). 

Body, excepting the head, usually covered with scales ; 
the margin of the upper jaw formed by the intermaxillary 
bones alone ; the mouth toothless, but teeth developed in 
one, two, or three bones upon the strong falciform, lower 
pharyngeal bones; no adipose fin; air-bladder large, 
divided by a constriction into an anterior and posterior 
portion, or into a right and left sub-division, enclosed within 
an osseous capsule. 

The Carp tribe embraces all our most familiarly known 
coarser species of freshwater fish, such as the common 
Carp (Cyprinus carpio), No. 160 ; the Crucian Carp (Caras- 
sius vulgaris\ No. 161 ; the Barbel (Bar bus vulgaris\ No. 
162 ; the Gudgeon (Gobio flumatilis), No. 163 ; the Roach 
(Leuciscusrutilus), No. 164 ; the Chub (L. cephalus), No. 165 ; 
the Dace (L. vulgaris). No. 166 ; the Rudd (L. erythrop- 
thalmus\ No. 167 ; the Minnow (L. pkoxinus), No. 168 ; the 
Tench (Tinea vulgaris), No. 169 ; the Yellow Bream and 
White Bream (Abramis brama and A. blicca), Nos. 170 
and 171 ; the Bleak (Albernus lucidus),No. 172; and the 


Common Loach and Spined Loach (Nemachilus barbatulus 
and Colitis tcenia), Nos. 173 and 174. All of these species 
will be found extensively represented among both the collec- 
tion of casts in the Buckland Museum andthe spirit-preserved 
specimens forming the Day Collection, a large number 
of them being likewise exhibited alive in the aquaria belong- 
ing to the Museum of Pisciculture. Since, however, this 
family group falls specially within the province of the 
corresponding handbooks, treating upon the art of angling 
and general pisciculture, the space that might have been 
otherwise devoted to its biography has been bestowed upon 
less familiar forms. One or two types and their varieties 
deserve, nevertheless, a more extensive notice. Among 
these must be mentioned a variety of the Common Carp, in 
which the bones of the head are so deformed that it closely 
resembles that of a pug-dog. Casts of this variety will be 
found in the Buckland Museum. The Crucian Carp is 
notable for exhibiting a large number of varieties, including 
the well-known gold and silver Carp with their innumerable 
interblendings, originally introduced from China,* the 
normal-coloured fish, comprising the common large head, 
sub-cylindrical form, formerly and still frequently denomi- 
nated the Prussian Carp (Cyprinus gibelio), and the much 
compressed Bream-like form, which retained the title of 
the Crucian Carp, or Carp-Bream. A remarkable example 
of this variety, having an oval perforation of about an inch 
in length and half an inch in breadth, through the muscular 
tissues of the hinder region of its body, was received by the 
writer at the Manchester Aquarium, from Mr. Henry King, 
of Great Portland Street, in the year 1875. The Tench, like 
the Carp, is notable for a gold coloured variety, obtained from 

* By some authorities the Gold-fish is admitted to the rank of a 
distinct species, under the title of Cyprinus, or Car ass ms auratus. 


Germany, the tint of which is, however, a paler yellow, more 
resembling that of the cowslip or primrose, variously mottled 
with black or brown ; this form, which is popularly known 
by the name of the Golden Tench, or " Gold Schlei," is 
well represented in the tanks in the Buckland Museum. 


Body, excepting the head, covered with scales ; the 
abdomen commonly compressed and with a serrated edge ; 
no barbels ; the margin of the upper jaw composed of the 
maxillary and intermaxillary bones ; no adipose fin ; the 
dorsal fin not elongated ; all gill-openings usually very wide ; 
air-bladder more or less simple. 

This highly important fish group includes as many as 
half-a-dozen species indigenous to British waters, and a large 
number of exotic forms distributed throughout the tem- 
perate and tropical seas, many entering and thriving in fresh 
waters that communicate freely with the ocean. All the 
British species are of such great economic value, that their full 
description is appropriately left for the handbooks treating 
upon the food question, little more than a mere summary 
being here given of their respective names. First on the list 
comes the Anchovy (Engraulis encrassicholus), 'No. 175, a 
species occurring occasionally, according to Couch, in such 
abundance off the Cornish coast, that with the use of proper 
appliances it might be developed into an important fishery, 
whereas at present the entire bulk of this piquant fish, utilised 
in various ways in English cookery, is derived from the 
Mediterranean. Examples of the Anchovy, the first accli- 
matised in this country, were successfully imported by the 
writer in the year 1875, from Morecambe Bay to the tanks 
of the Manchester Aquarium. The Common Herring 


(Clupea harengus), No. 176, apart from the prominent 
position it occupies among our British fisheries in its adult 
state, provides for the tables of the wealthy in the days of its 
youth that very highly esteemed delicacy known as " White- 
bait." Originally the Whitebait was supposed to represent 
a distinct species of British fish, and was so described by 
Yarrell under the title of Clupea alba. Yarrell's types, how- 
ever, deposited in the British Museum, were shown by Dr. 
Giinther to be the young only of the Herring, every phase 
of growth from the Whitebait to the adult state having been 
produced. Proof of a more substantial nature in the same 
direction was adduced by the writer in the years 1874 and 
75, through the successful cultivation of Whitebait in the 
Manchester Aquarium. These fish, which when first im- 
ported from Mr. Parry Evans' famous Salmon Weir at 
Colwyn Bay, North Wales, measured but from one to two 
inches in length, had grown within the course of a year to 
small, though fair-sized Herrings. The feat of artificially 
cultivating Whitebait, though not previously achieved at any 
other aquarium, and more especially an inland one, was 
subsequently carried through with success at the Brighton 
and Southport institutions, and likewise for the second 
time by the writer at the Westminster Aquarium in the 
year 1876. The great difficulty attending the rearing of 
these interesting little fish was connected with the food 
question. The natural diet of the Herring in its young and 
adult states, consists essentially of living prey, including 
chiefly Entomostraca and the larval phases of higher Crus- 
tacea. Such pabulum being difficult to obtain so far inland as 
Manchester, a variety of substitutes were offered them by 
way of experiment, but for a long time without success. 
Ultimately an irresistible bonne-bouche was provided in the 
shape of the hard adductor muscle of the common Mussel 


(Mytilus), which, minced very fine, was devoured with avidity 
by the little Whitebait, and thenceforward constituted their 
normal nutriment A like food-material was also successfully 
utilised by the writer for rearing Lobsters from the egg 
through their various larval metamorphoses to the adult form, 
and might be advantageously adopted for the cultivation of 
a variety of young marine fish and other organisms hitherto 
found difficult to rear. Should there be sufficient space at 
disposal at the Exhibition Aquarium the writer has proposed 
to devote a couple of small tanks to a repetition of the ex- 
perimental cultivation of Whitebait and Lobsters just 
described.* While it was thus proved to demonstration that 
the genuine Whitebait represented by the Clupea alba 
of Yarrell, is no more nor less than young Herring, it has 
to be admitted that the delicacy as supplied to us at the 
Metropolitan restaurants, and even at classic Greenwich, 
may and does not unfrequently include a very menagerie of 
piscine fry; young Gobies, Flat-fish, Weevers, Sand-eels, 
Shrimps, and even Sticklebacks, being, indeed, often recog- 
nisable among the heap of slain that should consist entirely 
of Clupeidse. The Sprat (Clupea sprattus), No. 177, 
distinguished from the Herring by its small size and 
strongly serrated ventral edge, the Pilchard (C. pilchardus), 
No. 1 80, and the two fish known as the Allis-Shad (C. alosa), 
No. 178, and the Twait-Shad (C.fintd), No. 179, conclude 
the list of British Herrings. The Shads, which resemble the 
ordinary Herring in shape, but are of much larger size, 
sometimes attaining to a length of three or four feet, are re- 
markable for their habit of entering the mouths of rivers and 

* For a fuller account of these experiments the reader is referred to 
the writer's paper on " The Construction, Management, and Utility of 
Aquaria," read before the Society of Arts on March ist, 1876, and 
published in the succeeding number of the Society's Journal. 


ascending into perfectly fresh water to deposit their spawn. 
During their migration to fresh water they are much es- 
teemed for food. The Severn in the months of April and 
May is especially famous for its Shad fisheries. 

FAMILY VII EELS (Muranufa). 

Body very elongate, cylindrical or band-shaped, naked, 
or with rudimentary scales ; gill-opening very small ; vent 
remote from the head ; no ventral fins ; vertical fins, if 
present confluent, or separated only by the projecting tip 
of the tail ; the humeral arch not attached to the skull. 

Their attenuate snake-shaped bodies, absence of ventral 
fins, and the continuity of the long dorsal and anal fins, distin- 
guish the members of the Eel tribe 'conspicuously from all 
other fish. The most familiar British form, the common 
freshwater or Silver Eel (Anguilla vulgaris), No. 187, in- 
cludes a large number of local varieties, formerly described 
as distinct species under the respective titles of the Sharp- 
nosed, Broad-nosed, Dublin, and Snig Eels. It is a re- 
markable circumstance that this fish, though capable of 
breeding in ponds or rivers, repairs, where facilities are 
afforded it, to salt-water to deposit its spawn, its habits 
being in this respect the converse of that of the Salmon. The 
fry, when hatched, ascend the rivers in vast numbers under 
the form of " Elvers," to the waters from whence their 
parents migrated. Artificial ladders, formed of hay or straw 
loosely twisted into bands, are often provided to enable the 
little Elvers to climb over weirs, and other natural obstruc- 
tions, that would otherwise intercept their upward progress. 
The descent of the adult Eels to the spawning-beds likewise 
takes place in shoals, the period of their migration, which 
by known signs may be calculated to within a few hours, 


being taken advantage of by the riparian proprietors for their 
capture. Mr. Edon, of the Buckland Museum, has informed 
the writer that he was present in November, a few years 
since, at an Eel-taking from the river Erne in Ireland, when 
the fish, to the amount of no less than ten tons, were inter- 
cepted in a single night, at one of six stations established on 
the river, during their migration from Loch Erne to Donegal 
Bay to spawn. The Eels thus captured are immediately 
nailed down in trunks the boxes used in spring for the trans- 
port of Salmon being utilised in the instance quoted and 
are then despatched alive to the English markets. Eels 
not only live for a long while out of water, but often volun- 
tarily leave the ponds or rivers they normally inhabit, in 
search of food or more congenial residence. A weight of 
eight or ten pounds, with an average length of four feet, 
is not uncommonly attained by the Silver Eel ; several 
casts of specimens possessing these fine proportions will 
be found in the Buckland Museum. The Conger Eel 
(Conger vulgaris), No. 182, is an exclusively marine species, 
growing to a length of no less than six to eight feet, with a 
weight of from 50 to 60 Ibs. to over a hundredweight. 
Doubtless many of the legendary tales respecting the Sea- 
serpent originated in connection with giant Congers. The 
largest examples are captured off rocky coasts, such as those 
of Cornwall, Devonshire, and the Channel Islands. Though 
but rarely seen in the London markets, it with proper 
treatment yields a most appetising and nutritious food, and 
is largely utilised as the basis of various soups, such as mock 
turtle, and in the Channel Islands is made into the soup 
locally known as bouillabaisse. Conger stewed after the Lan- 
cashire fashion in milk, with a little butter, pepper, salt, and 
just a flavour of onion, can be highly recommended by the 
writer. Casts of remarkably large specimens of this Eel 


are on view in the Buckland Museum, while living ones 
may be seen in the Exhibition Aquarium. When thus 
kept in confinement it is highly desirable to keep large 
specimens separate, they ravenously devouring any other 
fish of less size than themselves, not excepting individuals 
of their own species. The young of the Conger was 
originally described as a separate form, under the title of 
the Anglesea Morris (Leptocephalus morrisii). The Muraena 
(Murcena helena), No. 183, is a rare fish on the British 
coast, but abundant in the Mediterranean and tropical 

FIG. 21. MURAENA (Murana helena). 

seas, distinguished by its compressed contour, absence of 
pectoral as well as ventral fins, and the beautiful leopard- 
like mottlings of its naked integument. An exceedingly 
fine example of this fish, derived from a Continental source, 
will be found among the spirit series forming the Day 

SUB-ORDER TV.Lophobranchii. 

The gills not laminated, but composed of small rounded 
lobes attached to the branchial arches ; the gill-cover 


represented by a simple plate ; air-bladder without a 
pneumatic duct ; a dermal skeleton composed of numerous 
indurated polygonal plates, usually developed ; the snout 
prolonged ; mouth terminal, toothless. 

FAMILY I. PlPE-FiSHES (Syngnathida}. 

Gill-openings reduced to a minute opening near the 
upper posterior angle of the gill-cover ; one soft dorsal fin, 
no ventrals, and one or more of the other fins frequently 

The Syngnatkidce, including the Pipe-fishes and Sea-Horses 
(Hippocampi), comprise some of the most remarkable- 

FIG. 22. PIPE-FISH (Nerophis aquoreits}. 

looking forms in the World's fish-fauna. The Pipe-fishes, 
or Sea-adders, as they are sometimes called, are attenuated 
snake-like fish, represented by as many as five British 
species. These are the Broad-nosed Pipe-fish (Syphonostoma 
typhle\ No. 184 ; the Greater Pipe-fish (Syngnathus acus), No. 
185 ; the Ocean Pipe-fish (Nerophis aquoreus), No. 186 ; 
the Snake Pipe-fish (N. ophidiori), No. 187; and the Worm 
Pipe-fish (N. lumbriciformis), No. 188. The majority of 
these types will be found among the spirit-preserved series of 
fish forming the Day Collection. A peculiarity common to 
all the Pipe-fishes, and also the Sea-Horses, is connected 
with their mode of locomotion. This is effected entirely 
by the action of the unpaired dorsal fin, the rays of which, 


vibrating in rhythmical order from before backwards, con- 
vert this organ into an efficient screw-propeller, by the 
aid of which these fishes progress through the water in a 
singularly beautiful manner, the body during such loco- 
motion usually assuming a vertical position. A similar 
mode of locomotion in which, however, the anal fin likewise 
takes a part, has been recorded, [by the writer] of the 
John Dory and Boar-fish. The Syngnathida are further 
remarkable for the phenomena attending the process of 
reproduction. The eggs deposited by the female are not, 
as with the majority of fish species, left to the mercy of the 
waves, but are consigned to the care of the male, who 
receives them into a pouch-like excavation of the ventral 
surface of his body, and there nurses them until the young 
are hatched. It was formerly, but erroneously, supposed 
that, after the manner of the kangaroo, the young fish 
retreated for protection to the parental pouch on the 
approach of any disturbing influence. Of the Sea-Horses, 
or Hippocampi, but one species is rarely taken on the British 
coast, this being the Short-nosed variety (Hippocampus 
antiquorum), No. 189. It is a small form, not exceeding 
two or three inches in length, having a head and shoulders 
grotesquely resembling the conventional type of a horse 
that represents the knight on a chess-board, the body thence 
tapering away into a sub-cylindrical, highly flexible ap- 
pendage, wherewith the little animal can attach itself to 
sea-weeds and other submarine objects, in much the same 
fashion that a New World monkey utilises its prehensile 
tail. In the spring of the year 1875, some very extra- 
ordinary coloured specimens of this singular little fish, 
obtained from the Mediterranean, were supplied to the 
writer at the Manchester Aquarium by Mr. G. H. King, of 
165 Great Portland Street. Some of these were bright 

VOL. I. II. N 


red, others pale pink, bright or light yellow, and even almost 
pure white, with many other interblending shades. Such 
colours had apparently been assumed by the fish in keeping 
with, and as a means of concealment among, the brilliant 
vegetation and zoophytic growth indigenous to the locality 
from whence they were derived. These tints in confine- 
ment gradually disappeared, until the fish had assumed 
the normal light brown or speckled hue by . which they 

FIG. 23. SEA-HORSE (Hippocampus antiquorum). 

are generally characterised. A somewhat interesting fact 
was elicited by the writer while making some coloured 
sketches of the individuals just referred to. Two examples 
were at this time isolated in separate glass receptacles some 
few yards apart, when unexpectedly a sharp little snapping 
noise was heard at short and regular intervals to proceed 
from one of the vases placed on a side table, and to which a 
response in a like manner was almost immediately made from 


the vase close at hand. On seeking for the cause, the sound 
was found to proceed from the mouths of the little Hippocampi, 
which were thus conversing with, or signalling to, one another. 
The noise observed was produced by the muscular closing 
and sudden expansion of the lower jaw, and much re- 
sembled in strength and tone the snapping sound produced 
for a similar purpose, but in this instance with its claw, by 
the little scarlet Prawn (Alpheus ruber\ found in the 
Channel Islands. A difficulty in keeping Sea-Horses is 

FIG. 24. EXOTIC SEA-HORSE (Phyllopteryx eques). 

usually presented in connection with their food supply, 
they subsisting naturally on small Crustacea, such as Sand- 
hoppers (Gammarus\ and the Opossum Shrimp (My sis). 
Such supply failing in Manchester, the writer improvised 
a successful substitute in the form of the larvae of the 
common gnat (Culex pipiens), and other water insects. A 
much larger type, obtained in the Mediterranean, and often 
exhibited in aquaria, is the Branched Sea- Horse (Hip- 
pocampus ramolosus), ornamented about the head and neck 
with long filamentous processes that may be likened to 

N 2 


a mane. In an allied, but still more extraordinary 
Australian type (Phyllopteryx eques\ represented in the 
accompanying engraving (Fig. 24), leaflike appendages of 
the integument are produced so luxuriantly from various 
points of the surface of the body that the animal is 
scarcely to be distinguished from a branch of sea-weed. 

SUB-ORDER V.Plectognat/ii. 

Body covered with simple scales, scutes or spines, gills 
pectinate, gill opening in front of the pectoral fins, very 
narrow ; a soft dorsal fin developed posteriorly opposite to a 
corresponding anal one ; ventral fins absent, or reduced to 
one or more spines ; air-bladder without a pneumatic 

FAMILY I. FILE-FISHES (Sclerodermi). 

Jaws armed with distinct teeth. Skin with scutes, or 
rough ; elements of spinous dorsal and ventral fins usually 

The fish belonging to this group are essentially inhabi- 
tants of the tropical seas, solitary individuals representing 
two species, the spotted File-fish (Balistes maculatus\ No. 
190, and the Mediterranean File-fish (B. capriscus], No. 191, 
having on rare occasions been taken as stragglers in British 
waters. They are oblong compressed forms, remarkable for 
the simple slit-like opening to the gill cavity, the armature of 
their body, which consists of closely apposed polygonal 
plates in place of overlapping scales and for the modification 
of the first dorsal fin, which consists somewhat after 
the manner of the Trumpet-fish (Centriscus), of an anterior 
abnormally developed spine, and two or three other 


very much shorter rays. This peculiarly shaped fin 
has in some localities won for these species the popular 
title of " Trigger-fishes." Examples of both of these two 
varieties are among the desiderata yet needed to complete 
the collection of British species contained in the Museum of 
Economic Pisciculture. The curious Trunk-fishes, genus 
Ostracion, having their bodies encased in a complete cara- 
pace of variously ornamented tesselated plates, are exotic 
members of the same family, of which one species (O. quad- 
ricornis) has been doubtfully alleged to have been taken 
on one or two occasions off the Cornish coast. 


Body more or less shortened ; the bones of the upper 
and lower jaws coalescing in such a manner as to form a 
trenchant beak without any arming teeth ; no spinous 
dorsal and no ventral fins ; the second or soft dorsal, 
caudal and anal fins closely approximate. 

Of the Globe-fishes but one species, Pennant's Globe-fish 
(Tetrodon longicephalus), No. 192, has been rarely captured 
on the south coast of England and Ireland. Its chief 
peculiarity lies in its capacity to distend a considerable 
area of its skin in the region of the thorax, through the 
imbibition of air or water, into an almost globular shape, 
after the manner of a huge crop. The surface thus dis- 
tended is armed with thickly-set defensive spines, lead- 
ing the way to the tropical Globe or Porcupine-fishes 
(Diodoii)> in which the entire body is beset with formidable 
spines, and distensible at will into a spheroidal form. The 
inflated skins of these fish are largely used by the Chinese 
for the purpose of making ornamental lanterns. Of the 
species known as Sun-fishes, included in the same family 


group, one variety, the Short Sun-fish (Orthagoriscus mola), 
No. 193, is not unfrequently taken during the summer and 
autumn months in British waters, the second form, or Oblong 
Sun-fish (O. truncatus). No. 194, being much more rare. 
Both species share the remarkable feature of having the 
posterior region abruptly truncated, resembling in this 
respect an ordinary fish cut in half; the tail is almost 
obliterated or reduced to a mere frill-like border, continuous 
with which are produced from above and beneath the large 

FIG. 25. SUN-FISH (Orthagoriscus truncatus\, 

equal-sized dorsal and anal fins. Both species attain to 
large dimensions, a measurement of from six to eight feet, 
with a weight of several hundredweight, being frequently 
represented. Casts of several fine specimens of the short 
Sun-fish (O. mold) will be found in the Buckland Museum. 
The colours of a young example of this species forwarded 
alive to the writer from Mevagissey, Cornwall, by Mr. 
Matthias Dunn, a few years since, were brilliant silver 
variegated with irregular blotches and bands of flesh- 


ORDER ll.Ganoidei. 

Skeleton partly cartilaginous, partly ossified ; the optic 
nerves forming a chiasma, not decussating ; the aortic bulb 
provided with but a single row of valves ; the intestine 
with a spiral valve ; branchiae free ; the gill cavity covered 
by a gill-cover. 

FAMILY I. STURGEON TRIBE (Acipenseridcfy* 

Skeleton partly cartilaginous ; the integument naked, 
or protected by osseous bucklers ; the caudal fin un- 
symmetrical, heterocereal ; the snout produced above and in 
front of the mouth, four barbels disposed in a transverse 
row developed from its lower side ; the mouth small, 
toothless, highly protractile ; air-bladder large, communi- 
cating with the dorsal wall of the oesophagus. 

The Broad-nosed Sturgeon (Acipenser maculosus), No. 
195, and the Common Sturgeon (A. sturio\ No. 196, are 
the only British examples of the Ganoid fishes, represented 
at the present day by some half-a-dozen remarkable exotic 
genera, but which in older Geological times were among 
the most abundant of the finny tribes. The Sturgeons 
are either exclusively inhabitants of fresh water or migrate 
periodically from the sea into the larger rivers to deposi t 
their spawn. Both of the above-named species attain to a 
large size, a length of eight or ten feet being an ordinary 
measurement of the common sort, while the broad-nosed 
variety is stated to grow to over twice these dimensions. 
The flesh of the Sturgeon is much esteemed by some as an 
article of food. In Russia, where the two British and other 
allied forms are so abundant as to constitute a most 


important fishery, the delicacy known as " Caviare " is 
prepared from the roes, while isinglass is manufactured 
from the inner lining of their air-bladders. Living ex- 
amples of the Common Sturgeon have been frequently 
acclimatised in aquaria ; one over six feet long has now 
been a resident for many years in one of the larger tanks, 
sixty feet in length, in the Brighton Aquarium, as also a 
shoal of small specimens, two of which have been kindly 
spared by the authorities, and are now on view in the 
Aquarium Corridor of the Fisheries Exhibition. In cap- 
tivity they feed voraciously on the common lug-worm 

FIG. 26. STURGEON (Adpenser sturio). 

(Arenicola), using their snouts and dependent barbels with 
much dexterity in groping for and detecting the presence of 
their favourite food ; this is immediately seized by the pro- 
trusible tubular mouth, which, under ordinary conditions, 
is retracted out of sight beneath the projecting snout. The 
Sturgeon was originally denominated a Royal fish, and by 
an Act of Edward II., now in abeyance, but still unrepealed, 
was claimed as the property of the Crown. 

Casts of adult examples of both of the two British species 
and several preserved specimens will be found in the 
Buckland Museum. 


ORDER HlElasmobranchiata. 

Skeleton entirely cartilaginous ; tail unsymmetrical 
(heterocercal), the upper lobe being the more produced ; 
branchia attached to the skin by their outer margins with 
usually several intervening gill-openings (deciduous external 
gills developed in the embryo); the aortic bulb provided with 
several series of valves ; ova large, few in number, impreg- 
nated, and in many instances developed within a uterine 

SUB-ORDER l.Holocephala. 

Gill-opening single, covered by a fold of the skin ; the 
maxillary and palatal apparatus coalescent with the skull ; 
teeth few in number. 

The Arctic Chimera, Rabbit-fish, or King of the Her- 
rings, as it is popularly called (Chimcera monstrosa), No. 
197, is the only representative of the Holocephalous division 
of the Elasmobranch fishes taken in British waters, and 
then upon very rare occasions, it being more strictly an 
inhabitant of the deep and colder waters of the polar seas. 
From the ordinary sharks, with which in many anatomical 
points it closely agrees, it differs most essentially in the 
possession of a single gill-opening, and in the character of 
the dentition, the conspicuous teeth being but four in 
number, two above and two beneath, their contour, in 
addition to their number, much resembling the incisors of a 
rabbit. A sharp and formidable spine arms the front 
border of the first dorsal fin, and in the male a remarkable 
erectile spiniferous appendage is developed from the front 
of the head ; the upper lobe of the tail, which is very 
long, tapers off gradually to the fineness of a thread. The 


large eyes, which in freshly caught examples are of a 
brilliant sea-green hue, seem specially adapted for its 
accredited deep-water habitat. An excellent cast of the 
Arctic Chimera, made from a specimen captured on the 
coast of Norway, will be found in the Buckland Collection. 
A length of from two and a half to three feet represents 
the ordinary measurement of this species. 


Gill-openings five to seven in number ; palatal apparatus 
united to the skull through the intermedium of a suspen- 
sorium ; the teeth numerous. 


Body elongate subcylindrical, terminating anteriorly in 
a more or less pointed snout, beneath which the mouth is 
situated, and posteriorly in a powerful flexible blade-like 
tail ; gill-openings lateral. 

Although usually relegated by the popular mind to the 
seas of the tropics, a very considerable number of Sharks 
either permanently inhabit, or more or less frequently visit, 
British waters. Including the Dog-fishes, whose anatomical 
structure is essentially identical with that of the larger 
Sharks, no less than sixteen species claim admission upon 
the British list, the order assigned to them in the leading 
ichthyological text-books being as follows : The Blue 
Shark (Carcharias glaucus), No 198, a rapacious species 
growing from eight or ten to upwards of fourteen feet in 
length, not unfrequent off our coasts so far north as the 
Orkneys during the summer months, and which on rare 
occasions has been known to attack the human species. 


The Toper, or White Hound (Galens cams), No. 199, some- 
times attains to a length of six feet, and in shape and 
aspect much resembles the Picked Dog-fish (Acanthias 
vulgaris\ No. 210, excepting that the defensive spines 
stationed in front of the two dorsal fins are in this species 
entirely wanting. The Hammer-headed Shark (Zygcena 
mallens), No. 200, common in the Mediterranean and 
tropical seas, is a very rare visitant to our shores, remark- 
able for the lateral elongation of the orbital processes of the 
skull, that communicate to the head its characteristic ham- 
mer-like contour, and upon the extremities of which the eyes 
are developed, the visual range of the fish by this arrangement 
being greatly increased. The cast of a small exotic example 
of this species, which grows to a length of ten or twelve 
feet, will be found in the Buckland Museum. It is usually 
described as among the most ferocious examples of the 
Shark tribe, though authentic records seem wanting to show 
that man has been the subject of its attacks. The Skate- 
toothed Shark, or Smooth Hound ( Mustelus vulgaris\ No. 
20 1, is among the smaller species, rarely exceeding a 
length of three or four feet. In common with the Toper 
and Picked Dog-fish, it has frequently been acclimatised in 
the tanks of our larger aquaria. In the year 1875 a pair of 
these fish, male and female, were captured the same night 
in Mr. Parry Evans' Salmon Weir at Colwyn Bay, North 
Wales, and secured by the writer for the Manchester 
Aquarium. Soon after arriving at their destination, the 
female gave birth to eleven young ones, which, with the 
exception of one example which was apparently devoured by 
the male fish, were successfully reared. The name of Skate- 
toothed Shark has been conferred upon this fish with 
reference to the flattened tesselated character of the teeth, 
which more nearly resemble those of the Rays and Skates 


than the usually sharp-pointed, trenchant weapons of the ordi- 
nary Sharks. The cast of a female with its newly born litter 
of young, similar to the one just described, is on view in the 
Buckland Museum. The Porbeagle, or Beaumaris Shark, 
as it is occasionally called (Lamna cornubicd), No. 202, is 
by no means unfrequent on the southern and western 
coasts of England and Scotland ; though rarely surpassing a 
length of six or eight feet, it possesses all the characters 
of the most predacious species, and is armed with a very 
formidable array of trenchant recurved teeth. Several casts 
of this species are exhibited in the Buckland Museum, and 
on the opening day of the Fisheries Exhibition, May I2th, 
1 883, a specimen about four feet long was exposed to view on 
one of the stalls in the fish market. Among the more remark- 
able members of the Shark tribe must be mentioned the 
Fox-Shark, or Thresher (A lopecias vulpes\ No. 203, the strik- 
ing feature in which is the enormous development of the 
upper lobe of the tail, which is shaped like the blade of a 
scythe, and whose length equals or exceeds that of one-half 
of the fish's body. This formidable appendage it is 
asserted the Fox Shark uses with terrible effect in its 
attacks upon various of the larger Whales, with whom it is 
said to wage a constant feud, its ally in arms being the 
Sword-fish (Xiphias), which attacks the Whale from 
beneath while the Sharks, leaping out of the water, fall 
upon the Cetacean from above. In accordance with the 
latest observations there is, however, reason to believe that it 
is another Cetacean the Grampus (Delphinus gladiator) that 
is usually the aggressor and which has been mistaken for the 
Shark. Casts of the Thresher, including that of an example 
thirteen feet six inches long, captured in the Mackerel nets 
off Folkestone in October 1867, may be seen in the Buckland 


The Basking-Shark, or Sun-fish, as it is sometimes incor- 
rectly termed (Selache maximus\ is the largest of our British 
fish, not unfrequently exceeding a length of thirty feet. It 
makes a regular migration along the west coast of Ireland 
and western isles of Scotland during the spring months of 
the year, and on account of the value and quantity of the 
oil obtainable from its liver is the object in such localities 
of an important fishery. Although of such enormous bulk, 
it is a very quiet and inoffensive species, armed with teeth 
scarcely larger than those of an ordinary Dog-fish. A fine 
preserved example of this species has been recently added 
to the collection now in course of transfer from the British 
to the adjacent New Natural History Museum. The fish 
takes its names as above given from its habit of basking in 
the sun at the surface of the water, and under which condi- 
tions it falls an easy prey to the harpooners. The Six- 
gilled Shark (Notidanus grisens), No. 205 ; the Centrina 
(Centrinasabriani), No. 209 ; the Black Shark (Spinax niger) 
No. 210 ; the Greenland Shark (Lcemargits borealis], No. 212 ; 
and the Spinous Shark (Echinorhinus spinosus\ No. 213, 
are among the larger forms that are but rarely taken in 
British waters ; the cast of a fine example of the last-named 
species, between seven and eight feet long, will be found 
in the Buckland Museum. The remaining British Sharks, 
including the Lesser Spotted Dog-fish, or Rough Hound 
(Scyllium canicula), No. 206; the Larger Spotted Dog- 
fish, or Nurse Hound (S. stellaris), No. 207; and the 
Black-mouthed Dog-fish (Pristiurus melanostomus), No. 208, 
are all of relative small size, not exceeding from three to 
four or five feet in length, accustomed to prey upon Crus- 
tacea and other animals inhabiting the bottom of the ocean, 
and are for this reason known as " Ground Sharks." The 
two first-named species, which are beautifully spotted with 


black upon a tawny ground, after the manner of a leopard, 
adapt themselves readily to the artificial conditions of a 
marine aquarium, and breed freely in the tanks. Contrary 
to the preceding forms which are all viviparous, these 
Ground Sharks deposit eggs, usually two at a time, enclosed 
in horny cases several inches long, not unlike those of the 
Skates, but having their extremities produced into long 
cord-like tendrils which during deposition are wound tightly 
round stones, sea-weeds, and other submarine objects, the 
eggs being thus securely anchored until the escape of the 
young fish. The gradual development of the embryo 
Dog-fish, which in its earlier days possesses tufted external 

FIG. 27. SPOTTED DOG-FISH (Scy Ilium stellaris}. 

gills, like a Tadpole, may be distinctly observed through the 
more transparent egg-cases, and affords one of the most 
interesting and instructive exhibitions furnished by a well- 
ordered aquarium. The Spotted Dog-fish are essentially 
nocturnal in their habits, rarely active, unless when fed or dis- 
turbed, during broad daylight, but waking into life with the 
approach of dusk, and then swimming swiftly to and fro or 
around their tanks with a peculiarly graceful gliding motion. 
The eye-coverings in these fish are remarkably complex ; 
within the first or outer eyelid, which closes upwards 
like that of a bird, is a second protective envelope, acting 
as a diaphragm, and which throughout the day is, with the 


exception of a narrow oblique slit, entirely closed over the 
true eye. When darkness has fully set in, this diaphragm 
is completely retracted, leaving the eyeball free and gleam- 
ing like that of a cat or other nocturnal mammal. This 
phenomenon, observed by the writer of examples in the 
Brighton and Manchester Aquaria, may be corroborated 
by an examination of the specimens now on view in the 
Exhibition tanks. In the Skates, presently described, it will 
be found that a very beautifully constructed fimbriated 
membrane takes the place of the diaphragm that covers 
the eye of the Spotted Dog-fish. 


The last upon the list of the Shark tribe is the Monk-fish 
or Angel-fish (Rhina squatind), No. 214, which in its 
flattened form, and the great development of the pectoral 
fins, closely approaches the Rays, the lateral position of its 
gill -openings, partly hid by the pectoral fins, being how- 
ever accepted by ichthyologists as of sufficient importance 
to justify its retention among the present group. Addi- 
tional evidence in support of its preponderating affinities 
in the same direction is afforded by its mode of locomotion 
in the water, observed by the writer of examples in aquaria, 
and which is entirely that of a Shark, beiner effected bv the 


powerful sculling action of the oar-like tail, and not by the 
aid of the pectoral fins, as in the Rays. In recognition 
of the intermediate positions it occupies between these two 
groups, it is in some localities distinguished by the name 
of the, Shark-Ray; the Fiddle-fish and the Kingstone are 
other local titles, the first suggestive of its peculiar form, by 
which it is locally known to fishermen. Those of the Monk 
and Angel-fish have been conferred upon it respectively 
with reference to the fancied resemblance of the rounded 
head and pectoral fins to a monk's hood and cowl, or of 
the last-named structures to the wings of a seraph. As 
acclimatised in aquaria it has been found to be an essen- 
tially nocturnal species, reposing sluggishly on the sand or 
shingle at the bottom of its tank, and unless disturbed 
exercising its locomotive functions only after darkness has 
set in. Some fine casts of this species are on view in the 
Buckland Collection. 


Body greatly depressed ; gill-openings ventral, five in 
number; the pectoral fins usually enormously developed 
around the flattened trunk ; terminating posteriorly in a 
thin and slender tail, upon which the dorsal fins, if present, 
are developed ; spiracles always present. 

The flattened form of the ordinary Skates and Rays 
with their huge pectoral fins and attenuate tail is too 
familiar to need elaborate description. Among them, how- 
ever, are included several highly specialised types which 
demand closer attention. As such are the Torpedoes, 
Electric Rays, or Cramp-fishes, as they are sometimes 
called, of which two species, the Plain Torpedo (Torpedo 
hebetans\ No. 215, and the Spotted Torpedo ( T. marmoratd). 



No. 216, are occasionally taken in British waters, their head- 
quarters being the Mediterranean and tropical seas. The 
remarkable feature concerning these fish is their possession 
of a complex electrical apparatus. This apparatus, 
which is developed in equal proportions on each side of 
the anterior region of the body, consists, as described by 
Professor Huxley (' Anatomy of Vertebrated Animals'), " of 
nearly parallel lamellae of connective tissue, enclosing small 
chambers, in which lie what are termed the electrical plates. 
These are cellular structures, on one face of which the final 

FIG. 29. TORPEDO (Torpedo hebefans). 

ramifications of the nerves that supply the electrical organs 
are distributed. In the Torpedo the nerves of the electrical 
organs proceed from the fifth pair and from the ' electric 
lobe ' of the medulla oblongata, which appears to be deve- 
loped at the origin of the pneumogastric." When laid open 
with the dissecting knife this electrical apparatus presents 
to the ordinary observer much the appearance of a honey- 
comb, being composed, as viewed from above, of numer- 
ous perpendicularly-set hexagonal compartments, the wax 
walls of the honeycomb being represented by a gelatinous 
membrane of extreme tenuity, and containing within them 
VOL. i. H. o 


a transparent fluid of jelly-like consistence. Finer trans- 
verse partitions or septa " the electrical plates " subdivide 
the hexagonal compartments into smaller chambers which 
subserve the purpose of store cells, after the manner of a 
Leyden jar, and in these the electricity, converted from 
excess nervous energy, is stored up for use. There can be 
but little doubt that the Torpedo employs its formidable 
battery for disabling and securing food which it is too 
inactive to capture by ordinary means. 

This interpretation is substantially supported by the fact 
that large active fish, such as Salmon of four or five pounds 
weight, Eels and other species, have been taken from the 
stomachs of full-grbwn Torpedoes, showing no trace of 
a struggle, as would have been inevitably apparent had 
the captor been an Angler, Monk-fish, or other ordinary 
ground-frequenting species of similar size. Several casts 
of the Torpedo, some illustrating the aspect and position of 
the electric apparatus, will be found in the Buckland 
Museum. Of the typical Skates and Rays, genus Raia, as 
many as eight species are included in the British list, these 
varying among each other chiefly with respect to their 
markings, the greater or less development upon their upper 
surface of defensive spines, and in the contour of their 
snout-like anterior regions. The species that have to be 
thus enumerated are, the Thornback Ray (Raia clavata), 
No. 217; the Spotted Ray (R. maculata), No. 218; the 
Starry Ray (R. radiatd), No. 219 ; the Sandy Ray (R. cir- 
cularis), No. 220 ; the Common or Blue Skate (R. batis\ 
No. 221 ; the Bordered Ray (R. marginata), No. 222 ; the 
Shagreen Ray (R. fullonica), No. 223 ; and the Long-nosed 
Skate (R. vomer), No. 224. All of these Rays exhibit in 
common that remarkable method of locomotion, through 
the flapping action of their large pectoral fins, which 



confers so much grace upon their movements in the water, 
and which may be more suitably likened to the flight of 
some heavy-winged bird, such as a Heron, than to the 
swimming action of an ordinary fish. The simile here 
suggested is yet further increased by reason of the fact 
that the long slender tail of the Ray, dependent in the rear 
while the fish is swimming, bears no inconsiderable resem- 
blance, and fulfils the same function as the long extended 

FIG. 30. SPOTTED RAY (Raia maculata). 

legs of the Heron or other Grallatorial bird during flight, it 
being subservent in like manner for balancing and steering 
purposes. The Rays, like the Spotted Dog-fish, deposit 
their eggs enclosed singly in large oblong membranous 
cases, the four corners of which are produced into simple 
tags like the four handles of a butcher's tray, in place of 
into long flexible cord-like filaments. These cases, when 
empty, having the aspect and colour of gutta-percha, and 

O 2 


popularly known as " Skate-barrows," or " pixie's purses," 
are among the "commoner objects of the sea-shore," left 
with the flotsam and jetsam of the ocean when the tide 
goes down. 

The Sting Ray or Fire- fta.lre(Trygon pas tmaca), No. 225, 
is remarkable among the Skate tribe from the circumstance 
that one or two long sharply serrated spines are developed 
towards the centre of the tail in place of the first dorsal fin. 
In life, as observed of examples in aquaria, the tail with 
its spines is elevated above the back after the manner of 
the tail of a Scorpion, and constitutes a very formidable 


FIG. 31. STING RAY ( Trygon pastinaca}. 

offensive and defensive weapon, with which the fish can 
deal lacerated, extremely painful, and even dangerous 
wounds. The spines of certain exotic species are utilised 
by the natives of Polynesia and various savage tribes as 
barbs for their arrows, spears, and other weapons. A fine 
example of the Sting Ray is contained among the spirit- 
preserved series forming the Day Collection, casts being 
also on view in the Buckland Museum. A close ally of 
this type, but a much larger and rarer form is the Eagle 
Ray (Myliobatis aquila), No. 226, bearing like the last- 
named species a formidable defensive spine, but having a 


slender tail developed in the form of a cord or whip to as 
much as two or three times the length of the body ; 
specimens measuring no less than fifteen feet across their 
extended fins, with a weight of three hundred pounds and 
upwards, have not unfrequently been recorded. The cast of 
a small example of this species is included in the Buckland 
Collection. The last, but by no means the least formidable 
in point of size among the group now under discussion, is 
the huge Ox Ray or Horned Ray (Dicerobatis giorn<z\ No. 
227, so called on account of the two horn-like processes 
of the integument that are developed in front of the head. 
Although small examples measuring but a few feet in 
breadth have been driven as wanderers to our shores, in 
the tropical seas which are its native home it attains to the 
enormous proportions of ten or twelve hundredweight, with 
a breadth across its expanded fins of twenty or thirty feet. 
Upon the Italian coasts, where it is known by the title of 
the Vacca, or Cow, and also that of the Manta-fish and 
Devil-fish, it is held in great dread by the divers for sponges 
and coral, whom the fish is said to attack, hovering over 
and debarring their efforts to regain the surface, and after- 
wards probably devouring them, the gape of the larger 
examples, as in certain Sharks, being sufficiently wide as to 
easily admit of the passage of a human being. 

ORDER IV. LAMPREY TRIBE (Marsipobranckit). 

Skeleton entirely cartilaginous, spinal column consisting 
of a thick persistent notochord enveloped in a sheath but 
devoid of vertebral centra ; no real jaws, the mouth circular 
suctorial, armed with horny teeth, and frequently strengthened 


by a basket-like cartilaginous framework ; no pectoral or 
pelvic limbs ; branchial apparatus consisting on each side of 
seven sacs, which open externally by as many distinct aper- 
tures and communicate on the inner side with the pharynx. 
The Lampreys, which may be said to represent the 
lowest recognisable order of true fishes, are easily distin- 
guished by their eel-like contour, the peculiar form of their 
jawless mouths, which are usually so modified as to form 
a powerful adhesive sucker, by their want of pectoral and 
ventral fins, and by the numerous gill-openings developed 
along the sides of the head. Of British representatives of 
this order there are as many as four species. Of these the 

FIG. 32. LAMPREY {Petromyzon martnus). 

Sea Lamprey (Petromyzon marinus\ No. 228, is a large 
form growing to a length of two or three feet, and mottled 
with yellow and black much after the manner of the 
Murcena. Although passing most of its time in the sea, it 
migrates in the spring months up our larger rivers to spawn, 
and is often at such seasons taken in large quantities. A 
fine specimen of this fish is shown in the Day Collection. 
The River Lamprey or Lampern (Petromyzon fluviatilis\ 
No. 229, a smaller species, rarely exceeding a length of twelve 
or fifteen inches, colour slate grey above and whitish beneath, 
is still tolerably abundant in the Thames, and was formerly 
exported alive in prodigious quantities for the purposes of 


bait to the Dutch fishermen. Twelve hundred thousand 
represents the number recorded as having been thus sent 
away from this river alone in a single year. The Sand-pride 
or Mud Lamprey (P. branchialis), No. 230, is a yet smaller 
fish about the length of a moderate-sized worm, and not 
thicker than a pipe stem, that is likewise an exclusively 
fluviatile form, addicted to burying itself deeply among the 
mud and ooze of our large rivers, and spawning like its 
congeners during the spring months of the year. The last of 
the Lamprey types is the Glutinous Hag or Borer (Myxine 
glutinosa). No. 231, having its mouth furnished with eight 
cirrhose processes, and so constituted that it can bore its 
way into the bodies of dead, and some say living fish, upon 
whose flesh it then feeds, leaving nothing but the bones and 
skin intact. An example of this species, which is not un- 
frequently taken on the Eastern counties coast-line, is among 
the desiderata of the South Kensington Collection. 

ORDER V. LANCELETS (Pharyngobranckii). 

Primitive spinal axis or notochord extending to the 
anterior end of the body ; no limbs, skull, brains, auditory, 
or renal organs, as in the higher Vertebrata ; the heart a 
simple tube ; the liver succular. 

But a single type, the Lancelet or Amphioxus (Amphioxus 
lanceolatus\ No. 232, represents this lowest organised, but 
at the same time exceedingly interesting and important, 
order of the Vertebrata. It is a compressed lanceolate form 
not exceeding two to three inches in length, perfectly trans- 
parent when living, possessing as shown in the accompanying 
figure no distinct head, eyes, limbs, dermal covering, or other 


feature common to ordinary fishes, with the exception that 
a slender fold of integument representing a rudimentary 
dorsal fin is developed along the back, and that the body sub- 
stance is similarly divided by faint oblique lines into distinct 
muscle regions or " myotomes." The mouth is a largish 
oval aperture developed beneath the anterior termination 
of the body, and having its margin bordered with a series of 
delicate ciliated tentacles. The mouth conducts to a largely 
dilated pharynx perforated with numerous clefts, the walls 

FIG. 33. LANCELET (Amphioxus lanceolatus). 

of which are richly ciliated, and have the blood vessels dis- 
tributed upon them after the manner of the pharynx of an 
Ascidian. Following upon the pharynx is a simple stomach 
or gastric cavity that passes into a straight intestine and 
terminates near the root of the tail in the anal aperture. 
Such are the leading features of this remarkable animal, 
which, so far as our present knowledge extends, represents 
the dawning form or Architype of all Piscine life, and still 
retains structural features that unite it closely with the 
lower classes of backboneless animals or Invertebrata. 

( 201 ) 



About twelve varieties of exotic fish have been intro- 
duced into this country either as stock fish for our ponds and 
rivers, or as interesting or ornamental forms for exhibition in 
aquaria. Among the first-named category must be men- 
tioned the American Char or Brook Trout (Salmo fonti- 
nalis), which, as mentioned in a previous page, has so thriven 
and increased in this country as to now claim a place among 
our indigenous species, while many interesting hybrids 
have been obtained between this type and the English 
River Trout (Salmo far io). Another freshwater American 
species, originally imported into England by the Marquis of 
Exeter, and which has bred on his estate at Romford, is the 
Black Bass (Grystes nigricans). In its native waters it attains 
to a weight of six or eight pounds, and is much esteemed 
both for the table and as a fish affording excellent sport. 
Some young examples of this species, whose shape and 
colour in this immature condition are not unlike those of 
certain varieties of the Ballan Wrass (Labrus maculatus), 
will be found in one of the tanks in the Buckland Museum. 
Of European freshwater fish, the Pike-Perch, or Zander 
(Perca luciopercd), having the proportions of a Pike with the 
sharp-spined fins and markings of a Perch, has been suc- 
cessfully acclimatised by his Grace the Duke of Bedford, 
and living examples have been some years on view in the 
Brighton Aquarium. The Sheet-fish or Wels (Silurus 
glanis\ inhabiting the European rivers east of the Rhine, is 


not unlike the Burbolt or Motella in shape, but has as many 
as six barbels developed from the region of the mouth, 
two of which are of extraordinary length. Adult Siluri 
measure no less than five or six feet in length, with a 
weight of over 100 Ibs, Fine casts of such a full-grown 
specimen transmitted to Mr. Buckland from Berlin, by Lord 
Odo Russell, are exhibited in the Museum of Economic 
Pisciculture. Young living Siluri have been successfully 
imported into this country by the above-named nobleman, 
and likewise by Sir Stephen Lakeman, while at the time of 
going to press, May 1883, two or three small examples are 
on view in the Exhibition Aquarium. From North 
America, where the family of the Siluridae is extensively 
represented, a near ally of the Sheet-fish, the American 
Cat-fish (Amiurus cattus), has been obtained by the writer. 
One from among several examples so imported in the year 
1875, and presented by him to the Zoological Society, is 
still living in the Fish-house in their Gardens in the Regent's 
Park. A continental variety of the Carp rivalling the 
ordinary Gold-fish in the brilliancy of its colouration, but 
having a shorter dorsal fin, and in contour more nearly re- 
sembling a Roach or Chub, is the so-called Golden-Orfe 
(Cyprinus or/us) ; this variety, which was first successfully 
acclimatised in this country by the Duke of Bedford, is 
represented by several fine examples in the Exhibition 
Aquarium. Another well marked continental variety of the 
Carp family is the so-called Mirror Carp or Spiegel Carp 
(Cyprinus specularis), remarkable for having one or more 
lines of very large scales developed along the sides and 
back, the remaining surface of the skin being perfectly soft 
and naked. Sometimes these series of scales are altogether 
absent, when the fish are distinguished by the title of 
Leather Carp. Living specimens of the Mirror Carp are 
on view in the Buckland Museum. The European Loach 
or Thunder-fish (Cobitis fossalis) is a third continental 
species that has been occasionally imported to England. 

As curiosities for exhibition in aquaria several small 
species of Indian freshwater fishes have been brought over 



to this country, and with proper appliances for maintaining 
the water at an equable temperature of about 70 to 80 
Fah., such as is afforded in a large conservatory, might be 
permanently acclimatised. Of the species which have so 
far been temporarily maintained may be mentioned the 
Climbing Perch (A nabas scandens), remarkable for having its 
branchial organs so modified and enlarged that it is capable 
of leaving its native element and moving some distance 
upon land, it even being asserted to ascend trees in search 
of insect food. Living examples of this fish were received 
by the writer some years since from Professor Wood-Mason, 
of the Calcutta Museum, and preserved examples are on 
view in the Buckland Museum. The Gourami or Peacock- 
fish (Osphromenus\ and the Paradise-fish (Poly acanthus 
viridiauratus), two beautifully coloured species, having their 
ventral fins reduced to little beyond a single long thread- 
like filament, have on several occasions been introduced into 
English aquaria, and are both remarkable for their nest- 
building habits. The males of the former species, like 
those of the Sticklebacks, are noted for their pugnacity, 
and in common with other allied species are kept spe- 
cially by the natives of the Malay peninsula for fighting 
purposes. The Electric Eel (Gymnotus electricus), a native of 
Brazil, growing to as great a length as five or six feet, and 
that even surpasses the Torpedo in its electric properties, has 
been acclimatised and thriven for some years at both the 
Brighton and Westminster Aquaria. The organs in 
which the electric energy is stored up in this fish are, 
structurally, precisely analogous to those of the Torpedo, but 
are developed in pairs immediately beneath the skin, one 
pair along the back of the tail and a second pair along the 
anal fin. A small member of the Sturgeon family, the 
Sterlet (Accipenser rutkenus), inhabiting the Russian rivers, 
rarely exceeding a length of three feet, and highly esteemed 
for the table, has been brought from Russia and successfully 
acclimatised in the tanks of the Brighton and Manchester 
Aquaria. Some of the examples now on view in the first- 
named institution have been resident there for as long a 


period as ten years. Two or three specimens of this fish have 
been recently secured for the Exhibition Aquarium. 
Examples of a larger Sea-Horse than the very rarely oc- 
curring British form, Hippocampus antiquorum, are frequently 
imported from the French coast, notably by Mr. G. H. 
King, of 165 Great Portland Street, for exhibition in our 
public aquaria. This species, which, in addition to its 
larger size, is distinguished by the filamentous processes that 
are developed in a mane-like manner from its head and 
shoulders, is known by the name of the Branched Sea- 
Horse (Hippocampus ranulosus). A singular monstrosity of 
the Gold Carp (Cyprinus auratus), having relatively large 

FIG. 34. TELESCOPE-FISH (Cyprinus auratus var.). 

projecting eyes and a wide-spreading lobate tail, long since 
cultivated in China, as is evidenced by its frequent occur- 
rence in the old paintings and tapestry of that country, is 
not unfrequently imported and shown in aquaria. An ex- 
cellent engraving of a perfectly proportioned example of 
this singular variety, as figured in Dr. Giinther's ' Introduc- 
tion to the Study of Fishes/ and known on account of its 
projecting eyes by the title of the "Telescope-fish," is, with 
the kind permission of Messrs. Adam and Charles Black, 
the publishers of the above work, herewith annexed. 










Freshwater Fisheries 











CLOSE TIMES ... 226 








Sea Fisheries 



International Conventions 








FISHING takes place either at sea or in rivers or other 
inland waters. We may thus divide it into sea-fishing and 
freshwater fishing, though not with strict accuracy of 
language, as in the latter term we shall have to include 
fishing in tidal rivers, estuaries, and arms of the sea. There 
is a wide difference, as everybody knows, between the two 
kinds of fishing as to their methods and apparatus. The 
difference is hardly less striking to an Englishman who 
contemplates them from the legal point of view. Fresh- 
water fisheries are subject to a number -of regulations, partly 
general and partly local, which go into considerable detail, 
and are not wholly free from obscurity. These regulations 
are created by Acts of Parliament, or made by persons 
on whom Parliament has conferred authority for that 
purpose, and they are naturally a matter of internal or, as we 
say in technical language, municipal government and juris- 
diction. Foreign Powers have nothing to do with them. 
Sea fisheries, on the other hand, are now but little affected 
by any purely municipal law or legislation. Whales and 
sturgeon, and, some books say, other " great fish " caught in 
English waters belong by ancient prerogative to the Crowa 
In Scotland the herring fishery has been fostered and 
regulated by statutes, of which, however, only a very small 
part remains in force. British subjects fishing in certain 
parts of the high seas may come under the operation of 


particular conventions with foreign Powers made by the 
British Government and confirmed by Parliament. There 
are also special provisions as to oyster fisheries and 
other shell-fish. Apart from these, and from any particular 
convention of the kind just mentioned, there is nothing to 
prevent any British subject from fishing on the high seas 
when, where, and how he thinks fit. In territorial waters 
within the jurisdiction of any foreign State he is subject 
to the local laws and regulations, whatever they may be. 
There have been controversies about the extent of a 
maritime State's jurisdiction in its own coast waters, 
but it seems to have always been admitted that it includes 
the regulation of fisheries. Territorial or, as they are 
sometimes called, marginal waters are commonly understood 
to extend to a distance of a marine league (three geograph- 
ical miles) from the shore. This measure, fixed long ago 
with reference to the supposed extreme range of cannon 
planted on the land, is thought by some modern authorities 
to be too short : the question, however, is one of general 
international law, which cannot be discussed here. For the 
purpose of fishery rights the three-mile limit is expressly 
adopted in our conventions with France and other Powers. 

A. Freshwater Fisheries. 

Let us begin at home with the law of freshwater fisheries. 
The questions with which it deals fall under the two general 
heads of who may fish, and how they may fish ; or, to put 
the questions as an individual fisherman might put them 
to himself: May I fish here at all? and, if so, on what con- 
ditions and within what limits as to manner, time and other- 
wise ? Restrictions, again, where they exist, may be of two 
classes ; they may be (as most of them are) designed for 
the preservation of the fish and the benefit of the public, 


or they may be for the benefit of persons having special 
rights in that particular fishery. We will take the general 
question of persons first. Are there any inland waters 
where all the world are legally entitled to fish ? There are 
certainly some. It is allowed without question that fishing 
is of common right in the tidal part of an ancient navigable 
river, unless a contrary private right can be shown. If an 
exclusive right exists in such water, it is an exception to the 
common rule of law. It may exist, however, by a grant 
from the Crown before the date of Magna Charta ; and 
ancient and continuous usage may establish a judicial 
presumption that the usage had its legal origin in some 
such grant. Since Magna Charta the Crown has had no 
power to make a grant of this kind. Therefore anybody 
may fish in the Thames below Teddington Lock, for 
instance, without lawful hindrance except from the person, 
if any, who can make out his title by special grant or usage 
to exclusive fishing-rights in the river at the particular spot 1 
In the case of the tidal part of the Thames there are not in 
fact, so far as I am aware, any such exceptional rights. If 
we go above Teddington Lock, we find a very different state 
of things. In practice all manner of people fish on the 
upper reaches of the Thames and other navigable rivers 
without interruption. And whether they are within their 
legal rights in so doing is a question that has been settled 
in England and perhaps not finally only by decisions 
given so lately as last year. 2 It was long uncertain whether 
there did or did not exist a public right to fish in navigabk 
rivers above the limits of the tide. In Ireland it has been 

1 But not when or as he pleases, for the Thames fisheries are 
regulated by the Conservators under special statutory powers. 

2 Pearce v. S catcher, 9 Q. B. D. 162 (March 31, 1882); Rcece v. 
Miller, 8 Q. B. D. 626 (April 4, 1882). 

VOL. I. H. P 


held (in 1 868) l that there is no such right ; this decision, 
though not in itself binding on English, still less on Scottish 
tribunals, has now been followed in England, and would not 
improbably be followed in Scotland. The prevailing opinion 
in the United States is that both the bed of the river 
and the right of fishing belong to the riparian owners. 
Even if a public right of fishing did exist, still it would 
not include or carry as a consequence any right to use 
the banks of the river for fishing. The bank belongs 
to the owner of the adjacent ground, and he is no more 
bound to let strangers come on it to fish than for any other 
purpose. And if there is a public right of way along the 
bank a towing-path, for example that does not strictly 
entitle any one to stand there and fish. The land and the 
power of controlling its use belong to the landowner, subject 
only to his duty to allow the road or path to be used for 
the kind of traffic to which it is appropriated. A loiterer 
on a high road is, strictly speaking, a trespasser ; and one 
who loiters or stops to fish is in no better case. The 
inhabitants of a particular place on a river-side might 
possibly have a customary right to fish from the bank, or to 
use it for drying nets ; but such a right, if it could or did 
exist, would make no difference to the position of a stranger. 
In Scotland, however, a right to use the bank seems to be 
more easily allowed than in England when once the right 
to take fish is established. It must be added that, where 
public rights of both fishing and navigation exist in the 
same waters, the fisherman must give way to the merchant 
sailor in case of need, navigation being deemed of greater 
public importance than fishing. 

1 A contrary opinion seems to have been entertained by the Court 
of Queen's Bench in England in the same year ; but the point was not 
before them foV argument or decision. 


Apart from the case of tidal waters, the general rule is that 
the fish in inland waters, or more exactly the exclusive right 
of taking them while they are there, belongs to the owner of 
the soil under the water, be it river, lake, or pond. In the case 
of a river being the boundary between two landowners, the 
bed of the river on either side of the middle line, and conse- 
quently the right of fishing, goes with the adjacent land, 
unless the owner of the farther bank is able to show that the 
whole bed of the river belongs to him : a state of things 
which, though exceptional, may exist by the special terms of 
an ancient grant or the like. The exclusive right to take fish 
within certain limits of space is called a several fishery. It 
is most commonly associated with the ownership or occupa- 
tion of the land under the water, but it may exist separately 
from it : thus the landowner may sell or let the right to 
take fish in his waters, and enable the buyer or lessee to 
exclude all other persons, himself among them. 

If the land surrounding or adjacent to ponds or rivers is 
let to a tenant by deed, the tenant acquires the right of 
fishing along with the right of occupation unless the 
landlord expressly reserves it. 

In Scotland salmon fishing is a special privilege of the 
Crown ; the right may be, and constantly has been, granted 
by the Crown to subjects, but no subject can exercise it 
without distinctly making out his title. The right to fish 
for trout (and apparently other freshwater fish) is also 
said to belong to the Crown in the first instance ; but a 
grant of it as " part and pertinent " of the subjacent or 
adjacent land seems to be assumed without difficulty in 
the absence of evidence to the contrary, so that practically, 
as to fish other than salmon, the rule is the same as in 

It must not be supposed that (even apart from modern 

P 2 


regulation by Acts of Parliament) the landowner entitled 
to take fish in an adjacent river can deal with them as his 
absolute property before they are caught. His right is to 
catch them in his own water, and (subject to the doubt about 
fishery in a navigable river being public) to prevent others 
from catching them. But he must not artificially prevent 
the passage and repassage of the fish between his part of 
the river and his neighbours' by dams, weirs, or the like 
contrivances. He must leave to his neighbours the en-' 
joyment of opportunities equal to his own. Such was 
the old law, as it appears by Magna Charta, * thus in- 
terpreted by Coke : " No owner of the banks of rivers shall 
so appropriate, or keep the rivers several to him, to defend 
or bar others either to have passage or fish there," (fish 
must here be the noun, not verb) " otherwise than they were 
used in the reign of King Henry II." Another clause in 
the Charter purported to abolish fishing-weirs : " Omnes 
kidelli deponantur de cetero penitus per Tamisiam et 
Medeweyam et per totam Angliam nisi per costeram 
maris." 2 Both branches of the law, however, were soon 
and extensively disregarded. A series of later Acts of 
Parliament for the suppression of weirs shows how difficult 
it was found to keep the action of riparian owners " regard- 
ing only their private and greedy profit " 3 within bounds 

1 Cap. 1 6. An action by an upper against a lower riparian owner 
on the Dart, for building a new salmon weir to the prejudice of the 
older one above it, occurs in the newly printed Year-Book of n & 12 
Ed. III., p. 468. (A.D. 1338.) It is reported only as a precedent of 
pleading, so the result does not appear. 

2 Cap. 23. 

3 These were the words of Parliament in 1705 : 4 & 5 Anne, c. 8, 
quoted in the judgment of the Fisheries Commissioners in Leconfield 
v. Lonsdale, L. R. 5 C. P. at p. 683, where a full account of the old 
statutes is given. 


compatible with the maintenance of either fishery or 
navigation. All these laws (which were held to apply only 
to navigable rivers) are now obsolete or superseded. As 
regards the subject now in hand, the construction of weirs, as 
well as the employment of the other devices for taking fish 
known by the generic name of "fixed engines," is fully 
dealt with by the more recent statutes. 

There were abundance of local statutes besides. One 
made for the Ouse and Humber in 1531 will serve as well 
as any other for a specimen. The preamble sets forth that 
" now of late, certain persons studying only for their own 
private lucre, not regarding the common weal, but daily 
imagining the utter destruction, ruin and decay" of the 
city of York and adjoining riparian country, "have and 
daily do keep, preserve, and maintain certain engines for 
taking of fish in the said river and water of Ouse and 
Humber, commonly called Fishgarths ; and set in the said 
river and water, in such places of the same where ships 
should have their liberal and direct passage, in the midst of 
the streams of the said river of Ouse and water of Humber, 
stakes, piles and other things ; by reason whereof," not 
only navigation is endangered, " but also the brood and fry 
of fish in the said river and water of Ouse and Humber be 
commonly thereby destroyed and putrified, to the utter 
impoverishment and destruction of the said city, unless 
speedy remedy be in this behalf shortly provided." Parlia- 
ment, moved by this lamentable complaint, provided for 
the abatement of the fishgarths and piles, and the regula- 
tion of fishing in the future. 1 

A similar course of legislation, beginning about the same 
time or somewhat earlier, took place in Scotland. 

We now come to the restrictions created by modern Acts 
1 23 Hen. 8, c. 18. 


of Parliament. These Acts extend over a space of seven- 
teen years, from 1861 to 1878. Every one of them, after 
the first, refers to its predecessors, and in various ways 
modifies parts of them. Every separate Act also deals 
with many distinct branches of the subject, or fragments 
of such branches. No authoritative consolidation has ever 
been undertaken, and the state of the law on any given 
point can be ascertained only by collating and piecing 
together all the clauses of the several Acts which have 
any bearing upon it. The provisions of the Acts are 
also heterogeneous in respect of their extent, both as to 
the subject-matter and as to local application. Some deal 
with salmon only, some with specified fish other than 
salmon, and others with river fish generally. Some of 
those which deal with fish other than salmon are neverthe- 
less applicable only to salmon rivers. Sometimes parts of 
different Acts deal with the same matter in such terms that 
it is by no means easy to say whether the later enactment 
was or was not intended to supersede the earlier. Many 
details are left to be filled in or varied at the discretion of 
the central or local executive authorities. The result of 
such a condition of things (which is in no way peculiar to the 
Fishery Acts, but is the normal condition of English statute 
law) is that it is difficult to obtain a connected view of the 
effect of existing legislation as a whole, and still more 
difficult to communicate it accurately to others, especially 
when those others are understood to be likely to take the 
exposition on trust. It may be useful to mention that a 
consolidated .reprint of the Salmon Fishery Acts, with 
proposed amendments, was prepared by Mr. Spencer 
Walpole, and may be found in the annual report of the 
Inspectors for 1878, presented to Parliament and published 
in 1879. 


The regulations of the Fishery Acts are chiefly for the 
preservation of the fish, and in the interest of the public. A 
few statutory provisions in these Acts and elsewhere are 
for the protection of the owners of private fisheries. Those 
which are made in the public interest may be divided into 
the following classes : 

1. Securities for free passage of migratory fish up and 
down rivers. 

2. Restrictions on modes of fishing. 

3. Restrictions on times of fishing. 

4. Constitution of authorities, and administrative rules 
and powers. 

Or we may sum up these classes still more shortly under 
catchwords, thus : Weirs Foul fishing Close times 

I. As to free passage of fish. 

This is, as above said, an ancient head of the law, though 
the old laws, not so much because they were defective in 
themselves as for want of adequate means of enforcing 
them, did very little good. To understand the meaning 
and operation of the rules contained in the Fishery Acts we 
must have before us the general nature of the facts which 
have made them necessary. For this purpose we cannot 
do better than adopt the language used by the Fishery 
Commissioners l in 1870 : 

" Nearly all the great rivers of England are frequented 
by salmon, a species of migratory fish which can only 
exist by alternately living in salt and fresh water. The 
law of their nature is that the fish are bred in the upper 
and shallow waters of the great rivers and their tributaries, 
and at the age of about eighteen months they pass down 

1 The judgment was prepared by Mr. James Paterson. 


to the sea, and the rest of their existence is spent in passing 
every year to and fro between the sea and the upper fresh 
streams. At all times of the year the fish are either 
passing up or passing down the river. It is true the 
greater numbers pass up in the summer months, but there 
are generally some passing up or going down at other times 
also. They are not bred at all, and cannot be bred, in 
the tidal parts of rivers, though there they are caught 

" To enable the fish to inhabit a river, that is to say, to be 
found not only in the fresh but the tidal parts of rivers, it is 
thus essential that the parent fish should have an open 
passage from the sea to the source, or at least to the upper 
shallows of the river. The old fish require to go up the river 
to breed, and the young fish require to come down the river 
to grow; and after they are grown they still require to 
alternate between the fresh waters and the sea. If at any 
point between the tidal limit and the upper breeding- 
grounds a barrier is made which obstructs this passage, 
the stock of fish is necessarily diminished and gradually 
annihilated. It thus follows that at the place where the 
salt water meets the fresh, the whole stock of fish of the 
river and estuary must pass at least once in their lives, 
either coming or going. This is so in a state of nature, 
irrespective of all laws. If all the fish must pass a par- 
ticular spot, it equally follows that they may all with 
certainty be caught at that spot if certain obvious means 
for that end are used. 

" A weir is, in general terms, a kind of fixed structure 
stretching across a river, the sole object of which is to make 
a barrier to the progress of the fish, and so to compel 
them into certain places or apertures, in which traps, 
boxes, cruives, or coops are set, which confine and catch 


the fish. This barrier, which may or may not extend 
across the whole breadth of the river, is either of solid 
masonry or of brushwood, or it may be of any substance 
and texture sufficiently high and closely reticulated to stop 
the fish, and lead them into the apertures which contain 
the boxes or traps." 1 

A mill-dam or mill-weir, though its purpose is only to 
dam up and collect the water above it for the use of the 
mill, may have and often has, according to its width and 
height, the same effect in stopping the passage of fish. 
There are also mill-dams with which a fishing-weir is 
purposely combined as part of the same structure. These 
are called in the Acts fishing mill-dams. 

It is easily seen that if there were no check on the 
maintenance and use of weirs and dams, it would be in 
the power of a few persons to monopolise and ultimately 
destroy the whole fish stock of our rivers, or at any rate 
the migratory species. Other riparian owners, indeed, 
might without the aid of Parliament complain of the 
infringement of their rights of fishery ; but the difficulty 
of proving substantial damage in particular cases, and 
the still greater difficulty of combined action, make the 
common-law rights of private owners all but nugatory. 
Hence the statutory regulation which has been undertaken. 

In England the general rules are now in substance as 
follows : 

It is unlawful to take salmon by means of a dam or 
weir, 2 unless it is constructed for the sole purpose of 
catching fish, or partly to catch fish and partly as a 

1 Leconfidd v. Lonsdale, L. R. 5 C. P. 664, 666. 

* " Fishing weir " in the Acts means " any erection, structure, or 
obstruction fixed to the soil either temporarily or permanently across, 
or partly across, a river or branch of a river, and which is used for the 


mill-dam, and was lawfully in use, under a grant or 
otherwise, before I86I. 1 

The penalties are fines which may go up to 5 for 
each offence, and i besides for every salmon caught ; 
and both the fish and the traps and tackle used in 
catching them are to be forfeited. f For a second offence 
against any of the provisions of the Acts half the full 
penalty must be imposed, and for a third offence the 
whole ; except where the full penalty exceeds 5, in 
which cases $os. is allowed to stand as the minimum 
penalty for a second offence, and 5 for a third. 2 

If a fishing weir extends more than half-way across 
the stream at its lowest state of water, 3 it must have 
a free gap for the passage of fish in the deepest part 
of the weir stream, as deep as the natural bed, and one- 
tenth part as wide as the stream, within the limits of three 
feet, the least width allowed, and forty, the greatest that 
can be required in any case. A fishing mill-dam, 4 of 
whatever size, must have a fish pass of a pattern approved 
by the Home Office (the authority in which the general 
superintendence of the Salmon Fisheries is vested) 5 with 

exclusive purpose of catching or facilitating the catching of fish," 
Salmon Fishery Act, 1873, s. 4. Salmon includes "all migratory fish 
of the genus Salmon," by whatever local name known. A long list 
of such names is given, 1861, s. 4. In following notes the Acts will 
be cited, as now, by their dates alone. 

1 The terms of the Act (1861, s. 12) are narrower, but have been 
interpreted to include any form of lawful title. 

2 1865, s. 57, as varied by 1873, s. 18, sub-s. 5. 

8 1 86 1, s. 12, as held in Rolle v. Whyte, L. R. 3 Q. B. 286, to 
be limited by s. 27. 

4 1861, s. 12. "Such pass shall not be larger nor deeper than 
requisite for the above purposes ; " I suppose this means " need not." 

6 1 86 1, s. 31. In this Act (but not in the later ones) the term 
" Home Office " is used, through the machinery of a definition clause, 


enough water to enable salmon to use it. The con- 
sequence of neglecting these directions is that the weir 
or dam, though lawful as far as antiquity goes, is regarded 
as an unlawful one, and the penalties above mentioned are 
incurred by using it for salmon fishing. 

All fishing for salmon otherwise than with rod and line 
in the immediate neighbourhood of a weir or dam (50 
yards above, 100 yards below), or in a mill-race or weir 
cut, is illegal ; and so is fishing in the like places, even 
with rod and line, " in such a manner as to wilfully scare or 
hinder salmon " from passing in the usual manner. The 
penalties are the same as for using an unlawful weir or ' 
dam ; but if the weir or dam is provided with a proper fish 
pass, the person entitled to the local right of fishing must 
be compensated before they can be enforced. 1 

It is also forbidden under similar penalties to "place 
any device for the purpose of obstructing the passage of 
the young of salmon." a 

The Acts contain various directions as to making fish 
passes and " free gaps," of which the general effect is that 
the owner of an old dam, subject to the discretion of the 
local conservators and the Home Office, is liable to have 
a fish pass made in it (but is entitled on application 
within two years to compensation, if his dam is injured 
thereby), and the constructor of a new dam, and the owner 

instead of "One of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State," 
which is the proper legal expression the assignment of particular duties 
to a particular Secretary of State under the name of the Home Office 
being a matter of administrative convenience, and no part of the 
Constitution as recognised by positive law. 

1 1873, s. 17, extending and apparently superseding the provisions 
of 1 86 1, s. 12, sub-s. 2, which, however, is not repealed. 

2 1861, s. 15, 


of every fishing weir, is absolutely bound under penalties to 
keep a sufficient pass or gap, and if there is not one already, 
to make one ; J failing which, the Home Office may have the 
work done at his expense. 2 These latter rules apply to 
the rebuilding or restoring of old weirs or dams, and to all 
artificial obstructions to the passage of salmon. 3 

Injuring or obstructing fish passes is an offence punish- 
able with fine up to $, the expense of reinstatement, and, 
if the injury is a continuing one, a further daily fine up to 
i for so long as it is continued. 4 

In special cases weirs, dams, and the like may be taken 
by the local conservators by way of compulsory purchase ; 
but this is an extraordinary proceeding, though it has 
sometimes been put in use. The conservators must first 
petition the Home Office ; the Home Secretary, if satisfied 
that there is a case for inquiry, directs an inquiry, and on 
the result of this he may make a provisional order for 
compulsory purchase, which must be confirmed by an Act 
of Parliament in order to take effect. 5 But if the conser- 
vators can come to an agreement with the owner of a 
weir, &c., they may, at their own discretion, buy it for the 
purpose of removal. 6 

Owners of artificial cuts leading out of salmon rivers 
must provide gratings to keep young salmon from coming 
down them, 7 and local conservators also have power to 
fix gratings for the same purpose, provided that they 
do not hinder navigation or other rights to the use of 
the water. 

By the Act of 1865 the function of inquiring into 

1 1861, ss. 23-25, 28 ; 1865, s. 32. z 1873, s. 46. 

8 1873, s. 48. * 1873, s. 49- 

5 1865, s. 27, sub-s. (3). fl 1 86 1, s. 13. 

7 1873, ss. 58-61. 


the legality of fishing weirs, and causing illegal ones to 
be abated, was conferred on certain Special Commissioners, 
whose office (as having fully performed its purposes) was 
abolished in 1873.* 

2. As to modes of fishing. 

Closely connected with the use of weirs to take salmon 
is the use of " fixed engines," that is, nets or other con- 
trivances fixed to the bed or banks of a river, or in 
any way set in the river, so to speak, as a trap, for the 
purpose of catching fish or assisting in their capture. 
Evidently the prohibition " of taking fish by weirs would 
lose much of its effect if they might be taken by other 
self-acting devices permanently set in the river, though 
not amounting, like a continuous weir, to a total obstruc- 
tion of the fish's passage. Indeed, a fishing weir may 
be described as only the most complete and therefore 
most mischievous form of fixed engine, though for legal 
purposes it is not covered by that term. The other means 
that can be used are various ; the chief of them are 
specified in the definition clause of the Act of 1861, by 
which " fixed engine " is made to include, for the purposes 
of the Act, "stake-nets, bag-nets, putts, putchers, 2 and 
all fixed implements or engines for catching or for facili- 
tating the catching of fish." The Act of 1865 (s. 39) 
extended the term to "include any net or other imple- 

1 36 Viet. c. 13. 

2 Putts and putchers are large conical basket-traps for fish, something 
like a much elongated lobster-pot. The legal reader may be referred 
to L. R. 3 Q. B. 156, 643, for information as to their structure : there 
is also an account of them in Mr. Buckland's evidence before the 
Select Committee of 1869, and specimens are shown in the Exhibition 
by the Severn Fisheries Board. They are used only in the estuary of 
the Severn. 


ment for taking fish fixed to the soil, or made stationary 
in any other way, not being a fishing weir or fishing mill- 
dam ;" and a still further extension was made in 1873, 
(s. 4), so as to include floating nets and tackle. 

No fixed engine may be used except such as in 1861, 
or one of the four preceding seasons, were in lawful use, 
(that is, were used under a title, by grant or otherwise, which 
would have afforded a good answer to any objection by 
neighbouring fishery owners on the ground of interference 
with their rights.) 1 The prohibition extends to the use of 
fixed engines as merely auxiliary to the taking of salmon, 
or for obstructing their passage'. 2 If it is infringed, the 
engine and any salmon taken are forfeited, and there is a fine 
which may go up to 10 for every day's use of the illegal 
instrument. The Fishery Commissioners, while their office 
existed, had power to determine what fixed, engines should 
be "privileged" as having been lawfully in use in 1861 or 
earlier as above mentioned ; on the other hand they were 
charged with the duty of inquiring into the legality or 
otherwise of fixed engines, and were empowered to order 
the removal of illegal ones. 3 Moreover it has been 
judicially decided that an illegal fixed engine, like any 
other nuisance, may lawfully be removed by any of the 
Queen's subjects. Practically no one but a conservator or 
some one under his orders is likely to do this ; the impor- 
tant application of the doctrine is to protect (as it did in 
the case in question) a conservator who, whether by zeal 
or inadvertence, acts outside his own district. 

Divers other modes of fishing are prohibited with a view 
to the preservation of salmon and (through the extensions 
introduced in the later Acts) other freshwater fish also. 

1 1 86 1, s. 11, as amended by 1865, s. 39. * 1873, s. 18. 

3 1865,55.42-45. 


Lights must not be used for catching salmon, neither must 
snares, spears and similar instruments (but a gaff may 
be used as an auxiliary to angling, except at seasons when 
it is forbidden by the local conservators). 1 The use of 
" otters " is also forbidden. 2 Fish roe must .not be used as 
bait, or bought or sold ; and even the possession of it, 
except for scientific purposes, and with the consent in 
writing of the conservators in a district for which a board of 
conservators is established, 3 is unlawful. 4 These prohibi- 
tions apply to fishing for trout and char within the limits 
of any fishery district for which there are conservators, 5 
and everywhere else in England, except in the counties of 
Norfolk and Suffolk and the city of Norwich, 6 where the 
fisheries are regulated by a special Board of Conservators 
under a local Act of iS//. 7 The penalties are fines up to a 
maximum of 5, and forfeiture of illegal instruments ; on a 
third conviction, imprisonment with hard labour up to six 
months may be inflicted, and on a second conviction, the 
offender's fishing licence, if he has one, must be forfeited. 8 

Net fishing is allowed (subject to the restrictions men- 
tioned under the foregoing head in the neighbourhood of 
weirs) only on condition of the meshes being of certain 
minimum dimensions, 9 and a seine or draft net must not 
be shot within 100 yards of the line of shot of another 

1 1873, s. 39, sub-s. (9). 

2 1873, s. 18. An "otter" is a piece of wood used for running out 
baits. 3 1865, s. 60. 

4 1861, ss. 8, 9. 6 1865, s. 64. 

6 Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1878, ss. 3 and 5. 

7 40 & 41 Viet. c. xcviii. 8 1865, s. 56. 

9 " Two inches in extension from knot to knot (the measurement to 
be made on each side of the square) or eight inches measured round 
each mesh when wet : " 1861, s. 10 ; but by 1873, s - 39> conservators 
may fix the minimum lawful size between the limits of i \ and 2% inches. 


which is being already worked, until that other is drawn in 
and landed. 1 Fine up to $ is the penalty for breaking 
either of these rules. The use of nets may be regulated 
in various other ways, and net fishing at night, except for 
eels, prohibited altogether, under local by-laws made by 
conservators. 2 

Further, no salmon fishing of any kind may be carried 
on in a fishery district without a licence, on pain of fines 
which (as far as I can make out from the different pro- 
visions of two Acts) may amount to 20 for using any 
unlicensed instrument other than rod and line "for 
catching salmon," and $ for assisting in such use, or 
fishing for salmon with any such instrument ; or killing 
them with any such instrument without actually catching 
them ; or taking or killing them, or attempting so to do, 
without any instrument at all. In the case of the un- 
licensed angler or user of an instrument, the penalty must 
not be less than double licence duty. There is a distinct 
penalty up to I for every salmon caught. 3 

The money paid for licences goes to defray the expenses 
of administering the Acts. 4 Local boards of conservators 
now have power to extend the licensing system to trout 
and char as well as salmon fishing, if they think fit. 5 

Against the wholesale destruction of fish, whether by design 
or by negligent pollution of rivers, there are special pro- 

1 1873, s. 14- * 1873, s- 39- 

8 1865, ss. 35, 36; 1873, s. 22, which purports not to affect the 
former enactments, in other words, makes a Chinese puzzle of them by 
leaving it as uncertain as possible what addition to the law was really 
intended. I suppose it was thought doubtful whether the offence of 
using an unlicensed instrument "for catching salmon" would be 
committed if none were in fact caught ; if so, the fear was groundless 
(see Ruther v. Harris, i Ex. D. 97). 
* 1865,5. 33. 1878,5.7. 



visions. Dynamite or other explosives must not be used 
to catch or destroy fish in a public fishery in any part of the 
United Kingdom, or in the adjacent seas within a marine 
league of the coast, nor in a private fishery in England, on 
pain of fine up to ^20 or imprisonment, which may be with 
hard labour, up to two months. 1 The poisoning of any salmon 
rivers, 2 as well as of any waters where there is a private right 
of fishery, 3 with " any lime or other noxious material," in 
order to destroy fish, is an offence punishable with penal 
servitude up to seven years. Pollution of salmon rivers 
" to such an extent as to cause the waters to poison or kill 
fish " (though not intended to have that effect) is punish- 
able by fine on an increasing scale, ending in 20 a day 
after a third conviction. But the party may escape 
these penalties, if his act in sending refuse, or whatever it 
may be, into the river, is not otherwise unlawful 4 and he 
can show that, being thus in the exercise of his right, " he 
has used the best practicable means, within a reasonable 
cost, to render harmless the liquid or solid matter so 
permitted to flow or to be put into 5 waters." Probably 
it is not difficult to satisfy justices of this in a manufac- 
turing district ; again, if the stuff poured into the river is so 
noxious that there are not any practicable means at all of 
rendering it harmless, it is by no means clear whether any 
penalty is incurred. 6 The person complained of may also, 
if a decision against him would cost him more than^ioo, 

1 1878, s. 32. z 1873, s. 13. 

3 24 & 25 Viet. c. 97, s. 32. It has been suggested that this would 
apply to acts done by an owner of strictly private waters (ponds or the 
like) on his own land ; but I do not think it will bear such a construction. 

4 It might be unlawful, for example, as amounting to a public 
nuisance, or being forbidden by a local Act. 

6 The wearisome but inevitable " such " of accustomed parliamentary 
style appears to have dropped out of the text. 6 1861, s. 5. 

VOL. I. H. Q 


require an action to be brought in the High Court of Justice to 
settle the question whether he has used the " best practicable 
means," and it is not hard to guess what, on such a question, 
the bias of jurymen in a manufacturing country is likely to be. 
Altogether, this enactment has the air of belonging to the 
family, well known to English lawyers and administrators, 
of excellent commands of the legislature so cunningly and 
tenderly fenced about with safeguards for the liberty of the 
subject that in practice nobody minds them. For whatever 
reason, the pollution of rivers has in fact not ceased, and it is 
by no means confined to the manufacturing districts. In the 
mining country of the West of England it not infrequently 
happens that an abandoned mine is started afresh for merely 
speculative purposes, the foul water of the old workings 
pumped out into the nearest river, and the fish destroyed, 
without the conservators being practically able to apply any 
remedy. Should they not have power in such cases to 
issue an injunction and stop the mischief beforehand ? The 
power of entering which may now be exercised on a 
magistrate's order, 1 or a special order of the conservators, 2 
is hardly enough. 

3. As to close times. 

This class of regulations is designed to prevent fish 
from being recklessly taken during their periods of breeding 
and migration so as to destroy the stock for future seasons. 

Young salmon must not be taken or destroyed, bought 
or sold, or kept in any one's possession, except for artificial 
propagation or other scientific purposes. A like rule 
applies to " unclean or unseasonable " 3 salmon, trout, and 

1 1865, s. 31. 2 1873, s. 37. 

3 " Unseasonable salmon seem to be all salmon out of season, that 
is, all salmon taken during the annual close time. Unclean salmon 
would seem to be salmon unfit to be taken, wherever and whenever 


char, and the mere attempt to take them is also punishable. 
The punishments are fine up to 5, and separate fines up to 
1 for each fish unlawfully dealt with, and on a third 
conviction imprisonment up to six months (which may be 
with hard labour) at the discretion of the court. 1 There is 
an exception in favour of scientific purposes, and it is provided 
(perhaps superfluously) that a fisherman taking unseasonable 
fish by accident incurs no penalty if he forthwith puts them 
back in the water. It has also been judicially decided that 
it is not an offence under the Acts to catch young salmon 
in fishing for trout, and keep them in the mistaken belief 
that they are trout. 

All salmon fishing is prohibited between the 1st of 
November and the 1st of February ; between the 1st of 
September and the 1st of November angling, but no other 
kind of fishing, is allowed. 2 The close time may be varied 
by the local conservators, but must begin not later than the 
1st of November for nets, or the 1st of December for rods. 3 
For putts and putchers a longer close time is fixed without 
power of variation, from September 1st to May 1st 
inclusive. 4 There are similar provisions as to trout and 
char, 5 with similar power to the conservators to vary 
the close time within the limits of September 2 and 
November 2 for its beginning : 6 if they do not fix it 
by any by-law, the close time is from October 2 to 

caught, even if during the open season ; thus a kelt would be an 
unclean salmon, a clean run fish caught in December an unseasonable 
fish." Willis Bund, Law of Salmon Fisheries, p. 336. 

1 1861, ss. 14, 15; 1873, s - l8 > sub-ss. (3) and (8); and (as to 
penalties) 1865,5. 56. 2 1861, s. 17. 

3 1873, s. 39, (i). 4 1879 (42 & 43 Viet. c. 26). 

5 1865, s. 64, extended to char, 1873, s. 18, (7), and to all English 
waters, whether salmon rivers or not, by the Freshwater Fisheries Act, 
1878. 8 1876 (39 & 40 Viet. c. 19) ; 1878, s. 10. 

Q 2 


February I. As to salmon there is also, during the 
fishing season, a weekly close time for net fishing, generally 
from noon on Saturday till six on Monday morning, 
but conservators can vary it within limits. 1 The penalties 
are similar to those already mentioned for fishing with 
illegal instruments. During the annual close season fixed 
engines must be removed altogether, and during the weekly 
close season a free passage must be left through them. 2 

Penalties are likewise imposed on selling fish in the close 
season, and the exportation of unseasonable salmon 
between the 3rd of September and the 3Oth of April is 
specially provided against. 3 As to trout and char it has 
fallen out in the complication of additions and minor 
amending Acts that there is no power to vary the time 
during which they may be lawfully sold ; so that in 
districts where the close time for capture has been varied 
absurd results may follow. It may be an offence to sell fish 
while it is still lawful to catch them, and while it is still 
unlawful to catch them they may be sold with impunity. 

As an additional protection to salmon rivers, eel-pots 
and the like, except eel-baskets used with bait, not more 
than ten inches across, and not at a dam or weir, must not 
be set in them between the 1st of January and the 24th of 
June, 4 and during the same time " any device whatsoever to 
catch or obstruct any fish descending the stream," is un- 
lawful in any inland water, whether frequented by salmon 
or not. 

In 1878 a new close season (March 15 to June 15 in- 

1 1861, s. 21 ; 1873, s. 39, (2). 2 1861, ss. 20, 22. 

3 1865, s. 65; 33 & 34 Viet. c. 33. 

4 1873, s. 15 (but elvers maybe taken at any time, subject to certain 
special close times for the Severn Fishery : 39 & 40 Viet. c. 34.) This 
extends to the use of a permanent eel-trap, which existed before the 
passing of the Act : Briggs v. Swanwick, 10 Q. B. D. 510. 


elusive) was established for freshwater fish in general, not 
being migratory fish, 1 or pollan, trout or char, on pain of 
fine up to forty shillings. But the owner of a private 
fishery, or the conservators of a public one, may dispense 
with this prohibition as to angling ; and the owner of a 
private fishery "where trout, char, or grayling are 
specially preserved " may keep down the inferior fish. 2 
Conservators have a further power of generally exempting 
their district with the approval of the Home Secretary. 
Altogether the exceptions are so large that they seem to 
leave but little room for the operation of the rule. The 
majority of freshwater fisheries are private, and as nobody 
knows exactly what is meant by " specially preserving " 
trout, &c., the owner of a private fishery has only to say 
that he preserves the trout in order to go on doing as he 

Notwithstanding its defects both of form and of substance, 
however, the Act of 1878 has on some rivers done much 
good in the hands of willing and able conservators. The 
key to its policy, which is not evident from the text itself, 
appears to be furnished by the late Mr. Buckland's evidence 
when the Bill was before a Select Committee. His 
doctrine was that the main point was to establish a close 
time for nets ; and that it was desirable to be very in- 
dulgent to angling, that it might be the interest of anglers 
to assist in enforcing the law. 

As early as 1558 an attempt was made for the general 

1 " Those kinds which migrate to or from the open sea." These 
words raise troublesome questions of natural history ; as to eels, for 
instance. Probably the framers of the Act were thinking only of 
salmon and sea-trout. 

2 1878, s. ii. Does this include an occupier who has the general 
right of fishing ? 


protection of freshwater fisheries (" An Act for Preservation 
of Spawn and Fry of Fish," I Eliz. c. 17). It does not 
appear that this Act, except as to salmon, has ever been 
expressly repealed ; its provisions are wider than those of 
the Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1878, but I am not aware 
that they have been enforced in recent times. The Act of 
1 86 1 repeals the Act of Elizabeth (originally a temporary 
one) so far as relates to salmon, and then repeals without 
qualification an Act of Charles I. which made it per- 
petual. The legal effect of this is not very clear. 

4. As to local Authorities and Administration. 

The first of the modern Salmon Fisheries Acts, that of 
1 86 1, left the enforcement of its provisions to the County 
Sessions under the general direction of the Home Office. 
This direction was to be exercised by two inspectors, for 
whose appointment the Act gives authority. At present 
the only inspector is Mr. Huxley, and it is not intended 
to fill up the vacant place. By the same Act the justices 
had power to appoint conservators, but no provision was 
made either for expenses or for the co-operation of 
the conservators of different counties traversed or washed 
by the same salmon river. In consequence of these 
grave omissions 1 the Act of 1865 provided for the creation 
of Fishery Districts. The Home Office was empowered to 
make a fishery district including the whole of any salmon 
river, on an application from the justices of any of its 
riparian counties. 2 The Home Secretary may alter fishery 
districts 3 on the application of the conservators. In 1873 

1 1865, preamble. 2 1865, s. 4, &c. 

3 1873, s. 5, &c. A list of the fishery districts constituted in England 
and Wales down to 1878, and of the variations of close times, &c., 
adopted in many of them, may be seen in Oke's Handy Book of the 


the constitution of boards of conservators was varied by 
-adding a representative element in certain cases, and in 
1878 the provisions of the former Acts were extended to 
trout as well as salmon rivers. 

By the combined effect of these Acts, the constitution of 
boards of conservators is shortly as follows. There are 
three classes of members : 

1. Members appointed by the justices in quarter sessions. 
In the case of a fishery district extending into two or more 
counties, the process was this : the justices in the several 
quarter sessions appointed fishery committees, who together 
formed a joint fishery committee for the district and 
appointed conservators and regulated various incidental 
matters, after which the committee was dissolved. 1 The 
conservators hold office for one year; after the first year 
the appointments are made by the several counties in the 
proportions which have been fixed by the original joint 
committee. The like proceedings would still have to be 
taken for the formation of a new fishery district not wholly 
in one county. 

In the case of estuaries formed by the union of more 
than one salmon river, the Home Secretary may assign 
the jurisdiction over it to one or more of the local boards 
of conservators, or form a special combined board : 2 but 
this provision has not been found of much use. 

2. Ex officio members. The owner or occupier of every 
fishery in the district of the rateable annual value of ^30, 

Fishery Laws, ed. Willis Bund, London, 1878. The map in the i8th 
Report of the Inspectors (1879) shows the districts at a glance. But 
any one wanting to know the rules in force at any place for practical 
purposes should by no means omit to obtain the latest information on 
the spot. 

1 1865, ss. 7-13. 8 1865, s. 19. 


and every landowner having in the district at least a mile 
of riparian frontage on either or both sides of a salmon or 
trout river, and the right of fishery therein, and having 
paid licence duty for the last season, is an ex officio member 
of the board of conservators for the district. * He is 
required to declare his qualification before acting on the 
board. 2 

3. Representative members. In a district where there is 
any public or common fishery, those persons who exercise 
the right of fishing therein, and have taken out licences for 
net fishing for salmon, are entitled to elect one member to 
the board for every .50 of licence duty paid by them. 3 
The election is by plural voting according to the amount of 
duty paid by the elector, and the voting is also cumulative : 
the voting papers must be attested, and may be sent in by 
post. * Elections are held yearly, and it is the business of the 
board of conservators to ascertain the persons entitled to 
be electors and give them notice of their rights. 5 

These provisions seem practically to apply only to the 
sea-coast and tidal waters ; for there are few if any public 
fisheries anywhere else. As to common rights of fishing 
(as distinguished from public) the tenants of an inland 
manor may no doubt be entitled to fish in the lord's waters 
within it, and such a right is known to the law as common 
of fishery. I do not know, however, that it is frequent or 
important in practice ; and I rather doubt whether any 

1 1873, s. 26 : (extended to "any river frequented by salmon, trout, 
or char," 1878, s. 6). Provision is made for the representation of 
persons under disability by s. 27. 2 1873, s. 28. 

3 1873, s. 29. The Act does not say that the public or common 
fishery must be a salmon fishery. 

4 The Act says the voter " shall send the voting paper by post to 
the returning officer," &c., but I suppose a voting paper delivered by 
the voter in person would be good. 6 S. 30. 


definite meaning was attached by Parliament to the 
term "common rights of fishing" which is used in the 

A Board of Conservators, being duly constituted, may 
appoint water bailiffs, issue fishing licences, acquire dams, 
weirs, and fixed engines for the purpose of removing them, 
take legal proceedings against offending persons, and 
generally supervise and protect the fisheries in their 
district, 1 and expend funds in their hands in the improve- 
ment of them in any lawful manner. 2 Water-bailiffs 
appointed by the conservators have extensive powers of 
search, and the same privileges and protection as constables 
in the execution of their office. 3 They may also, with 
special authority from a magistrate or the conservators, 
enter on private grounds to detect or prevent breaches of 
the law. 4 Any one authorised in writing by the conser- 
vators may also enter upon lands to inspect weirs and other 
obstructions. 5 Conservators may also make by-laws as to 
sundry matters of detail (which for the most part have 
been incidentally mentioned in their places), subject to 
confirmation by the Home Office. 6 The by-laws must be 
printed and published, and every one taking out a fishing- 
licence is entitled to a copy. 7 

Penalties under the Salmon Fishery Acts are enforceable 
by proceedings before Justices according to the directions 
of the Summary Jurisdiction Acts. 8 Besides these general 
Acts, there are special Acts of Parliament regulating the 
fisheries of divers rivers and districts ; the chief rivers 

1 1865, s. 27 ; as to the conditions of licences, 1873, ss. 21, 24, 25, 57. 

2 1873, S. 23. 8 1873, S. 36. 

4 1865, s. 31 ; 1873, s. 37. 6 1873, s. 56. 

6 1873, s. 39, &c. 7 1873, s. 43. 

8 1873, s. 62. 


subject to special rules are the Thames 1 and the Severn. In 
a summary account like the present it is of course impossible 
to go into these matters ; the working of local rules, for the 
rest, is useful to be known only where they are in force, and 
is better ascertained there than anywhere else. It may 
be just worth while to mention that the rules of the Thames 
Conservancy as to close times extend to all river fish 
including eels, though not by name, as the Court of Common 
Pleas decided in 1871. Almost all the rivers of any 
importance in England are now either included in fishery 
districts or under special local Acts. The chief exceptions 
are in the north the Derwent of Cumberland, and in the 
south the Itchen. Others are in the north-west the 
Mersey, long since hopelessly destroyed as a fish river, and 
in the east the Witham, Welland and Great Ouse, which 
have never been salmon rivers at all. Roughly speaking, a 
line following the valleys of the Trent and the three several 
Avons of Gloucestershire, Somersetshire and Hants, will 
leave to its north and west the part of England where 
fishery districts are the rule, to the south and east that 
where they are the exception. 

Thus much as to the laws for the general protection of 
inland fisheries in England. A few enactments give par- 
ticular protection or remedies to the owners of private 
fisheries against trespassers. Taking fish unlawfully in 
private waters is a misdemeanour punishable by fine, and 
a trespassing fisherman's rod, net or other tackle may 
be seized by the owner of the land or fishery ; but an 
angler against whom this right is exercised in the day- 
time escapes any further penalty. 2 There used to be in 

1 The Thames Conservators, I need hardly add, are charged with a 
number of matters of public interest, of which fishery regulation is only 
one. 2 24 & 25 Viet. c. 96, ss. 24, 25. 


the annual Mutiny Act an odd clause for the better preser- 
vation of game and fish in places where officers were 
quartered, it being supposed, apparently, that officers were 
more likely than other persons to take game and fish 
without leave. This was dropped in the general revision 
of military law which took place in 1879 and 1 88 1, pre- 
sumably because the security of the ordinary law is now 

5. Law of Scotland as to Freshwater Fisheries. 

Scotland is under a system of statutory regulation of 
the same general kind as the English Acts, which is less 
complicated and minute, but is pronounced by those who 
have watched its working to be also less efficient. The 
leading modern Act on Scotch salmon fisheries was passed 
in 1862. Under it a board of three Commissioners was 
formed, with power to fix a district for each river, determine 
close time, and make other general rules. District boards 
are elected by the fishery proprietors with voting power 
according to value, the largest fishery owner in the district 
being ex officio a member and chairman ; their functions 
are more limited and purely ministerial than those of 
conservators in England. 1 It appears that this system 
fails to provide good working boards, though in particular 
cases it may furnish an energetic landowner with useful 
powers. The Duke of Sutherland, it is stated, constitutes 
in his own person the district boards for several rivers. 
In i868 2 further provisions were made for the appoint- 
ment and proceedings of district boards, and the Home 
Office was empowered, on the application of a district 

1 25 & 26 Viet. c. 97, ss. 1 8, 22, &c. 

2 31 & 32 Viet. c. 123. 


board, to vary the regulations as to close time and other- 
wise. Fishing in close time, 1 obstructing the passage 
of salmon, using illegal instruments, and the like, are 
specifically forbidden by the same Act. The prohibitions 
and penalties are, as far as they go, so like those of the 
English Acts, though they are not identical, that it seems 
needless to give them in detail. In the matter of fixed 
engines they are a long way behind the English rules, 
and grave complaint is still made in Scotland of the 
inadequacy of the law as it stands. 

The border rivers Tweed and Esk formerly occasioned 
much petty contention between the two kingdoms : for 
some time the Tweed was carefully excepted from the 
rules laid down by Acts of the Scots Parliament, who 
thought it hard that if Englishmen were free to pursue 
salmon poaching on their own side of the Tweed the 
dwellers on the Scottish bank should not have their share. 
At present the Tweed is under special statutes of its own, 
and the Esk is by the Act of 1865 annexed to England 
for the purposes of the Salmon Fishery Acts. 

By an Act of last session 2 a Fishery Board was es- 
tablished for Scotland, consisting of three sheriffs selected 
and six other members appointed by the Crown. They 
have the general superintendence of the salmon fisheries of 
Scotland (as well as the herring fishery, of which presently), 
and may exercise the powers given by the former Acts to 
Commissioners. The Home Office is authorised to appoint 

1 There is a curious little reservation in s. 15, sub-s. 2. It is an 
offence to fish for salmon during the weekly close time, except during 
Saturday or Monday by rod and line. We can hardly suppose that 
angling on Sunday is thought specially injurious to the fishery at times 
of year when it is harmless on Saturday and Monday ; the only con- 
clusion therefore seems to be that angling on Sunday is prohibited as 
being wicked in itself. s 45 & 46 Viet. c. 78. 

IRISH LA W. 237 

an inspector of salmon fisheries for Scotland, who is to 
work under the Board and report to them. 

Trout and other freshwater fish must not be taken in 
Scottish waters by nets or several other specified means 
(practically, may be taken only by angling) by any one 
not having the right of fishery or licensed by the person 
having it. 1 

Law of Ireland as to Freshwater Fisheries. 

Ireland, again, has a separate legislative history, be- 
ginning, as far as modern practical purposes are concerned, 
in the year 1842, when a consolidating Act was passed, 2 
and a great number of old Irish statutes as to salmon 
and other fisheries were repealed. This Act appears to 
have been to some extent the model for the English 
Act of 1 86 1. Its provisions are very full and elaborate. 
In i848, 3 commissioners and conservators were established 
and the system of licences introduced ; the powers and 
proceedings of these officers were further defined in 1850.* 
Fresh regulations were introduced (partly, in turn, adopted 
from the English Act of 1861) by the Salmon Fishery 
(Ireland) Act, i863. 5 In I86Q 6 the duties of the former 
Special Commissioners were transferred to inspectors, who 
now have 'the power (among other things) of making 
by-laws, varying local close times, and issuing certificates 
and licences. They are styled the Inspectors of Irish 
Fisheries, are three in number, and are appointed by the 
Lord Lieutenant. 7 

1 8 & 9 Viet. c. 26, 23 & 24 Viet. c. 45. 2 5 & 6 Viet. c. 106. 
3 ii & 12 Viet. c. 92. 4 13 & 14 Viet. c. 88. 

6 26 & 27 Viet. c. 1 14. 8 32 Viet. c. 9, 32 & 33 Viet. c. 92. 

7 An analysis of the Irish Statutes on the same scale as that above 
given of the English ones would be wholly beyond my means and 


A remarkable feature about the administrative part 
of the Irish Acts is that the cruisers of the Royal Navy 
and the coast guard on the sea coast, and the con- 
stabulary inland, are specially authorised to enforce their 

I. Generally. 

Of all sea fish the most important to mankind, in our 
seas at any rate, is the herring. Long ago his pre-eminence 
among fish was attested in the quaint fancy of the North 
German tale, which tells how the fish needed a king to 
maintain order among them, and swam a race for the 
kingdom ; how the herring surpassed the rest in swiftness, 
and was proclaimed king, but the sole, angry and envious 
at being far behind in the race, reviled him, and has been 
punished by having a wry mouth ever since. 1 

And the legislation of these kingdoms (notably of Scot- 
land) has for centuries endeavoured to protect and foster 

space. The present account, short as it is, may be of some little use, 
for the Index to the Revised Statutes (tit. Fishery, Ireland) gives 
nothing but the year and chapter, though the English Acts are pretty 
fully abstracted. 

1 Die Fische waren schon lange unzufrieden dass keine Ordnung in 
ihrem Reiche herrschte . . . und vereinigten sich den zu ihrem Herren 
zu wahlen, der am schnellsten die Fluthen durchstreichen und dem 
Schwachen Hilfe bringen konnte. Sie stellten sich also am Ufer in 
Reihe und Glied auf, und der Hecht gab mit dem Schwanz ein 
Zeichen, worauf sie alle zusammen aufbrachen. . . . Auf einmal ertonte 
der Ruf, " der Hering ist vor ! " der Hering ist vor ! " Wen is vor ?" 
schrie verdriesslich die platte missgiinstige Scholle, die weit zuriick- 
geblieben war, "wen is vor?" " Der Hering, der Hering" war die 
Antwort. " De nackte Hiering ? " rief die neidische, " de nackte 
Hiering ? " Seit der Zeit steht der Scholle zur Strafe das Maul schief. 
Grimm, Kinder und Hausmarchen, No. 172. Observe the local colour 
given by the sole speaking Platt-deutsch. 


the herring fisheries in various ways, of which most have 
been abandoned as contrary to modern commercial policy. 
Almost the only surviving part of these provisions is the 
Scotch system of herring branding, which, even if open to 
some theoretical objections, is found effectual and popular, 
and has been deliberately maintained. In England the 
western counties obtained, as long ago as 1604, a whole- 
some exemption from the strict rights given to landowners 
by the common law. The statute recites that "the trade 
of fishing for herrings, pilchards and sean-fish 1 within the 
counties of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall is, and of late 
time hath been, very great and profitable " ; that " divers 
persons within the said counties, called balkers, huors, 
condors, directors, or guidors . . . time out of mind have 
used to watch and attend upon the high hills and grounds 
near adjoining to the sea-coasts within the said counties," 
to watch for the shoals of fish, and give directions to the 
fishermen, and that landowners have begun to object to 
their land being entered on for this purpose, and to treat 
the watchers and fishermen as trespassers ; and for the 
benefit of the fishing trade it enacts that the use of the 
shore shall be free both to the "watchmen, balkers, huors, 
condors, directors, and guidors " for their look-out, and to 
the fishermen for drawing in their nets and landing the fish. 2 

1 Sean (now commonly written seyn or seine) is a large draw-net. 
The statute seems applicable chiefly to the pilchard fishery, in which 
the seine has not lost its importance, though in the herring fishery 
drift-nets are more commonly used. Drift-net fishing and trawling 
are now prohibited within two miles of the coast of Cornwall below 
Trevose Head : Sea Fisheries Act, 1868, s. 68. And by a local Act, 
4 & 5 Viet. c. Ivii., which regulates the pilchard fishery in St. Ives Bay, 
a close time (25 July-25 December) for hook fishing, ground fishing, 
and trawling is established (s. 48) for the space of 1000 fathoms from 
the shore within the limits of the fishing stations specified by the Act. 

2 i Jac. i, c. 23. 


Like rights are given to fishermen everywhere on the 
Irish coasts by the Irish Fisheries Act of 1842.* 

In Scotland no legislation of this kind, local or general, 
was needed ; for the common law, by a wiser and more 
liberal policy than the English, admits the common right to 
use both the shores of the sea and the banks of public rivers 
for " white fishing," that is, for catching any fish other than 
salmon, as to which the Crown has special privileges. 

An Act of 1770 "for the encouragement of the white 
herring fishery " declares that all persons employed in that 
fishery are to " have the free use of all ports, harbours, 
shores and forelands" up to high water mark, and 100 
yards beyond it, on any waste or uncultivated land, for the 
purpose of landing nets and stores, curing fish, and drying 
nets, without payment except of harbour and pier dues. 
This appears to give by implication a right to enter on 
private lands in England to the extent specified ; but it is 
odd that there is no particular mention of owners or 
occupiers, nor are the fishermen expressly protected from 
being sued as trespassers, though they must not, under a 
penalty of 100, be obstructed. 2 

There were many statutes of the eighteenth and early 
nineteenth centuries regulating the sea-fisheries of England 
or of Great Britain. So far as they applied to England 
they were swept away, I believe without exception, by the 
Sea Fisheries Act of 1868. 

On the Irish coast fixed or drift nets must not be used 
to catch herrings in the daytime, nor must any net be used 
(except in dredging for shell-fish) which is "covered with 

1 5 & 6 Viet. c. 1 06, ss. 3, 4 (may be re-enactment of some older 
statute : the language seems modelled on that of the English local Act 
of James I.) 

8 ii Geo. 3, c. 31. 


canvas, hide, or other material, by which unsizeable and 
young fish may be taken or destroyed." Further special 
prohibitions may be established by means of by-laws. 1 

It must be remembered that within three miles of the 
coast fishermen who use nets or other instruments capable 
of catching salmon may come under the Salmon Fishery 
Acts. This has given rise to some difficulties, especially on 
the Welsh coast. 2 

2. Scottish Herring Fisheries. 

The law of Scotland as to the herring fishery is con- 
tained in a number of statutes of various dates, from 1808 
to i882. 3 The earlier ones created a system of bounties, 
to which a system of official certificate of the herrings 
properly taken and cured was incidental 4 ; and the system 
of certifying the casks of cured herrings by an official brand 
is still in force. All that is left of the bounties is a com- 
paratively small annual grant for repairs of fishing-boats ; 
and the official brand is sought merely as a kind of trade- 
mark, for which purpose it is found useful in the export 
trade. Fishermen whose business is not large enough 
to set up a private brand of their own which could become 
known in the market can by means of the Government 
mark, if their wares are up to the standard quality, put 

1 5 & 6 Viet. c. 1 06, ss. 6-10, 44 & 45 Viet. c. 66 (close time for 

2 1 8th Annual Report of the Inspectors of Salmon Fisheries, 1879, 
Appendix I. to Mr. Walpole's Report. 

3 The Acts ought to have been consolidated long ago : the older 
ones exist in a sort of living death, being repealed not specifically, but 
"in so far as necessary to give effect to," or so far as inconsistent 
with, the later Acts. These things are not necessarily the draftsman's 
or anybody's fault ; but they do no credit Jo the law. 

4 48 Geo. 3, c. no, s. 35. 

VOL. I. H. R 


themselves on a level with the larger dealers ; and a 
Select Committee which inquired into the matter in 1881 
reported against the abolition of the brand. Since 1858 
the expense of branding has been provided for by a fee 
of fourpence a barrel, so that on this point the last trace 
of the old bounties is removed. 1 

The Fishery Board 2 (formerly the " Commissioners of 
the British white herring fishery") have power to make 
police regulations ; and there is an old rule, never ex- 
pressly repealed, that the mesh of herring nets must not 
be less than an inch across. But this appears to be 
abrogated, except within three miles of the coast, by the 
operation of the Sea Fisheries Act of 1868 ; all restrictions 
on means of fishing beyond that limit being abolished 
by the Convention with France annexed to the Act, and 
thereby made law for British subjects. This brings us 
to the consideration of a fresh matter : namely, the regula- 
tion of sea fisheries by International Convention. 

3. International Conventions. 

In 1843 a Convention was made between England and 
France for the establishment of a common set of fishery 
rules on the coasts of either country ; the purpose being 
not so much the preservation of sea-fish as the prevention 
of strife between fishermen of the two nations, and 
avoidance of difficulties about jurisdiction. In 1868 a 
new Convention was made, intended to supersede the 
former one ; and being confirmed by Parliament 3 and 
gazetted as the Act provided, it became, and it is at 
present, the law governing British fishermen in British 

1 21 & 22 Viet. c. 69. * 45 & 46 Viet. c. 78. 

8 31 & 32 Viet. c. 45. 


waters. But it was never ratified by the French Legis- 
lature, so that in French waters the old Convention of 
1 843 is still in force ; and French fishermen cannot be 
proceeded against except under that Convention for 
offences against the fishery police of our coasts. 1 

Under the Act of 1868 all British fishing boats have 
to be lettered, numbered, and registered. The letters 
indicate a port or station having a separate collectorship 
of customs, and every station has its own set of numbers. 
The details are worked out by an Order in Council of 
June 1 8, 1869. By supplementary regulations of February 
26, 1880, open boats not going out beyond the three-mile 
limit are exempt. Naval and revenue officers and the 
coastguard have by the Act and Orders in Council large 
powers of search and seizure, and the fines for not having 
the name, number, &c., duly painted on a boat may 
amount to 20. 

The Convention lays down a number of rules (which it is 
impossible to abridge) as to fishing-vessels carrying lights, 2 
not interfering with one another's operations, and abstaining, 
except in certain cases of necessity, from entering the 
French fishery limits. 

In 1 88 1-2 an International Conference was held at the 
Hague to discuss proposals for establishing a joint fishery 
police in the North Sea. The result was a Convention 
signed on May 6, 1882, by the delegates of England, 

1 See 40 &4i Viet. c. 42, s. 15. 

2 The rule as to lights was made more specific in 1879 by an Order 
in Council (Regulations for preventing Collisions at Sea) under the 
Merchant Shipping Acts. Since September i, 1881, till which date 
the operation of the Order was afterwards suspended, fishing-vessels 
out with drift-nets ought to carry two red lights on the mast, and 
trawlers a red and a green light. I doubt whether the rule is much 

observed in practice. 

R 2 


Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France and the Netherlands 
(power being reserved for Sweden and Norway to come in). 
It contains rules as to lettering, numbering, and official 
papers ; as to the duty of boats not to interfere with each 
other's fishing, with a special prohibition of " any instrument 
or engine which serves only to cut or destroy nets ; " * and 
as to the manner in which the Convention is to be carried 
out, and the superintendence of the fisheries exercised, by 
the cruisers of the several contracting Powers. This Con- 
vention has not yet acquired legal force as regards British 
fishermen ; but it is understood that a Bill to confirm it will 
be introduced in the present session of Parliament. When- 
ever the North Sea Convention takes effect, the present 
anomalous relations between England and France as to 
the Channel fisheries will have to be reconsidered. It will 
be remembered that British fishermen are under one law 
and French under another ; and an additional complication 
may be introduced by the limits of the new Convention, 
to which France is a party, overlapping those of the old 
ones at some points. This seems not unlikely to lead to 
total abrogation of the former Conventions, and the adoption, 
as between England and France, of the North Sea Con- 
vention (with whatever not inconsistent additions the local 
circumstances may require) for the Channel fisheries also. 

The Treaty of Washington, made in 1871 between 
England and the United States, contained articles (after- 
wards confirmed by Parliament) 2 giving American fisher- 

1 Such an instrument, known as the "devil," has been used by 
Belgian sailors and fishermen to the great grievance of the fishermen 
of other nations. Its use, sale, and manufacture are now prohibited 
by a Belgian law of March 27, 1882. 

2 35 & 36 Viet. c. 45. The Act seems to have been required only for 
the purpose of repealing earlier inconsistent statutes. 


men the right of sea-fishing and landing nets and fish on 
the Canadian coast, and the like right to British fishermen 
on the east coast of the United States above 39 N. lat. 
There are no detailed regulations or police provisions of 
any kind. 

4. As to Oysters and Shell-fish. 

A close time for oyster fishing (May I to September i) 
has long been established in Ireland. 1 For Great Britain 
as to all shell-fish, and for Ireland also as to crabs and 
lobsters, the law now in force is contained in an Act of 
1877 (40 & 41 Viet. c. 42). Deep-sea oysters must not be 
sold or trafficked with between June 15 and August 4, nor 
any other oysters between May 14 and August 4. Pre- 
served oysters, and oysters taken in foreign waters or foi 
the purpose of oyster cultivation, are excepted. (Fine up 
to 2 for a first offence, 10 for repeated offences, and the 
oysters may be forfeited.) And the Board of Trade may, 
on the application of certain local authorities, restrict or 
prohibit for limited periods the taking of oysters from any 
particular bed. 

Crabs less than four inches and a quarter broad, and 
lobsters less than eight inches long, may not be taken, sold, 
or dealt with for sale. The same prohibition applies to 
spawn crabs and " casters " or " soft crabs " (crabs which 
have recently cast their shells.) The penalties are the same 
as for selling oysters in the close season. Any crabs, however, 
may be taken for bait. The Board of Trade (or in Ireland 
the Inspectors of Irish Fisheries, with the approval of the 
Lord Lieutenant), may restrict lobster and crab fishing 
within specified areas. All shell-fish exposed for sale con- 

1 5 & 6 Viet. c. 106, s. 32. 


trary to the provisions of the Act may be searched for, 
seized, and condemned. 

Under the Sea Fisheries Act of 1868, and certain Irish 
Acts of which the principal one was passed in 1 866, 1 the 
Board of Trade in Great Britain, subject to confirmation by 
Parliament, and the Inspectors of Irish Fisheries with the 
approval of the Lord Lieutenant in Ireland, 2 have power to 
grant exclusive rights of oyster and mussel fishery, which 
may be revoked if the grantees do not cultivate their 
allotted ground properly. Power to regulate a fishery and 
take tolls from persons fishing in it for oysters and mussels 
may also be given by an order of the Board of Trade. 3 
That authority issued regulations in July, 1872, setting 
forth the principles and conditions on which either exclusive 
rights of fishery or regulative powers over fisheries would be 
granted, and the procedure to be observed in applications 
and inquiries. Hardly so much use has been made of these 
provisions as was expected ; but it is hoped that they will 
in course of time produce appreciable results in increasing 
and cheapening the supply of oysters, though they may not 
avail to bring back the golden age of our fathers, when 
natives were a shilling a dozen. Under a recent Act 4 the 
Board of Trade may, for the protection of clam and bait 
beds, prescribe or authorise restrictions on the use of beam 
trawls for limited times, and within an area defined in each 
case by the order, anywhere in the territorial waters of 
Great Britain. The power can be exercised only on the 

1 Oyster Fishery (Ireland) Amendment Act, 1866, 29 & 30 Viet. 


2 32 & 33 Viet. c. 92, s. 14. The wording of the English and Irish 
Acts is different, but their general effect is much the same. 

8 There does not seem to be anything corresponding to this in 
Ireland. * 44 Viet. c. 11. 


application of local fishermen or authorities, and after 

As to the general policy of regulating oyster fisheries 
by close times and otherwise there is much difference of 
opinion. The evening before the opening of this Exhi- 
bition (May n), Mr. Huxley delivered a discourse on this 
question at the Royal Institution, in which he called 
attention to the fluctuations in the supply of oysters from 
the principal French beds. These have long been under a 
system of restrictions far more severe than anything that 
has been or could be proposed in England ; but the in- 
crease or falling off in the number of oysters taken (and in 
many years the variations have been very great and 
sudden), appears to have no intelligible relation whatever 
to the rules imposed by the State. In fact, there have 
been violent fluctuations both ways while the rules and 
their administration were unchanged. Mr. Huxley's con- 
clusion is that the abundance or scarcity of oysters depends 
on causes which cannot be sensibly affected by any restric- 
tive legislation. All such legislation is in itself objection- 
able, inasmuch as it creates new offences and tends to 
make the administration of justice odious, and the burden 
of proof is always on those who advocate it to show that 
its utility is so great and manifest as to outweigh the in- 
convenience. If Mr. Huxley's inferences from the French 
statistics are right (and I do not myself see the answer to 
them), the improvement of the oyster fisheries is to be 
sought, not in multiplying penal laws, which at best are 
troublesome to enforce and uncertain in their working, but 
in the judicious encouragement of oyster cultivation. 


5. Seal FisJtery. 

The Greenland seal fishery does not, perhaps, come 
properly within the scope of this handbook. But it may be 
convenient to mention shortly that, in order to put a stop 
to the reckless destruction of the young seals, an Act was 
passed in 1875 (38 Vict.c. 18), which empowered the Queen 
in Council, being satisfied that other Powers concerned had 
made or would make the like regulations as to their ships 
and subjects, to prescribe a close time for the seal fishery 
between the parallels of 67 and 75 N. latitude, and the 
meridians of 5 E. and 17 W. longitude from Greenwich. 
In I876 1 an Order in Council was made bringing the Act 
into operation, and fixing the 3rd of April as the earliest 
day in the year on which seal fishing should be lawful. 


We have now gone through the substance of one of 
those bodies of special legislation which, though their 
existence is hardly known except to the persons interested 
in their subject-matter, are of considerable extent and 
intricacy, and may raise important questions of general 
legislative policy. Thus it is evident that in the case of 
the fishery laws the question of interference with private 
discretion by the authority of the State has constantly to 
be decided one way or the other. In dealing with fresh- 
water fisheries the tendency of modern law-making has 
been to impose new restrictions, in dealing with sea- 
fisheries to remove old ones. There is not necessarily 
any inconsistency in this, for the circumstances and the 

1 Nov. 28 : see the order in Maude and Pollock's Merchant Ship- 
ping, 4th ed., Appendix, p. 104. 


purposes of the law are widely different. Particular 
questions of no small delicacy may, however, occur in 
the administration of the law. The State has decided 
that salmon rivers are worth preserving at the cost of 
some compulsion and restriction ; and few persons who 
are not extreme partisans of the individual citizen's 
freedom to do as he pleases will object to this in principle. 
But how far are we to go in each case ? Is the preserva- 
tion always worth the cost ? Paper-mills and salmon, for 
example, cannot thrive on the same water ; nor can it 
be said in every case that the paper-mill may go where 
there are no salmon, for not all river water is fit to make 
paper with. Are we then bound to sacrifice a great 
paper-mill for a small and poor salmon river, as might 
conceivably be the result in some cases of a strict execu- 
tion of the Salmon Fishery Acts ? These are the problems 
which English statesmen and legislators have hitherto 
refused, and most wisely refused, to deal with by general 
formulas, and have left to be worked out by the good 
sense and discretion of the persons concerned A law- 
maker who thinks and speaks as if he were dealing with 
a nation of fools will never make good laws ; a passion 
for formulas is the mark not of an exact but of a petty 
mind, and is capable of becoming the ruin of legislation 
and politics. It is enough for us, as regards the matter 
in hand, to know that our fishery laws, since their im- 
provement was seriously taken up some twenty years 
ago, have on the whole worked well and prevented much 
mischief. From a lawyer's point of view (and, I should 
think, from the point of view of any one who desires to 
understand them) there is much to be mended in their 
form. But with all their faults they are a fairly creditable 
specimen of the manner in which that complex and over- 


burdened instrument of government, the Parliament of 
the United Kingdom, contrives as it were from hand to 
mouth, and almost without knowing it, to keep abreast 
of the multifarious wants and grievances of a state of 
society which its founders could never have imagined 


Since this Handbook was published, an Act has been passed which regulates 
the engagements of seamen and boys in the sea fishing service : The Merchant 
Shipping (Fishing Boats) Act, 1883, 46 & 47 Viet. c. 41. 

The North Sea Convention has also been confirmed by the Sea Fisheries 
Act, 1883 (46 & 47 Viet. c. 22), 







VOL. I. H. 



NETS 2 54 



DRIFT-NET FISHING . * . . . . .278 



THE STOW-NET . .295 



BAITS ... 313 




HARPOONS , , . . 323 


IN the following pages it is proposed to give only a 
general account of the various kinds of apparatus which 
are employed for fishing, but an endeavour will be made to 
describe in an intelligible manner the principal methods of 
fishing, so as to enable the reader to understand something 
of the means by which our fish-markets are supplied, and 
constant occupation given to the large class of fisherfolk 
many of whom too commonly have to spend their lives in 
the midst of dangers and hardships but little understood 
by the great mass of the public who look on a regular 
supply of fish as a matter of course, whatever the weather 
may chance to be. 

An important distinction exists between sea fishing and 
freshwater fishing, which gives to each an interest peculiar 
to itself. Sea fishing is a great commercial industry. 
Freshwater fishing is mainly connected with sport and 
amusement. The first will therefore naturally claim the 
principal share of our attention, as being the means of 
providing a very large supply of wholesome food, and 
consequently of wide-spread interest. Some of the appli- 
ances for fishing being used in both salt and fresh waters, 
it will be convenient to consider our subject with reference 
rather to the different methods of fishing than to any 
distinction between the waters in which they are carried on, 
calling attention, however, as occasion may arise, to the use 
of particular appliances in the capture of freshwater fishes 


as well as of those found exclusively in the sea. We shall 
therefore roughly divide the apparatus into Nets, Lines, and 
Traps, and begin our descriptions with the important group 
of nets, which may be again separated into those which are 
movable, or fixed, when in use. 


a. Movable Trawls, Drift, Seines, etc 

b. Fixed Trammels, Set-nets, Bag-nets, etc. 

Trawls. Among the several methods of fishing in 
general use in our seas none is of more importance than 
that known in England as trawling, as by its means we 
obtain the greater part of the turbot, brill, and soles which 
are brought to market, and soles are very rarely caught in 
any other way. But besides the value of this mode of 
fishing in the capture of what are known as " prime " fish, 
its importance is even greater as a means of catching 
plaice, haddock, whiting, and other kinds of common fish, 
which, inferior as they are usually considered when 
compared with turbot and soles, yet are in great and 
constant demand in the market, and from the abundance 
in which they are caught, they can be sold at so low a rate 
as practically to be within reach of everyone. Another 
point of importance in trawling is that it is carried on 
throughout the year, although as a good deal of wind is 
desirable for its effective working, it is more generally 
productive in winter than at any other season, and there- 
fore at a time when some kinds of sea fishing are difficult 
on account of bad weather. 

There are two kinds of trawl-net in use, the beam-trawl 
and the otter-trawl ; but the only one .used by professional 
fishermen is the beam-trawl, and of that we will now 
endeavour to give a description ; but an examination of 


the net itself will be almost necessary to enable its con- 
struction to be clearly understood. 


The Beam-trawl is a triangular, flat, purse-shaped net, 
with its wide mouth kept extended by a horizontal wooden 
spar called the "beam," which is raised a short distance 
from the ground by two iron supports or " heads," one at 
each end ; the upper edge of the mouth of the net being 
fastened to the beam, and the under portion or lower edge 
of the opening dragging on the ground as the net is towed 
over the bottom. The size of the net used depends very 
much on that of the vessel that has to tow it, and the 
length of the beam of course varies with the size of the net. 
The total length of the net is usually rather more than 
twice that of the beam. In the large trawl vessels or 
" smacks," as they are generally called, the beam ranges 
from 36 to 50 feet in length, and the net in corresponding 
proportions. As there is an enormous strain on the beam 
when the net is at work, great care is necessary to select a 
good piece of wood for it, Elm is generally preferred, 
chosen if possible from timber grown of the proper thick- 
ness, that the natural strength of the wood may not be 
lessened by any more trimming or chipping than is 
absolutely necessary. If the required length and thickness 
cannot be obtained in one piece, two pieces are scarfed 
together and the joint secured by iron bands. Appearance 
here is not of so much' consequence as strength and 
toughness to resist the strain to which the beam is exposed. 
It will be understood from what has been said that the 
purse-shaped net has one of its flat sides on the ground, 
and the mouth is kept extended by the beam lying across 
it ; but in order to give room for the fish to enter, the 


beam and with it the back or upper edge of the mouth of 
the net fastened to it must be raised a certain distance 
from the ground. For this purpose each end of the beam 
is fastened to the top of an iron frame, shaped something 
like an irregularly formed stirrup, which is fitted to it at a 
right angle by a square socket at the top. By these iron 
frames, called " heads or irons," the beam is raised about 
three feet from the ground, and, contrary to the popular 
idea, never touches the bottom. It could do so only if the 
net and beam were to reach the ground with the back 
undermost, and then the mouth of the net would close and 
no fish could enter. The lower part of the trawl-head or 
iron is straight and flat, just like the corresponding part of 
a stirrup. It is called the " shoe," and is the part which 
slides over the ground as the net and beam are towed 
along. There is some slight variation in the shape of the 
irons used on different parts of the coast. What is called 
the Barking pattern is quite symmetrical and stirrup-like 
in shape, and is used by the Barking and many of the 
Great Yarmouth trawlers ; but at Brixham, Grimsby, Hull, 
and most other of our stations the back of the trawl-iron is 
made straight and sloping backward to the heel of the 
" shoe," thus giving greater length to that part of the iron 
which rests on the ground, and consequently, it is thought, 
more steadiness. Other devices, both foreign and British, 
for keeping the beam off the ground, will be observed 
among the trawl-heads in this Exhibition. 

The purse-shaped net consists of several portions, each 
having its own name. An old-fashioned bed watch-pocket 
laid on its face will give a very good idea of a trawl, when 
in a position for working. What is then its upper surface 
is called the " back," and the under portion the " belly " of 
the net. The straight front edge of the back, or " square " 


of the net is fastened to the beam, and is therefore raised 
two or three feet from the ground. The corresponding 
lower part of the mouth, however, is cut away in such a 
manner that the margin of the net forms a deep curve 
extending from the foot of one trawl-iron to the other, and 
therefore resting on the ground ; the centre of the curve or 
"bosom" being a considerable distance behind the beam 
and in front of the narrow part of the net. The usual rule 
in English trawls is for the distance between the beam and 
the centre of the curve to be about the same as the length 
of the beam. In foreign trawls this distance is generally 
less ; but in all cases there is a considerable space of 
ground over which the beam and back of the net must 
pass, when the trawl is at work, before the fish lying under 
them on the bottom are disturbed by the lower edge of 
the net. 

This curved lower margin of the mouth of the net is 
fastened to and protected by the " ground-rope," which is 
made of a stout but old hawser " rounded " or covered with 
small rope to keep it from chafing and to make it heavier. 
Its purpose is to protect the edge of the net, which other- 
wise would soon be torn by contact with the ground, and 
especially to keep it evenly on the bottom so as to sweep 
it thoroughly and disturb the fish, which, passing over the 
rope, then find their way into the farther narrow end of the 
purse or bag. The ends of the ground-rope are fastened 
on each side by a few turns round the back of the trawl- 
iron, just above the shoe, so that the rope rests upon the 
ground throughout its entire curve. There is no chance 
therefore of the fish escaping at either the sides or bosom 
of the net, and their only outlet, when once the beam has 
passed over them, is in front, for the back of the net is then 
above them, so that they must dart forward in the direction 

VOL. I. H. s 


in which the net is moving, to enable them to get clear of 
it Their chance of escape is, however, very small, for 
when fish are disturbed without being much alarmed, they 
seldom move very far, and even should they escape under 
the beam, the net moving forwards in the same direction 
would most probably again overtake them. It has been 
mentioned that the ground-rope is made of an old hawser, 
and there is a reason for such being used. Although 
trawling is carried on as a rule over smooth ground, it 
sometimes happens that there may be an occasional piece 
of rock in the way, and then if the ground-rope were sound 
and strong the probable result would be the breaking of 
the beam or the more serious accident of the parting of the 
rope by which the trawl is connected with the vessel. In 
the latter case the whole trawl would be lost; but if the 
ground-rope were to become hitched in a rock or any 
obstruction at the bottom, an old rope would break, and 
the most serious result would be the tearing of the under 
part of the net. This, of course, is to be avoided if 
possible, but it is better to tear the net than lose it 

We have so far spoken only of the front half of the 
trawl, with its back entirely made up of netting and the 
under part of the same material cut away into a deep 
curve which is fastened to the ground-rope. The remain- 
ing part of the trawl, that is, the portion extending from 
the bosom to the extreme end, forms a complete bag of 
netting, and gradually diminishes in breadth until within 
about ten feet of the end. This last part of it is of 
uniform width, and is called the " cod " or " purse ; " it is 
here that the fish which enter the net are mostly collected, 
and they are prevented from escaping by the end of this 
bag or purse being closed by a draw-rope when the net is 


in use. As soon, however, as the net is hoisted in, the 
draw-rope is cast off, and the fish fall out on the deck of 
the vessel. The under part of this purse is exposed to a 
good deal of wear from the weight of fish and sometimes 
stones collected within it, and to protect it as much as 
possible, layers of netting, called "rubbing-pieces," are 
laced across it, one layer slightly overlapping the next one. 
In French trawls a stout hide is frequently fastened under 
this part of the net for the same purpose. Such is the 
main construction of the trawl as seen from the outside ; 
but we have still to notice certain arrangements within the 
net by which any fish which have once made their way into 
the cod or purse at the end are prevented from returning 
and making their escape. 

The net has been described as tapering away from the 
mouth until the purse is reached, and it is at the junction 
of the purse with the main body of the net that by a 
very simple arrangement two pockets open, into which the 
fish make their way and often become closely packed. 
The pockets are made by simply lacing together parts of 
the upper and under portions of the main body of the net, 
beginning close to the purse, at about one third of the 
distance across, and running up towards the outer margin, 
gradually tapering away to a point for a length of about 
sixteen feet backwards from the purse. They are there- 
fore within the outer edge of the net, and their mouths 
open into and face the purse. The mouths of the pockets 
occupy one-third each of the breadth of the net at that 
part, and the intermediate third is the passage by which 
all the fish enter the purse from the main body of the net. 
Over this opening hangs a curtain of netting called the 
" flapper," which gives way before any fish pushing through 

into the purse, but then falls back so as to prevent its 

S 2 


return. On each side of, and just beyond, the flapper, 
however, is the entrance to a pocket ; and the fish, being 
unable to return through the passage closed by the flapper, 
very commonly enter the pockets and press on till at last 
the gradual narrowing of the space stops their further 
progress in that direction. To understand clearly the 
facilities offered to the fish to enter the pockets it is 
necessary to remember that the trawl when at work is 
towed along with just sufficient force to expand the net by 
the resistance of the water. But this resistance acts 
directly only on the interior of the body of the net between 
the pockets, and then on the purse. When the trawl first 
begins to move, the pressure of the water inside the net 
does not distend the pockets, but rather tends to flatten 
them, because they are virtually outside the cavity of the 
net, and their openings are at the farther end of it and 
facing the other way. The water, however, which has 
expanded the body of the net, then makes its way under 
the flapper and enters the purse, which, being made with a 
much smaller mesh than the rest of the net, offers so much 
resistance that it cannot so readily escape in that direction ; 
return currents are consequently formed along the sides, 
and these currents open the mouths of the pockets, which 
face the purse or last part of the net ; and the fish in their 
endeavours to escape, finding these openings, follow the 
course of the pockets until they have no room to proceed 
any further. The whole of the net becomes therefore fully 
expanded, but it does so by the pressure of the water in one 
direction through the middle, and in the opposite one 
through the pockets at the sides. 

Such then is the beam-trawl an enormous bag-net, 
frequently 50 feet wide at the mouth and upwards of 100 
feet in length, which sweeps slowly and quietly over the 


bottom of the sea, disturbing, perhaps without much 
alarming, such fish as may come in contact with the ground- 
rope, and, we may venture to say, ultimately securing 
them in the purse and pockets, from which there is no 
deliverance till the trawl is hoisted up on board the vessel 
and the contents are turned out on deck. 

In an ordinary deep-sea trawl-net the meshes are of four 
sizes, diminishing from four inches square near the mouth 
to an inch and a half at the purse or small end ; and the 
twine for the under side of the net is usually a size larger 
than that for the back. The net is generally made of the 
best Manilla hemp, and is well tarred before being used. 
The only remaining part of the trawl apparatus is the warp 
by which the trawl is towed over the ground. This is 
usually a six-inch rope, 150 fathoms long, and made up of 
two lengths of 75 fathoms each, spliced together. The 
end of this warp is shackled to two other pieces, each 
15 fathoms long, and called the "spans" or "bridles," 
which lead one to each end of the beam, and are shackled 
to swivel-bolts in the front of the head-irons, so that the 
pull of the rope comes directly on those parts of the 
apparatus which are the most exposed to friction by 
contact with the ground. 

As most of the trawling is carried on far out at sea, and 
very commonly at long distances from land, good sea- 
going vessels are required, and vessels of from 45 to 70 
tons, or even more, are generally employed in this kind of 
fishery. They are usually called " smacks " from their 
smack or cutter rig, which until recent years was the one- 
almost invariably adopted. Forty or fifty years ago they 
w r ere of comparatively small size, ranging from twenty to 
thirty-six tons. They were stoutly-built vessels, able to 
hold their own in almost any kind of weather, but were 


then not remarkable for fast sailing. Sea-going qualities 
were especially necessary in vessels which had to work in 
rough weather, and often at some distance from any 
harbour. The improvements in modern ship-building have 
not been, however, lost sight of, and the great and in- 
creasing demand for fish, and the long distances from land 
at which trawlers now work in the North Sea, have led to 
the construction of larger vessels, capable of working much 
heavier nets, and with much finer proportions, so as to give 
greatly increased speed so that the fish may be brought to 
market with as little delay as possible. The large main- 
sail in these smacks has great driving power, and is there- 
fore a very important sail ; but the increase in the size of 
the vessels has made a change of rig desirable so as to be 
able to work them without proportionately adding to the 
expenses. The larger mainsail in these new vessels would 
require additional hands to look after it in bad weather, 
when a heavy boom is likely to strain everything to the 
utmost ; and fishing is a pursuit in which expenses must 
be closely looked after. This sail has accordingly been 
reduced in size, and a mizen mast has been added on 
which a small gaff-sail is carried. By this plan a proper 
quantity of sail can be carried, but the great pressure on 
it is brought lower down, and consequently it is more 
manageable and causes less strain on the vessel. The new 
trawlers are built of greater proportionate length than 
formerly, and this gives them greater speed. This new 
"ketch" rig, as it is called, is generally adopted at the 
great North Sea stations, Hull, Grimsby and Yarmouth, 
and is gradually coming into fashion at Brixham and other 
Channel ports. One important advantage in the increased 
size of these fishing vessels is the additional room provided 
on board. This not only adds to the comfort of the crew, 

THE BE A M- TRA WL. 263 

but enables a considerable quantity of ice to be carried, 
now a necessary condition of North Sea trawling. Stow- 
age is. also provided for the produce of several days' fishing, 
when, as is the rule, except during the calm summer 
months, these trawlers stay out for several days at a time, 
and bring home their own fish instead of sending it in by 
carrying vessels, which at certain seasons collect the fish 
from a fleet of trawlers and take it to market. 

The cost of trawl-smacks has greatly increased of late 
years, not only on account of their larger size, but 
because of the higher price that has now to be paid for 
everything connected with their construction. In 1862, 
a trawler, ready for sea, and what was then considered one 
of the larger class, could be built and fitted out for 700 or 
;8oo ; but one of the new class of vessels cannot be turned 
out at the present time for less than about 1 600. This 
includes a fit-out of all that is required for fishing, which 
costs from 70 to 80. A fit-out consists of a double set 
of almost every part of the gear, to provide against acci- 
dents, and to save the time which would otherwise be lost 
if the vessel were obliged to return to port before she had 
done a fair quantity of work. If a trawl-net meets with no 
serious accident it will last from three to four months, 
according to the nature of the ground worked on ; but 
during that time parts of it will have to be renewed. The 
back of the net, being exposed to least wear, lasts the 
longest ; the under parts will generally require renewing 
twice, and the cod or purse five or six times, before the 
whole net is finally condemned ; so that trawling gear* 
involves considerable expense to keep it in good working 
order at the best of times, and in case of accidents, by 
which sometimes the whole net and beam are lost, the cost 
is greatly increased. 


The importance of the trawl fishery is so great that we 
have thought it desirable to give tolerably full details of 
the apparatus employed in it, and it may be interesting if 
we also give some account of the manner in which the net 
is worked. Of course, nothing but practical experience on 
board a trawler will enable one to thoroughly understand 
all the points to be considered in working under the 
varying conditions of wind and tide, but the general mode 
of proceeding may be more easily explained. A favourable 
tide is the first thing to be desired, one of only moderate 
strength, as the trawl, which is always towed as much as 
possible in the direction of, but a little faster than, the 
stream, then works steadily and is easily kept upon the 
ground. Supposing the vessel to be on her fishing ground, 
the first part of the tide is chosen for commencing work, as 
she can then tow in one direction for several hours, and the 
usual practice is to keep the trawl down till the tide has 
done, about five or six hours at a time. The vessel is put 
under easy sail in the direction in which she is going to 
tow, depending on the wind being suitable for going with 
the tide. This is of such importance that when the wind is 
dead against the tide it is impossible to work, and the 
fishermen can only beat up against the wind so as to take 
up a suitable position for trawling in the opposite direction 
as soon as the tide has turned, or if the fishing ground be a 
large one, as in some parts of the North Sea, they heave-to 
and wait for the favourable time. Most persons who have 
seen a trawl-vessel in harbour, or coming in or going to sea, 
will have noticed the long trawl-beam, with the curiously- 
shaped head-irons at each end, resting on the top of the 
bulwark, usually on the port or left side of the vessel, and 
the immense net lying in irregular folds along the top of 
the beam. This is where the trawl is stowed when it is 


not in use, and is conveniently placed for putting overboard 
when the net is to be lowered. This then would be the 
position when they are going to begin fishing. The vessel 
then being slowly sailed along her intended course, the 
first thing to be done is to get the net overboard, beginning 
with the small end and throwing it out or " shooting " it 
until the whole is hanging from the beam and towing 
alongside. The rope holding up the front end of the beam 
is then slacked away till that part of the beam is well clear 
of the vessel, and, being caught by the water, is turned 
outwards at nearly a right angle, or square with the stern. 
The other end is then lowered from the stern till the whole 
beam is level in the water with the net streaming away 
behind it ; and if the trawl is then in a proper position, that 
is, with the back uppermost and the ground-rope below, 
more sail is put on the vessel, the two ropes fastened to 
the head-irons at the ends of the beam are slowly and 
evenly paid out till the shackle joining them to the trawl- 
warp is reached ; then if all appears to be going right the 
warp itself is steadily given out, and the trawl is allowed to 
slowly sink to the bottom. 

It will hardly be necessary to point out why the vessel 
should be moving through the water, although not very 
fast, when the trawl is being lowered. It will be obvious 
that if the apparatus is to reach the bottom with the trawl- 
irons under the beam, and the lower part of the net and the 
ground-rope in their proper position below, no risk must be 
run of the net turning round or twisting as it is being 
lowered. There would, of course, be great danger of this 
happening if the vessel were not moving ; the net would in 
such a case hang perpendicularly, and the beam would be 
very liable to twist round, so that it would be a mere matter 
of chance whether the upper or under side of the net and 


beam would be the first to reach the bottom. If, however, 
as has been described, the net be got into a proper 
position when at the surface, and the vessel be slowly sailed 
along, the net is then towed after it, and as the warp is 
given out, the net gradually sinks without changing its 
position, until at last it reaches the ground. Of course, 
experience teaches the fishermen how to regulate the speed 
of the vessel and the rate at which the warp should be 
given out so as to ensure just sufficient strain on the trawl 
to keep it steady whilst it is sinking. These are matters 
which none but the practical fisherman thoroughly under- 
stands ; they require some little judgment to prevent 
mistakes, and mistakes will sometimes be made ; the 
strength of the tide may be miscalculated, or something 
else ; and the irregular action of the trawl, owing to the 
beam instead of only the irons touching the ground, tells the 
fishermen that the trawl is "on its back." When this 
happens there is nothing to be done but to heave up the 
net often a long and laborious process and then, after 
getting it into the proper position, to lower it once more. 

Supposing the trawl to have reached the bottom all right 
and to be moving evenly over the ground, as can be readily 
felt by the steady strain on the warp, the master uses his 
judgment as to how much more warp should be paid out. 
It should be remembered that the weight of the net and the 
trawl-irons, without considering the beam itself which, from 
being so continually under water, soon becomes more or 
less saturated, and loses more of its original buoyancy is 
such as to keep the whole apparatus at the bottom, whilst 
the pull of the warp by which the trawl is towed along, is 
in a direction slanting upwards. There are therefore two 
opposing forces, one tending to keep the net on the ground, 
and the other lifting it. The object is to regulate these forces 


so that the pull from the warp shall move the trawl lightly 
along the bottom, but without raising it from the ground, 
If then there be too little warp allowed and there be not 
slope enough, the pull will be too much upward, and the 
net will be lifted ; but if, on the other hand, there be too much 
warp, the trawl-irons and net will be dragged too much on 
the ground, and the friction will be greatly increased. One 
of the conditions on which this regulation depends is the 
amount of wind ; for if there be very little breeze to drive 
the vessel along, the friction of the net and irons on the 
bottom may be sufficient to stop her way entirely. In such 
a case, very little extra warp is required, so that the lifting 
power may be increased, and the friction over the ground 
lessened. But if there be a great deal of wind, which will 
drive the vessel along even with comparatively little sail, 
and especially if, as in such a case is likely to occur, there 
is a good deal of sea, and the strain on the warp becomes 
irregular and jerking, then more warp is allowed to 
counteract the tendency there is to lift the net off the 
ground. This, as has been said before, is a matter of 
experience ; and the ready way in which these rough 
fishermen make their calculations, often, we may venture to 
say, without being able to explain their reasons, is shown 
by the successful manner in which they commonly fish in all 
kinds of weather. There is no other kind of sea-fishing 
which requires so much skill as deep-sea trawling ; as, 
independently of the necessary knowledge of the ground to 
be trawled over, hours may be wasted unless attention is 
given to the proper management of the net from the 
moment at which it is put overboard. 

We have spoken of the construction of the beam-trawl, 
and the way in which it is managed when it is being used ; 
we may now say a few words about the action of the trawl 


when it is at work. This net is specially constructed for 
catching what are called ground-fish, those which, as a rule, 
keep at the bottom, and naturally hide more or less under 
the sand or mud. With trifling exceptions, all the turbot, 
brill, soles, and plaice brought to market, are caught by the 
trawl ; the various kinds of skate or ray are obtained for 
the most part by the same means ; and notwithstanding 
the peculiar habit all these fish have of lying quite close to 
the ground and partially covered, they have very little 
chance of escaping when once the trawl-beam has passed 
over them. Rough stones or rocks on the bottom would 
soon tear the net to pieces ; and even on smooth ground 
there is danger of meeting with obstructions big enough to 
hold the net, sometimes resulting in breaking either the 
beam or the trawl-warp. Clean ground is therefore of the 
first importance for trawling ; it is there that flat-fish are, 
most likely to be found, and the action of the trawl is 
specially such as to secure them. The trawl, as has been 
said, is always towed with the tide, but a little faster than 
it is running. Were it otherwise, the net, being lighter 
than the beam, weighted as it is with the trawl-irons, would 
be liable to be drifted forwards and to prevent the entrance 
of the fish. The resistance of the water caused by the 
trawl going a little faster than the tide this excess of 
speed varying according to circumstances from half a knot 
to a knot and a half in an hour keeps the net expanded 
and in a proper position behind the beam. The ground- 
rope then does its duty. Its "biting" action, or close 
pressure on the ground over which it is towed, is of the 
greatest importance when soles, turbot, and other flat-fish 
are worked for, as these fish when disturbed do not rise 
from the ground as is the habit with whiting, haddock, 
gurnards, etc., but seek safety in the sand. When, there- 

THE BE A M- TRA WL. 269 

fore, as the trawl is slowly towed along, the ground-rope 
disturbs the flat-fish, their first impulse is to move a short 
distance forwards and again bury themselves ; but the 
ground-rope is steadily pressing on as the trawl advances, 
and they are again soon disturbed. This proceeding 
almost certainly ends in the fish, sooner or later, passing 
over the ground-rope and entering the net. They cannot 
then escape upwards, because the back of the net is above 
them, and if they dart forwards towards the entrance they 
may have to go perhaps forty or fifty feet, the distance 
between the centre of the curved ground-rope and the 
beam, before they can get clear of the advancing net. 
When fishing for whiting, haddock, or other round fish, the 
trawl is towed a little faster than when working for soles, 
and although such fish on being disturbed may dart some 
little distance, the fact of their not trying to bury them- 
selves, but to rise from the ground, often enables the 
ground-rope to pass under them without further distur- 

The great resistance offered by the trawl to the forward 
movement of the vessel towing it a resistance sufficient to 
reduce her speed in a good breeze from perhaps seven or 
eight knots to one knot in the hour is very commonly 
ascribed to the supposed great pressure of the beam and 
net on the bottom, and to their not being towed lightly 
over the ground, but dragged through it. This has been 
the foundation of most of the arguments used by those who 
believe that trawling tears up the ground and destroys any 
fish spawn there may be upon it, they apparently being 
unaware that the trawl can only do its work when the 
beam is raised well clear of the ground by the trawl-irons, 
and that the weight of the net is very materially lessened 
by the fact of its being expanded by the water. 


The question of spawn being destroyed by the trawl is 
further disposed of by the knowledge that has been gained 
in recent years of the spawning habits of sea-fish. It has 
been now distinctly proved by Professor G, O. Sars and 
M. Malm on the coasts of Norway and Sweden that the 
eggs of several of our best known sea-fish float during the 
whole period of their development, and that the herring 
is the only one among our market sea fishes whose spawn 
is positively known to be deposited on the bottom. As 
the usual spawning ground of the herring is in rough 
places, where the trawl cannot be worked, there is little 
probability of that net doing much mischief to herring 

We now come to the last part of the operation of trawl- 
ing the taking up the net. After the trawl has been 
towed over the ground for five or six hours, the tide 
having come to an end, or the limit of the particular fishing 
ground having been reached, the net is then hauled up. 
There is not the same custom on all parts of the coast as to 
the position in which the vessel is placed when the trawl is 
hoisted up. At Brixham and Plymouth, the old trawling 
stations in the Channel, it has long been the practice to 
haul in the trawl-warp over the bow by means of a winch 
placed just in front of the mast, and the vessel is therefore 
brought head to wind with the trawl out ahead of her ; and 
even when one of the improved patent capstans, placed in 
the middle of the vessel, is used, the warp is still led in 
over the bow ; but among the trawlers in the North Sea 
the capstan is always employed, and the rope is hauled in 
over the port side of the vessel, just opposite the capstan. 
These, however, are very much a matter of fancy, and in 
either case there is long and often very laborious work 
to be done before the trawl comes to the surface. It rarely 

THE BE A M- TRA WL. 271 

takes less than three-quarters of an hour's steady work, 
and in bad weather it may take two or three hours. The 
long warp is coiled away down below as it comes in, and 
the beam, having been swung alongside, hoiste'd up and 
secured, the net is gathered in by hand until nothing 
remains in the water except the cod or purse of the net, in 
which all the fish are collected, those which had entered 
the pockets having been shaken down into the purse as the 
main body of the net was hauled in. Now comes the 
exciting moment, and all hands have a look over the side 
of the vessel to see what has been the result of the day's 
work. If there are only a few fish in the purse it is lifted 
in by hand and better luck hoped for next time. But 
when, as often happens, there is from half to three-quarters 
of a ton of fish, the bag is hoisted up by a tackle, and 
before being lowered on board, the draw-rope, which has 
been previously mentioned as closing the end of the purse, 
is cast loose, and the whole quivering mass of fish falls out 
on the deck. The scene is a remarkable one, for most of 
the fish are alive and display such beauty of colouring as 
can only be observed when they are just taken out of the 
sea. The variety of fish is also frequently very great, and 
twenty different kinds good, bad and indifferent may be 
turned out after one haul of the net. At certain seasons, 
and in particular parts of the North Sea, the catch consists 
almosts entirely of haddocks, at other times plaice may be 
the principal fish, or the vessel may have been working on 
ground specially frequented by soles ; but in any case 
there is sure to be a market for what has been caught, and 
if soles or turbot fetch a higher price than the commoner 
kinds, the latter are always more abundant. Sorting the 
fish is at once proceeded with. The prime fish are picked 
out and packed separately, and if the vessel is far away 


from the land, as in the North Sea, pounded ice is plenti- 
fully strewed among the fish, and every care is taken to 
preserve them in good condition till the opportunity comes 
for sending them to market. The vast numbers of had- 
docks which are taken by the trawl are not always packed 
in boxes like the prime fish, but, after being roughly 
cleaned, are stowed away with layers of ice between them 
in the hold of the vessel till in the course of a few days she 
returns to port. Although a great number of haddocks 
are sold fresh, the majority of those caught by the trawl 
are dried and smoked, for which there is an unfailing 

During the last few years one of the most important 
changes which have taken place in connection with deep- 
sea fishing has been the application of steam-power to 
trawl vessels. Many experiments have been tried from 
time to time with this object, but although there has been 
no doubt of the advantage of using steam for fishing boats, 
there has been great difficulty in keeping the attendant 
expenses within due limits. The system is indeed still in 
only partial operation, but enough has been done to show 
that its more general adoption is only a question of time. 
For many years steam vessels have been employed as 
" carriers," collecting the fish from the fleets of trawlers in 
the North Sea, and taking it to market. But experience 
has shown that time and labour can be profitably saved by 
applying steam to the actual fishing vessels. It enables 
them to go to and return from their fishing grounds 
quickly, and to work their nets independently of wind a 
matter of the first importance in the light summer weather 
which sometimes for days together keeps the sailing 
trawler almost idle, and a large amount of time and labour 
is saved bv the use of steam in hauling up the trawl. The 


numerous designs and models of steam-trawlers in the 
Exhibition point to the attention now being given to this 
important subject. 

The fishing grounds systematically worked over by the 
trawlers are scattered over a large area, and lie principally 
on the southern half of the North Sea, a locality to which 
we have frequently had occasion to refer. The oldest 
known trawling grounds are, however, on the Devonshire 
coast, where the Brixham men have regularly worked for 
probably not much less than a hundred years. Brixham 
claims to be the " mother of trawling," although a similar 
claim has been put in by Barking, on the Thames. So far 
as we can ascertain, small trawls may have been used 
inshore for many years before these nets were tried in deep 
water, but it seems probable that Brixham took the lead in 
trawling at sea ; and there is no doubt that Brixham men 
introduced trawling at Ramsgate, and in 1845, many of 
them migrated to Hull, and thence systematically worked 
the important North Sea fishery now carried on from that 
port. In 1858 five trawlers left Hull for Grimsby, nearer 
the mouth of the Humber. It was the year before the 
opening of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire 
Railway at Grimsby; and since that date the Grimsby 
trawl-fishery has gone on increasing until it has become 
the most important in the United Kingdom, and the 
railway from the port daily conveys very large supplies of 
fish to the centre of the manufacturing districts. Yarmouth 
is another great trawling port on the North Sea, and 
received her first trawlers from Barking through the enter- 
prise of the late Mr. Hewett, who, beginning his career as a 
boy on board one of these fishing smacks, lived to see a 
large fleet of vessels the property of himself and some 

members of his family. If deep-sea trawling were by any 
VOL. i. H. T 


chance to come to an end, or even materially diminished, 
the result would be the loss of many thousands of tons of 
wholesome food to all classes of people in this country. 


This net, although used in the same manner as the beam- 
trawl, differs from it essentially in having no beam, and the 
mouth of the net is kept open by means of long wings of 
netting, at the end of each of which is what is called an 
otter-board. On the action of these otter-boards depends 
in a great measure the proper working of the net. But 
before describing them we will say a few words about the 
construction and shape of the net. As the size of the net 
may vary according to that of the vessel from which it is 
to be worked, and as its use is practically confined to 
yachtsmen who have them made of suitable dimensions for 
their vessels, we need only give the general proportions of 
the two essential parts the body and the wings. The 
body of an otter-trawl say, 28 feet long consists of a bag 
28 feet in length. 10 feet square at the mouth, and the 
small end or purse about four feet square. This is closed 
with a draw-rope as in the same part of the beam-trawl. 
The wings for a trawl of the size we are describing are 
each about 36 feet long, and are fastened one on each side 
of the square mouth of the net, their height when joined to 
the trawl being 10 feet, the same as the trawl itself at that 
part. From this point the height of the wing gradually 
diminishes through its entire length of 36 feet, till it 
becomes reduced to two feet at the other end. The foot of 
the wings and of the mouth is weighted to keep it on the 
ground, and the upper edge or back of the same parts is 
buoyed up with pieces of cork. A nice adjustment of 
weights to corks is important to enable the net to work 


lightly over the ground, although at the same time closely 
touching it. We now have the funnel-shaped bag with a 
long wing of netting extending from each side of the 
mouth, and the remaining parts to be noticed are the all- 
important otter-boards by which the wings of the net are 
kept extended. Most persons are familiar with the 
principle of flying paper kites, but a few words may be 
here said on the subject When the kite is thrown up in 
the air, the wind would of course blow it away if it were 
not for the string which keeps a strain upon it in an 
opposite direction ; and if this strain or pull upon it by the 
string were exactly at the centre of pressure of the wind on 
the surface of the paper, the kite would either remain 
steady or sway about in any direction. But if the string be 
fastened rather more on one side of the centre of pressure 
of the wind on the kite than on the other, then that part of 
the kite would be turned a little towards the wind and the 
rest of it in a corresponding degree away from it. The 
wind would therefore strike the kite at an angle and with 
the greatest effect on the part behind the string, tend- 
ing to blow it away were it not that the pressure of the 
wind also, although in a less degree, on that part in front of 
the string, kept it from turning away too much. The kite 
is thus brought into the same position with respect to the 
wind as the sail of a vessel is when she is going what is 
called close to the wind. In both cases the wind strikes at 
an angle and flies off at the further edge, resulting in the 
sail and the kite being forced in the opposite direction. 
The kite, being weighted with the tail, turns its head 
upwards, and that being the part on which there is the least 
pressure of the wind, the kite rises in the air. Now if we 
substitute an otter-board for the kite and water for the 

wind, we shall find precisely the same principle in action. 

T 2 


The otter-board for such a net as has been described is an 
oblong piece of stout board two feet high and nearly three 
feet and a half long ; the front lower angle is rounded off 
so as not to catch in the ground, and the whole lower edge 
of the board is weighted with a heavy iron shoe, as it is 
that part which is to be kept at the bottom. The end of 
each wing of the trawl is fastened to the square end of an 
otter-board, the round end of the board going in front, and 
all that is now wanted is to make fast a rope to the inner 
side of the board, in just such a position as a string is 
fastened to a kite. These ropes from the otters exactly 
correspond with the two ropes or bridles, one from each end 
of the beam in the beam-trawl, and like them the ends are 
shackled on to the warp by which the trawl is towed. 
Putting out or " shooting " the otter-trawl is generally done 
over the stern of the vessel, and the two ropes are brought 
round one on each side of it, so as to separate the wings of 
the net as much as possible from the first ; and when the 
vessel begins to move slowly along, the pressure of the 
water acts on the otter-boards as the wind does on the kite. 
The direction of the otters, however, is not upwards but out- 
wards, as they are weighted on the lower side and are too 
heavy to float ; and as the strain on them continues they 
gradually work their way out in opposite directions until 
the two wings and the mouth of the net are expanded in a 
wide curve, the weighted foot of the whole extent of net 
being on the ground, and the corked back-rope keeping 
the upper edge of the net fully extended above it. The 
net is then towed with the tide, and is worked in just the 
same manner as has been described in the case of the 
beam-trawl. The two ropes or bridles leading from the 
otters, are much longer than would be used with a beam- 
trawl, as the front of the net with the wings spreads out to a 


great width. There being no beam to this trawl, it is very 
convenient for use in yachts, as it can be stowed away in a 
comparatively small space when not wanted, but pro- 
fessional trawlers cannot be induced to work with anything 
but the beam-trawl. Each has its advantages, but it may 
be a question whether our deep-sea trawlers would do 
better, or as well, with the otterrtrawl as with the one to 
which they have been .always accustomed. A net of just the 
same shape and construction is, we believe, still in use on 
some parts of the Irish coast, but it has no otter-boards, 
and the wings of the net are kept apart by the ropes from 
them leading each through a block at the end of a pole 
which is put out on each side of the trawling vessel. The 
end of each wing is kept upright by being fastened to a 
contrivance very much like a long double-headed hammer, 
the head being a long stout piece of flattened iron like 
the shoe of an otter-board, and with a stiff piece of wood 
like the handle of a hammer inserted into the middle of the 
iron, thus completing what we have called a long double- 
headed hammer. The top of the end of the wing of 
netting is fastened to the top of the handle, and the lower 
edge of the wing to one end of the iron shoe or hammer- 
head. The tow-rope or bridle from each wing is fastened 
to a loop extending from the front of the hammer to the 
top of the handle, so that when the trawl is at work, the 
hammers slide along over the ground with the handle 
standing upright in the middle. This trawl is known as 
the " Pole or Hammer " trawl, and the application of otter- 
boards to a trawl of this construction must be considered a 
decided improvement. A simple, but cumbrous and 
primitive mode of working the deep-sea trawl is that 
adopted on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of 
Spain, where, instead of using the beam to keep the mouth 


of the net open, the trawl is towed between two vessels, 
which, from their always working together, are known as 
" Parejas " or pairs. 

Two problems in connection with trawling have been the 
subject of much consideration at various times, but as yet 
have not been satisfactorily solved. One is to ensure the 
trawl reaching the bottom at all times in the right position 
for working ; and the other is to provide for the escape of 
small fish without running the risk of losing the larger 
ones. The difficulty in the latter case arises from the fact 
that the strain on the last part or purse of the trawl when 
towed over the ground is so great that the meshes, no 
matter what size they are, are pulled straight and therefore 
closed ; and if the meshes were made much larger than 
they are now, fair sized soles would have strength enough 
to open them sufficiently to squeeze through where the 
young fish would be unable to do so. Some suggested 
improvements on the latter point deserve attention among 
the variety of trawling gear exhibited. 


This method of fishing, although not the oldest recorded, 
has yet been in use for a very long time, and there is good 
reason to believe that the long-famous Yarmouth herring 
fishery, of which we hear in the sixth century, has always 
been carried on by means of drift-nets. The importance 
of drift-net fishing is shown by the fact that it is the only 
method by which such fish as herrings, mackerel, and 
pilchards, which generally swim at or not very far from 
the surface, can be readily caught in the open sea, at any 
distance from land, and in any depth of water sufficient 
for the nets to float in their natural position. 

The term "drift-nets" is derived from the manner in 


which the nets are worked. They are neither fixed, towed, 
nor hauled within any precise limit of water, but are 
" shot " the fisherman's expression for throwing out or 
putting a net into the water at any distance from the 
land where there are signs of fish, and are allowed to drift 
in any direction the tide may happen to take them, until it 
is thought desirable to haul them in. When at work, they 
are extended in a long single line, with their upper edge 
supported at or near the surface by means of floats, the 
nets hanging perpendicularly in the water, and forming, as 
it were, a perforated wall or barrier many hundred yards 
long and several yards deep. The shoals of fish, in their 
endeavours to pass through this barrier of netting, force 
their heads into the meshes, the size of the mesh used, 
of course, depending on whether herrings, pilchards, or 
mackerel are expected to be caught, and being such as to 
allow the head and gill-covers to enter, but not to permit 
the thicker body of the fish to pass through. When the 
fish has found its way through the net beyond the gill- 
covers, it may generally be looked upon as effectually 
meshed. There is then indeed very little chance of its 
escape, for the mesh is only large enough for a fish of an 
average size of its kind to push its way so far when the 
gill-covers are pressed close to the neck ; but it is necessary 
for them to open again that the fish may breathe, that is, 
that the water which enters the mouth may, with the air it 
contains, pass over the gills, and after purifying the blood 
within them, just as the air we take into our lungs purifies 
the blood they contain, escape through the gill opening on 
each side of the head. This process must be familiar to 
anyone who has watched a living fish in an aquarium. 
While this is taking place, and the fish is at the same time 
struggling to pass through the net, the mesh slips forward 


and catches in the gill opening, from which it cannot easily 
be cleared without more or less injury to the fish. In 
drift-fishing then the floating nets act as barriers to inter- 
cept the moving shoals, and the fish become meshed in 
their attempts to pass through. 

Long experience has shown that certain conditions are 
favourable to drift-fishing. It will of course be easily 
understood that the more indistinct the net is in the water, 
the more likely the fish are to swim against it and to 
become meshed. The night is, therefore, with very rare 
exceptions, the time chosen for drift-fishing ; and it is 
noticed that just after sunset and just before sunrise, when 
the change is taking place from light to darkness, or the 
reverse, herrings especially are most likely to " strike " the 
net, as it is called. This is one point among many in 
connection with the habits of the herring which cannot at 
present be explained. A ripple on the surface of the 
water is also a favourable condition for fishing, and this 
will be readily understood ; for if the surface of the sea be 
at all broken, such, light as falls upon it, be it ever so little, 
is reflected or turned off by every little wave, and therefore 
does not penetrate to the nets so as to make them visible. 
During the last few years some very interesting observa- 
tions have been made on the coast of Scotland on the 
temperature of the sea whilst the herring-fishing has been 
going on, and its possible relation to a successful fishery. 
The late Marquess of Tweeddale, who was President of the 
Meteorological Society of Scotland, provided a number of 
deep-sea thermometers to be used by the fishery officers 
and the fishermen for the purpose of testing the tempera- 
ture of the sea at different periods of the fishery. The 
Committee who had charge of the experiments state that 
the conclusions arrived at so far must be considered as 


only provisional ; but they point to a high degree of tem- 
perature in the sea being unfavourable to fishing, and that 
when the sea is found to be colder in any one district than 
in that on either side of it, the herrings are more abundant, 
and the fishery is more successful in the colder than in 
the warmer water. They also state that the influence of 
thunderstorms has been perceptible in several years. If 
there is a thunderstorm of some magnitude extending over 
a large portion of the east of Scotland, good takes of 
fish may be made on that day, but on the following one 
few if any fish are caught over that part of the coast, 
unless at the extreme verge of a deep part of the sea, 
as if the fish were retreating thither. Observations on 
the influence of winds and the temperature of the sea 
have also been made by the Dutch fishermen ; and Herr 
von Freedon of Hamburg, Director of the German See- 
Warte, believes from an analysis of these observations that 
57 degrees Fahrenheit is most favourable for the herring 
fishing, and that the chances of success diminish with 
higher and lower temperatures. These investigations are 
of great interest ; and although it is yet early to predict 
what they may lead to, there are so many problems to 
be solved in connection with the movements of wandering 
fishes like the herring, pilchard, mackerel and sprat, that 
any bit of distinct knowledge we may gain about their 
habits may help materially to guide us in subsequent 

The nets used in drift-fishing or "driving," as the 
fishermen call it, are made either of cotton or hemp, the 
latter being generally known as " twine ; " some fishermen 
preferring the one material, some the other ; and it is not 
unusual for the two kinds to be placed alternately in the 
same train of nets. Not many years ago flax nets were 


used on some parts of the Irish coast. Cotton nets are 
now in general use ; they are finer in the line and more 
flexible than those made of hemp, and they are generally 
believed to be more effective in meshing the fish. Very 
beautiful and ingenious machinery is employed in making 
these nets, as may be seen in the Exhibition, and large 
supplies for some years past have been turned out from 
the factories at Bridport, Musselburgh, and other towns. 
When new, cotton nets are first saturated with linseed oil, 
then squeezed through a machine, afterwards dried, which 
takes some days, and finally they are put into a vat, and 
hot bark liquor poured upon them ; in this they remain 
for two or three days. The bark liquor is a preparation 
in which catechu, an Indian gum possessing great tanning 
properties, is an important ingredient, it having practically 
superseded the oak bark formerly used for tanning nets. 
In some cases, however, the nets are dressed with coal tar 
instead of being barked. The herring-nets come from the 
factory in "pieces " 60 yards long and 9 or 10 yards deep, 
the depth of the net containing 200 meshes ; and it is the 
custom of the fishermen when speaking of the size of a net, 
to say that it is so many yards long and so many meshes 
deep. Each "piece" is divided into two nets 30 yards 
long. When a net is prepared for use, it is " mounted " or 
fastened along one edge of its length to a small line only 
1 8 or 20 yards long, that length of line being appropriated 
to the 30 yards of net, so that the " lint," or netting, is set 
slack and gives way a little when the fish strike it ; and 
from its flexibility the net meshes the fish better than 
would be the case if it were fully stretched. The ends of 
the net are called the "heads," the roped edge of the 
length the " back," as that is uppermost when the net is in 
the water, and the lower edge the " foot " or " sole.* 1 The 


heads are roped as well as the back, but the foot is left 
free, so as to be less likely to hitch in anything at the 
bottom when the nets chance to be used in rather shoal 
water or near the ground. The back of the net is further 
fastened at intervals of a few inches by very short lines 
termed "nossels" or "norsals," to the cork-rope, a small 
double rope enclosing at various distances pieces of cork 
to keep that part of the net uppermost, but without suffi- 
cient buoyancy to float it at the surface. The number of 
nets used by each vessel depends very much on her size, 
and in the case of the Yarmouth luggers ranges from 
eighty to a hundred and thirty, or even more. These are 
fastened together end to end, and, thus united, form what 
is called, " a train, fleet, or drift of nets," frequently extend- 
ing to a distance of more than a mile and a quarter. The 
mesh of a new herring net is about an inch and a quarter 
square, equivalent to from 30 to 32 meshes to the yard ; 
but after long use and frequent barking or tarring, it 
becomes contracted to an inch, or even less, which is too 
small to catch the full-sized fish. Twine nets have been 
hitherto netted by hand, and for convenience in manufac- 
ture are usually made up of several narrow pieces called 
" deepings," which are laced together one below the other, 
there being three or four deepings in the depth of one of 
these nets. Twine nets are much heavier than those made 
of cotton, and consequently involve more labour in working 
them. There is very little doubt also that the compara- 
tive stiffness of the meshes prevents the fish being easily 
caught in them. On the other hand it has been said that 
the sharpness of the fine cotton mesh cuts into the neck of 
the fish, and tears off the head when the net is being 
hauled on board. The now general use of cotton nets shows, 
however, that the objection to them cannot be very serious. 


We have mentioned that these drift-nets all have corks 
along the upper edge in order to keep that part of the net 
uppermost, at the same time with not sufficient buoyant 
power to float them. The reason for this last is that the 
herrings do not always keep at the surface or at the same 
distance below it. The nets have therefore to be sunk to 
various depths at different times, and it requires considerable 
experience in the fishery to enable the fishermen to judge 
of the most suitable depth on any particular night. The 
various conditions which guide the fishermen on this point 
would take up too much space to fully consider, but the 
result of their judgment in the matter is of the first 
importance, as it is a question of success or failure in the 
night's fishing. It is consequently the frequent practice of 
the fishermen to haul in the first of the nets, after they have 
been in the water for a time, to see in which part of the 
depth of the net most fish have been meshed, and to raise 
or lower the nets in the water as may seem most desirable. 
The nets are kept at the desired distance from the surface 
by means of buoys or small kegs, which for some reason are 
called "bowls," one of these being fastened by a long or 
short rope, as the case may be, to each net in the train, so 
that the nets can be allowed to sink to any reasonable 
distance that may be desired ; and in order to secure the 
nets from loss, in case they should be cut through by some 
passing vessel or steamer, a long warp or stout rope is used 
to which each net is made fast by what is called a " seizing " 
a small rope long enough to allow the warp to hang 
down considerably below the upper edge of the nets, and 
to take almost all the direct strain off the nets when they 
come to be hauled in. The fishing boats used in drift- 
fishing vary in size from those employed in the Yarmouth 
fishery decked vessels of 36 tons to the small open 


cobles on the Northumberland coast, and the number and 
size of the nets differ accordingly ; but they are all worked on 
the same system, and if we say a few words on the method 
adopted at Yarmouth it will no doubt be sufficient to enable 
the general mode of working to be understood. The time 
universally chosen for " shooting " or putting out the nets is 
just before sunset ; and the vessel having arrived in what 
the master has reason to think a likely place for fish a 
point about which there is generally some degree of specu- 
lation, she is put before the wind, and as she sails slowly 
along, the net is shot over the quarter, that is, over the side 
near the stern. Whilst this is going on the men are distri- 
buted at regular stations, some handing up the net from the 
net-room, others throwing it overboard and taking care 
that it falls in the right position, others, again, looking after 
the warp and seeing that the seizings, or ropes from the net, 
are made fast to it at their proper distances. Everything 
has to be done in the most methodical manner, or the net 
may become twisted, or something else may go wrong so 
as to spoil the night's fishing. When, however, all the net 
is in the water, and fifteen or twenty fathoms of extra warp, 
termed the " swing-rope " are paid out, the warp is carried 
from the stern to the bow of the vessel ; she is then brought 
round head to wind, the ordinary sails are taken in, the 
principal mast is lowered backwards until it can rest on a 
wooden crutch, and a small sail called the " drift-mizen " is 
set on the mizen mast so as to keep the vessel head to 
wind. The regulation lights one over the other, to show 
she is fishing are then hoisted, and part of the crew being 
told off as a watch upon deck, the vessel and nets are 
allowed to drift with the tide. 

As it is important that a strain should be kept on the 
nets so as to extend them, it will be understood why the 


nets are shot in the direction in which the wind is blowing ; 
for the vessel being to leeward of the line of nets, and of 
course offering more resistance to the wind than they do, 
drifts more rapidly, and consequently pulls upon the warp 
and the nets fastened to it, and keeps them comparatively 
straight. This being the case a large number of fishing 
boats are enabled to work at short distances from one 
another, their nets being in nearly parallel lines. There 
is no advantage, however, in the vessel drifting with the 
wind so fast as to drag the train of nets through the water ; 
on the contrary, so long as the line of nets is kept tolerably 
straight, that is all that is wanted ; and when there is a 
good deal of wind so as to blow the vessel away, more 
swing-rope is allowed, the " spring " of the warp easing the 
strain on the nets. 

After the nets have been in the water a few hours, they 
are hauled in again, and this operation is performed in the 
same systematic manner as was mentioned in connection with 
shooting the nets. The men all have their regular stations, 
and a certain number of them work at the capstan by which 
the warp and with it the nets are hauled on board. As 
soon as the fish are all shaken out of the nets they are 
sprinkled with salt, and then stowed away in proper com- 
partments of the hold of the vessel. The night's fishing 
being over, the mast is got upright again, the sails are 
set, and the vessel either returns to port with her fish, 
or moves to another likely place for the next night's 

Drift-nets for mackerel are made and worked on pre- 
cisely the same principle ; but as these fish generally keep 
near the top of the water, the nets are well corked so as to 
make them float quite at the surface. They are not so 
deep as herring nets, but the train is very much longer, 


extending to as much as two miles and a half in length. 
The meshes are of course larger than those of a herring 
net, there being usually twenty-two or twenty-three meshes 
to the yard. Pilchard drift-nets, principally used on the 
coast of Cornwall for the pilchard is essentially a Cornish 
fish in this country are about the size of those used for 
herrings, but with a slightly smaller mesh ; in fact, shrunk 
herring nets are frequently used in the pilchard fishery 
when the meshes have become too small for their original 

Drift-nets are occasionally used in deep water estuaries 
for the purpose of catching salmon, but practically they are 
employed only in the open sea ; and a very large proportion 
of the enormous numbers of herrings, mackerel, and 
pilchards, which are annually caught around our coasts, are 
taken by mea ns of these nets. 


The sweep-net, commonly known in this country as the 
seine or scan, is one of the oldest implements of fishing of 
which we have any record, for there is evidence of the seine 
or draw-net having been in use by some nations long 
before the Christian era ; and in the New Testament we 
read of fishing having been carried on by some of the men 
who afterwards became Apostles, in a manner which agrees 
entirely with our present mode of working the seine. It 
was well known to the Greeks and Romans, and in this 
country its history in Cornwall dates back so far that it is 
believed to have been introduced by the Phoenicians, who 
were accustomed to use this net, and who at a very remote 
period traded for tin and other things to that part of our 
country which is now known as Cornwall. Seines are 


worked on various parts of our coasts, and in rivers and 
other inland waters ; in fact, they may be used almost 
everywhere if there is a tolerably smooth bottom, and 
sufficient room to cast out the net in a sweep or semicircle, 
or it may be used at some little distance from the shore as 
a circle-net. For ordinary sea fishing seines may be 
divided into three classes, namely, the circle-net or seine, 
the tuck-seine, and the ground-seine. The two first are 
especially used in the Cornish pilchard fishery, and as that 
is of considerable importance, we will give some account of 
the nets employed in it. . We may first mention, however, 
that all these nets are used for surrounding or encircling 
the fish. They consist of a long train of netting varying 
considerably in dimensions, but are always of greater depth 
at the middle or " bunt " than at the ends, which are called 
the " wings " or " sleeves," and they are shot in a circle if 
the net is to be worked entirely from a boat, or in a semi- 
circle if it is to be hauled on shore. The back or upper 
edge of the net is buoyed up by corks to keep it at the 
surface, a point of great importance, as the net is princi- 
pally used for catching surface-swimming fishes, such as 
mackerel, herrings, and pilchards ; and the foot is weighted 
with lead to keep that part of it down, so that it may hang 
perpendicularly in the water. At St. Ives and a few 
other places on the Cornish coast pilchard-seining is 
carried on more or less every year, depending on whether 
the fish come into certain bays which, for many years past, 
have been so often visited by the shoals of fish that it has 
been worth while to keep a number of seines there in 
readiness for instant work when the fish make their appear- 
ance. Two, or sometimes three nets are employed there 
for enclosing a shoal of fish, or as much of it as can be 
managed at the time. The first or principal net, there 


called the " seine," is about two hundred fathoms long, and 
ten fathoms at its greatest depth ; to this another net of the 
same kind, called the " stop-seine," is fastened, and the two 
are shot together, each boat with its own net, starting from 
the same place, rather on the outside of the shoal of fish, if 
it be not very large, but moving in different directions, 
although with the intention of ultimately reuniting. It 
may be mentioned that men called " huers " are stationed 
on the hills surrounding the bay, and signal to the men in 
the boats the direction the fish are taking, the appearance 
of the water over the fish plainly showing to these men 
what their course is. The seine is at first carried along 
outside the shoal, parallel with the shore, and then brought 
round towards it, thus cutting off as large a portion of the 
shoal as the net will compass, whilst the stop-net, which is 
fastened to the other, is shot at a right angle to the large 
seine and towards the land, across the course of the fish, so 
as to stop them. If one stop-net is not long enough for 
the purpose, a second is joined to it, and the ends of this 
and of the large seine are gradually hauled towards each 
other on the shore side till they meet, and the fish are 
entirely surrounded. The circle is then gradually con- 
tracted by taking out the stop-nets, till the whole catch is 
enclosed within the single large seine, the ends of which 
are at once fastened together. The whole concern is then 
slowly hauled towards the shore, into some quiet part, out 
of the run of the tide, if possible, till the foot of the net 
touches the bottom, and there it is securely moored with 
anchors on every side, and the upper edge with extra 
buoys. The advantage of having the bunt or middle of 
the seine deeper than the wings will be obvious when it is 
remembered that if the foot of the net does not touch the 
ground all round, the fish may escape underneath ; and as 
VOL. L H. 


the shore is always more or less shelving, a greater depth 
of netting is required for the deeper water. Such an 
enormous body of fish has been sometimes enclosed by one 
operation of the seine that it has taken a week to land 
them ; and even with more moderate captures two or three 
days may be required. It is necessary therefore in the 
first place to have the net and enclosed fish securely 
moored. The next operation is "tucking" the fish or 
taking them out of their net prison. This is done 
with the tuck-seine, a net only seventy or eighty fathoms 
long, but very deep at the bunt or middle. It is shot 
inside the circle formed by the large seine, and as the two 
ends are hauled into the boat the bunt is gathered up so as 
to bring it under the fish and raise them to the surface, 
when they are dipped out with large baskets and put into 
the boat to be taken on shore. The circle made by the 
large seine is gradually contracted as the fish are taken out 
until the whole catch has been landed, and the nets are 
then taken on shore. If the shoal of fish is apparently a 
small one, then perhaps only a single net may be used, 
and the enclosed fish are at once tucked into the boat. 

The seine when used in this manner in Scotland is called 
a circle-net, and seine-fishing in general is there spoken of 
as " trawling " an unfortunate expression which has led 
to great confusion among writers on the fisheries, as the 
so-called " herring-trawl " is entirely different in its con- 
struction and mode of working from those nets which in 
England and Ireland have always been properly called 
trawls. It is very difficult to induce fishermen to give up 
using a name they are accustomed to ; but if the Scotch 
fishermen alone, among the fishermen of the United 
Kingdom, cannot be persuaded to call a seine by its proper 
name, it would at least simplify matters and prevent 


confusion if, instead of calling it a "trawl," they would 
generally adopt the more intelligible name of "seine-trawl" 
for this net. 

The commonest form of seine is that usually known as 
the ground-seine or foot-seine, sometimes called a scringe- 
net. It is in very general use, for it can be worked without 
any difficulty, and even when of very small size may be 
the means of catching a fair variety and number of fish. 
The peculiarity in its working is that it is always hauled in 
on shore, and, that being the case, there is no necessity for 
the wings to be made of such fine netting as is desirable at 
the middle or bunt where the fish sooner or later collect, 
and the greatest pressure is felt. Each wing has an 
upright pole to which the ends of the upper and lower 
edges the back and the foot of the net are fastened, and 
to this pole a long drag-rope is attached for the purpose of 
hauling in the net. When the seine is to be shot the end 
of one of the drag-ropes is left on shore in charge of some 
of the fishermen, and the whole of the net with the rope at 
the other end is put into the seine-boat, which is then 
rowed out from the shore, and after shooting the net in a 
semicircle, returns with the second rope to the beach. The 
two ropes are then slowly hauled in, the two parties of 
fishermen, one at each rope, gradually approaching each 
other as the seine comes to land until at last they meet, 
and the bunt of the net in which all the fish are collected 
is then drawn on shore. As the ground-seine may be 
made of very moderate dimensions it is very convenient for 
amateurs who may not be able to muster hands enough to 
work a large net. It is therefore frequently used by 
yachting men in the harbours they are in the habit of 
visiting, and it can be easily worked, as we have said, 

wherever the bottom is tolerably smooth and there is a bit 

U 2 


of beach on which the net can be landed. It is employed 
in precisely the same manner in fresh or brackish water for 
salmon fishing within the mouths of rivers. As might be 
expected from its antiquity, it is used in almost all parts of 
the world, and in some countries is made of such a large size 
as to occupy two hours or more in making a single haul. 

The ^casting-net is another very ancient implement of 
fishing, and although in this country it is little employed 
except in fresh water and for the purpose of catching small 
fish for bait, it is well known in many parts of the world, 
and we have often watched the native fisherman on the 
Ceylon coast advance almost waist-deep in the sea, and 
then throw his net into a heavy breaker as it curled over 
on the shore, and catch eight or ten fish of perhaps two or 
three pounds weight each of a kind that delights in those 
great rolling seas which month after month keep up a 
continuous roar on that stormy coast. The net is a 
circular one about sixteen feet in diameter, weighted with 
lead all round the margin, and it is thrown in such a 
manner that although, when ready for casting, it is held by 
the centre and the sides are all folded together, the act of 
casting, when skilfully done, spreads the weighted margin 
into a circle which covers a considerable space as it falls, 
and then the weights bring the edges together and are 
drawn close so as to secure whatever fish may have been 
covered by the fall of the net. In some nets the edges are 
brought together by means of a line ; but the native 
fisherman has no fear of wetting his skin he has little 
clothing on such occasions to think about and boldly faces 
the breakers, springing up as the sea threatens to take him 
off his feet and gathering in the net with his capture as 
if it were as in fact it is with him a most ordinary 



This kind of fishing is carried on either by hand-nets 
or some form of trawl. The hand or " shove-net " varies 
a little in shape on different parts of the coast, but it may 
be described generally as a large shallow semicircular or 
triangular net, extended in front by a light wooden scraper 
eight or ten feet long, into which a handle or pole of the 
same length is fixed at right angles. The net extends 
from the scraper to within two or three feet of the farther 
end of the pole, and generally has a pocket of netting below 
it at that part. 

This net the shrimper pushes or shoves before him as he 
walks through the shallow water over the sands where the 
shrimps abound, and he every now and then raises the 
scraper that the shrimps in the net may be thrown back 
into the pocket. On the Thames a net of quite a different 
construction is used, and is worked generally two at a time 
from large sailing boats. In general form the Thames 
shrimp-net resembles an ordinary trawl such as has been 
previously described, but instead of the under part being 
cut away in a curve, it is quite square with the front of the 
upper part, which has a light pole across it corresponding 
to the beam of the beam-trawl. This Thames shrimp-net 
consists, in fact, of a triangular purse-shaped net, like a 
trawl, the lower part of the mouth being fastened to a flat 
wooden scraper weighted with lead, and about ten feet 
long, instead of having a ground-rope ; and parallel to it, 
and supported by an upright stick a foot and a half long, 
fixed in the middle of it, is a pole six feet long, to which 
the upper side of the net is fastened, as in the beam-trawl, 
the pole and the scraper being kept square by ropes leading 
from the one to the other at their extremities. Trawl-heads 


are not required here, as the upright stick keeps the mouth 
of the net open. The net itself is about twelve feet long 
and tapers rapidly to the cod-end. The meshes are 
necessarily very small in order to retain the shrimps, and 
are made of three sizes, ranging from half an inch square 
at the mouth of the net to a quarter of an inch at the small 
end. A simple but ingenious plan is adopted to prevent 
stones and small rubbish entering the net whilst it is being 
towed over the ground, and at the same time not to 
interfere with the capture of the shrimps. It is founded on 
the observed habit of these animals to rise a few inches 
from the ground when they are disturbed, and consists in 
leaving an open space of two or three inches between the 
lower edge of the mouth of the net and the beam or 
scraper to which it is fastened. Through this opening, 
sand, seaweed, and such small rubbish as is likely to be 
met with on the shrimping ground, easily pass, whilst the 
shrimps spring above the gap, and find their way into the 
net. A three-span bridle from the two ends of the lower 
beam or scraper and the top of the central stick is made 
fast to the warp by which this shrimp-net is towed. The 
shrimping boats are small-decked smacks about thirty-two 
feet over all ; they carry a good deal of lofty sail, and are 
no doubt familiar to all who are in the habit of visiting the 
mouth of the Thames, where, in the early part of the 
summer especially, a large fleet of shrimpers may generally 
be observed at work. Two and sometimes three of these 
nets are used by each boat, and they are kept down from a 
quarter of an hour to an hour at a time, depending on the 
wind and the extent of ground they have been over. The 
shrimps are sifted as soon as caught, and those of the size 
permitted to be landed under the regulations of the Thames 
Conservancy are at once put into the boat's well to be kept 


alive until they are taken on shore in the afternoon. They 
are then boiled and sent off by train from Leigh the great 
headquarters of the Thames shrimpers in time for the 
London market the next morning. Large quantities of 
shrimps are thus procured from the Thames, and as many 
as 2000 gallons are sometimes sent thence to market in 
one day. Prawns or " red shrimps " are also taken in some 
parts of the estuary of the Thames by means of small 
trawls of the ordinary construction ; but the prawns thus 
caught are usually small, and the fine large ones, which 
are sold by the dozen, instead of by the pint or quart, are 
taken in more rocky situations by means of hoop-nets 
which are set in suitable localities, and are baited with fish 
fastened to the centre of two cross lines on the hoop. 
Another contrivance for capturing these large prawns is a 
sort of cage of the same kind as is used for catching crabs, 
and which will be described presently. 


The nets we have now to notice, although of somewhat 
varied forms, possess this character in common, that they 
are fixed to one place, and are either secured by means of 
anchors, or are fastened to stakes driven into the ground. 
They are used in both the open sea and in estuaries or the 
mouths of rivers ; and being fixed, they must of course 
depend for their successful working on the fish finding their 
way into them, either by chance or by having their course 
directed towards them by the set of the tide or other 
means. The most remarkable of them is the gigantic bag- 
net known as 


This enormous bag-net, exceeding in length the largest 
beam-trawl, is exclusively used for catching sprats. Num- 


bers of these nets are employed every winter at the mouth 
of the Thames, in the Solent, and in the Wash on the east 
coast of England. The season for working them is from 
November to February, at which time the sprats make 
their appearance in countless myriads on certain parts of 
the coast, and nowhere more abundantly than at the 
entrance to the Thames. The net has the shape of a long, 
narrow funnel with a nearly square mouth, the opening or 
entrance being thirty feet from the upper to the lower part 
and about twenty-one feet wide. From this it tapers for a 
length of ninety feet to a diameter of five or six feet, and 
further diminishes to nearly half that size in the remaining 
part of the net, which is also about ninety feet long. The 
whole net is therefore about a hundred and eighty feet, or 
sixty yards in length. It is divided into several portions, 
the first being called the " quarters," as it is composed of 
four distinct pieces of netting corresponding to the four 
sides of the mouth ; the next portion is called the " enter," 
and forms the last part of the most funnel-shaped portion 
of the net. The remainder of the net, which tapers very 
gradually, is made up of from two to four divisions, the 
last one being called by the names of the " cod," " dock- 
hose," or "wash-hose," and the intermediate portion or 
portions the " sleeves ; " the number of sleeves inserted in 
the net depending very much on whether there is a pros- 
pect of the fish being abundant or otherwise. The meshes 
vary in size in different parts, diminishing from an inch and 
three-eighths near the mouth to from half to three-quarters 
of an inch at the smaller end, there being a slight enlarge- 
ment of the meshes in quite the last part of the net. The 
dimensions here given of a stow-net are those of such as 
are in general use, but they vary a good deal in size, and 
some are much smaller than others. The way in which 


the net is used is very simple. The boat or vessel small 
smacks which at certain seasons in the year are engaged in 
oyster-dredging are commonly employed in winter in what 
is called " stow-boating " takes up a position at the 
beginning of the tide where there are signs of fish, or in 
localities where the experience of previous years teaches 
the fishermen to look out for the shoals. She then 
anchors, and at the same time the net is put overboard, 
and takes its proper position at a certain depth immediately 
under the vessel. In order that this may be effectively 
managed, a rope is made fast by one end to the anchor of 
the fishing boat before it is dropped; the other end is 
fastened to four ropes leading each to one corner of the 
square mouth of the net, thus forming what is called a 
double bridle ; and to facilitate the mouth of the net being 
kept open when set in the water, two wooden spars or 
" balks " are fastened to the mouth of the net, one on the 
upper side of the square and the other at the foot. More 
than this, however, is necessary to keep the mouth pro- 
perly open, and this essential part of the arrangement is 
provided for by having a rope from each end of the upper 
balk to the corresponding side of the vessel, and by 
weighting the lower balk in order to sink it. When, 
therefore, the vessel has taken up her position for fishing, 
both vessel and net are moored by the same anchor, and 
the depth at which it is thought best for the net to remain 
is regulated by the ropes from the ends of the upper balk 
leading to each side of the vessel. The strain on this 
enormous bag-net by the force of the tide is often very 
great ; but the net, being held by the same anchor as holds 
the vessel, both keep in the same relative position, even if 
the combined strain on both should cause the anchor to 
drag. In this position then, the vessel and net remain till 


the tide has nearly done, the sails being all taken down, 
and only one man left on deck as a watch to see when it is 
getting slack-water and to keep a general look-out. It will 
be understood from what has been said that while the vessel, 
and the net straining away under her, are thus anchored, 
the shoals of sprats are being brought with the tide to the 
mouth of the great funnel-shaped net, and, of course, 
myriads of them are carried into it, and by the constant 
pressure of the water are ultimately driven to its farthest 
end, from which there is no chance of their getting out 
until the net is taken up. As soon as the tide is becoming 
slack, shortly before turning, all hands prepare to haul up 
the net. The first thing to be done is to close the mouth 
of the net so as to prevent the possibility of any of the fish 
escaping. This is effected by means of a chain fastened to 
the middle of the lower balk at the foot of the square 
mouth, and leading through an iron loop at the middle of 
the upper balk upwards to a small davit at the bow of the 
vessel. By heaving in this chain the two balks are brought 
close together, and ultimately hoisted above the surface of 
the water under the vessel's bowsprit, the net with all the 
contained fish streaming away alongside and astern of the 
vessel. The net is then hauled on board by a long- 
handled iron hook, and overhauled till the cod or end of it 
is reached. This is then hoisted in by means of a rope 
which has been fastened to the end of the net all the time 
it has been in the water, and by which the extremity of 
the net has been kept closed. This rope having been cast 
off and the end of the net consequently opened, the sprats 
are turned out and measured into the vessel's hold, in 
quantities of about three bushels at a time, the master 
superintending the work, and using a kind of wooden hook, 
called a " mingle," to hold the net in such a manner that 


only a certain quantity of fish shall pass out at once. In 
this way all the fish there may be in this long tube of 
netting, which the free end of the net really is, are worked 
through it into the vessel's hold. Often, when the sprats 
are very abundant, many tons of these fish are taken by 
one of these nets during a few hours. " Stow-boating," as 
this kind of fishing is called, is carried on both by day and 
night during the season ; and the quantity of sprats thus 
taken is so enormous as often to glut the markets, and then 
the surplus, consisting of hundreds of tons, are sold at very 
low prices to be used as manure. A smaller net of the 
same general character, but with a triangular instead of a 
square mouth, and called a trim-net, is used at the 
entrance of some small streams running into the Wash, 
and several kinds of small fish are there taken in it. A 
still smaller .net of the same description is used on the 
Thames for catching whitebait, which should be pretty well 
known now to be nothing but young herrings. Very small 
sprats are also often caught with them ; but when they are 
brought to table they all do duty as "whitebait." So 
difficult, however, is it to get rid of popular delusions that 
we will venture to prophesy that at any time within the 
next fifty years, or perhaps longer, the question as to what 
the whitebait is will be brought up and discussed in the 
newspapers with as much earnestness as if it were an 
entirely new problem, and treated in perfect ignorance of 
its having been shown that, after the most searching 
examination, no difference can be discovered between very 
young herrings and the most orthodox whitebait 


Although the nets we are now going to speak of agree 
in the special character of being anchored or set, there is 


considerable variety in the size of their meshes and the 
purposes for which the nets themselves are used. The 
true trammel is a combination of three nets placed side by 
side, and its name is derived from the Latin tres macula?, 
signifying three meshes, represented by the French words 
trois mailles, having the same meaning ; from these comes 
the French compound tremail, or the modern word tramail, 
and the English word trammel has evidently the same 
origin. The trammel, then, is made up of three long nets 
placed side by side, and fastened together at the top or 
back, the foot, and ends. Each of the outer nets or 
" waitings " has a depth of five meshes ten inches square, 
and is forty or fifty fathoms long. These two wallings or 
outer nets are so mounted or arranged that the meshes of 
both exactly correspond in position, and a fish might pass 
through them as if they were a single net. The third net, 
however, is placed between the other two, and has meshes 
only two inches square ; but it is twice as long and as 
deep as the outer ones, the extra netting being gathered in 
at short intervals along the edges where the three nets are 
fastened together. The consequence is that there is a 
large quantity of slack netting between the two outer nets. 
The object of this will be shown presently ; but, thus 
prepared, the trammel is ready for use, and is set at the 
bottom with its length in the direction of the tide, never 
across it. It is anchored and buoyed at each end, the back 
or upper edge being well corked, and the foot weighted to 
keep the whole length in a proper position. Thus set, the 
trammel stands like a wall in the water, just the same as a 
drift-net, but fixed to one place at the bottom instead of 
moving along near the surface with the tide. The action 
of the trammel is quite peculiar among fishing nets. The 
outer nets or wallings stand with their meshes fully open 


and exactly opposite each other, with the small-meshed net 
between them : and a fish, in trying to pass through the 
first one, meets the second, which is very slack, and carries 
a portion of it through the third net, thus producing a bag 
or pocket beyond it. The more the fish struggles in this 
bag the more it becomes " trammelled ; " and sometimes 
in its efforts to become free, it carries the pocket back 
through the adjoining large mesh, making its case still 
more hopeless. The advantage of a walling on each side 
of the slack net is twofold ; it obliges the fish to strike it 
just where it can be forced through the large mesh beyond 
it, and it makes the trammel equally effective if the fish 
strike it on one side or the other. It is very much used at 
Guernsey for catching the red mullet, for which that island 
is celebrated ; and many yachting men, in these days when 
so many people have a turn at sea-fishing on their own 
account, carry a trammel on-board-ship for use when they 
find a suitable locality for working it in. Professional 
fishermen in this country, however, do not very readily take 
to this particular kind of net. Set-nets of a more simple 
description, but in many places called trammels, are in 
general use for catching several kinds of fish. They are, 
however, only single nets, anchored and buoyed in the 
same manner as the true trammel ; but, whilst the back 
and foot of the net are kept tight, the body of netting is set 
rather slack, and the fish are caught in it by being meshed 
just as in a drift-net. Herrings, hake, turbot (on some 
parts of our eastern coast still called by the old name of 
" bratt "), and skate among unlikely fish are thus taken ; 
and under the name of " gill-nets," this particular kind of 
net has for the last few years been largely used instead of 
lines for the capture of cod by American fishermen. We 
hear, however, that rill-nets have caused some disappoint- 


ment as they can be worked with advantage only at the 
season when the cod are found in shoals, and now a great 
number of these nets would be gladly disposed of by their 
owners, who are returning to their accustomed mode of 

Fixed salmon-nets may be more properly noticed farther 
on under the head of Traps. 


We now come to what is probably the oldest known 
method of fishing, with perhaps the exception of some form 
of fish-spear, which, from the fact of spears being used by 
savage nations generally as one of the weapons of warfare, 
were no doubt readily adopted also for the purpose of 
striking at and killing such fish as passed within reach. 
Fish-hooks, however, of a very primitive character, and 
made either of bone or shell, were invariably among the 
curiosities brought home by the early exploring expeditions 
to the South Seas ; and so universal now is the use of the 
hook and line for fishing, that the manufacture of fish- 
hooks has become an important industry in many countries, 
and numerous varieties of shape, size, and material bear 
witness to what in some cases may be thought to be the 
fastidiousness of anglers and the attention that is being 
given to supply their wants. Line-fishing at sea is, how- 
ever, comparatively simple work, requiring but little of the 
skill so often needed for the more delicate operations in 
fresh water ; and although in many cases greater success 
undoubtedly attends the use of finer tackle and more 
varied baits than tradition and example have led most of 
the professional fishermen to adopt, a knowledge of the 
localities frequented by the different kinds of fish at the 
various seasons is generally the most important part of the 


fisherman's education. In one form or other line-fishing 
comes within the reach of all classes, and the scale on 
which it is worked by our sea-fishermen depends more on 
capital and locality than on any essential difference in the 
kind of gear or the manner of using it 

There are two principal methods by which our line 
fisheries in salt-water are carried on, namely, by long-lines 
and hand-lines. Both are very simple in their character, 
and a short account of each as practised on a large scale in 
this country will probably be sufficient for their explana- 
tion, as the general subject must be more or less familiar to 
all who have either visited or resided on the coast. 

The long-line, spilliard, spiller, bulter or trot, all of these 
names given to the same kind of line, according to locality, 
size, or the purpose for which it is used, is a very general 
means of fishing, as many kinds of valuable fish are 
caught by it, and any length that is convenient may be 
worked. It is extensively used far out in the North Sea 
and on the northern coasts of our islands, for the capture 
of cod, ling, holibut and haddocks, and some of these fish, 
especially cod and haddocks, when taken by hook and line, 
have a better appearance and command better prices in the 
market than when caught by the beam-trawl. In Scotland 
the haddock is highly esteemed, being regarded as one of 
their best fish, and these are all caught by the line. 

We may here mention, to prevent confusion, that the 
long-lines we are now speaking of are on the whole west 
coast of the North American continent called "trawls," 
the fact that the word " trawl " is the same as to " trail or 
drag along" being entirely lost sight of. As the long- 
line is anchored at both ends and at intervals along its 
course when in use, it is evident that no more unsuitable 
word than " trawl " could be applied to it. 


The most important long-lining in this country is 
carried on from Grimsby by large smacks, which mostly 
fish for cod in the neighbourhood of the Doggerbank in 
the North Sea. These vessels carry from nine to eleven 
hands each, and remain at sea until they have a fair cargo 
of fish, which are kept alive as long as possible in a well 
built in the vessel. The construction of this well will be 
explained presently, and we will now say a few words 
about the long-line itself. 

A complete set of long-lines, as used in one of these 
vessels, consists of about fifteen dozen, or 180 lines 
forty fathoms in length, each supporting twenty-six hooks 
on smaller short lines called " snoods ; " these are fastened 
to the main line at a fathom and a half apart, that distance 
being sufficient to prevent the snoods fouling one another 
and the hooks becoming entangled. A "string" of this 
description, made up of the 180 lines all fastened together 
into one is 7,200 fathoms long, equal to more than seven 
nautical miles, or about eight ordinary ones, and has 
4,680 hooks. The bait used on these lines is the common 
large whelk, which is an attractive bait for cod and ling, 
and from its toughness and substance is not so easily 
worked off the hook, as that more favourite bait with 
fishermen generally, the common mussel. The operation 
of baiting so many hooks of course takes up a good deal of 
time, and gives plenty of occupation to the numerous 
hands on board before this great length of line can be shot. 
Long-lining by these vessels is only carried on during the 
day, as light is wanted to enable the men to see what they 
are about when hauling in the line and taking off the fish. 
The lines are therefore shot about sunrise, or earlier if the 
weather is fine, and it is not very dark, and sometimes a 
second shot is made if there is time in the course of the 


day, but they are always hauled up before night. They 
are laid across the tide so that the snoods, or short lines to 
which the hooks are fastened, may drift clear of the main 
line. When a "shot" is to be made, the smack is put 
under easy sail, and kept as much as possible with the 
wind free, so as to lay out the line tolerably straight. In 
some parts of Scotland, however, the opposite course is 
adopted, the fishing boat being sailed against the wind 
when putting out the lines. In either case the line must 
be shot across the tide, and the local custom is not very 
material. With such a large number of hooks to deal 
with, of course great care is necessary to prevent entangle- 
ment, and accordingly the lines are neatly coiled, and with 
the baited hooks are laid in trays all ready for running, 
each tray containing from twelve to sixteen pieces of line, 
and they are paid out one after the other as the vessel sails 
along, until the whole length of line is overboard. No 
corks or floats of any kind are here used to raise it off the 
ground, but the line is kept steady at every forty fathoms 
by a very small anchor, and its position at the two ends 
and at every intermediate mile is marked by a conical 
hooped buoy or "dan," with a light pole or staff passed 
through it, and carrying a small flag at the top. The line 
is usually shot at half-tide, and when the operation has- 
been completed, the smack heaves to in the neighbourhood 
till the tide has nearly done running. Then the hauling 
up begins. The foresail of the smack is lowered, and the 
end buoy being taken on board, the vessel makes short 
tacks along the course of the line, which is shown by the 
buoys placed at every mile ; the line is hauled in as the 
vessel works along, and the fish are taken off the hooks as 
fast as they come in. . Sometimes the line is hauled into 

the smack's boat, which is about 1 8 feet long and very 
VOL. I. H. X 


roomy ; and in this a watertight compartment is built, in 
which the fish are kept alive until the boat returns to the 
smack. But this plan can only be adopted in very fine 
weather, as the water far out in the North Sea is not often 
smooth enough for it to be carried out satisfactorily. As 
cod are not only the most valuable fish taken on these 
lines, but command a specially good price, everything is 
done to ensure their reaching the market in the finest 
possible condition, and this can be best accomplished by 
keeping them alive. They are accordingly placed in the 
vessel's well as soon as possible after being taken off the 
hook, having first undergone the operation of puncturing 
the air-bladder or "sound," which, apparently from the 
long struggles of the fish to get clear of the hook, becomes 
unusually inflated, and would often keep it floating in an 
unnatural position at the surface if it were put into the 
well in the condition in which it came off the hook. 

The use of welled vessels for keeping the cod alive was 
first tried in this country in 1712, at Harwich, a port for 
many years famous as the head-quarters of the home cod- 
fishery, and still used as a station, although Grimsby has in 
recent years become the great centre of the English cod 
supply. It is said that the idea of wells on board ship was 
'taken from the Dutch fishermen, but it has long been 
adopted in this country with particular advantage to the cod 
fishers. " Welled smacks," as they are called, are specially 
constructed for the purpose, the well not being a large 
tank fitted into the vessel, but a part of the smack itself. 
Two strong watertight bulkheads or divisions are built 
entirely across the vessel from keelson to deck, enclosing a 
large space in the centre of the vessel ; this is the " well," 
and a constant supply and circulation of water direct from 
the sea is kept up through large auger holes bored in the 


bottom of the vessel at various distances below the water 
line. The entrance to the well is through a hatchway 
leading from the deck for a short distance downwards, 
where it opens in the " well-deck," which covers the whole 
upper part of the well except the opening just mentioned. 
The object of this lower deck, placed as it is a little above 
the water-line, is to keep the level of the water within 
certain limits when the smack is rolling about or pressed 
down under sail ; it also helps to prevent the water splash- 
ing up through the hatchway on the main deck. Cod are 
the principal fish put into the well ; and when they have 
been caught in only a moderate depth of water they thrive 
better than those taken at greater depths. There is some 
mortality, however, among the best of them, arising from 
their being knocked about in the well during bad weather. 
This cannot be altogether prevented when there are many 
fish on board ; but they are taken out at once and packed 
in ice, and each line-smack on returning to port generally 
has a number of such fish preserved in that manner, includ- 
ing also cod, ling, and haddock, which were not thought 
likely to live in the well when they were taken off the 
hook. It is no uncommon thing for a smack to return 
from the Dogger with from twenty to twenty-five score of 
fine live cod, besides perhaps two-thirds of that number of 
fish in ice. 

The season for long-lining is during the winter months, 
and the fishing is carried on from November to March or 
April, depending partly on what ground the smack is at 
work. The great enemy the cod-fishermen have is the 
dogfish, which at certain times, but fortunately not every 
year, commit great havoc among the cod which have 
become hooked. One case is recorded of nearly every 

fish on the line having been more or less eaten by the 

X 2 


"dogs," and the smack returned to harbour with her 
rigging covered with skeletons. Of six and a half score of 
cod on the line only six fish were found alive. The clearer 
the water the more danger there is from dogfish, as the 
cod can then be seen at some distance when struggling on 
the hook, and once having attracted attention there is little 
hope of escaping their enemies. 

We have so far spoken only of the manner in which the 
cod are caught, but a few words on their treatment when 
they are brought into port may be of interest When the 
smacks arrive at Grimsby with their cargoes of live and 
dead fish, the cod are taken out of the wells by means of 
long-handled landing nets, and are placed in wooden boxes 
or chests, which are kept floating in the fish- dock ; and 
there the fish are stored till they are wanted for the 
market. Each chest is seven feet long, four feet wide, and 
two feet deep ; the bottom is made of stout battens a short 
distance apart to allow free admission to the water, which 
also has access through the sides and ends between the 
planks of which they are constructed. The top is wholly 
planked over except in the centre, where there is an oblong 
opening for putting in and taking out the fish, and which is 
closed by a cover when the chest is afloat and in use. Two 
rope or chain handles are fixed at the ends of the chest for 
convenience in moving it about and hoisting it up from the 
water. These chests will each hold forty good-sized cod, 
or a proportionately larger number of smaller ones, and the 
fish do not show any material loss of condition if they are 
thus imprisoned for about a fortnight. As many as from 
15,000 to 20,000 live cod are sometimes stored at one time 
in the Grimsby fish-dock. But the time comes when the 
fish are wanted for the market, and must be taken out of 
the chests and sent away by rail. This happens every day 

LINE-FISHtfrO. 309 

during the cod season from some of the stores, and then a 
remarkable scene takes place, and one peculiar to Grimsby 
and Harwich the latter being also a storing place for live 
cod. A chest of fish is towed alongside an old hulk kept 
for the purpose close to the quay of the fish-market, and 
is hoisted just out of the water, which drains through the 
bottom of the box and leaves the fish dry. The cover is 
then taken off, and a man gets into the opening and takes 
out the fish, seizing them by the head and tail. The 
commotion amongst perhaps forty or fifty cod just out of 
the water is of course very great, and it is often no easy 
matter to get a firm hold of them ; but, one after another, 
they are lifted out and thrown upon the deck of the hulk, 
where they are taken in hand by another man who per- 
forms the duties of executioner ; he grasps the fish tightly 
behind the head with his left hand, holds it firmly on the 
deck, and giving two or three heavy blows on the nose 
with a short bludgeon, kills it at once. It is sometimes a 
difficult thing to hold a large and lively fish by one hand, 
but the work is generally skilfully performed, and the dead 
fish rapidly accumulate into a large heap, whence they are 
taken on shore to be packed in bulk in the railway trucks 
waiting close by to receive them. Each truck will hold 
about twelve score of good-sized fish, and they are sent off 
so as to arrive at Billingsgate for the market the next 
morning. Such fish are known in the trade as " live cod," 
and command the best prices. 

Long-lines are used on various parts of our coasts for 
catching several kinds of fish, and in parts of Scotland the 
deep-sea lines are known as " great-lines " as distinguished 
from the smaller ones employed nearer the land for 
catching haddocks. In the Shetlands long-lines are used 
entirely for the important home fishery for ling and tusk, 


the latter a northern species of the cod family intermediate 
in shape between the ling and the cod, but very much 
smaller than either of them. The boats used by the 
Shetlanders are the famous Norway skiffs, in almost every 
respect the same as whale-boats ; they are about twenty- 
eight feet over all, and eight feet beam, and, wonderfully 
handled as they are by their crew of six men, they face a 
good deal of bad weather and go long distances from land. 
They are called "haaf" or deep-sea boats. 

Hand-line fishing is carried on almost everywhere around 
our coasts, and with every variety of tackle, according to 
the kind of fish worked for. Cod-fishing by hand-line in 
the North Sea commences in July and is carried on till 
near the end of October, when the fishermen prepare for 
the winter fishery by long-line already noticed. The same 
smacks are used for both, but hand-lining is worked only a 
few miles from the coast, as the cod come inshore after the 
herrings, which at that time are making towards the land. 
The gear employed is a stout line 45 fathoms in length, 
fastened to a long leaden sinker of from Sj to 7 pounds 
weight, with a strong iron wire called the " sprawl-wire " 
fixed in it near the top at right angles to the body of the 
lead and slightly curved downwards at the ends ; to each 
of these a snood of smaller line six feet long is fastened, 
and supports a large cod-hook twice the size of those used 
on the long-line, as with these hand-lines nothing but cod 
is generally taken, whereas on the others haddock and 
other smaller fish are caught, and themselves often serve as 
living bait to attract the cod. The hook on these large 
hand-lines is often fastened to the snood by means of a 
bunch of open strands of soft twine about three inches long, 
so that the fish cannot bite through the line, the teeth 
passing between the strands without injuring them. Whilst 


hand-line fishing the vessel is hove-to, and each of the 
crew works one line, keeping the baits a few inches from 
the bottom, unless the herrings are about, as then the cod 
come nearer the surface, and it is often only necessary to 
allow one or two fathoms of line. It is found that the 
fish do not bite very freely during a great part of the day, 
so that it is not necessary for everyone to be at work till 
towards sunset ; then all hands are kept fully employed. 
The cod are put into the well as soon as caught, just as in 
the case of long-lining. In the Channel, and especially on 
the Devonshire coast, there is an important fishery for 
whiting during the summer months, and this is carried on 
entirely with hand-lines, but with smaller lines and hooks, 
and with leads varying in weight according to the strength 
of the tides. In whiting-fishing the boats come to anchor, 
and the fishing is begun at some few miles from the land, 
the fish coming closer in as the summer advances. On the 
other hand, mackerel-fishing is, as a rule, carried on when 
the boat is moving well through the water ; lines with 
boat-shaped or short pear-shaped leads being towed after 
her. When a light lead is used from a rowing boat, the 
method of fishing is called " whining," and working witty a 
heavier lead from a sailing boat " railing " ; but practically 
there is little difference but the weight of the lead between 
the two modes of fishing. In the west of England it is the 
practice with the fishermen in the small sailing boats they 
work in to have a pole piojecting on each side of the boat 
and to these the lines are fastened, an in-haul to each 
enabling the line to be brought on board. With these 
contrivances the lines can be more spread and an additional 
number used. Another mode of line-fishing is by a plan 
perhaps better known in freshwater fishing than in the sea. 
The line is properly called a " paternoster," and has a 


leaden sinker or plummet of varying weight according to 
the kind of fishing to be done. On some parts of the 
Scotch coast this line is called a "dandy-line" or "jigger," 
and has a weight of four pounds at the end, whilst above 
it, at intervals of eight inches, pieces of whalebone or wire 
nine inches long are fastened across the line, having at each 
end a short bit of fine line supporting a bright tinned hook. 
Eight or ten of these spreaders are thus fastened at the 
middle to the line, and the whole apparatus is lowered to 
the bottom and then gently moved up and down. In this 
case no bait is used, the bright hook proving a sufficient 
attraction to the herrings for the capture of which it is 
employed. It is, however, not in very general use for this 
purpose. When used for fishing in fresh water the pater- 
noster is made of a few feet of gut-line with a small lead at 
the end, and short pieces of gut fastened at intervals to the 
line in such a manner as to stand out clear of it. The 
hooks are at the end of these short pieces, and in perch- 
fishing, for which it is chiefly used, live minnows are 
employed as bait. The apparatus is worked with a short 
rod, and in much the same manner as its coarser repre- 
sentative, the dandy-line. Cross-lining is a mode of fishing 
carried on in rivers by means of a line fitted with a number 
of hooks on short pieces of gut fastened at intervals along 
it, the bait used being the artificial fly of some kind. It is 
on the same principle as the long-line used in salt water ; 
but in this case the line is extended and worked by two 
rods from boats on opposite sides of the river, and of 
course at or near the surface. The same kind of fishing is 
managed by a person on one bank of the river by means 
of an otter-board at the other end of the line, and which, 
by its peculiar action, as described in our account of the 
otter-trawl, keeps the line extended as the fisherman 


walks along the bank up-stream. Both these methods 
are considered as rather poaching devices, but they are 
too well-known for this short notice of them to increase 
their employment. The various other and more recognised 
methods of fishing with rod and line in fresh water would 
require more space than we have at our command to give 
even an intelligible sketch of ; for it may be fairly said that 
from fly-fishing for trout and salmon to the humble yet 
lively sport of gudgeon-fishing, there are niceties in rods 
and tackle, and in the ways of using them that can only be 
properly understood after plenty of practical instruction 
and experience. Angling, as we said at the beginning of 
these pages, is mainly connected with sport and amuse- 
ment ; and the large and varied exhibition here of rods, 
lines, arrangements of hooks, winches, and artificial baits of 
different kinds, tells plainly that the sport in its true sense 
means the exercise of such skill in the gentle art as can 
usually be acquired only by years of practice. 

Baits. In sea-fishing the variety of baits used is by no 
means so great as might be supposed. In the North Sea 
cod fishery of which we have spoken, the principal bait in 
request is the common whelk or " buckle," and so great is 
the demand for them that several small craft from Grimsby 
are regularly employed in procuring them. The mode of 
catching them there adopted is by shallow hoop-nets 
baited with refuse fish, and sunk to the bottom in likely 
places. In these hoop-nets, the top of which is partly 
covered with netting, the whelks collect in large numbers, 
and are caught without difficulty. Another more elaborate 
method is that called " trotting." The trot is only another 
name for a long-line of small dimensions ; but instead of 
having baited hooks, common green shore-crabs are 
threaded on the snoods or short pieces of line, about 


twenty on each snood, and the whelks, which are carnivo- 
rous in their habits, seize and keep as firm hold whilst 
devouring the crabs, as if they were hooked, and when the 
line is hauled up the snoods are found covered with whelks. 
This fishing for whelks, besides contributing so largely to 
the capture of cod and other fish, results in the diminution 
of one of the most inveterate enemies of the oyster and 
mussel, and thus performs a double service. The bait, 
however, of all others the most in request for general 
fishing, is the common mussel ; but it requires some care 
in putting it on the hook to make sure of its remaining 
there ; it is therefore generally used when the fishing boat 
is at anchor, or when the line itself is fixed. For this 
reason also it is frequently employed on long-lines, and in 
such cases may attract good-sized fish, or if only small ones, 
the latter may themselves become converted into living 
bait for their larger brethren. It is a curious circumstance 
that the two baits which appear to be specially attractive to 
fish are to be found in the mussel and the whelk animals 
which are naturally so well protected by their shells that 
they can rarely become the prey of cod and other kinds of 
fish. Of baits made of portions of fish there is not a great 
variety in use. Pilchards in the west of England are often 
used as bait for whiting, and prove attractive to several 
other kinds of fish. For mackerel of course everyone who 
has had an opportunity of fishing for them is familiar with 
the " lask " or slip cut from near the tail of that fish, and so 
excellent a bait. Its attractiveness is evidently due to its 
resemblance to a small silvery fish glistening in its passage 
through the water. A mackerel strikes across the line of 
the bait, hence anything that readily catches the light and 
attracts attention, even for a moment, is likely to be 
effective. There is no other explanation of the success 


which so often attends the employment of an old sixpence 
or a bit of the white stem of an ordinary pipe as a bait on 
a mackerel hook. Sand worms of more than one kind are 
in favour, especially for pollack, and for various kinds of 
fish no bait is more attractive than the living sand-eel. 
This little silvery fish is the favourite bait, living or dead, 
with the fishermen at Guernsey, and is coming into use on 
parts of our own coast. Among other attractions offered 
to the fish which frequent our coasts are the tail of the 
hermit or soldier-crab, and squid or cuttle-fish, the latter 
used in many parts of the world, and valuable on account 
of its toughness. In recent years many artificial baits for 
sea-fishing have been invented, all of them intended more 
or less as imitations of such natural baits as have proved to 
be generally attractive. The same principle applies to the 
multitude of artificial flies and other imitations used in 
freshwater-fishing, but we believe the original of the gaudy 
salmon-fly has still to be discovered. The use of artificial 
baits is, however, by no means confined to this country, and 
we have often successfully fished on the coasts of Ceylon, 
with an extraordinary combination of cocoa-nut and fibrous 
bark tied on the roughest description of hook ; and this 
bait, in supposed imitation of a flying-fish, is the one in 
general use there for catching the seir-fish a very large 
species of the mackerel tribe, and one of the best fishes for 
the table which are met with in the Indian seas. 


Some account having been given of the largest and most 
important methods of fishing, we propose now to say a 
few words about those kinds which hold a less conspicuous 
position, although in the aggregate contributing a fair 
proportion to the market supply of food, and giving 


occupation to a great variety of people. So many of the 
contrivances used in the smaller fisheries have so essentially 
the character of " traps ; " in other words, forms of apparatus 
from which escape is so difficult, that practically it becomes 
almost impossible when once the fish or other object of 
capture has entered them, that the heading we have chosen 
for them has the advantage of being both suitable and 
comprehensive. Conspicuous among them are those 
arrangements of salmon-nets which are included among 
what are known as "fixed engines." The principle of 
their construction has a very wide application, and, in some 
form or other, may be recognised in almost all parts of the 
world. The plan on which they are arranged is such as 
to direct the fish into a partially enclosed space, having 
a wide entrance at one end and a narrow exit at the other ; 
this exit from one enclosure forms the entrance to another, 
which has a still narrower opening into a third, from which 
there is no means of escape except by returning through 
the narrow entrance. In some modified forms there is only 
a single enclosure, and as an illustration of this we may 
take the stake-net. It consists of a long line of netting 
fastened to stakes driven into the shore between tide-marks ; 
this is called the " leader," and terminates at the lower end 
at the entrance to a broad enclosure, into which the 
" leader " turns the fish. The two sides of the entrance do 
not terminate abruptly, but are curved inwards and form 
a kind of labyrinth from which the fish can hardly escape. 
The " kettle-net," used for catching mackerel on some 
parts of our south coast, is of this description, excepting 
that the enclosure or "pound" is quite simple, and the 
escape of the fish is cut off by the falling tide. A more 
elaborate net for salmon-fishing, and known as a " fly-net," 
is of an oblong shape, broader at the entrance than at the 


outer end, and having wings of netting fastened inside the 
mouth, one on each side, and making a kind of flat funnel- 
shaped entrance. The fish pass through this opening into 
the body of the net, which is covered above and below, 
and after a distance of some few feet, a second pair of 
wings is arranged in the same manner as the first, but with 
a narrower opening, through which the fish pass to the 
next enclosure, where a still narrower space between a 
third pair of wings leads to the final enclosure where the 
salmon are practically entrapped. This fly-net is kept in 
position by means of stakes at the sides and ends, and the 
leader is placed as with the stake-net ; in fact, some stake- 
nets are just the same as the fly-net except in not being 
covered with netting above and below. Both are placed 
between tide-marks. Another salmon-net which is much 
used and known as a " bag-net," is exactly like a fly-net in 
its construction, but is a floating one instead of being on 
the ground. It is moored to stakes like the other, but with 
more freedom of motion within certain limits. The bag-net 
itself is set below low-water mark, the leader extending 
from it to high-water mark. The "snap-net" is another 
contrivarice for catching salmon, but not so strictly a trap 
as those, just noticed. It is worked with two boats, each 
containing a couple of men, who hold the ends of a straight 
piece of net of moderate length and depth, which hangs 
in the water between the boats as they drift down the river, 
one man in each boat holding the head of the net, and the 
other the foot. When a salmon strikes the net in running 
up-stream it is immediately felt by the net-holders, the foot 
of the net is raised and the fish is secured. A different 
class of fishing apparatus includes the various contrivances 
which come under the name of weirs. Their construction 
depends to some extent on the locality in which they are 


placed. On some parts of the coast, where a considerable 
extent of sand is laid bare at low-water, the weir consists 
of a wattled fence so placed as to form a number of zig- 
zags along the line of beach, the lower angles of the weir 
being just at low-water mark. In one we had an oppor- 
tunity of inspecting, each arm of a zigzag was about two- 
hundred yards long, and at the low-water angle a conical 
wicker-basket with a mouse-trap entrance was firmly fixed 
at the place where the two arms or fences almost met. 
The manner in which such a weir works is very simple. 
At high-water the whole weir is covered by the water, and 
fish may in some cases enter it above the fence, but as there 
is nothing to prevent fish from passing round the two ends 
of the long zigzag weir, no doubt many of those which are 
caught enter in that direction, and swimming along between 
the weir and the shore, find their way into the V shaped 
enclosures, from which, as the tide ebbs and the top of the 
fence appears above water, they cannot make their escape. 
Ultimately many of the fish make their way into the 
wicker-baskets we have mentioned. The fishing-weir used 
in a salmon-river is of a different kind, although the 
principle is much the same. Two substantial arms of stone 
are built in a sloping direction down-stream, one from each 
bank, but one of the arms is usually much longer than the 
other, so as to direct the fish towards one side of the river. 
Between the ends of these arms a series of "cruives" or 
" cribs " is constructed by means of which all the fish which 
come down the river may have a good chance of being 
caught unless they pass through an opening in the centre 
which is always clear and is called the Queen's Gap. A 
line of cruives has some resemblance to a battlemented 
wall, being composed of a long solid mass of masonry a 
few feet in breadth, having gaps at regular distances along 


the line. These openings form effective traps. The lower 
end of each gap has an upright grating to allow the water 
to pass through, but to stop any fish that may enter, and 
the upper end or entrance has two swing transverse gratings 
or " gills " which can be placed at any angle with each 
other, so as to regulate the width of the entrance, and which 
interlock when closed. The shutting of these gratings of 
course closes the cruive, and the fish which may be inside 
are then taken out with a landing net. The ingenuity of 
man has devised a great variety of contrivances for catching 
salmon, and the names by which many of them are known 
vary according to the locality in which they are used, but 
they all come within State regulation as to seasons or in some 
cases even the numbers that may be worked Lastly, we 
may shortly notice those traps which are made of basket- 
work. It is only on the Severn that the contrivances 
called " putts " and " putchers " are used, and they are 
long conical baskets with a mouse-trap entrance a short 
distance inside. Putchers are only small putts. The latter 
are fastened down in rows with their mouths facing the 
stream ; and putchers are commonly fixed in a wattled 
fence, technically called a " hedge," each alternate putcher 
having its mouth in an opposite direction. Eel bucks and 
lampern wheels are constructed on the same principle, and 
work in precisely the same manner. 


There is one great principle adopted in almost all, 
methods that are in use for catching crabs and lobsters 
and that is the one familiar to everybody in the common 
mouse-trap. The entrance to the trap, for such it must 
properly be called, is funnel-shaped, that is, the external 
opening is a comparatively wide one, and the passage into 


the trap terminates in a much narrower opening projecting 
into the interior. It is what is commonly understood as a 
mouse-trap entrance. The shape of the trap varies on 
different parts of our coasts, but the peculiar form of 
entrance is adopted not only by our own fishermen 
generally, but by those who are engaged in the same kind 
of fishing in other parts of the world, and in very many 
cases it is applied to nets for true fish of different sorts 
as well as to the ordinary kinds of Crustacea. In the 
west of England the form of trap in universal use is the 
flattened hemispherical contrivance made of basket-work, 
commonly known as a " pot." The mouse-trap entrance to 
this is at the top, and the bottom is weighted with stones in- 
side to ensure the pot falling in the right position when it is 
thrown overboard. The crabs and lobsters are attracted 
by the smell of the bait usually some kind offish and crawl 
down the funnel-shaped entrance at the top, but having 
once made their way through the funnel and got into the 
pot, they seem unable to find the inwardly projecting end 
of the entrance tube, and so cannot escape. Several of 
these crab-pots are worked together, all being fastened to 
the same rope, but at some little distance apart ; and when 
they are all sunk to the bottom, the end of the rope, 
with plenty of slack in it to allow for the rise of tide, is 
kept afloat by means of corks, and thus the pots can be 
readily discovered and hauled up several hours after they 
have been set and left by the fishermen. There is, we 
believe, a heavy penalty incurred by any unauthorised 
person who hauls up crab or lobster pots. This is a 
necessary protection, as the pots must be left to take care 
of themselves for many hours at a time. The apparatus 
used on a very large part of our coast for catching crabs 
and lobsters is of quite a different form and construction 


from that just mentioned, and consists of an oblong cage 
rounded over the top and made up of a slight wooden 
frame covered with netting, the bottom being of wood and 
of a substantial character, although composed of battens or 
narrow pieces of wood nailed across the lower frame. The 
usual mouse -trap entrances are made either in the sides or 
ends of the cage, the funnel being kept in shape by cane or 
cord supports. These cages are in most places known as 
"creels," and they are baited, weighted, and set in just the 
same manner as has been described in the case of the west 
country pot. Amateur sea-fishing is now almost unlimited 
in its scope, and although drift-fishing is still entirely in 
the hands of professional fishermen, there is hardly any 
other kind to which yachting men do not give some atten- 
tion, and crab and lobster fishing has not escaped their 
notice. One excellent result from this is a vast improvement 
in creels, although from the greater first cost of the apparatus 
there is an impediment to their general use by fishermen. 
The improvement consists simply in having the creels 
made entirely of zinc or galvanized iron, and wire netting 
is used instead of that usually made of hemp. These 
creels always keep in good order, and, notwithstanding the 
usual prejudice against any alteration from established 
methods, prove very successful in working. Lastly, we may 
mention what is called a " trunk," which is simply a ring of 
iron about two feet across with a shallow bag-net fastened 
to it below. This is much the same as the hoop-net for 
large prawns, but with a very much shallower net. It is 
said that much finer lobsters are caught by the trunk than 
by the creel, there being of course some limit to the size of 
the lobsters and crabs which can enter the latter kind of 
trap, whereas the trunk being entirely open anything that 
chances to come within the breadth of the iron ring may be 
VOL. I. H. Y 


caught. But there is an objection to the use of the trunk, 
inasmuch as it requires some little skill, there being nothing 
to prevent the escape of the lobster if it should take alarm 
when the trunk is being hauled up, and the greatest care is 
necessary just when the trunk is being lifted out of the water, 
as then the lobster is especially liable to spring backwards 
and escape. We were once told by an old trunk-fisher that 
a tailor might work a creel, but it wanted a fisherman 
to manage a trunk. It is only in parts of the East coast 
of England that we have seen or heard of trunks being 


The special instrument used for collecting oysters is the 
well-known dredge, which has everywhere much the same 
shape, but differs somewhat in size, as may be seen in the 
examples exhibited, according to whether it is to be 
worked from an ordinary rowing boat, or by the small 
vessels which dredge in comparatively deep water. It 
consists of an oblong iron frame a few inches wide and 
having one side, which comes on the ground, flattened and 
turned forwards at such an angle as to enable it to scrape 
the surface of the bottom without absolutely tearing it up. 
The body of the dredge consists of a flat bag, the under part 
of which is made of iron rings two and a half or three inches 
in diameter and looped together with strong wire. There is 
some variation in the construction of this iron network, as 
may be observed in the Exhibition ; but the principle is 
the same in all that of providing a strong under surface to 
the bag, capable of passing over rough ground without 
liability to injury, and with openings in it large enough to 
permit the escape of any but fair-sized oysters. The 
upper surface of the bag is made of stout hemp netting, 


and the iron frame, before spoken of, has the mouth of the 
bag laced to it and forms its mouth. The handle of the 
dredge is made up of two stout iron rods firmly welded to 
the narrow ends of the frame, and joined together at a 
distance of three feet or more, according to the size of 
the dredge, and at this point of junction the rope by 
which the dredge is towed is made fast. The free end of 
the bag is usually fastened to a stout piece of wood 
which, placed across it, gives a convenient hold when the 
contents of the dredge are to be shaken out. Very little 
skill is required for working the dredge, but some care must 
be taken to ensure its falling on the ground with the scraper 
underneath, or it will not work. This difficulty has been 
got over in the improved dredges, first used by naturalists, 
by putting a scraper on both sides of the mouth, but such 
a plan is not so well adapted to the large oyster dredges 
in use in deep water, as the double scraper, fitted for 
working properly on whichever side it falls, requires the 
whole bag to be made of iron ring-net, and adds much to 
the labour of handling it. From one to six dredges are 
used at once according to the size and power of the boat. 
The quantity of tow-rope allowed to the dredge is such as 
may be necessary, according to the depth of water, to 
keep the scraper at the proper angle for working over the 


Although whales do not properly come under the head 
of "fish," being warm-blooded, air-breathing mammals, 
they are so commonly spoken of under that name, and 
their pursuit is so entirely a sea-going business, that a 
short notice of the instruments used in their capture may 

be expected. The narratives of Scoresby and others have 

Y 2 


made us all more or less familiar with the dangers and 
difficulties attendant on whaling, one of the most serious 
arising from the necessity for the very close approach of 
the harpooner to the whale, so as to allow of the harpoon 
being thrown by him with sufficient force to obtain a good 
hold in the animal. Having secured this object, the next 
is to kill the whale as quickly as possible. The hand 
harpoon of the original form with a simple arrow-head was 
for a great number of years the only one in use by the 
different nations which devoted themselves to any extent 
to whaling, but such an instrument may now be considered 
obsolete, its place having been taken either by hand 
harpoons with barbs which are closed in when the 
harpoon is thrown, and projected as soon as there is a 
backward strain upon them, or by harpoons or darts fired 
from a gun, and containing very commonly some kind of 
explosive substance. Harpoon-guns are of a comparatively 
ancient date, and their merit consisted only in the force 
with which they propelled the dart, there being always a 
difficulty, not yet entirely overcome, in properly directing 
the course of the harpoon owing to the weight of the rope 
attached to it. A long series of ^improvements made in 
both the United States and England has resulted in 
bringing the gun and the harpoon to great perfection ; and 
the large interest that America for many years past has 
had in whaling has naturally led to the production in that 
country of many of the most valuable improvements which 
have been made. The guns employed are of two kinds 
those fired from the shoulder, and swivel guns. The 
former are mostly used, and the breech-loading principle 
for the explosive is now applied to them. The harpoon or 
dart is of course inserted at the muzzle of the gun. 
Having " fastened " to a whale with the harpoon, the next 


thing is to kill the animal as speedily as possible, and this 
is accomplished by means of what is called a bomb-lance, 
which is fired from a shoulder-gun, the discharge of which 
ignites a time-fuse communicating with the powder within 
the lance and bursting it inside the animal. Such then are 
the modern means employed in the capture of the largest 
inhabitants of the ocean ; and it will be evident that with 
such " apparatus for fishing " as we have now briefly noticed, 
the chance of the whale's escape when once he has been 
found has been most materially lessened. 

In the foregoing sketch of the principal methods of 
fishing in use, we have been enabled to describe somewhat 
fully those which are most important and productive in 
consequence of their being largely carried on in our own 
waters, as well as elsewhere. The descriptions have been 
based therefore chiefly on our own ways of fishing. Every 
country, however, which includes either sea or freshwater 
fisheries amongst its industries has to some extent national, 
and, more frequently, local, peculiarities in its mode of 
working them. But although differences of detail may be 
found in the construction, dimensions, and fitting up of the 
nets, lines, and other fishing appliances, not only of foreign 
countries, but also of our own, the same general principles 
of working will be recognised in the fishing gear employed 
throughout the world. One particular method may have 
special importance in one country, and a different kind may 
predominate in another ; but each is carried on practically 
in the same manner in whatever seas it may be worked. 
Methods of fishing new to fishermen generally can hardly 
be looked for ; but there is probably no kind of fishing 
gear which is not capable of some improvement either in 
material, fitting, or some other point. It is only in recent 


years that cotton has been advantageously substituted for 
hemp in the manufacture of drift-nets ; and the special 
object of bringing together in the present International 
Fisheries Exhibition the fishing appliances of all nations is 
that they may be examined and compared, like with like, 
so that the people of each country generally interested in 
the success of its fisheries may see how others are working, 
and have an opportunity of studying the different plans 
adopted for the effective use of the gear they are them- 
selves most concerned with. Nowhere in the world are all 
the most important methods of fishing in more general use 
than on the coasts of Western Europe ; our own seas 
especially abound in various kinds of valuable fish ; and no 
persons have a greater interest in making themselves 
acquainted with improvements in fishing apparatus than 
those who depend for their livelihood on the important 
fisheries around the British Islands. 






" Explanation follows impulse." 

" If their money spent in food were laid out to the best account, and if they were able 
to cook the food in the most useful manner, without waste, their incomes would go a long 
way further in preserving them in health." 

Front Dr. G. BUCHANAN'S " Report on Health of Operatives." 
Parliamentary Papers, 1863, xxv. p. 309. 




The present way of regarding the values of fish as food is 
explained. This includes a brief account of the chemical 
investigations of foods generally, in order that the 
principal considerations in their particular application to 
fish may be understood in their relative importance. 

Introductory ........ 331 

Present way of studying food values .... 346 

Tables of daily outgoings and therefore of intakes . 352 

Sources of supply of intakes . . . . . 355 

Fish analysis ........ 362 

Probable use of fish in a " hard-working " diet . . 366 
The application of these considerations in relation to cost 367 
Recapitulation ........ 372 


References are made to the monumental and written 
records of the use of fish among the Egyptians, Hebrews, 
Assyrians, and Babylonians . . . . . . 375 

A few references are given to allusions of the use of fish by 

Greek and Roman writers . . . . . . 378 

Some travellers' notices are summarised or quoted, showing 
how much more largely fish is used in some countries 
than it is in Europe at the present time . . . . 382 

Some particulars are given of the use of fish in this country 
in former times. These include 

a. Historical notices ....... 384 

b. Opinions as to the effects of the use of different kinds 

of fish ......... 423 

There are added details and notes which it has been thought 

advisable to keep clear from the body of the work . . 439 

%* There also are appended tables in illustration of the text 
and a bibliographical list. 


THERE is an old anecdote told of a clergyman who 
used, after writing his Sunday sermon, to read it through 
to his cook, feeling sure that if she could understand it 
his congregation would. 

Having considerable doubts as to whether the parts of 
this book which refer to the amounts of Carbon, Hydrogen 
and Nitrogen in foods would be understood, I have read 
them to many whom I have taken to be fair types of the 
intelligence of the kind of readers I have had mostly, 
though not solely in view the well-informed artizans 
who use public libraries, and their wives to whom they 
retail what they have read. The result of these various 
interviews has been that I have received many sugges- 
tions to put in fuller explanations in one place, to leave 
them out in another, because " everybody knows it," to 
mention where Carbon and Hydrogen and Nitrogen can 
be seen as it is, " no use talking to people about things 
they cannot see," or not to trouble about chemistry at 
all, but to tell people how to get cheap fish and explain 
how to get over little domestic difficulties about fire- 
places and hobs and frying-pans I had never dreamt of. 

I have realized the beauty of the old Greek fable of 
the man and his sons and his donkey, far more vividly 
than I ever did as a schoolboy. Though I find there 
are still parts which to some are not clear, I fear I must 
let the book go as it is. 


It is no new experience that you can explain things 
better by showing them than by writing about them, 
and where I have been allowed to burn candle ends, 
collect Carbon on clean plates, mess tumblers by blowing 
into lime water, dirt shovels with sulphur, make candles 
of fat and do such other things as are described in 
pp. 341 to 346, everything has seemed intelligible. 

To those who are young enough not to resent a word 
of advice, I would say, do the simple experiments men- 
tioned before attempting to read the book through. 

It will save the time of those who already have 
acquaintance with the chemistry of foods to commence 
at page 3 5 5. 

I respectfully commend p. 366 to the consideration of 
those who have the management of public dietaries. 




THE astonishment of Moliere's much -quoted M. 
Jourdain in ' Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme,' on learning 
that " prose," of which he so wanted to know the mean- 
ing, was what he had been talking all his life, might We live on 


probably find a parallel in the minds of many people, Hydrogen, 
if, on asking what Carbon, Hydrogen and Nitrogen Nitrogen, 
mean, they for the first time learnt they had been 
living on them all their lives that though we find 
them doing many other things in the world besides 
being our food, our bodies are to a large extent made 
up of them and that it is the union of them in 
our bodies with the Oxygen we breathe that gives us 
the power to do any work at all, that keeps up our 
warmth, maintains our circulation, and performs other 
functions essential to our animal life. 

If they further learned how close seems to be the And the 

amounts of 

connection between the power to do hard work of them we re- 

quire vary 

different degrees and the proportions of Carbon, with the 
Hydrogen, and Nitrogen taken in food, and that Jo r k wedo. 
many of our public dietaries have been for some years 
past calculated on the knowledge obtained about this 


connection, astonishment might be followed by a 
desire for information on the subject. 

The intention of this part of the book is to set 
out information for those in whom such a desire arises, 

How can and to do so in a simple way. But at the outset there 

simply ex- & is felt this difficulty : What may be considered a 

plained? simple way? 

The saying has been often repeated, that if there is 
anything you have to explain, and fail in trying to 
explain it to the first man you come across in the 
street, you must regard yourself as not a clear or 
good exponent. This does not, however, point out 
that, unless you know beforehand something about 
the stock of knowledge possessed by the man you 
meet, there may be some time taken up in finding out 
whether he understands what you mean by the words 

Difficulties of you are using. Many difficulties in explanations 


often arise arise from a want of mutual understanding about 

from a want 

of mutual words used. 

understand- ,-, , 111 " i 

ing about the For example, a man may be able to explain m a 

wav tllat wou ld be quite intelligible to most of his 
companions the series of events that led to his book 
on the Derby coming out so differently from what he 
had confidently expected. But if he endeavoured to 
relate his disappointments to the first man he met in 
the street he might find it requisite to give him an 
explanation of terms he was using, though they are 
often to be seen in columns of sporting news in the 
daily press. He might by degrees even find that 
he would have to go so far as to point out that the 
% meaning of horses starting at 5 to 2, 3 to 2, or 7 to 
2, has nothing to do with the meaning railway porters 
would expect passengers to understand by the same 


words in reference to the starting of trains, or that a 
horse's "price at starting" would have no reference 
to the cost at which it could be purchased even in a 
" selling stakes " race. 

If you want to explain to the first man you meet, 
so that it may be of any practical use to him in the 
arrangement of his daily diet, what is the present way 
of regarding the relative use of fish as compared 
with other foods, you must make sure that there is 
a mutual understanding between your hearer and 
yourself about the sense in which you use such words 
as "work," "force," "burn," " element," " oxidise," and 
that he knows what you mean when you use such 
words as Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen. 
Your listener would very probably tell you he 
could not follow you, as he was not familiar with 
your words and terms, and had no idea what they 
meant. You might by degrees find out you had 
to give him very rudimentary information before 
he could follow you at all. 

At the outset, a misunderstanding would very The sense in 
probably occur about the use of the words "element " wor ds "de- 

and "compound." The old alchemists meant b 

" the elements " Earth, Air, Fire and Water, and the are used - 

term still lingers in our language. It is not uncommon 

to meet with the expression "the raging of the 

elements " in a description of a thunder-storm, and, in' 

an account of a large fire, " the all-devouring element " 

is pretty sure to be mentioned. The modern chemist, 

however, uses the word " element " only in contrast to 

" compound." A compound can be split up into two, 

and, in many cases, three or more essentially different 

materials, as, for example, brass can be split up into 



Names used 
by chemists 
have more 
exact mean- 
ings than 

copper and zinc, and table-salt into chlorine and 
sodium. An " element " cannot be split up into any- 
thing different from itself. When an element is not 
combined with another element to form a compound 
it is called " free." That is how the words are used. 
As to knowing what are elements and what are com- 
pounds that is a matter of examination and trying. 
Oxygen was found to be an element in 1774, Hydro- 
gen in 1781, and other bodies have been at different 
dates discovered to be elements, to which names have 
been given to distinguish them. Most of the names 
have Latin or Greek terminations, and the significance 
of the distinction between these and the familiar 
English names, where there are any, is this : the 
chemical name is definite and exact, the familiar 
name is loose and inexact. As an example, Aurum 
is used only for gold absolutely pure, but we speak 
loosely of " gold " coinage or " gold " rings which are 
not pure. 

One reason, then, why the words Carbon, Hydrogen, 
Oxygen and Nitrogen are not more often met with, 
is that, unlike many words in common use, they 
have very definite and exact meanings and can only 
properly be used when referring to the elements to 
which these names are given, though the words 
"oxygenated" and "carbonised" are often loosely 
and inaccurately used. As these elements can be 
obtained separate and pure only by special precau- 
tions the names are seldom used except in relation 
to laboratory work. 

The most satisfactory way of conveying correct 
ideas about them is of course to show by a few simple 
experiments some of their characteristic ways of 


behaving, but where it is not convenient to do this, 
perhaps it is still possible to convey some ideas about 
them, if not very complete and exact. 
To those who feel, 

" A fire's a good companionable friend, 
Who meets your face with welcome glad," 

and love to loiter in the gloaming and gaze into it, 
OXYGEN is a perfectly familiar though unseen friend. Oxygen. 

The old adage " seeing is believing " is taken by 
some as equivalent to "do not believe what you 
cannot see." But we believe in many things we 
cannot see, when we can see what they do. We cannot 
see the wind, but we are constrained to believe in it 
if it brings a chimney pot down through the roof. 
When, sheltered by a window, we watch the boughs 
swaying and the clouds scudding along in fantastic 
forms, or perhaps smile at undignified chases after 
runaway hats, we do not hesitate to say "see what 
a wind there is ! " 

Oxygen is a perfectly familiar gas, because any one 
watching a fire is seeing one of the things the unseen 
Oxygen is always somewhere doing. One-fifth of the 
air is free Oxygen. Every one knows that a fire or a 
lamp will not burn without air, though they may not 
know that it is only the Oxygen of the air that is con- 
cerned in the burning. The rest of the air has nothing 
to do with it so far as we know. In pure Oxygen, 
which can be obtained in several ways, burning is 
much more brilliant. The burning of a watchspring 
in Oxygen is a sight young and old enjoy, for as a 
professor at the Royal Institution used to say to his 
audience, one is never tired of seeing it. 




It may giva 
rise to light 
or not. 

Without Oxygen animal life as it now exists on 
this planet would be impossible, and every one, 
whether they know the fact or not, has had life 
maintained by Oxygen from the earliest moments of 
their existence. 

The word that is used to express union with Oxygen 
is OXIDATION. It is the oxidation of the elements 
of which coal is composed that gives rise to the heat 
and light of a fire. Oxidation appears to always 
give rise to heat. In some cases the heat is so 
slight it requires delicate instruments to detect it, in 
some it can be readily observed, while in many cases 
it is so great it gives rise to light. Very familiar 
cases of oxidation are those which give rise to much 
light the oxidation for example which occurs in 
lamps and candles. Here the substances oxidized 
are purposely selected in consequence of their rapid 
oxidation producing light. 

This depends upon the rate of oxidation. Slow 
oxidation frequently accumulates so much heat that 
after a while light and flame are produced, and this 
not unfrequently occurs in places, as for example in 
hay-ricks and cotton factories, where such rapid 
oxidation is not desired. 

Because the word ." burning " is so commonly used 
for those cases of oxidation which give rise to light, 
some writers, for the sake of avoiding the unfamiliar 
word, speak of all oxidation as "burning." So long 
as a definite meaning is kept to, it is entirely a ques- 
tion of words, but if "burning" is used instead of 
" oxidation," then it must be applied to such a case 
as the oxidation of iron, which is commonly called 
" rusting," and to similar cases where oxidation does not 


produce light. But it is hardly in accordance with the 
popular use of the word to speak of an iron nail which 
is rusting in the damp as " burning." There is this 
more serious objection to employing the more familiar 
word " burning " instead of " oxidation." People have 
lately dropped into the habit of speaking of an electric 
incandescent arc lamp as " burning " steadily or badly, 
though this light does not depend on oxidation at " Oxidation " 

not always 

all. " Burning is then not always an equivalent for equivalent to 

It is desirable to have a clear mutual understanding 
about the use of this word " oxidation," as it will have 
to be frequently used in the following pages. Oxida- 
tion is the act of combining with Oxygen. All the 
elements except Fluorine combine with Oxygen. The Oxygen is 
Oxygen may come from the air of which, as mentioned, a ir and in 

., r r/vi i i , -, r combination 

it forms one-fifth by weight ; it may come from water in many 
of which it forms eight-ninths by weight ; it may come com P ounds 
from nitre of which it forms nearly one-half by weight 
(for which reason it is used in making gunpowder,) ; it 
may come from chlorate of potash of which it forms 
two-fifths by weight, or permanganate of potash 
(Condy's fluid) or from many other compounds. The 
combination may be rapid as in the case of gas- 
burning, or slow as in the case of the " tarnishing " of 
kitchen coppers ; it may give rise to but little heat or 
to dazzling light. In any case the combination with Oxidation, 

it seems, 
oxygen is called oxidation, and OXIDATION, it seems, always gives 

ALWAYS GIVES RISE TO HEAT. The way in which n! 
our life depends on this is spoken of on p. 347, &c. 

CARBON is perhaps generally felt to be more fami- Carbon. 
liar than Oxygen as it can be seen. Fine particles 
of it are a solace to the eyes of a weary man as 

VOL. I. H. Z 



oxidation of 
always gives 
rise to Car- 
bonic acid. 



he watches them in a beam of sunlight curling slowly 
upwards from his pipe, and, rolling gently into lazy 
folds, linger over him with an air of tranquillity and 

Larger particles of it are the terror of the laundry- 
maid as she sees them settling on the linen she has 
carefully washed to such dainty whiteness. 

Carbon, too, makes the fortune of the chimney-sweep 
(whose occupation the Smoke Abatement Committee 
are trying to abolish), and his sack is valued by many. 

Under the name " black lead," which contains no 
lead at all, it is used for drawing-pencils, and it is met 
with in its purest form in the diamond. 

Mixed with small quantities of other things Car- 
bon forms the bulk of coal, charcoal and wood. 
Fine heated particles of it are the source of light of 
ordinary flames. 

The union of Carbon with Oxygen forms invisible 
of which more will be presently said. 

HYDROGEN is a gas which occurs naturally in com- 
bination with some other element, and when it is 
wanted for use (as for the oxy-hydrogen light) or for 
the purpose of examining it, some compound con- 
taining it is " split up " so that the hydrogen is set 
free. The compound usually chosen for this purpose 
is Hydrogen-Oxide, commonly called water (see 

P- 339). 

NITROGEN, like Oxygen, occurs free (that is, not 
as a compound) in the air. It also forms many com- 
pounds, of which two familiar ones are nitrous oxide 
(laughing gas) and nitre (saltpetre.) 


Most people know something about other com- 
pounds of Nitrogen. Nitric acid, which is a compound 
of Nitrogen and Oxygen, is an example, and so is 
ammonia, commonly called hartshorn, which is a 
compound of Nitrogen and Hydrogen. 

In considering Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and We do not 

live on ele- 

Nitrogen as foods, it is only in the form of compounds ments as 
they come under our notice. We do not, and perhaps only' in the 
cannot, live on them as elements. We eat plants compounds 
(roots, fruits and leaves) and we eat "beasts, birds 

and fishes " that have fed on plants. Simple com- The com- 
pounds are 
pounds of two elements pass into plant structures par ts of plants 

first and form more complicated compounds, and we w r e s ca ^ ^ 
make use of these compounds direct from plants, them- 
or after they have formed fresh compounds as parts 
of fish, flesh or fowl. These compounds are very 
various in their composition, and are various in their 
uses to us. These uses will be spoken of later on, 
after more has been said of the compounds themselves. 

Compounds of these elements some of two together, Compounds 
some of three and some of all four are perhaps more familiaTthan 
familiar to everybody than are the elements them- elements are - 
selves, though they are familiar under other names. 

Water is an instance. It is a compound of Water is a 
Hydrogen and Oxygen, and the chemist calls it caSedHydro- 
Hydrogen-Oxide that is, if it is absolutely pure and 
contains nothing but Hydrogen and Oxygen. But 
the water of our rivers, wells, and springs contains Hydrogen, 
small quantities of other things besides the Hydrogen 
and Oxygen of which it is essentially composed, small 
quantities of matter dissolved in it, very often lime, 
which makes the water hard. We also loosely, under 
the term "water," often include small quantities of 

Z 2 


matter suspended or floating about in it. They of 
course really do not form part of the water any more 
than a boat floating on water does for when left at 
rest, they settle down in the vessel containing the 
water. By careful distillation an ordinary water can 
be freed from almost all traces of matter it has 
dissolved, and the Hydrogen-Oxide is left almost pure. 
Even if the temperature is so reduced it becomes 
solid it is still Hydrogen-Oxide, though in ordinary 
language it is then called ice ; if the temperature is 
so raised that it passes to the gaseous state it is still 
Hydrogen-Oxide, though in ordinary language it is 
called vapour. There are several ways in which 
Oxygen and Hydrogen can be caused to unite to 
form water, and ways in which water can be split up 
into Oxygen and Hydrogen. Just as carbonic acid 
results from the oxidation of Carbon, water results 
from the oxidation of Hydrogen. 
Water a loose The name Hydrogen-Oxide is an exact name water 

and inexact . 

name. is a loose and inexact name. Every one then is quite 

familiar with Hydrogen-Oxide though they know it 
in its impure state and under the name of water, or 
other native name for it, aqua, 1'eau, wasser, &c. 

Carbon, When some few facts like these are mentioned 

your " first man at the corner of the street " would no 
longer regard Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitro- 
gen as unknown strangers, even though their names 
may cbme as new. 

To those not accustomed to considering foods as 
consisting of so many ounces of Carbon, Hydrogen, 

Written for Oxygen, and Nitrogen, generally written for short 

short, C, H, Q H> o, and N,* the subject may at first sight seem 

* See note in Appendix. 


somewhat complicated. But it is really not difficult, 
it requires only a little careful attention, principally in 
guarding against a confusion of ideas from attaching to 
terms meanings not intended ; and it is far easier to 
follow when practical acquaintance has been made with 
C, H, O, and N by even simple experiments with them. 

It may help to clear away a preliminary difficulty to C H O N 

cannot be 

mention that although, as just stated, every one has recognised as 
been living on C, H, O, and N, all their lives, they tne C om- 
could not see the individual elements, not even the {^ Q s u * at 
solid carbon, in the compounds as they occur in food - 
foods. These can only be got at by separating them 
out by chemical analysis at different temperatures. 

It is just the same as with many familiar things we just as 
do not use as food. In brass, for example, which is an 
alloy of the elements copper and zinc, the copper and 
zinc cannot be recognised as such, though they can be msed ln brass * 
separated out ; or in bronze the tin and copper cannot . 
be recognised, though they can be separated out. 
Elements cannot be recognised in a chemical 
compound, though they may be in a mechanical 
mixture. A simple experiment that can be made on The meaning 
a shovel over a fire will serve to illustrate what is ^^ < 2 
the difference that is meant by the terms " mechanical com P und - 
mixture" and "chemical compound." Get some 
fine copper filings and some powdered sulphur well 
mixed together on a sheet of paper. The copper 
and the sulphur can still be separately distinguished 
if not with the unaided eye, they can be with a 
magnifying glass and the sulphur can be washed 
away. This is called a " mechanical mixture." But 
put such a mixture on a shovel over the fire till it 
glows, and on cooling there will be found a black 


substance, differing in properties from both copper 
and sulphur. This is an example of what is called a 
"chemical compound." Neither the copper nor the 
sulphur can now be distinguished, but they are there 
and can be again separated out by proper chemical 

They can Chemical compounds may pass through many 

nised by* ^' changes, in none of which can the elements be re- 
thenToutf cognised, and yet it can be proved they are there by 
their being separated out afterwards. To take one 
example only, the well-known " blue vitriol," or 
"copperas" of the oil shops. It is a compound of 
copper and sulphur, but neither of them can be dis- 
tinguished whether the compound is in the state of 
the yellow solution, or of the greenish blue crystals, 
or of the white powder to which these crystals turn 
on heating. Yet the copper and the sulphur can be 
obtained in their original state and original quantity 
by chemical separation. Many illustrations of this 
kind might be given, but any one of them rightly 
understood will make it easier to comprehend the 
nature of the more obscure changes our food com- 
pounds pass through both in being prepared as foods 
by plants and animals, and also within our bodies 
after we have taken them as foods. The C, H, O and 
N can always be " separated out " at any stage, though 
they pass through many complicated combinations. 
We " live " only so long as C, H, O and N are under- 
going combinations within us. 
An example The gas we burn in our houses will furnish a simple 

of separating 

out. illustration of " separating out " or " splitting up. 

It is, leaving out impurities, Carbon and Hydrogen 
in a gaseous state. When a gas tap is turned on 


there is nothing to be seen, but if we raise the tern- Oxidation of 

Carbon and 

perature by applying a highly heated wire or a Hydrogen 
light the Carbon and Hydrogen both begin to unite carbonic acid 
with the Oxygen of the air and "burn." Hydrogen and water< 
and Oxygen when combined form Hydrogen-Oxide or 
"water," as mentioned before, and, if a plate or any- 
thing cool be held over the flame, drops of water 
can be collected. The Carbon which thus loses its 
companion Hydrogen, and has not united with the 
Oxygen of the air, can be collected in a solid form, 
and, indeed, smuts and smoke are small particles of it. 
It has travelled through the pipes, however, as a gas. 
The Carbon which does unite with Oxygen forms car- 
bonic acid, with which everybody may be familiar 
(though it is a gas which cannot be seen), and a test 
for its presence is given below. Thus from the gas there 
is obtained by "splitting up " by heat, a solid (carbon), 
a liquid (water), and a gas of totally different composi- ^J^j[h 
tion (carbonic acid). This is a rough chemical analysis, analysis. 

The same results can be obtained from an oil lamp 
where the Carbon and Hydrogen are present as fluid, 
or from a candle where the Hydrogen and Carbon are 
present as solid. 

The water and carbonic acid can be collected most 
conveniently, perhaps from a candle, as the experiment 
can be made on a table. For observing the formation 
of the water it will be an advantage to support the 
plate slightly tipped on one side as the drops will run 
together, and also to keep the plate cool by putting 
cold water in it. The fact of being able to collect solid 
Carbon is mentioned for the sake of the illustration of 
an element being present in a compound without its 
being recognised till it is separated out. It can only 




Test for its 

be obtained, however, by interfering with the flame, for 
in a flame properly burning it will all be oxidized and 
pass away as carbonic acid. Indeed, if the Carbon 
collected on the plate be scraped off and put on to 
a shovel over the fire, the oxidation will be resumed, 
and it will all pass away as carbonic acid. 

Carbonic acid is an invisible gas, but there is a very 
simple way by which its presence can be detected. 
It readily unites with lime to form the compound 
carbonate of lime, and is therefore frequently used as 
a test for the presence of lime in water. The carbonate 
of lime forms as a fine white powder which gives at 
first a milky appearance to the water, clearing as 
the powder settles to the bottom. As the result of 
the combination of the two is always the same, lime 
water is a ready test for the presence of carbonic acid. 
It can be obtained cheaply at a druggist's. The carbonic 
acid given off by a flame can easily be collected in any 
jar, which will not crack with heat, by holding it so 
that the flame is well within its mouth. It will be 
known when no more will be formed, as the light will 
then " go out," that is oxidation will cease, because 
there is no more free Oxygen within the jar. If the 
jar is then turned over, and a little clear lime water is 
poured in and well shaken about, so as to absorb the 
carbonic acid, the milkiness, due to the white powder 
being formed, will be seen. 

It will probably help to bring home more forcibly 
some facts that will presently be referred to, if the 
experiment be repeated with some fat such as would 
be used for food. It is not much trouble to make 
a sort of candle of it with some darning worsted as 
a wick, so that the fat can be oxidized (i.e. burnt, 


see p. 336). The Hydrogen and Carbon of the fat 
will be found to form water and carbonic acid, just 
as those from the other sources. When fully oxi- 
dized they always do, whatever the source from 
which they come, and whether that source be in a 
state of gas or liquid or solid. 

This is a rough and ready way of showing that C Fats and oils. 
and H are present in fats. Compounds of Carbon 
and Hydrogen are called hydro-carbons. Fats and oils 
are all in the main hydro-carbons, though not always 
pure. Every one is familiar then with compounds 
of Carbon and Hydrogen, though the names may be 
new to them. When the amounts of C and H have Compounds 
to be known by weight, the simple apparatus here ar e separated 
used does not suffice. The principle of proceeding {jn 
is however the same that of converting into Car- 
bonic acid and water, but this has to be done in a water - 
way that admits of their being weighed. 

As the composition of Carbonic acid is always 
everywhere the same (three-elevenths Carbon and 
eight-elevenths Oxygen) it is easy to calculate how 
much Carbon there is in a known weight of Carbonic 
acid, and as the composition of water is always every- 
where the same (one-ninth Hydrogen and eight-ninths 
Oxygen) it is easy to calculate the amount of Hydro- 
gen in a known weight of water. If therefore we By weighing 

the amount 

want to know the weight of Carbon and Hydrogen in of Carbonic 
any Hydro-Carbon, we get at them by separating out wa ter we 
the Carbon as Carbonic acid, and the Hydrogen as 
water. This is the simple method that has been 
followed in investigations of the AMOUNTS OF c f ta ] n weight 

of a Hydro- 




in a com 
pound is 
known by 
it out as 

The weight The weight of N in a compound is ascertained by 
in a^com- ent separating it out in the form of ammonia which is a 
compound of N with H, the only one they form to- 
gether. This is accomplished by heating some of it 
with caustic soda, which causes all the N to pass off 
in ammonia. 

The simple fact that ammonia is given off in such a 
process can easily be known from smell by heating 
any substance which contains much N, a piece of 
cheese for example, with caustic soda, which can be 
obtained at any druggist's. 

To secure that all the ammonia given off is col- 
lected without waste, special apparatus is of course 

This is not intended as a book of instruction for 
doing chemical operations, but it is hoped that the few 
homely experiments described on pp. 341 to 346 
will suffice to enable those who take the trouble to do 
them, to realise that C, H, O, and N are actual weigh- 
able forms of matter, and to understand the nature of 
the work, sketched in the next few pages, only in out- 
line, by which facts have been learned about foods 
and the uses of different kinds of them. 

Of all the immense numbers of elements and 
compounds, our knowledge of which is frequently 
increasing through the industry of experimental 
chemists, all that it is essential to pay attention to for 
our immediate purpose is that the union of 

H with O produces the compound water. 

C O carbonic acid. 

N and H' 



It is one of the important discoveries of recent years Combinations 

that take 

world around 


We take in compounds of C, H, and N in our 
foods, we take in O from the air we breathe. 

The H combining with the O forms water, which 
leaves us as perspiration (more as invisible perspiration 
than in visible " sweat "), as moisture in our breath 
(visible on a frosty day), and through the bladder. 

The C combining with O forms carbonic acid, which 
leaves the body mostly through the lungs. 

The N combining with H forms ammonia, which 
leaves the body through the kidneys. 

The solid excreta which leave the body consist for 
the most part of actual waste that is, material which 
has not been made use of at all. 

It is the knowledge of these forms of outgoings 
of oxidized C and H that is, C and H, which 
have within our bodies combined with the O we 
have taken in in our breath and of ammonia that 


T tion of our 
STUDYING FOOD VALUES. The quantity Of C, H, pre sent ways 

and N taken in as food is weighed, and the out- f 00 Vvaluel 
goings in perspiration, breath, urine, and excreta are 
weighed. They have been ascertained for different 
conditions of exercise and different conditions of 
health, and to some extent for different conditions of 
surrounding weather, so that the intakings and the 
various outgoings of the body can be balanced up, 
like the introduction of raw material and the turning 
out manufactured stuff in a mill can be. 

That was a great advance when the genius and 



The source 
of animal 
heat is 

clear intellect of Liebig, grasping the meaning of 
various isolated experiments of workers in all countries 
and devising methods for observation not known 
before, elaborated the ' Thier Chemie,' which he gave 
to the world in 1840. England received it simulta- 
neously with Germany in the translation 'Animal 
Chemistry,' the preparation of which was entrusted 
to Dr. Gregory, one of his pupils. 

Though others had been previously feeling their 
way here and there, and had made slight inroads on 
the borders of a then unknown realm of research, he 
was the first to push boldly on, exploring with instru- 
ments of his own invention, and to point to further 
conquests waiting to be made in the domain of the 
Chemistry of Organised Beings. 

That with all his energy he was but a partial 
explorer he knew full well, but that he had mapped 
out the right lines in laying down " oxidation " as the 
source of animal heat he felt confident. Oxidation, it 
seems, always gives rise to heat (p. 336 and Appendix.) 

It is strange or, remembering humanum est err are, 
perhaps it was not strange that he should fall into 
the very error he so strongly deprecates in others 
that of drawing conclusions from an insufficient number 
of observations. While, as repeated subsequent expe- 
riments have shown, he was right in pointing to the 
oxidation of carbon as a source of animal heat, he 
missed the track in the explanation of the source of 
muscular power. His theory, that muscular work was 
accompanied by the destruction of muscular substance 
itself, could not be verified. On the contrary, whether 
little or much muscular work is done seems to have 
hardly any effect. As the destruction of muscular 


substance results in the formation of ammonia, then 
if the theory be correct, the heavier the work done the 
more should be the amount of ammonia given off. 
But several trials showed this does not take place. 

The difficulties led to many experiments in many 

The correlation of the physical forces, now so 
familiar to everybody, was then but dimly seen or 
guessed at rather than seen in the far distance. 
But while many of Liebig's pupils and followers were 
experimenting on themselves and other people as to 
the connection between food, work and the amounts 
of carbonic acid and ammonia given off, Joule was 
working out questions connected with the conversion 
of heat into motion and motion into heat. 

At last, in 1866, Frankland, taking the results of 
many experiments, and his own laboratory work, as 
his data, worked out the figures showing the CON- 
lecture at the Royal Institution, made the triumphant 

announcement HERE IS THE SOURCE OF MUSCULAR The source of 


POWER. (For " hard work, see p. 358.) power. 

Liebig, loving truth more than self-glorification, 
eventually recognised his former mistake, and the 
controversy that existed has passed into oblivion. 

The same rough and ready way of showing that How to ex- 
carbonic acid is formed by the oxidation of candle fat recognise the 
(p. 343), will suffice to show that carbonic acid is given thestudy! 
off in the breath. It is only requisite to blow through 
a tube into clear lime water to see by the formation 
of carbonate of lime that there is much carbonic acid in 
the air we breathe out. Again, it requires no apparatus 


to see on a frosty day that there is more water in the 
air we breathe out than that we breathe in. As we 
breathe out, then, more carbonic acid and water than 
is in the air we inhale, we know that carbon and 
hydrogen are being oxidized somewhere within the 
body. This oxidation gives rise to heat (p. 337) 
and heat and motion go together. 

This may suffice as a rough and ready way of know- 
ing by observation what are the principles on which 
calculations as to C, H, O, and N, in foods are based. 
The principle Experiments have, however, been carried further 

is the same in ,, . . , . . . 

scientific work than this not simply to find that carbonic acid and 
arrangements water are formed by oxidation in the body, but how 
elaborate much of each is formed. To do this of course requires 
special arrangements. For example, Dr. Edward 
Smith, in ascertaining how much carbonic acid was 
given off during exertion of different degrees, wore a 
sort of mask covering his nose and mouth, and a 
flexible tube carried his breath to his apparatus for 
ascertaining the weight of water and carbonic acid 
given off in certain time. Pettenkoffer carried out 
observations on a watchmaker who consented to 
work inside a case, one day doing no harder work 
than reading, another, doing his usual light work of 
watch-fitting, and another day working a treadle. The 
amount of food and of oxygen admitted to him, and 
of carbonic acid and water, &c., given off, were 
accurately weighed. 

The experiments of Pick and Wislecanus are men- 
tioned in Appendix. The two mentioned here may 
serve as examples that the statements and figures 
given by scientific chemists about "the C, H, and N 
taken in as one set of compounds in food, and given 


out as different compounds, are based upon careful 
observations and calculations. 

By such methods as these mentioned above we know 
the sum total of the C, H, O and N that is given off 
under different amounts of exercise or exertion. 

If the amounts given off in 24 hours are greater The materials 

are sometimes 

than those taken in; if for example the amount of < stored." 
carbonic acid given off is greater than can be 
accounted for by the oxidation of carbon taken in, 
then it is evident there has been a demand made on 
what has been previously stored up in the body. It 
is well known that people store up fat who habitually 
take more carbon and hydrogen than the body 
actually demands for the work they do, and often 
store it up to an extent inconvenient to themselves. 
And the reverse of this is also known, that additional 
exertion without increase of carbon and hydrogen 
leads to a reduction of fat, and that a total amount of 
food inadequate to meet the daily demands, so uses 
up the stores, that emaciation follows. 

It has been found that the harder the work a man Carbon used 
does the more carbonic acid he gives off in his breath, 
which means that more Carbon has been oxidized. The 
Oxygen comes freely in the air, the Carbon has to be 
taken in as food. When a man is doing a spell of hard 
work he should therefore have a care he is taking in 
more Carbon than when he is doing light work. Those 
who are continually doing hard work need more 
than those doing light work. These are facts that 
do not rest simply on the experiments and calcula- 
tions of men of science, but have been found true 
by navvies. Two well-known instances are those of 
making a railway in Sicily and the laying of the 


narrow gauge on the Great Western Railway. In 
both cases the amount of nitrogen compounds was 
increased also. (See Appendix.) 

It is the oxidation of Carbon in the body which is 
the chief source or origin of muscular power as apart 
from muscle structure. The oxidation of Hydrogen 
is known to have much the same duty, though the 
extent is hardly so well established by experiment. 

As the result of the comparison of many sets of 
observations we get the following table of 

Da jl y out . DAILY OUTGOINGS. 

goings. CARBON given off in Ib. oz. gr.* 

Carbonic acid by lungs . . . 320 

by skin ... 40 

Organic matter by kidneys . . 170 

,, by intestines . 308 

9 400 

HYDROGEN given off in 

Water formed in body by lungs and skin 1 70 

Organic matter by kidneys and 

intestines . . 100 

1 170 

OXYGEN given off in 

Carbonic acid by lungs ... 17 325 

by skin ... Ill 
Organic matter by kidneys and 

intestines . . 357 

Water formed in body by lungs and skin 9 130 

2~2 47 

NITROGEN given off in 

Urea, etc. by kidneys . . 245 

Waste by intestines . . 46 


* Reckon 438 [strictly 437*5] grains to oz. and 16 oz. to Ib. 


In this and the following table the amounts of 
common salt and other minerals, and of water taken 
in are not mentioned, for these undergo apparently no 
changes in passing through the body. 

By water formed in the body is meant water which 
results from the oxidation of Hydrogen as distin- 
guished from water taken in as such. 

The above table represents a fair average of daily 
outgoings of an adult in health and of ordinary 
activity. Heavy exertion, whether of work or sport, 
will cause, we know, an increase in these outgoings. 
It will be readily seen, the DAILY OUTGOINGS BEING 
KNOWN FROM EXPERIMENTS, it is easy to state what 
the daily intakes must be to keep up the balance so 
that there may be no over-storage or no undue 
demand on the natural storage. 

For a person whose outgoings are as in the above 
table there must, of course, be as follows : 


CARBON taken in Ib. oz. gr. intakes - 

In starches, fats, and Nitrogen compounds 9 400 

HYDROGEN taken in 

In starches, fats, and Nitrogen compounds 1 170 

OXYGEN taken in 

In the air breathed 1 10 115 

In starches,, fats, and Nitrogen compounds 7 370 

2 2 47 

NITROGEN taken in 

In Nitrogen compounds 291 

As Carbon and Hydrogen are associated together 
in compounds, and the heat produced by oxidation of 
VOL. I. H. 2 A 



C 4,900. 

What the 
figures mean. 

Hydrogen is nearly as well known as that of Carbon, 
it is usual to sum up the whole intakes as Carbon and 
Nitrogen, and the nearest convenient round numbers 
that can be selected are 


4,900 grains. 

The mere suggestion of speaking to hard-working 
men about grains of Carbon and Nitrogen in food with 
any hope of being understood may perhaps raise a 
smile of half-pity, half-mockery, for it has been known 
to provoke downright derisive laughter. This, how- 
ever, need not prevent some mutual understanding 
about the meaning of these figures, with the possi- 
bility that some may find them of use. It perhaps 
should be explained that 

In the first place they are not given as the result of 
any one particular experiment on any one particular 
person, doing a particular kind of work. They give 
an approximate average of the results of many ex- 
periments. They are intended to represent the daily 
requirements of a man about thirty, weighing 1 1 stone, 
and doing moderately hard muscular work. They 
mean the amount of Carbon and of Nitrogen he must 
get out of his food and into his blood. The quantity 
of food he will have to take to obtain this carbon and 
nitrogen depends on the perfection of his digestion 
and the kind of food he takes. The question of the 
kind of food is shown in the tables further on. A 
variation in the amount of work will lead to a varia- 
tion in the amount of Carbon and Nitrogen needed. 
A variation in the power of digestion may necessitate 
a change in the food taken so as to ensure getting 
the Carbon and Nitrogen out of it. 


In the second place it is not for a moment to be 
expected that any one succeeds in calculating out his 
daily diet with the exactness of a scientific chemist 
making an analysis of a food, or conducting ex- 
periments on the amount of carbonic acid given off 
during work of a particular kind. Even with the 
most rigidly routine life any attempt to meet the 
daily needs with exactness would be upset by changes 
in the weather. The nearest approach to exactness 
is perhaps in training for boat-racing, but every one 
with any experience knows how a muggy day or 
roughish water will " take it out of you," and make a 
slight increase of food necessary. 

The practical utility of the experiments such as 
those referred to at p. 350, which these figures summa- 
rise is that they show this the more the muscular 
work done, the more carbonic acid and water are given 
off, and the more C and H must be taken into the 
blood for oxidation. These figures C 4,900, and 
N 300 give an average. (For N, see p. 358.) 

Knowing then the amounts of C, H, and N that From what 

sources can 

are needed, the next inquiry is the sources from our intakes be 
which these can be obtained. Side by side with the 
investigations mentioned above, many chemists were 
engaged in examining the chemical composition of 
many substances we use as (ood. 

Leaving out of consideration the various methods 
of giving the results, as this does not affect our present 
inquiry, the important point to look to is the total 
amount of C, H and N. 

It has been found that there is so important a dif- 

2 A 2 



Two impor- 
tant groups 
of food 


ference, as to what they do in the body, between the 
compounds which contain N, and those which do not, 
.that this forms the ground of division into two great 

It is customary to speak of the C H O compounds 
as Carbon compounds, and C H O N compounds as 
Nitrogen compounds. It has often been found that 
in some minds a confusion exists between the element 
Carbon itself and carbon compounds, and the element 
Nitrogen and nitrogen compounds. It would avoid 
this confusion to adopt the names " C H O com- 
pounds," and " C H O N compounds," but it would be 
an untried innovation, and the usual custom of using 
the names is followed. 

The important point to notice is that both groups 
contain C and H, and the distinction of names is not 
meant to imply that one group contains only Nitrogen 
and the other Carbon. Both have C and H, which 
produce heat and force, but the nitrogenous group 
only can, so far as we know, in addition to producing 
heat and force, form muscle. 

It will, of course, not be forgotten that though 
muscle cannot be formed without nitrogenous com- 
pounds, the mere fact of having a plentiful supply of 
them in the blood will not form muscle. A muscle 
increases only by use use, with a plentiful supply of 
nitrogenous compounds in the blood. The importance 
of fish diet in relation to this plentiful supply will be 
seen from the table on p. 362. 

It is found that all the NITROGENOUS COMPOUNDS 
used as food have very nearly the same proportions 
of C, H and N. The elements in them are differently 
grouped, and to the scientific chemist they present 


differences which are important. Viewed, however, 
simply as sources of C, H and N, they are nearly 
of equal value. Three for comparison may suf- 


C H O N 

Albumen . . . 53 7 15 

Fibrine of muscle 54 7 3. 16 

Casein. . . . 53J 7 

These are given in parts per hundred, omitting very 
small fractions. 

In this and the next table the amount of oxygen is 
purposely left out, as the object here is to fix atten- 
tion on the amounts of C, H and N. It is, however, 
about 22 per cent, in the nitrogen compounds, 50 in 
starch and sugar, and 1 1 in the fats. 

As fair types of CARBON COMPOUNDS (which have Carbon 


no N) there may be quoted to be compared with 
the nitrogenous compounds 

C H O N 

Oils and Fats . . 76 12 g none. 

Starches ... 44 6 ^- none. 

Sugar . . 40 to 42 6 J ? . none. 

Starch is one of those words about which perhaps 
there is need for a "mutual understanding." It is 
not used by the chemist exactly in the household or 
laundry sense, as the " starches " used as food in this 
country are in wheat, rice, potato, corn flour, sago, 
arrowroot, &c. 

The range of sugars here given includes cane- 
sugar, beet-sugar, grape-sugar, &c. 

Looking at the above tables it will be seen that 
oils and fats contain the largest percentage of carbon. 
As illustrating how the practical experience of many 






cannot ex- 
plain all. 

and hard 

generations preceded the explanation which chemistry 
now offers of why certain things are habitually done, 
there is the well-known fact that in cold countries 
and during cold weather more fat is eaten than in 
hot, and the explanation is that fat contains so much 
Carbon, the oxidation of which produces heat. As 
heat is the basis of force in the body this is also the 
explanation of why labourers eat " hunks " of cold 
bacon and fat pork. The oxidation of the Carbon 
furnishes force for their work. 

Because the nitrogenous compounds as shown above 
contain 53^ or 54 per cent, of carbon it would at first 
appear that they can furnish more heat and force than 
starch or sugar, which contain only 44 or 40 per cent. 
But it has been found that when nitrogenous matters 
are oxidized in the body a portion (about one-seventh) 
of the Carbon and Hydrogen passes away unused. 
Deducting 8 as the nearest whole number to represent 
one-seventh of 54, we see that not more than 46 per 
cent, of the C is oxidised, which brings it down nearly 
to the value of the starches. 

This is as far as chemistry is able to offer any help 
at present, but so far, repeated experiments confirm 
what has been arrived at. Still there are some facts 
for which chemistry at present can offer no explana- 
tion. One of these affects those doing severe work. 
It is this that severe muscular work requires an 
increase in the quantity of the nitrogenous compounds 
in food. This does not appear to be the case with the 
mere increase in the number of hours of work, it is 
the seventy or as it is commonly called the " hard- 
ness " of the work that makes the difference. Though 
the scientific chemist cannot explain it, it is accepted 


as a fact and practically acted upon in public dietaries 
aiid by artizans and navvies, who, without knowing 
anything of carbon and nitrogen, eat what experience 
tells them they require. (See Appendix.) 

It is only within the last fifty years, roughly speak- 
ing, that any attention has been paid to the proportion 
of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen in foods, and only 
quite recently since 1866 that the work they do in 
the body, and the amounts of them needed for different 
kinds of work, has been understood. 

It may perhaps seem leaving the immediate subject 
of " Fish in Diet " to pause to allude to this at all, but 
it will be seen that unless the values of different foods 
in general use is understood, the relative value of any 
particular food, whether beef, mutton, bacon, or fish, 
cannot be understood. Further than this, there is a 
wide difference in the values of different kinds of fish. 
Though it would add much to the interest of under- 
standing this modern study to go through the history 
of how it came about, it would take time, and it is not 
essential to understanding the present views. 

Chemistry cannot explain everything with regard Influence of 

thought on 
to the connection between food and work. There is digestion. 

that mysterious connection between thought and 
digestion and digestion and thought. We cannot say 
give a man so much C and N and he will be able to 
do so much muscular work. The receipt of depressing 
news may quite upset his power to eat the food or 
to digest it, and the C and N must be in the blood 
before it can be of practical use, so that the mere fact 
of eating so many ounces of carbon and nitrogen 
compounds does not necessarily imply the power to 
do work All that chemistry can do is to show what 

3 6o 


are the proportions of C and N on which it is found 
the work is done, and to ascertain the proportions in 
which they are met with in certain sources of food. 
Differences in As a slight illustration of the great variation there 

the amounts . ., r , . ~ 

of C and N 1S in these proportions, the following figures are 
foods. U m arranged for ready comparison. The object of giving 
the table is to fix attention on the relative propor- 
tions of nitrogenous and carbon compounds, there- 
fore the proportions of water and of small amounts 
of mineral matter are not given. The figures are taken 
from the labels of the Food Collection at Bethnal 
Green Museum, and those who wish for complete 
details can find them there. 

One hundred parts of 


Carbon compounds. 
Starch. Sugar. Fat. 





Wheat contains . 





Fine flour 

. 10 





. 16 




Pearl barley 










Indian corn 





Peas contain 

. 22 




Haricot beans ,, 

. 23 





. 24 









Skim milk contains . 


. . 





. , 














. 29 




Eggs, white 

. 12 








Streaky bacon 




Such vegetables as cabbages and carrots contain so 
large a proportion of water about 90 per cent. they 
cannot be looked upon as sources of either nitrogen or 
carbon compounds, as the quantities that would have 
to be eaten are enormous. A pound of cabbage gives 
no more muscle-forming material than rather less 
than a quarter of an ounce of meat. Sixteen pounds 
of cabbage would furnish only as much as a quarter 
of a pound of meat. Vegetables have, however, other 
valuable uses. 

It may perhaps seem that a difficulty arises in 
regard to this table in working out the connection 
between these nitrogen compounds (which contain 
C H O N) and the carbon compounds (which con- 
tain C H O) see p. 356 with the figures given on 
p. 354. C 4,900, N 300. A table is given at the 
end of this handbook for helping calculations as to 
the amount of N present in N compounds. As ex- 
plained in the pages previous to p. 348, it is only by 
getting at the quantities of the elements taken in and 
given off in different forms we can know what chemi- 
cally takes place within our bodies. Recollecting 
what was mentioned on p. 358 about nitrogenous com- Can we 

obtain our 

pounds, it seems highly important to look at the nitrogen 
amount of N present in foods used in a hard-working from fish? 
diet. In this next table they are therefore given in 
single column. Meat and fish are compared, for if, 
as seems not improbable, " The roast beef of old Eng- 
land " is to become merely a tradition, and the cheery 
song preserved as a curiosity among the ancient 
music in libraries, then it may be useful to know what 
fish most nearly correspond in the amounts of nitrogen 

3 62 


compounds they contain, unless such foods as cheese, 
lentils, haricot beans or peas (see table on p. 360) are 
to be a substitute. 

The following analyses of fresh meat and fish are 
taken from the tables of the Food Collection at the 
Bethnal Green Museum. 

One pound of 







Beef contains . 




Mutton ... 




Pork ... 




Veal .... 




Lamb ... 




Salmon ... 

Mackerel ... 




Sole ... 




Herring ... 




Conger eel ... 




Pike ... 




On pages 364 and 365 is given a series of analyses 
of fish from Koenig's Nahrungsmittel. 

A more recent analysis of mackerel by Professor 
Church gives the nitrogenous matter as no higher than 
2% oz., but the fat as high as 2. Every one knows 
that fish change according to season, the most observ- 
able changes being in the amount of fat, but there is 


also a variation in the amount of nitrogen compounds. 
There is also a considerable difference between lean 
meat and fat meat in the proportion of nitrogen and 
carbon compounds. 

A single series of analyses alone taken at any one We need more 
time of the year does not give us all the information we ai 
want. We are only on the outskirts of the subject as yet. 

It would appear from chemical analysis, as shown Mackerel 
in the table, that such a fish as mackerel is well suited the same N. 
for taking the place of meat as a source of nitrogenous 
compounds. It is a fish, 'too, which has this advan- 
tage it is tasty when grilled, and a man not working 
at home who can grill or fry his own piece of steak, 
could equally well prepare his mackerel. Herring, Herring, 
too, which can be similarly cooked, has about the 
same nitrogen value as pork, though its carbon value 
is much less. Boiled fish loses its value, a fact which 
any one can infer from noticing the water, when cold, in 
a dish on which, say, a plaice has been taken to table. 

This is not a book on cooking, but it must be men- Effect of 
tioned that the chemical value of a fish as bought 
and as put on the table are often very different. This 
is a matter for the wives to think out. It is also a 
matter for them to consider, that while the husband is 
using his muscle, the children are growing theirs, and 
unless all our physiology and chemistry is wrong, 
muscle cannot be formed without nitrogenous food. 
It does not matter whether we can explain the " why," 
the fact seems to be clear. 

Possibly muscle value is dying out ; steam cranes, 
steam printing machines, steam ploughs, are doing 
away with the need for any consideration of a " hard- 
working diet," except perhaps that the need for muscle 



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work, or the alternative decay as a nation, is recognised 
and acted on in open-air sports. Perhaps one or two 
generations of a particular family may go on without 
much muscle, but the consideration is a national one. 
No direct Unfortunately we are without any direct evidence 

as to the value of fish in a hard-working diet - That 

in diet for fish-eatiner people are strong and healthy is remarked 

hard work, 

by travellers. But the question is on what fish do 
they live ? When the nitrogen value of different fish 
is considered, this is seen to be an important question. 
We have no records of railway making, pile driving, 
or even training being effected on fish. Even in the 

nor for work- attempts to introduce fish into workhouse dietaries, 

house diet. not hing is said of what fish is used. 

The best practical answer that could be given to 
"What is the place of fish in a hard-working diet ?" 

Should be would be for a certain amount of work to be under- 

practically _ 

tried. taken on fish instead of meat. 

At present all we can say is, that as far as what 
is commonly called chemistry goes, as apart from 
spectrum analysis investigations, of dissociation, and 
apart from that yet unexplained polarization, there 
seems no reason why cheap fish should not take the 
place of dear meat in a hard-working diet. Fish cost 
nothing to rear. But it must be tried, as it has not 
yet been tried ; for though there seems no reason for 
doubt, test tubes and reagents may not cover the 
whole question. If the British workman, after con- 
sidering the facts which chemistry seems to teach, 
such as here sketched out, decides for the future to 
work on fish not twelve hours stale, instead of oatmeal 
or tinned meats, he can do it, always, however, pro- 
viding fish-shoal movements remain as experienced 



fishermen believe them to be. For what the British 
workman determines to do, by CO-OPERATION he 
can do. Truck loads might be had direct. 

As regards hard work, it must be remembered 
before a man is able to do this he must keep himself 
alive, and only one-fifth of the energy he obtains from 
his food can be used for what is called " external 
work." The work of mere living is hard work the 
work involved in the beat of the heart and the action 
of the lungs alone, which goes on during sleep as well 
as by day, and the maintenance of heat. 

Here is a table by Professor Frankland, showing 
alternative foods of a person even lying quite idle. 


Only one-fifth 
of energy 
obtained from 
food is avail- 
able for ex- 
ternal work. 

for "internal 

Name of Food. 

in ozs. 

Name of Food. 

in ozs. 

Cheshire Cheese 






White of Egg 

2V I 



Hard-boiled Egg 






V S 


21 * 2 

Peameal . 

V 5 



Ground Rice .... 




Arrowroot .... 


Cocoa Nibs .... 



Lean Beef .... 
Lean Veal .... 
Lean Ham (boiled) . 



Cod Liver Oil ... 
Lump Sugar .... 
Commercial Grape Sugar 




Then, besides the chemical aspects of the question, 
there is that very practical one of relative cost 
a subject to which Dr. Edward Smith paid much 
attention, and on which he drew up suggestive Tables, 
which he included in the Reports to the Privy 
Council, made under such circumstances as mentioned 
in the next few pages which seemed to fully justify 

of relative 



It is desirable 
to have a 
knowledge of 
food values to 
lay out money 
for most use- 
ful foods. 

a Government Enquiry as to how people live at 
home. It would take too much space to reproduce 
them. (See Appendix.) Here, however, is a concise 
table of Professor Frankland's, of relative values, 
which may suggest thoughtful consideration for the 
wives who keep the weekly accounts. 


Name of Food. 

Weight in Ibs. 

Price per Ib. 



s. d. 

O 10 

s. d. 




o 5i 






o 3^ 



o 3f 

Peameal .... 
Ground Rice .... 


o 3* 
o 4 


o 4i 
o 5* 
i 3 


2 ' 345 

O 2 

o 4! 

Lean Beef 

3'53 2 


3 6 

Lean Veal 


I O 

4 3* 

Lean Ham (boiled) .... 

3' i 

i 6 
o 8 
i 4 

4 6 

2 I 

9 4 

White of Eggs 



o 6 
o 6 

4 4a 

I 2 



16 o 




id. per qt. 




o ii 




O I 



i 6 




i 6 


Beef Fat 



o 5* 



3 6 
o 6 

I Ili 

i 3 

Commercial Grape Sugar . 
Bass's Pale Ale (bottled) . . 

o bottles. 

o 3* 

10 IO 

o 5, 
7 6 
5 7z 

As market prices vary from time to time, and 
wages vary and work varies, it would be a great help 
to an artizan or labourer to have just that acquaint- 
ance with the results of chemical research to avoid 
laying out his money for one food when another 
would be more to his advantage. Health is pro- 
verbially the greatest df all blessings, and health 


depends on the judicious selection of food suited to 
the individual constitution, or idiosyncracy, as the old 


In 1862 a piteous time befell South Lancashire and The first 
the bordering counties. The people of the cotton enquiry into 
trade had a long rest from labour. 

The greater part of the district wore an air of quiet. 
The habitual din of the mills was hushed, the engine 
fires did not send their accustomed rolls of smoke up 
chimney stacks to blacken the sky, the bleach works 
ceased to taint the air, the busy clatter and thud of 
the cotton-and-silk hand-looms was stilled in the little 
dwellings. Looking down from neighbouring hills on 
groups of towns, the aspect day by day appeared that 
of a Sabbath. But the women were not in their 
Sunday dress, and the men were not afield with their 
dogs or flying their pigeons. Their rest was no 
holiday of choice ; anxiety marred attempts at enjoy- 
ment. The quiet meant only no work was to be 
had. No work meant no money, and no money 
meant no food. The sufferings of the people were 
described by the deliberately thoughtful pen of a 
contemporary historian, well known to students of 
blue books, though perhaps but little known to 
readers furnished only with volumes through sub- 
scription or free libraries. 

"The staple industry of these densely-peopled 
districts, the industry which previously gave liveli- 
hood, direct or indirect, to two millions of population, 
had for some months been declining, and was now 
probably at not more than a sixth part of its usual 
activity. Widespread bitter poverty was of course 

VOL. I. H. 2 B 


the result; and this poverty was in strong contrast 
with former circumstances. The affected class was 
not a common low type proletariat, familiar with 
parish doles, and preferring pauperism to labour. On 
the contrary, it was a people .... legitimately proud 
of its old self-supporting power and independence. 
Borne down of late by the increasing stress of a 
poverty which was quickly tending to become absolute 
privation, the sufferers had not clamoured as to their 
growing need for help. Even to the last they had 
rather shrunk from disclosing it .... As wages had 
begun to fail, first in many cases, there were previous 
well-earned savings to be exhausted ; then in nearly 
all cases there was household furniture and bedding, 
or at least clothing, which might be pawned or sold. 
Gradually during the summer these resources had 
been drawn upon .... And now in October a crisis 
in this long contest was at hand. Besides the pauper- 
ism which was known, there was an unascertainable 
but enormous amount of impending destitution. The 
ill-nourished were in myriads ; . . . . there was im- 
minent danger that death on a large scale might 
result directly or indirectly from starvation." 

Such is the description as addressed by Mr. John 
Sirnon to the Privy Council. 

The long-continued suffering was a severe trial. 
Worse off than people in a besieged town, to whom 
a successful raid might bring food that would be 
common store, the starving ones had to regard the 
rights of property, and to exist amid supplies they 
could not buy as their own. How the people through 
all the land sent their money to relieve those who had 
fallen into such grievous straits through no fault of 
theirs is commemorated in the window of the Guildhall. 


This calamity, which in many of its lessons was so 
important an event in the commercial history of the 
country, and which so aroused kindly feeling for those 
in temporary need, was the cause of the first official 
inquiry into the diet of any portion of the artizans of 
England. Workhouse dietaries had before been an 
object of investigation ; but workhouses contain 
people who have drifted there from different causes 
and from different occupations, and after varying 
periods of struggles for existence in health and 
weakness. The returns sent in are in a form that 
suggest that economy in management was the prin- 
cipal point. There may possibly have been some 
philanthropic motive in the background, but it is 
not apparent. Those inquiries went but little to 
show what was the necessary diet for any particular 
class of artizan in work as could be learnt from their 
usual habits. 

The theory that an Englishman's home is his 
castle was so far disregarded that Dr. Edward 
Smith, who had already distinguished himself by 
inquiries into the kind of foods that furnish muscular 
power, was sent down in accordance with instructions 
of the Privy Council to make inquiries into the lives 
of people in their little castles. Dr. G. Buchanan had 
been already sent down to be in the suffering districts, 
at the request of the Lords of the Privy Council, that 
they might " satisfy themselves that due local precau- 
tions were being taken to prevent the destitution 
which breeds diseases " (p. 1 8, Report). The object in 
sending down Dr. E. Smith is recorded thus 

" Their Lordships found it expedient also to provide 
themselves with more exact scientific information than 
was at the moment available with regard to the 

2 B 2 


This was the minute economies of diet." The details of the inquiry 

first time the . 

N and C in are lengthy, but the important point for us to re- 
cakulatS in member is that for the first time the carbon and the 
enquTry lal nitrogen of diet was recognised in an official inquiry 
as a basis for its working value. 

This enquiry, together with others subsequently 
made in other parts of the country, furnished facts as 
to how artizans lived, and at the same time Professor 
Frankland's work furnished the explanation of the 
origin of muscular power (p. 349). 

The subject The knowledge gained has hardly yet become 
national a subject of national education, even though the 
education. Food Collection" now at Bethnal Green Museum 
has been successively under the care of Dr. E. Lan- 
kester, Sir Lyon Playfair, Professor Huxley, Professor 
Frankland, and Professor Church, who has laboured 
that its teachings shall contain the latest results with 
exactitude. The Parkes Museum contains a collec- 
tion arranged by Mr. Thomas Twining, and Professor 
Corfield has done much to spread information, yet 
we can hardly say the subject forms part of national 
education. Each must think out for himself. 

Heat and force from Carbon and from Hydrogen. 

It has been shown that : 

1. The complete oxidation of C always results in 
the formation of CO 2 carbonic acid. The complete 
oxidation of H always results in the formation of 
H 2 O water. 

2. The supply of O may come 

(a.) Direct from the air as in such simple ex- 
periments as those described on pp. 343 and 344. 


(b.) Or from a compound that readily gives up 
its O, (p. 337), which admits of oxidation being 
made to take place in a closed vessel. 

(c.) Or, as in the body from the blood where the 
O is mainly conveyed in the corpuscles. 

3. The results of the oxidation of C and H within 
the body are carbonic acid and water, just the same 
as if they were oxidized in a candle or lamp. 

4. That C and H when oxidized, as all the ele- 
ments (except fluorine) do give rise to heat, often 
accompanied by light. 

5. That the oxidation of C and H in the body 
give rise to heat and force, but not such heat as to 
give light. 

6. That the results of the oxidation of C and H with- 
in the body (the carbonic acid and the water) are, with 
small exceptions, (p. 352) carried away from the place 
of oxidation by the blood to the lungs, which, while at 
each inspiration supplying fresh O to the blood, at 
each respiration relieves it of some of its CO 2 and H 2 O. 

7. That the amount of CO given off by the lungs 
is therefore a nearly exact measure of the amount of 
C oxidized. 

8. That the result of many careful experiments in 
collecting and weighing the amount of CO 2 given off 
at different times shows that more is given off during 
hard work than during light work. 

9. Whether the carbon is being oxidized at a rapid 
or slow rate, the supply whether immediately used up 
or stored has to be furnished by the blood to the parts 
where it is wanted, and the blood receives it from the 
stomach and associated parts, which, in their turn, 
obtain it from the foods. 


Briefly, carbon enters through the mouth as some 
form of compound, becomes oxidized in the body, 
giving rise to heat and force, and leaves the body 
as carbonic acid. 

Hydrogen enters also as some compound, becomes 
oxidized in the body, giving rise to heat and force, and 
leaves the body as water, mostly in the breath. 

The amounts given off have to be supplied by foods 
(see p. 353). 


1. The union of N with H forms ammonia. 

2. The N taken into the body in foods leaves it as 

3. A calculation of the amount of ammonia given 
off tells therefore the amount of N given off. 

4. The amount given off has to be supplied by 
foods (p. 353). 

5. Muscle cannot be formed without N. 

6. It appears from experience that a HARD- 
WORKING DIET must be largely made up of nitro- 
genous compounds compounds which contain all the 
four elements, C, H, O, N (p. 358). 

These must be accompanied by carbon compounds. 

7. There are some fish, herring, mackerel, sprats, &c. 
(see pp. 362 to 364), which have nearly the same N value 
as beef, mutton, or pork, and, so far as chemistry can 
tell, hard work can be done on them as well as on meat. 

8. We are without the direct evidence of experience. 

The average daily requirements of those doing only 
moderate work is (see p. 354) C, 4,900 grains; N, 
300 grains. 



The history of the people of that marvellous land Egypt. 
of Egypt, the cradle of so many of the arts, is gene- 
rally, for the convenience of chronological reference, 
divided off into periods corresponding with the 
dynasties of its rulers, even though the dates are 
uncertain. Sir Gardner Wilkinson supposes the date 
of the reign of Thothmes III. to be B.C. 1463, and 
assigns the fourth year of his reign as the time of 
the departure of the Israelites from their bondage. 
The wars of annexation of this powerful monarch, and 
of Rameses II. [B.C. 1355] commonly called the Great, 
who victoriously carried his arms right into the heart 
of Asia, mark an important era in the history of the 
nation. Military successes were followed by social 
changes among the wealthy, who prided themselves 
on having many luxuries for their use brought at 
great expense from distant lands. Foreign fish were 
among the rarities prized. 

Before this period, however, the use of fish was 
entirely confined to the toilers of the land. To the 
higher and priestly class it was forbidden. 

The home supply in Egypt, as we know from 
Herodotus, was chiefly derived from the Nile and the 
numerous canals and lakes, and large quantities of 
fish were taken after the subsidence of the annual 
inundation, being stranded on the fields. From the 
monumental paintings at Thebes and Beni Hassan we 
have representations of fish capture and curing. 

Fishing with ground bait, using a landing-net, 
drawing nets weighted with leads, carrying in and 
opening fish preparatory to salting, carrying the dried 
fish on a pole, and groups of people eating fish are 


all depicted. Angling for sport was practised by the 
wealthy, as is indicated by the dress of the angler 
comfortably seated, and by the presence of attendants. 
The net was used by the poor, and the spearing 
trident by the sportsman. 

Fishing was under Imperial control, and Herodotus 
mentions that the profits from the fisheries of Lake 
Mceris and its canals paid daily into the treasury 
amounted to a talent of silver, about 193 15^., during 
the six months the waters were retiring. 

After the time of the XlXth dynasty, B.C. 1269 to 
1 1 80, when fish became a recognised luxury of the 
banquet, and was imported from the distant waters 
of the Orontes, Euphrates, Halys, and the lakes of 
Palestine and North Syria, the Egyptians, like most 
nations in periods of luxury, turned their attention to 
fish culture : and the vivaria, or ponds, formed an 
important part of the domestic establishment of an 
Egyptian retem or noble. 

Salted and dried fish, as well as fresh, formed a 
portion of the diet of the Egyptian ; and the former 
was especially prescribed as the food to be eaten on 
fast days. 

In consequence of the attention given to fish as an 
article of diet during the golden age of Egypt, 
three kinds were strictly prohibited. These were the 
Oxyrhynchus the mezdeh of the Arabs ; the Phagrus, 
or eel, which to this day is avoided by Orientals, chiefly 
on account of its unwholesome qualities; and the 
Lepidotus, which Dr. Birch suggests as the Kelt-el- 
Bahr, or Nile dogfish, which was not eaten, probably 
on account of its unpleasant appearance. 
The Hebrews. The Hebrews, who had formed part of the poorer 


population of Egypt, during the time of bondage 
had been fish eaters. There are many references in 
their history made to this, e.g. in the book of Numbers 
(xi. 5). " We remember the fish which we did eat in 
Egypt freely." They adopted a somewhat similar 
division between the clean and unclean to that in 
vogue in Egypt. The Mosaic distinction, which 
classed fish which had not fins and scales as unclean, 
was proved by experience to be ambiguous, and led . 
to many ingenious comments and evasions by Talmudic 
writers. It was, however, similar to that of the Arabic 
lawgiver, El Hakim, who would allow none of the 
finless and scaleless fish to be sold in the markets of 

Long prior to the conquest of Canaan that land 
had been one of the chief sources of the fish . supply 
of Egypt, and the names Sidon (Saidu), "the fish 
town," and the two villages of Bethsaida ("house of 
fish ") on the Sea of Galilee, still remain to tell of the 
fisher life of the people. In the time of the historian 
Nehemiah, Tyrian merchants traded in Jerusalem in 
sea fish, in the market near the fishgate. The Sea 
of Galilee furnished the markets of Jerusalem with 
fresh fish, and during Roman rule a high rent was 
paid for the right of fishery over the lake, a distinct 
body of tax collectors being appointed to gather the 

In the richly watered valleys of the Tigris and Assyria. 
Euphrates fish was also largely adopted as an article 
of food, and the monuments of Nineveh furnish 
illustrations of the various modes of capture employed. 
As in Egypt, fishing both by net and by line was 
practised, while attached to the palaces of the kings 


were tanks in which fish were bred and fattened. 
Among the zoological inscriptions from the palace of 
Assurbanipal (B.C. 664), the Sardanapalus of Greek 
writers, are several lists, some of them fragmentary, 
of the various kinds of fish known to the Assyrians. 
In the religious calendars found at Babylon, dating 
about B.C. 550, we find that fish was ordered to be 
eaten on certain days by the people. 

The Greeks. Among the ancient Greeks diet received much at- 
tention, even at an early t period of their history, for 
Homer is careful to give details of the feasts of his 
heroes, whom he describes as living not on dainty 
dishes, but on such foods as were calculated to make 
them vigorous in body and mind. The characteristic 
feature of the diet of the Homeric age is, with tem- 
perance, that the banquet is composed of " viands of 
simple kind " and " wholesome sort." The chief seem 
to have been mutton, beef, or pork, roast and in some 
cases boiled, though the former mode of dressing 
was more frequent. These imply the possession of 
herds which represent wealth. To the meats were 
added bread in abundance, and wine, but no fruit or 
game or fish are mentioned. We may fairly conclude 
that the diet thus set forth by Homer as that of the 
neroes was such as was most regarded at the time 

Greeks as so o f the wr i te r as productive of mental and bodily 

forming as vigour. Familiar with the rich fisheries of the Medi- 
beef or 

mutton. terranean, he seems to have regarded fish as the 
wealth of the sea for the masses of the poor only, 
but he never once represents fish any more than he 
does game as being on the table of his great men. 

For the banquet of the later luxurious age of 
Greece, so vividly described by Athenaeus in " The 


Deipnosophists," we find a much wider scope in diet 
was adopted, and fish assumes an important place, Its place 
whether from a falling off from heroic taste or from age of luxury, 
enlarged knowledge is not clear. It is evident how- 
ever from his statements that fish was by some not 
only eaten as a matter of taste, but also from an 
empirical knowledge of the principles of dietetics. 
He quotes in his work (bk. iii.) the opinions of several 
Greek writers and epicures as to the relative suitability 
of certain fish and preparations of them for the table. 
On the authority of Diphilus the Siphnian, salt 
pickled fish was to be avoided on account of its 
irritant character. Diocles, the Carystian, is his au- 
thority on the various kinds of tunny (bk. iii., sec. 85), 
while Archestratus, the epicure, who sailed round the 
then known world in search of delicacies, is his au- 
thority as to the most wholesome modes of cooking. 
In the banquets fish appears in both the first and 
second course, oysters and salt or pickled fish being 
taken as hors cFceuvres. Quoting che parodist Matron 
(bk. ii.) he thus describes the course. After the bread 
which formed the first part of the Greek banquet both 
in the Heroic and later ages 

" Then all to pot herbs stretch their hands in haste, 
But various viands lur'd my nicer taste, 
Choice bulbs, asparagus, and, daintier yet, 
Fat oysters help my appetite to whet." 

It is probable that the Egyptian birth of Athenseus, 
he being a native of the city of Naucratis, may have 
made him so ardent an admirer of fish, and led him 
to devote the greater part of his seventh book to 
their study, and to laud in flowing hexameters 
the various edible kinds. This lavish praise by 



The later 




Athenaeus and the numerous authorities he quotes 

shows that fish was a rec g nised article of diet> 

anc i that the greatest care was taken in the se- 
lection of the best and most digestive species for the 

More than forty kinds are enumerated as eaten by 
the Greeks. Among the shellfish were oysters from 
Abydus, mussels from JEnus, and cockles from 
Messene, which were eaten raw, but on account of the 
amount of salt water they absorb, which rendered 
them indigestible, Mnesitheus, the Athenian, recom- 
mends their being boiled ; the reason he states being 
that when boiled they get rid of all, or at all events of 
most, of their saltness. Of the sea-fish eaten we find 
mention of tunny, turbot, mullet, char, and conger 
eels as most in favour, while pike, eels, and gray- 
ling represent the freshwater fish. The great fond- 
ness of the epicure for fish is illustrated by an anec- 
dote preserved to us by Athenaeus. Philoxeus of 
Cytheras, learning from his doctor that he was 
going to die of indigestion, from having eaten too 
much of a most exquisite fish "Be it so," he 
exclaimed ; " but before I go allow me to finish the 

So far as we can gather the history of fish-eating 
among the Greeks seems to have been this : the poor 
always used them as the many streams and countless 
bays and inlets of the irregular coast furnished them 
in abundance. The wealthy who relied on their 
herds and flocks for food, despised fish till in the 
later period of fastidious luxury the daintier kinds, 
or those which could only be obtained at trouble and 
cost, became fashionable delicacies. Those who 


studied their use from a dietetic point of view are 
sure to have been a minority. It is so in every land. 

We know very little of fish eating among the The Romans. 
Romans. It is probable that whether under kings ^ntylnfbr- 
triumvirs emperors, or after the dismemberment of ^oTfishb* 

the nation, it was much used by the people of the ^ mass f 

the popula- 

land as it was plentiful, but what everybody did no tion. 
one thought of recording. From the satires written 
on the follies of the luxurious age, we know more of 
occasional freaks of extravagance than we do from 
history of the regular habits of the people. 

No Roman banquet was complete without its fish 
course, and most lavish prices were paid for tur- 
bot and mullet. As with the Greeks, the Romans 
used oysters from Britain or from Lucrini Lake with 
pickled tunny, similar to the scabeccio of modern Italy 
as hors d'ceuvres, while turbot, mullet, sturgeon, char, 
eels, lamprey, and pike, dressed with a skill probably 
little, if at all, behind that of the chef of the present 
day, were part of the first course. The taste of the 
Romans for fish was so fine that not only were various 
species of fish selected, but those from certain waters 
or fed in certain pools were held to be especially 
good. This attention to condition led to the con- 
struction of stews or fish-ponds in which fish were 
preserved and fed for the table, In the reign of 
Domitian, Vedius Pollio is reported to have fed the 
eels in his pools with the flesh of slaves put to death 
for that purpose, but though strongly rebuked by the 
emperor this act met with no serious punishment. 

In the main the use of fish among the Romans 

3 82 


The use of 
fish in other 
countries at 
the present 

was similar to that of the Greeks, but the gourmets 
of the empire had invented many varied modes of 
dressing them, and had sent far and wide over all 
the empire in search of delicacies for the banquet. 
Not content with the rich supply of the Mediterranean 
and the lakes and rivers of Italy, fish was imported 
from Britain, from Greece, Egypt, and the Danubian 
provinces, and even the rivers of Syria and Asia 
Minor furnished their delicacies to the Imperial 

Of both the Greeks and Romans, however, we 
know next to nothing of the way in which fish was 
used by the masses of the people. 

At the present day fish forms a very large element 
in the diet of many nations and tribes. So largely is 
fish eaten in China that the home supply is not 
sufficient, and vast numbers of the population find 
employment in obtaining it from other countries. 
One of the chief imports is the beche-de-mer or 
trepany, a species of sea-slug, much prized as a 
delicacy by the Chinese gourmets. Fiji and the 
islands of Polynesia furnish the largest quantities, and 
from them also there is a steady supply of dried 
sharks' fins, which are regarded as especially nourish- 
ing on account of the great amount of gelatinous 
matter they contain. The great salmon fisheries of 
Yezo, so well described by Miss Bird, find a ready 
market in China, but for some reason not wholly 
for home consumption, as several million pounds 
of dried or preserved salmon are exported every 
year. Throughout China the millions who form the 


population dwelling entirely on boats or rafts on the 
rivers and canals, find their chief sustenance in fish or 
water-fowl. The tribes of Beloochistan feed almost 
entirely upon fish, and fish boiled or dried is even 
given to the cattle during times of scarcity. The 
Tartar tribes of Siberia and Central Asia, the 
Esquimaux, Coreans, Greenlanders, the coast tribes 
of North America, and the Indian races of both North 
and South America, as well as some of the Aboriginal 
tribes of Australia and New Zealand, live almost 
entirely upon fish diet. In some cases it is consumed 
in a raw state, as in Hawaii, where a meal is thus 
described by M. Ruschenberger : " The earth floor 
was covered with mats, and groups of men squatted 
in a circle, with gourd plates before them. They ate 
of the raw fish, occasionally sopping the torn animal 
in salt water, as a sauce, then sucking it." The diet 
of the inhabitants of New Guinea is described by 
Admiral Moresby as consisting of " Roots, fruits of 
trees, vegetables, &c., but chiefly fish caught in holes 
in the bed of the river." Again, " fish of all sorts 
is everywhere so plentiful along the shore that they 
may be caught with the greatest ease in uncommon 

That fish diet is conducive to the health and Fish diet 

- . conducive to 

stamina of the people is shown by the opinion of the health, 
people expressed by a traveller who says, " They (the 
Papuans) have a large stature beyond European, and 
larger than that of a people of more miscellaneous 
diet." This latter statement is quite in agreement 
with the opinion of fish diet expressed by Dr. Davey, 
who directed much attention to the subject, and thus 
sums up his results : " In no class than that of fishers 


do we see larger families, handsomer women, and 
more robust and active men, or greater exemption 
from illness." 


The following extracts are made for the con- 
venience of those who do not find them in their own 
public libraries. 

They may suggest ideas as to the extent fish may 
be again used in diet as well as objects for sport, or 
for being kept in ponds only for ornament. Some of 
them are curiously quaint, but they all seem to show 
that, whatever the period from which the quotation 
is made, more attention was paid to the use of fish 
than has been in this iQth century up to the time of 
the Fisheries Exhibition. 


Edward IV. 

From Joannis Lelandi, in ' Collectanea de Rebus,' 
vol. VI., " Out of an old Paper Roll." 

The great feast at the intronization of the Reverende 
Father in God, George Nevell, Archbishop of Yorke 
and Chancellor of Englande in the 6th year of the 
reigne of King Edward the Fourth. And first the 
goodly provision made for the same. 

Amongst other things there were the following 
fishes : > 

Pikes and Breames, Porpoises and Scales. 

Here followeth the serving of fish in order. 


First Course. 

First potage, Almonde butter, Red Herringe, Salt fish, Luce 
salt, salt Eel, boiled Keyling, boiled Codling, boiled Haddock, 
Thirlepoole (roast), Pike in Rarbite, Eels (baked), Salmon chynes 
(broiled), Turbot (baked), and Fritters (fried). 

Second Course. 

Fresh Salmon jowles, salt Sturgeon, Whitings, Pilchards, 
Eels, Mackerel, Plaice (fried), Barbelles, Conger (roast), Trout, 
Lamprey (roast), Bret, Turbot, Roches, Salmon (baked), Lynge in 
jelly, Breame (baked), Tench in jelly, Crabbes. 

Third Course. 

Jowles of fresh Sturgeon, great Eels, broiled Conger, 
Chenens, Breame, Rudes, Lamprones, small Perches (fried), 
Smelts (roast), Shrimps, small Menewes, Thirlepoole (baked), 
and Lobster. 

2. HENRY VII. Time of 

In the following record of a celebrated series of 
fish " meals " it is difficult to know whether to call 
them feasts or not. The " Sabbati " means Saturday. 

" Intronizatio Wilhelmi Warham, Archiepiscopi 
Cantaur, in passione Anno Henrici 7, vicesimo et 
Anno Dom. 1504, nono die Martii." 

" The hye stewarde of this feast was Lord Edward, 
Duke of Buckingham, and was also chief butler, 
making his deputy Sir Thomas Burghey, Knight." 

Die Sabbati ad prandium Ducis. Summa sercu- 
lorum in die Sabbati seq. Cum servit Archiepiscopi 

et Ducis. 

Primus Cursus. 

Lyng in oil, Conger in oil, Pike in satin sauce, Conger (roast), 
Salmon in oil (roast), Carp in sharp sauce, Eels (roast), Custarde 


Secundus Cursus. 

Frumentie royall Mamonie to potage, Sturgeon in oil with 
Welkes, Soles, Breame (sharp sauce), Tenches (floryshed), Lam- 
pornes (roast), Roches (fried), Quynce (baked), Tart Melior Leche 
Florentine, Fritter ammel. 

VOL. I. H. 2 C 


Die Sabbati ad coenam. 

First Cursus. 

Lyng, Pike, Salmon in sorry, Breames (baked), Conger (roast) 
in oil, Eels and Lamperones (roast), Leche comfort 7, Creame 
of Almondes, Sturgeon and Welkes, Salmon (broiled), Tench in 
jelly, Perch in sorry, Dulcet amber, Tart of Proynes,* Leche 

On the following day, Passion Sunday, the 9th of 
March, the year of our Lord 1 505, in the 2nd yeare of 
the reigne of King Henry the 7th. The first course 
at my Lord's table in the great hall was as follows : 

Primus Cursus. 

Frumentie royal and mainmonie to potage, Lyng in oil, 
Conger p. in oil, Lampreys with galantine, Pike in latmer sauce, 
Conger (roast), Halibut (roast), Salmon in oil (roast), Carp (sharp 
sauce), Eels (roast), Salmon (baked), Custarde (planted), Leche 
Florentine, Frittered Dolphin. 

Secundus Cursus. 

Tolie Ipoccas and prune dreudge to potage, Sturgeon in oil 
with Welkes, Turbot, Soles, Breame in sharp sauce, Carp in 
armine, Tenches florished, Crevesses, Lamprons (roast), Roches 
(fried). Lampreys (baked), Tart Melior, Leche Florentine, Fritter 
ammell, Fritter pome.f 

Afterwards the Duke is served in his chamber with 
a separate meal : 

Frumentie and Hamonie for potage, Lyng in oil, Conger in 
oil, Lampreys with galantine, Pike in latmer sauce, Turbot, 
Salmon in oil, Carp in sharp sauce, Eels (roast), Breame in paste, 
Custard (planted), Leche Comfort, Fritter Dolphin. 

At the Archbishop's board end. First course like 
to the Duke's, except two dishes less in the whole 
course, that is to say, Salmon in oil and Eels roasted. 

At which board the Archbishop did sit. 

* ? Prawns. t ? Apples. 


At the Lord Stewarde's board : 

Second Course. 

Jolie Ipocras tart to potage, Sturgeon in oil with Welkes, 
Conger, Breame in sharp sauce, Carp in grenine, Tench (flory- 
shed), Crevesses, Lampreys (roast), Salmon in Alowes, Soles 
(fried), Lamprey paste, Tart Melior, Leche Florentine, Fritter 
ammell, Quinces and orange paste. 

At the Archbishop's board end same as the Lord 
Steward except two dishes, Crevesses d.d. Lampreys. 
For the hall at the Bretherns Board. 

First Cursus. 

Rice molens potage, Ling in oil, Conger in oil, Lamprey with 
galantine, Salmon, Pike in latmer, Custarde royal, Leche 
Damaske, Fritter Dolphin. 

Second Cursus. 

Joly Amber, Sturgeon in oil, Torbut in oil, Soles, Breame de 
river, Carp (sharp sauce), Tench (floryshed), Eels and Lampreys 
(roast), Tart Lombarde, Quince paste, Leche Cyprus, Fritter. 

Messes to be served for another suite for the Great 
Hall and Chambers : 

First Course. 

Rice moiens potage, Lyng, Lamprey or Eel, Pike in herbiage, 
Cod or Haddock, Breame paste, Leche Damaske, Frittered 

Second Course. 

Joly Amber potage, Sturgeon in oil, Carp or Breame in sharp 
sauce, Salmon in oil, Eels (roast), Orange paste, Tart Lombardi, 
Leche Cyprus, Frittered Columbine. 

For the little Hall: 

Eels in sorry pot, Lyng, Salmon or Eel, Sturgeon, Turbot or 
Bret, Whiting, Bream or Eel paste, Leche Cyprus, Quince 
paste, Frittered pome. 

2 C 2 


For the Vailes : 

Eels in sorry pot, Lyng, Haddock, Whiting, Plaice, Eel paste, 
Leche Cyprus. 

For the Hall at second dinner of servitors : 

Lyng in oil, Conger in oil, Pike (latmer sauce), Lampreys with 
galantine, Conger, Halibut, Salmon in oil, Custarde (planted ), 
Leche comfort,* Frittered Dolphin. 

For my Lord Archbishop, Lord Steward and other 
Lords sitting at a board at night : 

Joly Ipoccas, Leches (floryshed), Lamprey paste, Quince and 
orange paste, Tart Melior, Leche Florentine, Marmalade, 
Succade, Comfettes, Wafers, with Ipoccas. 

On the following Monday. 
For my Lord : 

First Course. 

Rice molens potage, Lyng in oil, Conger in oil, Eels, Pike in 
oil, Haddock or Plaice, Salmon, Breame paste, Leche Damaske, 
Fritter pome. 

Second Course. 

Homonie potage, Sturgeon and Welkes, Breame in oil, 
Tenches in grisell, Roaches (fried), Carp (broiled), Chynes of 
Salmon (broiled), Eels and Lamprey (roast), Quince paste, 
March pear, Leche Florentine, Fritter orange. 

For the Knights' and Dukes' Council : 

First Course. 

Rice potage, Lyng, Conger, Eels, Pike in sharp sauce, 
Haddock, Plaice, Salmon, Breame paste. 

Second Course. 

Homine potage, Sturgeon, Breame in oil, Tench in grisell, 
Carp (broiled), Chynes of Salmon (broiled), Eels and Lampreys 
(roast) Quince paste, Leche Florentine, Frittered orange. 

* ? Comfit. 


For the principal mess in the Hall : 

First Course. 

Eels in sorry pot, Lyng, Salmon, Eel, Pike in sharp sauce, 

Second Course. 

Plaice, Salmon, Breame paste, Leche Florentine, Fritter 

The common fare of both the Halls : 

Eels in sorry pot, Lyng, Salmon, Eels, Pike (sharp sauce), 
Haddock or Plaice, Plaice, Quinces and tart paste, Leche 

3. DATE 1512 to 1525. A<D . I5I2to 

From the ' Antiquarian Repertory.' Vol. IV. 

In treating of accounts of the great Earl Percy's 
household, we find the following items of fish in the 
yearly providings. 

Item to be paid to the said Richard Gowge and 
Thomas Percy for to make provision for cxl. stokfish 
for the expensys of my house for an hole yere after, 
\}d. obol (2\d.) the pece by estimacion. All the said 
fisch to be brought at Candlemas next cummynge to 
serve my house from Shroftide to Ester next, after 
and to be occupied from the said Shroftich to Ester, 
viz. all the Lent season, some xxxiijj. iijW., which is to 
be paid all to geder (altogether) to the said Richard 
Gowge and Thomas Percy at the said Candlemas, 
because of the occupying of theym in the said Lent 
following. And so the hole somme for full con- 
tentacion of the said stokfish for one hole yere is 
xxxn>. \\\)d. (33^. $d.} 

To the same parties for white herrings follows, on 


the same account for the "hole yeare," \rnli. xs. 

For Salt Fishe do. do. (18 

For Rede Herringe, do. do. (63* 

For Sprootis (sprats ?), do. do. (los.) 

Far Salmon Salt somme c. s. do. do. (5.) 

For Salt Sturgeon IDS. the ferekyne, ditto ditto. (30^.) 

What is allowed for breakfast. 

This is the ordre of suche braikfast as shal be 
allowed in my Lord's house, every Lent begynnyng at 
Shrovetide, and ending at Easter. What they shall 
have at breakfast Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and 
Saturday except my Lord's children, which shall 
have breakfast every day in the week in Lent. 

For my Lord and Lady. First a loaf of bread in 
trenchers, ii manchets, a quart of beire, a quart of 
wine, ii pieces of salt fish, vi baconned herrings, iv 
white herring or a dish of sproits, i. 

Breakfast for my Lord Peircy and Master Thomas. 
First a loaf of bread in trenchers (same as preceding, 
only half the quantity). 

For the nursery for Lady Margaret and Master 
Tugeram Peircy 

A manchet, a quart of beer, a dish of butter, a 
piece of salt fish, a dish of sproits or four white 

For my Lady's gentlewoman a loaf of bread, a 
pottell (bottle ?) of beer, a piece of salt fish, or three 
white herrings. 

For my Lord's Breder and head officers of house- 
hold two loafs of breed, a manchet, a gallon of 
beer, two pieces of salt fish and four white herrings, i. 


Then follow directions in similar style, for gentle- 
man ushers and marshalls of hall. 

For gentlemen of household, viz. korvers, cup- 
bearers, &c. 

For ii meas (mess ?) of gentlemen o' th' chapel and 
a meas of children. 

For my Lord's clerks viz. clerks of the kitchen, &c. 

For goemen officers of household, &c. 

Here follows flesh days. Then comes breakfast 
of fish to be allowed within my Lord's house on 
Saturdays throughout the year " OUTE OF LENT." 

My Lord and my Lady, a loaf of bread in 
trenchers, two manchets, a quart of beer, a quart of 
wine, a dish of butter, a piece of salt fish or a dish of 
buttered eggs. 

And so on all the household salt fish or buttered 

[Another extract, date 1610, is given at the end of 
the book.] 

4. DATE 1259 to 1400. 


THE following is a curious old memorandum of the 
1 4th century : 

" Be it rememberyd that y Elys holcote wardeyne Prices A.D. 
of Merton College in Oxforde owe to Will Thommys 
Cytesyn and Stokke fysch monger of londone for 
dyverse ffysche bowght of the same Will xiii li. vis. 
iiird. (payabyle) to be payd at Wytsontyde next 
comynge aftyr the date of the bylle. In wytneise 
whereof y have sett my seal to the present bylle 
yevyn at londone on the feest of Seynt valentyn 





the yere of the Reyne of Kynge Kerry the vj th aftyr 
the Conquest xxv*V 

This acknowledgment also contains endorsement 
of receipts on account written by the creditor or his 
agent. The original is in Holcot's writing. 

Stock-fishmonger was a regular branch of trade in 
medieval times. Salt herrings, red and white, salmon, 
eels, sturgeon, lampreys, haddock, lyng, morucae 
(which are said to be cod), mulvells, melyng, hake, 
haburden, cropling, dogdrave, and hard, stock and 
salt fish, were all cured. Fish was then expensive. 

In those days whale and porpoise were favourite 
dishes, as well as conger eels. Piscaries were very 
valuable property, farmed by owners or let at high 
rents. The eel fishery of Wythornesemere is made 
the object of an annual account and audit on the part 
of the Countess Isabella de Fortibus, as was also the 
salmon fishery of Westshene, the property of the 
King (Edward II.). The piscary of Dibden was 
rented by fishermen under the Provost and Corpora- 
tion of God's House in Southampton ; and the fishing 
in Cherwell at Oxford was let by the warden and 
fellows of Merton, whenever this Corporation did not 
consume its produce in their own commons. 

Herrings were usually bought by the thousand 
(1,200)) occasionally by the last (containing ten such 
thousand). They were purchased sometimes in very 
large quantities, as, for instance, in Winchester in 1259 
on behalf of the Bishops ; at Rochester, for the purpose 
of victualling the castle against the siege, 1263 ; at 
Sandwich, and especially at Acle, where Roger Bigod 
appears to have had a castle. Large quantities were 
bought at Wolrichston against harvest time; the 


proprietors of that manor dealing out a certain 
number of herrings to their servants at that time. 
In Norfolk and Suffolk, the centre of the herring 
trade, prices were comparatively moderate ; going 
inland, carriage added considerably to the price of 
the fish. 

O spring, in Kent. There are sixteen entries, prices 
uniform, between the years of 1277 and 1295. Herrings 
then were 8s. ^d. the thousand in that place, and 
lowest in price at Waleton on the Eastern coast. 
Prices were high in 1311-1320, and during the last 
fifty years of this enquiry seven herrings were sold 
for one penny, and at about fourteen a penny, on the 
average of the previous ninety years. 

Before and after the plague herrings were sold by 
the cade (500 or 600 of fish) at the rate of $s. %\d. 
All these entries are at the close of the I4th century. 

Prices * varied. In 1318 it was as low as ^d. a Salmon, 
pound at Oxford ; as high at Gloucester in 1327 as 
6s. $d. 

At Westshene (Richmond) 

* : d. 
Salmon sold in 1313 were worth 513 o 

3 10 o 
8 i o 
6 14 o 
o 13 6 

This was Crown property, and besides the profit 
derived from the sale of the fish caught, the manor 

* In 1846, and later, salmon was purchased at 6d. a Ib. in the 
south-west of Ireland. 














received certain payments from fishermen licensed 
to angle or net parts of the piscary. On an average 
these licences amount to los. \\d. annually. Thames 
salmon sold at very high prices ; their value, when 
expressed in present money, being on an average 
2 i$s. lod. No salmon are now taken in the Thames, 
sewage having destroyed them. 

Christchurch fish was about the same value. 

But none equal the value of Severn fresh fish, 
sold at Gloucester at 6s. $d. each. This is enormous 
despite the traditional price of Severn fish. 

Eltham they were sold for is. 6d. 

In this record salt fish is expressly named ; thus 
fourteen are named as being purchased at Gloucester 
at 2s. 9%d. ; six at Conway in 1392 at 2s. 6d. ; three at 
Hardlaugh that is Harlech at I id. each. In 1 3 1 6 a 
sturgeon was caught at Mortlake which the bailiff of 
Westshene purchased for i for the King's use. By 
a statute of the same reign (16 Ed. II. cap. i) all 
sturgeon, wherever caught, are declared vested in the 
Crown by virtue of its dignity or prerogative, and 
are to be delivered without purchase. 

Lampreys. Lampreys were considered the choicest of fish. 
They were expensive luxuries in the year 1284, 
selling in Clare at *js. a dozen, and in Bridgnorth, in 
1392, 6s. 8d. was the price for a single dish. 

Eels. The dearest eels were those caught at Wythornese- 

mere in Yorkshire, which sold at 3^. 8d. the stick of 
twenty-one. All these entries are before the plague. 
After those are two entries of salt eels, in 1392 at 6d, 
in 1398 at 2s. y the stick. Conger eels were bought at 
Winchester in 1259, at Branndon in 1327. The latter 
gives an entry of porpoise purchased at 8d. If these 


were bought, as would appear to be the case in War- 
wickshire, both porpoise and conger must have been 

The earliest date at which pike (Lupi aqudtici) are Pike, 
quoted is 1277, Lambwaith (probably the present 
Lambeth). Two years after they are found three suc- 
cessive years at the same place, and called " pikerell." 
They were also taken at Cherwell, Gosford, and at 
Oxford. With one exception (Cambridge, 1342) all 
other pike were taken from the lower portion of the 
Cherwell, and probably in medieval times these pike 
had as great a reputation as they bear now. 

There are few entries of oysters. But the rate of Oysters, 
those taken at Thorney in Sussex is uniform half- 
penny the hundred. And at Sharpness in Kent yd. 
the bushel. Mussels are also quoted from this place 
at $d. the bushel. 

5. DATE 1401 to 1582. 

ENGLAND.' Rogers. 

Gives average prices of fish for the last fifty years Prices A. D. 
of the fourteerich century : 






Herring (red), cade . 








Do. (white), barrel 








Sprats, cade . 









Salmon, barrel 









Ling 1 , c . 








Cod c ..... 











Stock fish, c. . 







A J 





Salt fish, warp . 









The first column is the average between the years 


1401-1540, the second that of 1541 and 1582, the 
third is the ratio of the rise in the later period 
approximately calculating to two places of decimals, 
the first column being taken as a unity. 

There is also another entry. 

Before the Reformation religious houses consumed 
a vast amount of fish, and a fish diet, partly ecclesias- 
tical rule, partly from necessity, occupied a large 
portion of the year. After the Reformation the 
Anglican Church continued to prescribe a fish diet on 
fast days and in Lent, partly to sustain a national 
industry, partly as a relic of ancient rule. Most of 
the prices here collected are of salt fish for keeping, 
for winter and Lenten diet. Monks are said to have 
imported the grayling of the Shropshire and Here- 
fordshire streams. 

All fish was dear at the beginning of the fifteenth 
century, lowest during the forty years 1481-1520 

White herring were purchased at Cambridge only, 
the red at Oxford also. 

Fresh salmon, Canterbury, 1404, sold at the enor- 
mous price of 7s. each ; at Bicester and Cambridge in 
1439 fr m IO< ^ to !* io< At Oxford in 1450 price 

from is. ^d. to is. lod. 

s. d. 
At Netley Abbey 1455 at i 4 

Cambridge . 1461 i 3 

1463 i 2 

Oxford . . 1471 ,,05 

Wymondham 1492 i 2 

Cambridge . 1495 o 8 

Thornbury . 1507 3 o 


At Durham in 1530 there were purchases of fresh 
salmon at low prices, while in 1529 the King bought 
five fresh salmon at is. each. 

Salmon was far more commonly sold salt and by 
the barrel, also by the pipe. The Severn salmon is 
best quality, and always takes the highest price. 

No salt salmon sold between 1421-1440, but nine 
fresh were bought at is. each in 1437. 

Eels were purchased salt by the barrel, and its sub- Eels, 
division, the stick ; price generally high. Eels were 
frequently bought during the fifteenth century, but 
ceased to be purchased in the sixteenth century. 

Bought in 1404 at 3^., in 1406 at is. i^d., in 1451 Salt Conger. 
at 6d. each, in 1456 at is. t in 1527 at is. yd., in 1534 
at 4s. 8d., and in 1537 at 5^. 

It is asserted pike was brought to England in 1537 
(vide Albin), and carp imported in 1514 by Leonard 
Maschal. However, the entries quoted show pike 
and pickerell to have been in this country in the 
fourteenth century. 

* d. 
In 1404 cost 500 the hundred. Pike. 

1472 o 2 o each. 
J 530 o 3 6 
1531 ,,040,, 

Dentrice vary from 4^. to 3^. qd. each, though in Dentrice. 
1435 half a hundred were bought at los. the hundred. 
Dentriculi were cheaper ; sixty cost 4$. 6d. in 1452. Pentriculi. 

s. d. 
Trout in 1429 cost 2 2j each. Trout. 

1530 o I Durham. 
1533 o 74 Lewes. 









1492, on best 
season for fish, 

In 1451 cost o o I J each. 


2 8i 

1 19 6 were given in Durham for 


were is. 4d. to $\d. each. 

In 1535 2s. the hundred. 
Do. do. 

was much bought ; the Duke of Bucks gave ?s. lod. 
for a quarter of one in 1444 ; while Sion Abbey paid 
los. for the same delicacy in 1502. In 1530-3 at 
Durham their price varied from 15^. to 6s. 8d.,m 1531 
from 4s. to 13^., in 1532 9^., in 1533 one whole 
porpoise cost is. 8d. 

There follows a regular table of prices of all kinds 
offish from the year 1401-1582. 

6. DENISON (ALFRED). 1492. 

The earliest Treaties on A ngling. 

(Privately printed 1872 translated from Flemish.) 

Best Season for Fish. 

SALMON. April and May, and a little while 
after it is at its very best, and remains so till the day 
of St. James. Then it must be left until St. Andrew's 
day, and is best between St. Michael's Mass and St. 

PIKE CARP. Pike is best in July. Only the 
pike is good at all times, only except when he sees 
the rye he spawns. Item : the fore part is best, as it 
is with other fishes. 

TENCH FLIE. Always best in June. 


PERCH. Good except in April and May. 

BREAME MACKEREL. Good in February and 

MULLET. Is good in March and April. 

KULLINCK. Is best at Candlemas day, and 
continues good in April. 

RUDD. Good in February and March, falls off in 

GUDGEONS. Good February, March, April, until 
May only the young gudgeon is always good with 

BLEAK. Best in autumn. 

STICKLEBATS. Are good in March and the 
beginning of May ; when they are full they shall be 
stirred with eggs. 

EEL. Eel is good in May, till the day of the 
Assumption of our Lady. 

LAMPHREY. Is never better than in May. And 
LAMPHERN, its brother, is good from the 13 Mass 
to the day of our Lady's Annunciation. 

CRAYFISH. Best March and April, particularly 
when the moon increases they are best. 

Here ends this little book, that is very profitable. 

And this book was caused to be printed by 
Matthias Van der Gose. 

7. 'Hc-LiNSHED CHRONICLES.' 1586. HOOKER. Hooker, 1586. 

Vols. /., //. Third book, chap. 3. 
" Of Fish value taken on our Coasts" 

There is no house, even of the meanest houses, 
which hath not one or more ponds, reservations of 
water, stored with some of them (fish), tench, carp, 


breame, roch, dace, eels, or such like, as will live 
and breed together. It is not possible to tell the 
names of all the fishes to be found in our rivers. Yet, 
lest I seem incurious to the reader, in not delivering so 
many of them as have been brought to my know-v 
ledge, I will not let to set them down as they do 
come to mind. 

Salmon. First, salmon, which is not to be taken from the 

middst of September to the middst of November, are 
very plentifull in our greatest rivers, as their young 
store are not to be touched from mid- April to Mid- 
summer. We have 

Trout, barbell, graile, powt, chenin, pike, gudgeon, 
smelt, perch, menan, shrimps, crenises, lampreies, and 
such like, whose preservation is provided for by divers 
laws ; not only in rivers but in lakes and ponds which 
otherwise would be small value to their owners. 

Friendship of The pike is friend unto the tench. The fish- 
pike to tench. 

monger openeth the side of the pike and layeth bare 

the fat unto the buyer, for the better utterance of his 
ware, and cannot make him away at the present ; he 
laieth the same again in the proper place, and sewing 
up the wound, he restoreth him to the pond where 
tenches are ; who never cease to lick and suck his 
greeved places till they have restored him to health 
and made him ready to come again to the stall when 
his turn come about. 

I might here make report how pike, carp, and some 
other of our river fishes are sold by inches of clean 
fish, from the gills to the crotch of the tail, but it is 
needless ; also how the pike as he ageth receiveth 
divers names ; as from a frie to a gilthed, pod, tacke, 
pickerell, pike, and last of all luce. Also that salmon is 


first a gravellin, then salmon peale, then pug, finally 

I might finally tell you how in fennie rivers sides, Eels. 
if you cut a turf and place it grass downward on the 
earth, so that the water may touch it as it goes past, 
you shall have a brood of eels. It would seem a 
wonder, and yet it is believed by some, that if you 
lay a horsehair in a pail of the like water, it will 
shortly stir and become a living creature. 

Sea Fish. 

All have particular season, few fish being in season Soles, 
all the year round. 

December and January 'is the season for herring and Seasons of 
red fish, rocket &n.<\ gurnard. February and March for 
plaice, trout, turbot, mussels, etc. In April and May, 
mackerel and cockles. In June and July, conger. In 
August and September, haddock and herring doth most 

Of fishes, therefore, I find five sorts, the flat, the Five sorts 
round, the long, the legged and shelled ; so the flat 
are divided into the smooth, scaled and tailed. Of 
the first are the plaice, the but, the turbot, vict floke First, 
or sea flounder, dory, dab, etc. Of the second, the Second 
soles. Of the third our chaits, maidens, kingsons, Third, 
flath and thornbark ; whereof the greater be for the 
most part either dried and carried into other countries, 
or sodden, sold and eaten at home ; while the lesser 
be fried or buttered soon after they be taken as a 
provision, not to be kept long for fear of putrifaction. 

Under the round kinds are comprehended lumps ; Fourth, 
an ugly fish to sight but very delicate eating. The Lumps< 
whiting, the rochet, sea breame, pirle (?), hake, sea-trout, 

VOL. I. II. 2 D 



gurnard, haddock, cod, herring, pilchard, sprat, and 
such like. Under this kind also are the great fish 

Thirlepole. contained, the seal, dolphin, porpoise, the thirlepole, 
whale, and whatsoever be round of body, be it 
great or small. 

Fifth. Of the long sort are congors, eels, garefish, and 

such other of that form. 

Sixth. Finally of the legged kind we have not many ; 

neither have I more of the sort than the Polypus, called 
the English lobster, crayfish or crenis, and the crab. 

As for the little crayfish, they are not taken in the 
sea, but in our fresh rivers. 

Lobster. Carolans Stephanus doubted whether lobster be 

fish or not , and in the end concluded them to grow 
of the purgation of the water as doth the frog ; and 
those also not to be eaten, for that they be strong and 
very hard of digestion. 

Oysters. We have plenty of oysters, whose value in old 

time for their sweetness was not unknown in Rome 
(although Mutianus, as Pliny noteth, lib. 32, chap. 6, 
prefer the czicena before them) ; we have mussels and 
cockles. We have likewise no small store of great 
winkles, scalops and periwinkles, and each of them 
far into the land from the sea coast in their several 

And albeit all our oysters are generally forborne for 
the foure hot months, May, June, July, August, 
which are void of the letter R, yet in some places they 
be continually eaten, where they be kept in pits. 


8. ' BUTTES ' (HENRY). I 599. Henry Buttes, 

"Dyets, Dryr Fish. 

Choice, whenever you can get it, great or little. Carp. 
Nourished! best, tasteth most excellently and ex- 
quisitely ; in all men's judgment a fish of chief note. 
Only it soon tainteth, therefore dress it presently. 

Lay it scaled and gutted five hours in salt, then fry 
it in oil and besprinkle it with vinegar in which spice 
and saffron have boiled. Temperately hot and moist, 
in the beginning of the first. For any season or 

Thick ; caught in May, in a swift running river, Trout. 
full of deep downfalls and rocks, and not out of 
standing pools. Nourisheth well ; soon digested ; 
yields a cool juice for an over-hot liver and blood ; 
therefore good in hot agues. It soon putrifieth. 
Scarce fit for old men and weak stomach. Seeth it in 
just so much vinegar as water ; eat it with sour sauce 
as soon as you can. Seasonable in hot weather for 
all but decrepid ; every temperature but phlegmatic. 
Our vulgar proverb hath it, " As sound as a trout." 

River sturgeon is fatter and therefore more grateful Sturgeon. 
to the palate than sea sturgeon. Seasonable in 
summer, the belly the best. A friendly dish on the 
table, very dainty and of chief account. Nourisheth 
well ; inciteth Venus ; cooleth the blood moderately. 
Naught for the sick or in recovery, for it is some- 
what fat ; makes thick and clammy juice, slowly 
digested. Seeth it in water and vinegar with a little 
cinnamon or fennel in it. Seasonable in hot weather 
for all but those plagued with distillations and 
diseased joints. 

2 D 2 



Mullett or 

Lamprey. River. In March or April for then it is notably 

good and the backbone marrow tenderest. It hath a 
most excellent fine relish, nourisheth passing well ; 
increaseth seed. A lordly dish. Somewhat slow of 
digestion, specially not boiled enough ; naught for 
the gout, or feeble sinews. Choake it with white 
wine, stop the mouth with a nutmeg, and the other 
holes with cloves ; then fry it with nuts, bread, oil, 
spices and white wine. For any season, age, constitu- 
tion, but decripit, goutie, and diseased sinews. 

Of the lesser size are best, not taken in muddy 
water but on clear gravel. Pleasing to the palate ; 
the flesh applied cures the biting of venemous things. 
The wine wherein mullet is cooked is injurious 
should not be used, destructive to fecundity, the 
meat is hard and slow of digestion. Roast upon a 
gridiron sprinkled with oil and the juice of oranges ; 
or boiled with vinegar, sweet herbes and saffron. 
Suitable for youth and cholericke young stomackes. 
The Romans prized this fish at a wonderful high rate, 
and it is incredible what Asinius gave for a mullet. 

Tench, Small river, in autumn or winter most seasonable. 

It little benefiteth the body, only some think cut 
lengthway and applied to the feet stancheth the heat 
of ague. Is slow of digestion, heavy on the stomach, 
bad nourishment, specially in the dog days. Bake it 
with garlic, sweet herbs and spices, oil, onions, and 
raisins, garlic, parsley and vinegar. Fit for youth, 
collerick and very labouring men. 

Pike. River rather than pond. Great, fresh, new and fat ; 

nourisheth much. The jawbones burnt to powder 
and given, the weight of a french crown, in wine will 
break the stone. 


Hard of concoction. Bad nutriment, burdens the 
stomacke not for the sick. Seeth with sweet herbs 
and oil ; eat with vinegar, or boiled with wild marjoram 
and vinegar. Fit for winter, youth and chollerick. 

The following is a curious rhyming account of 
opinions of the value of certain fish. 

Dray ton, in his Polyolbion, has (in 25 song), 
Holland's oration 

" What fish can any shore, or British sea town show, 
That's eatable to us, that it doeth not bestow 
Abundantly thereupon ; the Herring king of sea, 
The faster-feeding Cod, the Mackerell brought by May, 
The dainty Sole and Plaice, the Dab, as of their blood ; 
The Conger finely sous'd, hote summer's coolest food ; 
The Whiting knowne to all, a general wholesome dish ; 
The Garnet, Rochet, Mayd, and Mullet, dainty fish ; 
The Haddock, Turbet, Bert, fish nourishing and strong; 
The Thornback and the Scate, provocative among ; 
The Weaver, which although his prickles venom bee, 
By fishers cut away, which buyers seldome see ; 
Yet for the fish he bears, 'tis not accounted bad : 
The Sea-flounder is here, as common as the Shad ; 
The Sturgeon cut to keggs (too big to handle whole) 
Gives many a dainty bit out of his lusty tole, 
Yet of rich Neptune's store, whilst thus I idely chat, 
Think not that all betwixt the Wherpoole and the Sprat, 
I goe about to name, that were to take in hand 
The Atomy to tell, or to cast up the sand." 

1 598. Epigram De Piscatione. 

" Fishing, if I a fisher may protest, 
Of pleasures is the sweetest, of sports the best; 
Of exercises the most excellent ; 
Of recreations the most innocent. 
But now the sport is marde, and wott ye why ? 
Fishes decrease, and fishers multiply." 

COLLIER'S Poetical Decameron, vol. ii., p. 108. 




I745> Vol. I. ' Universal History of Arts and Sciences: 


First sal ting Salting herring was not discovered until 1416, 
though some date it from 1397. Willoughby, in his 
' History of Fishes/ observes that Will Buckelty or 
Baccbalen, a native of Bier-ulict, rendered his name 
immortal by the discovery of the secret of curing 
and pickling herring. He adds that the Emperor 
Charles V. coming into the low countries made a 
journey to the Isle of Bier-ulict with the Queen of 
Hungary, on purpose to see the tomb of this first 
Barreleer of herrings. 

The Dutch are of first quality. 

Comparison of The Irish next in value after the Holland, prin- 

juaiity her- cipally those of Dublin, which are scarce inferior to 
those of the best Rotterdam or Enkuysen. The 
Scotch are not so well prepared, salted, etc., as the 
Dutch. It is not doubted that if the Scotch were as 
careful as their neighbours, their herring would be the 
best in the world. 

First fishing The Hollanders were the first to begin herring 
fishing (they are the most industrious people in the 
world to acquire wealth). Their first regular fishing 
is fixed to the year 1163. They begin 24 June, and 
employ 10,000 vessels therein, called Busses ; they 
carry from forty-five to sixty tuns, and two or three 
small cannon. They are not allowed out of port 
without convoy, unless there be enough of them 
together to make eighteen or twenty pieces of 


A Brief Note of the Benefits that growe to this Realme J. Erswicke, 
by the Observation of Fish-daies. With a Reason * 
and Cause wJterefore the Law in that behalf is 
made. J. ERSWICKE, 1642. 

The first cause mentioned is for the maintenance of 
the navy. 

Second cause, that many towns and villages upon 
the sea coast are of late years wonderfully decayed, 
and some depopulated, which in times past were 
replenished not only with fishermen and great store of 
shipping, but sundry other artificers, as shipwrightes, 
smiths, rope-makers, net, sail makers, &c., and others 
mainly supported by fishing. That hereby they may 
be renewed, the want wereof is, and has been, a cause 
of numbers of idle persons with whom the realm is 
greatly damaged ; and this happeneth by the un- 
certainty of the sale of fish, and the contempt which 
in eating of fish is conceived. 

Many other things for confirmation hereof might 
be spoken, the weath and commodity that fishing 
doth bring to this realm ; the cause that certain days 
and times for expence of fish must of necessity be 
observed, growne by reason the provision of fish for 
the people's diet must be certainly provided. . . will 
be sufficient to persuade such persons as esteem more 
the benefit of their country than their own lust or 
appetite, setting before their eyes the fear of God in 
obedience to the Prince's commandment, especially in 
such things as concern the benefit of a common- 

An estimate of what beefs may be spared in a year 
in the City of London by one day's abstinence in 


the week. First in the year are 52 weeks to 
every week 7 days 365 the Lenten Friday and 
Saturday in every week, and the other collected fish 
days being collected together extend 153. So in the 
year is 153 fish days and 21 1 flesh days. That is 
58 flesh days more than fish days. 

So the year having 52 weeks, abate 7 for the time 
of Lent wherein no beef ought to be killed, and there 
remaineth but 42 weeks. Then let us say there be 
three-score butchers freemen, . . and every butcher kill 
weekly the one with another, five beefs apiece. The 
same amounts to 13,500 beefs. 

The foreigners in the suburbs and such as come 
out of the country to supply the town are four times 
as many 54,000. The beefs entered by freemen and 
foreigners together extend to 67,500. . . . 

The beefs spared by the days mentioned to 
be observed as fifty days' abstinence, would be 
13,500 .... 

And this does not increase any of the fast days 
already in vogue, only orders a better observance of 

1547101585. 'STATUTES OF THE REALM' (1547 to 1585), 

Vol. IV, part I. 

Anno 5, o. Elizabeth, cap. v., sec. n. And for the 
encrease of provision of fishe by the more usual eating 
thereof, bee it further enacted, that from the feast of 
St. M. the Arch Angels, anno Dui, fiftene hundreth 
three score four every Wednesday in every week 
through the whole year shall hereafter be observed, 
and kept as the Saturdays in every week ought to be, 


and that no person shall eat flesh no more than on 
common Saturdays. [N.B. Not Fridays.] 

Sec. 1 2 orders for the benefit of the realme and to 
save flesh meat, it shall not be lawful for any person to 
eat meat on fast days ; penalty forfeit 3 for every 

5 Elizabeth, c. 5, A.D. 1562-3, sect. 12. Penalty 
on not keeping fish days. Every person to pay 3 
or suffer three months' close imprisonment every time 
they offend. The owner of every house where fish is 
eaten, and who shall not inform thereof, fine 2. All 
forfeitures for same to be divided as follows : One part 
to use of her Majesty, her heirs or successors, one part 
to the informer, one part to the common use of the 
parish where offence is committed. To be levied by 
churchwardens after any conviction in that behalf. 

Sec. 13 gives licences to eat meat on payment of 
money. The lord or his wife shall put in parish poor- 
box on certain days twenty-six shillings and eight- 
pence. Knight or knight's wife, yearly, six shillings 
and eightpence. This permission excludes the eating 
of beef at any time of year ; veal from Feast of St. 
M. Arch Angel unto ist day of May. Licence also 
for sickness, proceeds thereof go to curate of parish. 

Sec. 14 confirms old fish licences of previous kings, 
archbishops, and all ecclesiastical laws, &c. 

Sec. 20 goes minutely into further penalties how to 
be levied and applied. 

Sec. 22 allows only one competent dish of meat on 
Fish Wednesdays at the same meal, and three com- 
petent usual dishes of sea fish of sundry kinds, &c. 

Further, says no man is to mistake the intent of this 


statute limiting orders to eat fish and to forbeare from 
flesh. It is intended and meant politically for the 
increase of fishermen and mariners, &c., and not for 
any suspicion to be maintained in the choice of meats. 
That whosoever shall by preaching, teaching, writing, 
or open speech notify that any eating of fish and for- 
bearing of flesh, mentioned in this statute, is of any 
necessity for the saving of the soul of man, or to the 
service of God, or otherwise than as other politic laws 
are, shall be punished as spreader of false news. 

'STATUTES OF THE REALM* (1586 to 1624), 

Vol. IV., part 2, chap, xxviii., p. 1058. 

James I. in 1603 issued a proclamation reminding 
his English subjects to keep Lent. This his Majesty 
did to help Scotch herring trade. 

Charles I., 1627, sent a royal decree from Whitehall 
to same effect. 

Froissart mentions (1429) when the English were be- 
sieging Orleans, the Duke of Bedford sent from head- 
quarters (Paris) five hundred cartloads of herrings 
for the use of the camp during Lent. The French 
Xaintraille, Lahire, de la Tour de Chavigny, and the 
Chevalier de Lafayette made a desperate effort to 
stop the convoy, but were routed with much slaughter. 

1825 to 1835. 

"Father Prout " (Rev. F. Mahony, P.P., Watergrass 
Hill, co. Cork) says : Lent is an institution which 
should long since have been rescued from the cobwebs 


of theology, and restored to the domain of common 
sense and political economy, for there is no prospect 
of arguing the matter in a fair spirit among conflicting 
divines : and of all things polemics are the most stale 
and unprofitable. Loaves and fishes have, in all ages 
of the Church, had charms for us of the cloth ; yet how 
few would confine their bill of fare to mere loaves and 
fishes ? So far Lent may be a stumbling block. In 
Edward III., A.D. 1338, Rymer's 'Fcedera,' page 1021, 
says that before the battle of Cressy fifty ton of 
Yarmouth bloaters were shipped for the troops. The 
enemy sorely grudged them their supplies, for it 
appears by the chronicles of Enguerrand deMonstrellet, 
the continuator of Froissart, that in 1429 they had a 
battle which Rapin calls " La journee des harengs." 

The cultivated Athenians appreciated the value 
of fast days. Accordingly on the eve of certain 
festivals they fed exclusively on figs and the honey 
of Mount Hymettus. . Plutarch tells us a solemn fast 
preceded the celebration of Thermophoria. 

It appears that Numa fitted himself by fasting for 
an interview with the mysterious inmate of Egeria's 

Gibbon, in the ' Causes of the Decline and Fall/ 
notices the vile propensity to overfeeding, and shows 
that nothing but a bond fide return to simpler fare 
could restore the mighty system of dominion. The 
hint was acted upon. The Popes, frugal and 
abstemious, ascended the vacant throne of the Caesars, 
and ordered Lent to be observed throughout the 
Eastern and Western worlds. 

The theory of fasting saved the Empire, taught 
self-control, and gave a jnasterdom over barbarous 


propensities ; did more originated civilisation and 

Prout's Reliques in his ' Apology for Lent ' says 
fasting is of very remote antiquity. It was in vogue 
at the first general council that legislated for Christen- 
dom at Nice, in Bithynia, A.D. 325 ; the custom was 
ratified by Assembly of Bishops, Laodicea, A.D. 364. 

1525101553. 'Liber Domicilii,' 1525 1553, published by the 
Ballantyne Club, enumerates the material daily 
ordered for the king's table. Amongst other fishes 

Seal was purchased for the larder, either whole or 
in quarters, and entered as Phoca or Selch. The 
Porpoise too was in demand under epithet of Pellok. 
It may be added the monks of Dunfermline had a 
grant from Malcolm IV. of the heads of Porpoises 
caught in the Forth, except the tongues. 

Herrings were much used, both fresh and salt ; 
while, contrary to the general supposition, "Aleca 
rubea " was not unknown in those days. 

Many kinds of white fish appear to be referred 
to, Mulones recentes and Mulones aridi, terms by 
which the Cod seems to have been known. Other 
allied kinds are called albi pisces, Ware Codling, 
Podlokis, Codlinges, Merlingis, Merlingis cestivales, 
Lithis, and Leing, in addition to Stockfish, Speldings, 
and pisces aridi. 

The flat fish, under the terms Turbones, Holibut, 
Roues, Turbot, Bronoscopi (hranoscopi), Flounders, 
seem to have been liberally supplied ; also occasion- 
ally Sole. No reference is made to the Skate, unless 
we are to consider the fish termed Rigadia as of that 


Many other sea fish are referred to, as Sand Eels, 
Fundolis ; Blennies, Greenbans ; Gurnards, Crtmans ; 
Lump fish, Padils ; Angler, Murlycon ; Sea Cat, 
Cattus marinus. The Spirling, Conger Eel, and 
Lamprey, also have a place ; while M^fische, a term of 
frequent occurrence, is of doubtful import. 

At the head of freshwater fish is the Salmon, used 
fresh, salted, kippered.* Trout, Eels, Perch, and Pike, 
are also constantly used. Pike being purchased in 
1525 (see Yarrell) is in opposition to the received idea 
that this fish was imported in the reign of Henry VIII. 
in 1537. It is more probable it had become so scarce 
it was re-introduced. 

Among the molluscous, Polupi, or Cuttle-fish, fre- 
quently occupies a place ; also Oysters, Mussels, 
Cockles, Concis ; Razor-fish, Spouttis ; Scallops, 
Pectines ; and the Horse-mussel, Pectines aqucz dulcis. 
The Bucky and Limpet conclude the list. Of the 
crustaceous animals the supply appears to have been 
only of common Crab and Shrimps. 

Dr. Parnell, as referred to by Mr. Yarrell, informs 
us of an example of Lampris opale washed ashore 
near North Queensferry, July, 1835. It was found by 
those who eat it to have flesh red and good as that of 
a Salmon. 

The Doree is generally considered a great luxury 
for the table, and the derivation of its name, from 
adoree, with the fact that the appellation applied to it 
by Ovid is Rarus, are often referred to in illustration 
of the unanimity of this opinion. 

Mr. Couch says of the Surmullet that it is now, as 

* This is one of the earliest notices of kippered salmon. 


it ever has been, an object of injury to those who 
indulge in the luxuries of the table, so that it became 
a proverb that those who caught it never knew the 
taste of it ; but to obtain it in its perfection it ought to 
be in the hands of the cook within a few hours after it 
has been taken out of the water. The ancients were 
aware of this, and it was something more than curiosity 
which led the Romans to produce living fish on the 
table for the inspection of the guests, before they de- 
livered them to the cook. Seneca tells us they were 
scarcely valued unless they died in presence of the 

In no article of luxury does it appear that the 
Romans of the Empire went to such extravagant and 
even ridiculous extent as in regard to this fish. 

Stone Bass. They form an excellent dish at table. 

Red Mullet. Lucullus is sufficiently known for the great expense 
he was at in forming his ponds, . . . and yet he was 
blamed by Hortensius for want of care in allowing 
his fish to remain in what he considered an unhealthy 

Martial has an epigram on one who sold a valuable 
slave, that with the price he might for once thus 
indulge himself and be talked of, although, in fact, he 
gave his guest little else to eat. Under these cir- 
cumstances the price might be expected to be high. 
A Mullet of 2 lb., each pound 12 ozs., was expected to 
bring its weight in silver. This value, however, was 
often exceeded, and specially when the fish had grown 
scarce in their own waters, and in consequence were 
sought for on the distant coasts of Corsica and the 
south of Sicily. . . . Juvenal speaks of a single Sur- 
mullet as having obtained the price of almost fifty 


pounds. . . . The more sober Suetonius tells us that 
on one occasion three of these Mullets were sold for 
thirty thousand sesterces at least seventy pounds for 
each fish. 

Bass, though thought excellent for the table with Bass, 
us, was regarded much more highly by the Romans in 
the time of the Empire. They set the highest value 
on those caught in a recognised district of the Tiber, 
and which those who prided themselves on their 
exquisite taste professed to be easily able to re- 
cognise ; . . . yet it was the fish preferred by the 
epicure that ought to have excited disgust ! for the 
favourite station was indebted for its excellency to 
the great cloaca or principal drain of the city. 

Mr. Couch in his book on fishes does not often Dolphin, 
mention which are used for food ; but he says, Porpoise, 
speaking of the Dolphin and Porpoise, they were 
esteemed fashionable dishes for the royal table as 
late as the time of King Charles I., although Wil- 
loughby and others are so candid as to admit that 
they were not thoroughly relished by all tastes. 
Rondeletius goes further, and says the smell itself was 
so nauseous as to destroy the appetite for all besides 
that was on the table. 

The value of Skate as an article of food is very Skate, 
differently thought of in different parts of this kingdom 
and of Europe. Risso says it is not a common fish at 
Nice, but that it is highly held in esteem ; and Lace- 
pede also speaks of it as a delicacy. But the most 
favourable account is by Willoughby, who records a 
remarkable instance, in which, owing probably to 
excellent cookery and exquisite sauce, a single fish of 
this sort weighing 200 Ibs. was found to satisfy 120 


learned gentlemen at St. John's College, Cambridge. 
Lac6pede says it is salted and dried for exportation, 
particularly in Holstein and Sleswick, and in that 
state it is sent to Germany for sale. It is also so 
prepared in our own country, and sold in market at 


Atherine. Like smelt, they are common at Brighton, Worth- 

ing, Eastbourne, Down in Ireland, Youghall, Dublin. 
The liver and roe are delicious ; superior in spring 
when full of milt and roe. 

Pike Pike were rare formerly in the latter part of the 

1 3th century. Edward I., who condescended to 
regulate the prices of different fishes, that his subjects 
might not be at the mercy of the venders, fixed the 
value of pike higher than fresh salmon, and more 
than ten times greater than that of the best turbot or 
cod. In the reign of Edward III. I refer to the lines 
of Chaucer (see p. 336). Pike are also mentioned in 
the Acts of Richard II., 1382, regarding the fore- 
stalling of fish. Pike were dressed in the year 1466, 
at the great feast given by George Nevil, Archbishop 
of York. Pike are also mentioned in the famous 
'Boke of St. Alban's,' printed 1481. They were so 
rare in Henry VIII.'s time, that a large one sold for 
double the price of a house lamb in February, and a 
pickerel or small pike for more than a fat capon. 

Pennant says they live to ninety years of age. 
Gesner relates that in 1497 a P*ke was taken at 
Halibrun in Suabia, with a brazen ring attached to it, 
on which were these words in Greek character : " I 


am the fish which was first put into this lake by the 
hands of the Governor of the Universe, Frederick II., 
the 5th of October, 1230!" This fish was therefore 
260 years of age, and weighed 350 Ibs. The skeleton, 
nineteen feet in length, was preserved in Manheim as 
a great curiosity. 

In Ireland they have been caught of 70 Ib. weight ; 
but Isaac Walton says : " Such old or great fish have 
in them no great goodness." 

Those of the Medway, when feeding on smelt, 
acquire excellent condition and fine flavour. 

Found on coast of Cornwall ; its flesh is good food. Red Wrasse. 
The Comber Wrasse is mentioned by Couch, Jago, and 
Pennant as found on our coast, and good food. 

Though taking colour from its food is not injured Tench, 
thereby. One taken at Munden Hall, Fleet, Essex, 
was dyed black as ink from fetid lake, yet, when 
eaten, none could taste sweeter, or be better grown. 
Some caught at Leigh Priory of about 3 Ib. weight 
looked beautiful, but when dressed smelt and tasted 
so rank, and of a particular weed, no one could touch 

Yarrell (Vol. II.) says of Holibut :- 
Occasionally seen in London market, common on 
coast of Ireland ; flesh firm and white, though dry, 
muscular, fibre coarse, little flavour, head and fries 
best part ; sold at low price by the Ib. 

VOL. I. H. 2 E 



' Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and 

(\$th Century). 
NOTE. Beda y libro primo. 

Fysches whiche be callede dolphynes be taken 
there (Britain) oftetymes, and porpas and other great 
fish, excepte diverse kyndes of schelle fisches, as 
muscles, in whom margarites be founde of every 
coloure, as redde of a purpulle coloure, and of the 
coloure of a jacinte, but most specially white mar- 

Also there be schelle fisches habundantly with 
whom a nowble redde coloure is made and diede. 
The beautuous reddenesse of whom may not appaire 
in eny tyme thro the heete of the sonne, neither 
thro the injury of reyne (rain) ; but ever the more hit 
(it) is werede, and in age, hit is the moore feire in 


The Thames From ' Harrison on the Noble River Thames ' in 
in 1593- I593) as published by the ' New Shakspere's Society.' 

(London : 1877.) 

Speaking of the Thames, he says : It is the 
longest of the three famous rivers of this isle, so it 
is nothing inferior unto them in abundance of all kinds 
of fish, whereof it is hard to say which of the three 
have either most plenty or greatest variety, if the 


circumstances be duly weighed. I will invent no 
strange things of this noble river, therewith to nobili- 
tate and make it more honourable, but this I will 
plainly affirm, that it neither swalloweth up bastards 
of the Celtish brood, or casteth up the right begotten 
that are thrown in without hurt into their mother's lap, 
as Politian fableth of the Rhene (Epistolarum lib. 8, 
epi. 6), nor yieldeth clots of gold as the Tagus doth ; 
but an infinite plenty of good fish, wherewith such as 
inhabit near unto its banks are fed and fully nourished. 
What shall I speak of the fat sweet salmon, daily Salmon, 
taken in this stream, and that in such plenty (after 
the time of the smelt be passed) as no river in Europe 
is able to exceed ! 

What store also of barbels, trouts, chenins, 
pearches, smelts, breames, roches, daces, gudgins, 
flounders, shrimps, &c., are commonly to be had 
therein. I refer me to them that know, by reason 
of experience of their daily trade in fish, better 
than I. 

Albeit it seemeth from time to time to be as it 
were defrauded in sundry wise of these her large 
commodities, by the insatiable avarice of the fishermen, 
yet this river complaineth (commonly) of no want, but 
the more it looseth at one time, the more it yieldeth 
at another. Only in carps it seemeth to be scant, Carp, 
since it is not long since that kind of fish was brought 
over into England, and but of late into this stream, 
by the violent rage of sundry land-floods, that brake 
open the heads and dams of divers gentlemen's 
ponds, by which means it became (somewhat) par- 
taker also of this said commodity, whereof earst it 
had no portion that I could ever hear. (Oh ! that this 

2 E 2 


river might be spared but even one year from nets, 
&c. ! But, alas ! then should many a poor man be 

The tide rises and falls twice a day as high as 
seventy miles above London. There are floods when 
the Thames overfloweth her banks in the falls and 
changes of January and February wherein the lower 
ground are soonest drowned ; this order of flowing is 
perpetual. These land floods also do greatly strain 
the fineness of the stream, insomuch that after a 
Haddock. great land flood you shall take haddock with your 
hands beneath the bridge, as they float upon the 
water, whose eyes are so blinded with the thick- 
ness of that element, that they cannot see where 
to become and make shift to save themselves before 
death take hold of them. Otherwise the water of 
itself is very clear, and in comparison next unto that 
of the sea, which is subtle and pure of all other. 

Extracts from 'THE PAMPHLETEER.' Vol. I. 1813. 

It is a singular but ascertained fact, that when the 
largest quantity of mackerel is in the British Channel, 
which supplies the London market, the fishermen who 
frequent Billingsgate almost wholly discontinue the 
mackerel fishing. It is thus accounted for the fisher- 
men depend on the fishwomen who daily attend 
Billingsgate with baskets on their heads to purchase 
their fish. But as soon as the common fruit comes into 
season these women find the sale of gooseberries and 
such like produce them a larger and more secure profit, 
with less risk and trouble. 

Being disappointed of a sale for the mackerel at the 


time when they are most abundant, the men give up 
in a degree their employment for the season, and an 
immense amount of palatable and nutritious food is 
thereby annually withheld from the inhabitants of the 

On the 1 5th June, 1812, upward of 17,000 mackerel 
were purchased by Mr. Hall at $ the thousand, and 
sold to the working weavers at the original cost, one 
penny each. They were purchased with great avidity 
not merely for immediate consumption, but also put 
into small pots with vinegar to keep ; they continued 
good for some time and eat like pickled salmon. 

Five hundred thousand mackerel arrived and were 
sold in one day. They were purchased at six and 
even nine for one shilling. They brought down the 
price of meat, as butchers sold at twopence a pound 
under the usual price. 

Improvements in agriculture and economy in the 
use of food are remedies usually prescribed for excess 
of population. There are acres of water around our 
coasts inexhaustible in nutritive and palatable food. 
These fields are perpetually white with harvest, and 
we have only to reap the harvest which Providence 
benignly supplies. 

An objection is made to fish diet for the labouring 
class as being passed lightly by digestion, it is therefore 
unfit to support labour. But, first, the labouring poor 
in fishing ports who make it their principal diet are 
stout, hardy and strong. 


Secondly, fish is not proposed as a sole article of 
food, only an addition to, or improvement on, what 
they now have. 

Thirdly, the objection may be removed by the 
mode of cooking it. In America cod and other kinds 
of fish are dressed with pork, bacon, fat beef, potatoes, 
thickened with rice or oatmeal, and small suet 
dumplings, and seasoned with savory herbs, and 
pepper and salt, the whole producing a palatable and 
nutritious stew which they call choudep. 

The benefits to accrue from a more general use of 
fish are food, occupation, nursery for seamen, and 
increase of trade. 

Norway derives five-sixths of its food from fisheries, 
without which its population could not exist. It is 
not desired, nor may it be expedient or necessary, to 
carry the use of fish to even a third of that 
comparative amount. But if one-fourth only of the 
subsistence of this country were derived from fish 
(the other three parts being chiefly composed of 
corn, meat, and potatoes and an equal quantity were 
exported in exchange for the wheat, rice and other 
foreign produce), it would not only provide for an 
additional population of above four million, but would 
supply the whole of the inhabitants of Great Britain 
with more nutritive and palatable diet than they now 
enjoy, as the saving of butchers' meat by the middle 
classes might allow a greater proportion of it for the 
poor, instead of their present scanty and too general 
diet of bread, water and tea. 

Fisheries would afford employment to a numerous 


class of courageous, adventurous individuals, who are 
too volatile to fix any settled steady course. 

The addition to our export trade would be great, 
the saving of money enormous, as for many years 
past we are drained of millions of bullion annually 
remitted to foreign states as the price of our daily 

March 10, 1813. 

As an illustration of the way in which the use of T. Venner, 
fish was studied before the chemistry of foods was 
studied, there is given the following long extract from 
T. Venner's Via Recta ad Vitam Longam (1650) : 

OF FISH. Section 5. 

It is because fish increaseth much gross, slimey, and 
superfluous flegm, which, residing and corrupting in the 
body, causeth difficulty of breathing, gout, the stone, the 
leaprie, the scurvy, and other foul and troublesome affects of 
the skin. Wherefore I advise men that are much delighted 
with the use of fish, that they be careful in the choice of 
it ; as that it be not clammy, slimy, neither of a very gross 
and hard substance, not oppleted with much fat (for all fat 
is of itself ill and noisome to the stomach; but of fish it 
is worst), neither of ill smell and unpleasant savour. Where- 
fore of sea-fish the best swimmeth in a pure sea, and is 
tossed and hoist with wind and surges ; for by reason of 
continual agitation it becometh of purer and less slimey 
substance. And for the same cause, the fish that is taken 
near a shore that is neither earthy or slimey, is of a harder 
digestion, and of a more slimey and excremental substance. 
The fish also that taketh itself from the sea to the mouths 
of great rivers and swims in fresh water, quickly become 
better or worse. If in slimey rivers they lose much of their 









goodness, if in pure gravel improve, and the farther they 
go from sea the better they are. Fish in standing pools, 
unwholesome by reason of impurity of the place, it breedeth 
a very slimy excrementall nourishment, very hurtful to them 
who are subject to gout, and stone, and obstructions of the 

The sole is somewhat hard, is remarkable for whiteness 
and purity of substance, pleasant taste, good juice, and far 
exceedeth all other sea-fish ; therefore may be called sea- 
capon. It is verily to be reckoned amongst meats of 
primest note; and for such as are infirm and sick, non 
magis qndm salutaris cibus. Severn soles excell all others. 

Plaice is pleasant to palate, easily digested, and, in the 
judgment of some good men, a good fish. But my opinion 
is that it is watery, and giveth excremental nourishment, 
special if not well grown. It is agreeable to those who are 
by constitution choleric ; but to the phlegmatic very hurtful, 
because it aboundeth with phlegmatic juice. 

The dab, or little plaice, is worse. 

The gurnard is of harder digestion than any of the 
former. The red is the best. Both kinds give good 
nourishment and nothing slimey ; therefore they are better 
for the phlegmatic than plaice or flounder. 

The whiting, notwithstanding that it is unsavoury and 
nourisheth little, is much liked. It is easy of digestion, and 
the nourishment which it maketh, if little, is good. The 
younger and smaller are more sweet and pleasant, and give 
the best nourishment. 

Smelts have fragrant odour, which doth commend them 
They delight the palate, and yield good nourishment. 

Breame is somewhat acceptable to the palate, and is of 
meetly good nourishment. It is best for choleric bodies, 
and worse for phlegmatic. Some love to eat the eyes of the 
breame ; but they are very excremental, as are the eyes of 
all fish. 

Shad and mackrell are both sweet in taste and soft in 
substance ; they are not very wholesome, quickly producing 


loathing and sickness of stomach, and breed excremental 
nourishment. They are convenient for labouring-men and 
those who have strong stomach. 

Dogfish and hake are near of nature ; not of hard con- Dogfish, 
coction, but yet scarcely of laudable nourishment, for they Hake - 
increase crude and waterish humours. 

Codfish, for whiteness of colour, and moderate hardness Codfish, 
and friability of substance, is commended. It is easily 
digested, and yieldeth meetly strong nourishment, and not 
very excremental. Being salted, dried, and so kept, it 
becomes of harder concoction and worse nourishment. 

Haddock is pleasant to taste, in nature somewhat like Haddock, 
cod, but it is of lighter concoction, and not of so firm 
and durable nourishment. 

Mullet is somewhat of a hard substance, yet if taken in Mullet, 
gravelly and stony shore, is not of hard digestion. It is of 
pleasant taste, and meetly good nourishment ; but if taken 
in a muddy place, is not easily digested, is hurtful to the 
stomach, and breedeth gross and excremental humours. 
The smaller mullets are the best. 

Bass is, in goodness of juice, inferior to mullet, for it is Bass, 
of harder concoction, and breedeth a more gross and slimey 
nourishment. Both mullet and bass are agreeable for them 
who are of hot temperature and have strong stomachs. 

Salmon is ranked with the best sort of fish ; it is pleasant Salmon, 
to taste, and not hard of digestion. It maketh good 
nourishment ; in consistence neither clammy or gross, yet 
it quickly oppresseth a weak stomach ; wherefore let such as 
have weak stomach and are infirm so carefully moderate 
appetite, as that the jucundity of it intice them not to a 
perilous and nauseative fulness. And it is not good for 
them that have strong stomachs to eat too much of it, for 
it soon weakeneth the stomach, subverteth appetite, and that 
oftentimes with the danger of a deadly surfeit. The belly is 
to be chosen before any other part, because it is tenderer, 
and of a more sweet and pleasant taste. The eyes of a 
salmon are far wholesomer than the eyes of any other fish. 



Salmon-peale. The young salmon, salmon-peale, is far better than that 
which is fuller grown; for it is of a softer and whiter 
substance, of a pleasanter relish, of easier concoction, more 
acceptable and agreeable to the stomach, and of very good 
wholesome nourishment. The salted salmon loseth much of 
his goodness and pleasant taste, and is therefore much 
inferior in point of wholesomeness. 

Turbut. Turbut or birt is meetly pleasant to the taste, and if it 

be well digested maketh good and firm nourishment. It 
is of somewhat hard substance, and therefore not easily 
digested. But it is very good meat for such as are healthy 
and have strong stomachs. But for the aged and those 
who are phlegmatic, and that have weak stomachs, it is 
very inconvenient and hurtful. 

Sturgion. Sturgion is a very acceptable dish, and best welcome at 

tables. Whether this is because of rarity, goodness of meat, 
pleasantness to palate, and inducing withal a smoothing 
delectation to the gullet, is doubtful. I will plainly deliver 
my opinion. The flesh is white, and meetly pure substance, 
consequently laudable nourishment; if it were not inter- 
mixed with a gross and nauseative fat, for which reason it 
is not so easily digested, and is quickly offensive to the 
stomach, making gross and clammy nourishment. Where- 
fore let such as are aged or have weak or cold stomach 
refrain from it. It is most accommodated for the hot 
season. The little or young Sturgion is wholesomest. The 
belly of the Sturgion, like that of salmon, is the best. The 
Sturgion, both old and young, is very hurtful unto them 
that are troubled with rheumes and articular griefs. 

Hallibut. Hallibut is a big fish and of great account, white, and 

of hard substance, therefore not easily digested ; but it is 
very pleasant to the taste, and for goodness of meat scarcely 
inferior to Sturgion. The belly is best. It is a convenient 
meat for young men, and for hot choleric bodies ; but for 
phlegmatic, and them that have weak stomachs, hurtful. 

Doric. Doric for substance is of a mean consistence, and 

not very delectable to the palate. It giveth mostly good 


nourishment. But it is not good to eat too much of, 
specially for those of weak stomach, or who suffer from 
gout or stone, because it breedeth gross and phlegmatic 

Allowes is taken in the same place as salmon, it is Allowes. 
meetly pleasant to the taste. Yields much, and some- 
what a thick nourishment, yet not ill, so it be well con- 
cocted in the stomach; but it is of hard concoction, 
wherefore it is hurtful to them of weak stomach, and ^that 
are by constitution phlegmatic and melancholy. The 
allowes that tarry in and are taken in sweet waters is 
wholesomer than that of the sea; for it is fatter, of 
tenderer substance, of easier concoction, and of better 

The guilthead or goldine is whiter, and not quite so Guilthead. 
hard as the allowes, therefore of easier concoction and 
better nourishment. It is only in season in the winter, 
when he is sweeter in taste ; and is convenient for every 
age, temperature of body, so that the stomach be strong 
enough to take it. 

The calaminary sea-cur or cuttlefish and poure-cuttle are Calaminary. 
even of one and the same nature ; they are of hard concoc- 
tion, and fill the body with crude and gross humours. 
They may, when in want of better meat, serve mariners 
and rusticall bodies, who through strength of stomach and 
hard labour are able to convert any gross meat into good 
nourishment. The small ones are best, being more tender 
and easily digested. They are all hurtful to them who 
have weak sinews, and are subject to the palsey. 

The wolf-fish is of cold, moist temperature, pleasant taste, The Wolf, 
and easy of concoction. It breedeth a cold, thin, waterish 
juice, and therefore such as are phlegmatic and rheumatic 
perpetually shun the use of it. 

The lump or lomp-fish, so named from his shape, is in Lompfish. 
taste agreeable to the name ; it is hard of concoction, 
and of gross excremental juice. 

The conger is a large round fish like unto an eel, and is Conger. 



called conger-eel. It yieldeth gross excremental nourish- 
ment as the common eel doth. It is a meat notwithstanding 
pleasant to most men's palate, but is only convenient food 
for those of strong stomach and firm body. To the phleg- 
matic, those of weak stomach, subject to dropsy, gout and 
stone, it is very hurtful. 

Lampreys. Lampreys are of some greatly esteemed, but very un- 

worthily; they are of the nature of eels, yet somewhat 
wholesomer, not being so clammy or gross. They are 
pleasant to taste, but not easily concocted. They give 
much nourishment; but the same somewhat clammy and 
tough, therefore they are not fit for weak stomach or those 
suffering from obstruction. They also increase melancholy, 
and are hurtful to the gouty and those with weak sinews. 
The small lampreys are the best, they are not so tough, 
and give most nourishment. 

Thornback. Thornback is of moist substance, of gross excrementall 
and putrid juice; whereby it cometh to pass that it is a 
meat of ill smell, unpleasant savour, unwholesome nourish- 
ment, noisome to the stomach. The use breed eth cold 
diseases, and epilepsy very speedily if it be eaten hot. The 
noisome quality doth (as I think) in cooling sometimes 
evaporate, and sooner arise being eaten hot, for that it is 
a moist fish and full of superfluity. It is a meat fit for hard 
labouring men. 

The tunie, porpuise and such like great bestial fish are of 
very hard digestion, noisome to stomach, of a very gross 
excremental and naughty juice. 

Herrings are somewhat pleasant to the taste, yet not 
wholesome, as is often proved. Through eating fresh 
herrings some quickly surfeit and fall into fevers. The salt 
herring giveth saltish unprofitable nourishment. They are 
good for them who want better meat. 

Pilchard. Pilchard is of like nature of herring, but of pleasanter 

taste and better nourishment. Yet it is not good for those 
of weak stomach, or it soon cloyeth with a nauseatif fullness; 
but, being well salted before using, the superfluity of their 




excremental is much corrected, and they become less 
fulsome and hurtful. 

Red herring and sprat give a very bad and adusted Red Herring, 
nourishment; they are only good to excite thirst, and to 
make drink acceptable to palate and throat. They are 
hurtful to them of choloric constitution and melancholy. 
I commend them to the Spaniards and Italians, whereby 
our merchants make a good commodity. 

Anchovas, the famous meat of drunkards and of them Anchovas. 
who desire their drink to oblectate their palats. They are 
used as sauce with meats, as with mutton, etc., and is in 
great esteem with them who affect sauce and meats of 
strange relish and taste. They nourish nothing at all but 
naughty choleric blood. They may excite the appetite of 
some peevish stomachs, and by reason of their saltish 
acrimony are thought to cleanse phlegm from the stomach 
and intestines ; wherefore, if they be good for any, it is for 
the phlegmatic, so that they pour not too much drink with 
them. But in my opinion the special good they have, if it 
may be termed good, is as of pickled oysters, to commend 
a cup of claret to the palate and stomach. They are 
therefore chiefly profitable to the vintners. 

In shellfish it is to be observed some are of soft sub- Shellfish, 
stance, and are easily digested ; some hard and more diffi- 
cult of concoction, though of firmer and better nourishment. 

Of shellfish oysters are of a most soft substance and Oyster. 
easily digested, and least offend the stomach, except they 
be taken, as we commonly say, against stomach. And also, 
by reason of the saltness of their juice, they make the belly 
soluble; they give a light, salt, phlegmatic nourishment; 
and therefore they are not only very hurtful unto them that 
be phlegmatic, but also unto all such as have cold weak 
stomachs, because in them they abundantly increase flegm. 
Unto choloric bodies and such as have strong stomachs 
they are agreeable. They must be eaten with pepper and 
vinegar, a cup of good claret or sack drunk presently after 
them, for then they will be the better digested. Onions also 








sliced in the vinegar and eaten with them is an excellent 
correctory to the flegm if they be not offensive to the eater. 
But why are oysters eaten a little before meals, and that 
with one-way bread ? For two reasons I conjecture. The 
first is, because of their subductory quality concerning the 
belly, which also is holpen with one-way bread ; the second 
is, because through their saltness they excite appetite. 
Oysters roasted on the coals or stewed in white wine, with 
butter, pepper, and a few drops of white or claret wine 
vinegar, and so eaten, do oblectate the palat and stomach, 
and nourish better than if eaten raw. 

Pickled oysters, by reason of their heat and saltness, 
please the palate of drunkards as anchovies do ; the fewer 
that are eaten the less the hurt. They are least hurtful, and 
if at all beneficial, to the phlegmatic that have cold, moist 
stomachs; but they are most pernicious to choleric and 

Amongst shellfish muscles are of grossest juice and 
worst nourishment, and most noisome to the stomach. 
They abundantly breed flegm and gross humours, and dis- 
pose the body unto fevers. I advise all such as are 
respectful of their health utterly to abandon use of them. 

Cockles are not so noisome as muscles ; they are of 
lighter concoction, and better nourishment, yet not laudable 
meat for such as lead studious or easy kind of life or have 
weak stomach. 

Crab is not very hard of digestion, somewhat pleasant to 
taste, and yieldeth to the body much gross nourishment. 
It is meat best fitted to labouring men, who have strong 
stomachs ; but to old men, students, and all such as have 
weak stomachs, and are subject to oppilations of the breast, 
distillations from the head, or are otherwise wont to be 
affected in the head, it is very hurtful. The freshwater crab 
is wholesomer than the sea crab, and the sea is whole- 
somer if it is taken out of fresh water. 

Also is not easily digested, and therefore it quickly 
offendeth a weak stomach ; but, if well digested, giveth 


much good and firm nourishment. But the same is of a hot 
and ebullient nature, and therefore I advise young men and 
such as are of choleric natures and hot temperament to 
refrain from the use thereof, for unto hot natures they are 
hurtful, and greatly offend the head. 

Prawns and shrimps are of one and the same nature ; for Prawns, 
goodness of meat they excell all other shellfish. They are 
of good temperament and substance, of a most sweet and 
not of hard concoction, and of excellent nourishment. By 
reason of their moist and calorisical nature they proritate 
Venus ; they are convenient for every age and constitution 
of body, if the stomach be not too weak. The prawns and 
shrimps of Severne excell all others of this kingdom. 


The trout is best, of a somewhat cold and moist tern- Trout, 
perament, of an indifferent soft and friable substance, of 
pleasant taste, easy concoction, and good juice. It yieldeth 
somewhat of a cold nutriment, ve'ry profitable for them that 
have their liver and blood hotter than is convenient, there- 
fore it is with good reason given to them who are in fevers. 

Trout is good food for every age and constitution of 
body, except for the phlegmatic who have cold and moist 
stomachs. The smaller trout are best. 

The pike is somewhat of firm hard substance, and pike, 
therefore a little harder of concoction than the trout. It is 
pleasant meat, and giveth good nourishment. It is agreeable 
to all, specially the young and such as are by constitution 
choloric. Pickrell is the young of pike. It is easier of 
concoction, pleasant of taste and goodness of juice, (in my 
judgement) ranks with trout, and to be given to invalids 
(only river pickrell). That taken in meers, or muddy water, 
is somewhat excremental and hard of concoction. 

Perch taken in pure water is of white and pure substance, Perch, 
for taste and nourishment equal to trout or pickrell. Perch 
is usually sauced with butter and vinegar ; but add thereto 
the powder of nutmeg, which to this fish is very proper, it 








becometh delectable to the taste, and grateful to the 
stomach. The spawn of perch is of delicate and whole- 
some nourishment, very good for the weak, or of cold temper 
of body. The lesser perch are best. But if the great ones 
are kept a day or two, specially if transported from the place 
where they are taken, their substance becomes more tender 
very good for every condition of body, age, and con- 

Carp is of sweet exquisite taste, but the nourishment 
doth not answer to the taste; if it were, it would be 
numbered amongst fishes of primest note. It giveth slimy, 
phlegmatic, excremental nourishment, and quickly satiateth 
the stomach. Let all who are of weak stomach eschew it. 
The head and spawn of the carp are the pleasantest and 
wholesomest ; to be preferred before the rest of the fish. 

The barbell is soft and moist, of easy concoction, and 
very pleasant taste; of good nourishment, but somewhat 
muddy and excremental. The greater excel the lesser for 
meat, because their superfluous moisture is amended by age. 
The spawn of them is to be objected to as most offensive 
to the belly and stomach. 

The tench is unwholesome. Hard of concoction, un- 
pleasant of taste, noisome to the stomach, and filleth the 
body with gross slimey humour. Notwithstanding, it is 
meat fit for labouring men. 

The roach is of easy concoction, of light and meetly 
nourishment; not hurtful to any age or constitution of 
body, so long as the stomach desire it. 

The gudgeon, though but a small fish, yet for goodness 
may challenge the prime place of freshwater fish. It is 
delightsome to taste, easy of concoction, and good nourish- 
ment for all ages and constitutions. The dace is much the 
same, but of lesser nourishment. 

Eeles are pleasant to taste, but they are hard of digestion, 
slimey, gross, phlegmatic, and soon noisome to the stomach. 
They breed obstructions, because they make a gross and 
glutinous nourishment, and are most hurtful to those subject 


to gout and stone and obstruction of the breast. Those in 
pure water and gravel soil are best. In meeres and pools 
not so good. I recommend only those to eat of them who 
are more addicted to their palate than to their health. More- 
over, in impure places they oftentimes couple with snakes, 
and so receive venomous quality, wherefore they are not 
commendable for any age or temperament. They are most 
hurtful to the aged, phlegmatic, or subject to obstructions. 
Roasted or broiled they are least injurious, the fire ex- 
hausteth their worst qualities. For like reason the powdered 
eel is wholesome, though not so taken by the dainty- 
mouthed. To conclude, they are only convenient food for 
hard labourers, or those who indulge their appetite. 

Crawfish are of meetly good nourishment, and not hard Crawfish. 
of concoction, yet I do not approve of them for those 
who have weak stomach, or are subject to obstruction of 
the mesaraick veines. They are best agreeable to such 
as are of choleric temperature of body. 

The puffin is neither fish nor flesh, but a mixture of Puffin< 
both ; for it liveth altogether in the water, yet hath feathers, 
and flieth as fowls do. Whether they be eaten fresh or 
powdered, they be of an odious smell and naughty taste 
are unwholesome. Yet great drinkers esteem well the puffin, 
because it provoketh them to drink, which is the best faculty 
it hath. But mark the end of such, and you shall com- 
monly see them, even in firm and constant age, to have 
turgid and strouting-out bellies and a dropsie, the upshot of 
all their outrageous drinkings. 

Fresh fish is the best for food. Salt fish, if it be much 
eaten, hurteth the sight. 

Of all sorts of salt fish, ling and milwell be the best. Of 
all other salt fish, those who are careful of their health 
refrain from using. 

VOL. I, H. 2 F 




Voluntary fasts are of two sorts. They are either worldly 
and profane, or religious and holy. 

Worldly and profane I call those whose end is for some 
worldly use, or for some respect belonging to this life. And 
these are divers. For sometimes men may fast for effecting 
of some worldly business with better speede, as Saul and 
his soldiers did, when the people tasted no food, because 
the king had adjured them, saying ; Cursed be the man that 
eateth any foode untill evening, that I may be avenged on my 
enemies. We see the reason of this fast was, because the 
King would not allow them any time of eating, for that 
they might bestow all the time in pursuing of the enemie. 
And so in like sort a man may fast for his health, that he 
may get rid of undigested humours ; for his gain, that he 
may spare his purse ; and for the public good, that he may 
preserve the breede of cattell ; yea, and for very luxury 
and of a gluttonous disposition, that he may keep his 
stomach for better cheer. When men fast for these or any 
such like ends, their fasts are worldly 'and profane, and 
therefore have no place amongst religious exercises. 

The second are holy and religious fasts. And so I call 
those which are intended and do serve for some special 
use, which concerneth God's glory and the good of men's 


He says of Lent 

Because the fast of Lent was antiently observed in divers 
churches and countries after a very diverse and different 
maner. First, there was a difference in the number of 
weekes appointed for this use ; some observing eight weekes, 
some seven, some six, and some, as we now doe, six weekes 
and foure daies. Secondly, there was difference in the 


fasting dales of Lent ; some places they fasted every day 
save Sunday; in some other, every day except Saturday 
and Sunday ; in some other every second day ; and in 
some, but every week only. For on those other daies in 
Lent, though they abstained from some meats, yet they did 
eat their dinner : and then the Antients thought it to be no 
fasting day. 

i st. Politic reason for keeping Lent 

Because at this time of the yeare is a time of breed, and 
of the increase of creatures ; and the sparing of the increase 
by abstinence and slender diet, might cause plenty and 
store in the common wealth for all the yeare after. 

2nd. A physicall reason 

Which is because at this time of the yeare there is most 
increase of blood in a man's body; and the heat thereof 
might breed fevers and hot diseases; but spare diet, 
especially consisting of fish and herbs and roots will serve to 
qualify the blood and bring it to a right temper. 

DATE 1610. A.D. 1610. 


DAY. DINNER (HENRY, A.D. j6io). 

Bread, beere, ale and wine as upon a flesh day ; Chickens 
(boyled), 4 services ; Mutton (boyled), 2 services ; Veale 
(boyled), i service; Lambe (boyled), quarter; Shoulder of 
Mutton (rost), i ; Veale (rost), 2 services ; Legge of 
Mutton, i ; Capon in greace, i ; Chickens, 5 ; Partridges, 
2; Lapwings, 3; Larkes, 18; Conyes, 3; Peares, i pye; 
Custard, i ; Tart, i ; Lyng, i service ; Pyke, i service ; 
Carpe, i ; Whiteings, i service. 

Diet to the Chamberlain, Treasurer, Comptroller, Steward 
and Groome of the Stoole upon a fish day. Dinner- 
Bread, beere and wine as upon a flesh day ; Lyng and 

2 F 2 


cod, 2 ; Pyke, I. ; Whiteing, i. ; Gurnard, i. ; Scales, i. 
payer; Playce, i. service; Custerd, i. ; Tart, i.; Butter, 
Sweet, i. Ib. 

Supper breade, beere, and wine as at dinner aforesaid ; 
Lyng and Codde, n. services ; Pyke, i. ; Whiteing, i. ; 
Gurnard, i. ; Scales, i. payer ; Playce, i. service ; Dulcets, 
i. service ; Tart, i. ; Butter, Sweet, i. Ib. 

Covenants concluded and made by the officers of the 
Greencloth with Robert Parker and George Hill, Yeoman 
Purveyors of fresh-water fish, both for the more honourable 
and also more profitable serving of the King, His most 
excellent Majesty, in the household of all kindes of fresh- 
water fish in manner following : 

First, it is determined by the Lord Great Master, Mr. 
Comptroller, and all the officers of the Greencloth at Durham 
Place, Saturday, the loth of December, 34 Henry VIII., 
that neither the Purveyors of fresh-water fish shall bring in 
any fish to the King's use, but he shall present with the same 
a bill of all such prices as he doth pay unto the parties of 
whom his fish was bought, with also the names of the said 
parties; and that he present not one farthing above the 
same his payment, upon paine of looseing of his service, 
and further to be punished by the discretion of the officers 
of the Cornpting house. 

Item: It is further agreed that the said Purveyors of 
fresh-water fish shall have for every fish day, that he or 
they shall bring fish into the Court, 1 2d. per day for every 
horse and man ; and for every carriage horse 6d. per day. 

Item : To be given to the Yeoman-Purveyors of fresh- 
water fish for Friday and Satterday, for every of those days 
9*. per day, that is per Septiman, 18*. If there be three 
fish dayes in the weeke they are to have 6s. 8</., that is per 
week 2os. If the whole weeke be Fasting dayes they are 
to have 4^. per day, that is per week 28^. 

Item : The said Robert and George doe covenante and 
agree to and with the aforesaid. . . . that neither of them, 
their factors, servants, assignes. . . . shall at any time make 


larger provision of fresh-water fish, by virtue of the King's 
commission, or by any coloured means than shall serve for the 
expences of the King's most honourable household, to the 
intent to sell the same, or convert any part thereof, to their 
own use, lucre or advantage ; upon paine of losse of their 
roomes, confiscation of their goodes, and perpetuall im- 
prisonment of their bodies, if due proofe be made against 
them of the same. 

Item : . . . . They have also covenanted and agreed to 
make carriage of ... Pikes, being by them provided, 
unto the Court, and there to deliver them quick into the 
King's Privy Larder at their own cost and charges, as long 
as the King sojourneth or lyeth within twenty miles of 
London, then they to have allowance for carriage of them 
by comptrollment. 

Item : . . . . They shall not send any pike of less scant- 
ling than 1 8 inches long, and being 18, 20, or 21 inches 
long, both quick and well fed, they to have the same 
pike for 14 pence. 

Item : They shall not send, nor bring into the Court ut 
supra, any fresh-water Breame of lesse scantling than 6 
inches long; and being 1 6, 17, or 18 inches, they to have 
for same 2s. 6d. ; if any be exceeding the same length to 
have therefore by the discretion of the comptrollment of 14 
to 20 at 12 d. Carps of 1 6 to 18, at 4^. and upwards at the 
discretion, ut supra. Perches of 9 and 12, $d. Eeles 
weighing 3 Ibs., iodl Troutes of 14 inches to 17, 8*/. 
Chevins of 16 and upwards, i6d. Great Flounders and 
Roches of 10 inches, 8^. the lood. ; small Flounders and 
Roches at 7 inches, 2s. lood. ; the panier of Crabs and 
Lobsters, 100 Ibs., Ss. Fresh Salmon, Calver, and other, 
at the discretion of the comptrollment. 

Item : . . . . John Hopkins, the Purveyor of See-fish, shall 
not henceforth have any further allowance for his expence 
goeing about the provision of See-fish, but onely ^40 granted 
to him for his fees for the same. 

Item : That Hopkins the Yoeman-see-fisher hath, from 


the last day of September, Anno 33d. forth, no manner of 
allowance of prices of fish, already stricken in the kitchen- 
roll, unlesse he declare unto the Clerkes-Comptrollers a 
reasonable cause why he should have further allowance; 
and that to be done six days after the striking of the said 

" On Fish days they should only have two courses of fish, 
each consisting of two kinds, with an intermeat of one kind 
of fish, if they thought fit. And those who should transgress 
this ordinance should be severely punished." (See ' Ryley's 
placita Parliamentary,' p. 552, from the Clause Roll of 9 
Ed. II., m. 26, dorso.) This rule was brought in because 
the excess of diet and provisions had become so great, that 
the consequences were likely to be detrimental to the nation. 
So the King issued a proclamation to restrain it. " Each 
course should consist only of two kinds of Flesh meat, 
except for Prelates, Earls, Barons and the great men of the 
land, who might have an interest (une entremese) of one kind 
of meat if they pleased." 



Note top. 340. 

The letters C, H, O, N, when used by chemists, 
stand not only for Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and 
Nitrogen, but for certain definite relative weights of 
them the weights in which they combine with one 
another and with other elements. The letters thus 
used are called " symbols," and the combining weight, 
though not expressed, is understood as included in 
the symbol. Each element has its symbol. For the 
purposes of this book it has not been requisite to enter 
into this ; but in any elementary work on chemistry 
the combining weights of the elements will be found. 

Note to p. 348. Extracts from Liebigs ( Animal 
Chemistry'' on Oxidation, (ist Edition.) 

" All vital activity arises from the mutual action of 
the oxygen of the atmosphere and the elements of the 
food." (4). "The first conditions of animal life are 
nutritious matters, and oxygen introduced into the 
system." (n). 

11 The consumption of oxygen in equal times may be 
expressed by the number of respirations. It is clear 
that in the same individual the quantity of nourish- 
ment required must vary with the force and number 
of the respirations/' (14.) " The number of respirations 
is smaller in a state of rest than during exercise or 
work. The quantity of food necessary in both 
conditions must vary in the same ratio." (15.) 
"Excess of food is incompatible with deficiency in 


(respired) oxygen, that is, with deficient exercise." (16.) 
"In an equal number of respirations we consume more 
oxygen at the level of the sea than on a mountain. 
The quantity of both oxygen inspired, and of carbonic 
acid expired must therefore vary with the height of 
the barometer." (17.) "The amount of oxygen 
capable of being taken up in the animal body is 
limited by the amount of oxygen which can come 
into contact with the blood, and of blood which can 
come into contact with the oxygen." (19.) "The 
supply of heat lost by cooling is effected by the 
mutual action of the elements of the food, and the 
inspired oxygen which combine together. ... It 
signifies nothing what intermediate forms food may 
assume, what changes it may undergo in the body ; 
the last change is uniformly the conversion of its 
carbon into carbonic acid, of its hydrogen into water ; 
the unassimilated nitrogen of the food together with 
the unburned or unoxidized carbon is expelled in the 
urine or in the solid excrements." (21.) 

Note to p. 350. 

Pick and In 1866 Dr. A. Pick, Professor of ^Physiology, Zu- 

experiment. r ^ c ^> anc ^ Dr. T. Wislecenus, Professor of Chemistry, 

Zurich, made their celebrated ascent of the Faulhorn, 

celebrated, not in connection with any sensational 

narrow escapes, but because it was selected as a 

form of exercise undertaken to test whether muscular 

exertion was associated with the oxidation of nitrogen. 

The bearings of their investigations on the then 

state of the question of the origin of muscular power 

are set forth in a paper they communicated to the 

. Philosophical Magazine ' through Professor Wanklyn. 


They regarded the theory that " muscular action was 
brought about by chemical changes alone," as having 
found such acceptance it might be said to be a 
universally acknowledged fact. That these chemical 
changes were processes of oxidation they thought 
almost equally well established, but the exact point 
as to what element it was whose oxidation gave 
origin to muscular power was still a matter of doubt, 
demanding further experiments. They allude to the 
recognition that the mechanical work of muscles 
represented only a part (see p. 367) of the actual 
energy resulting from the oxidation of the carbon or 
nitrogen or whatever it was. The limits of the 
problem narrowed down practically to this was it 
the oxidation of nitrogen or of carbon which furnished 
the store of energy? Smith's experiments, referred 
to above (p. 350), they did not regard as a direct 
disproof that waste of tissue by the oxidation of 
nitrogenous matter was the source of power. (Refer- 
ence to Voit and Bischoff.) They proposed to them- 
selves direct experiment. Here is their own state- 
ment, with some few omissions, as rendered in English 
in the ' Philosophical Magazine.' 

There is one way in which the question whether 
muscular force can be generated only by the oxida- 
tion of albuminoid compounds* might be decisively 
negatived, and that possibly by a single experiment. 
It is suggested by the following simple line of thought : 
granting that a person might accomplish a certain 
measurable amount of external labour, say m metre- 
kilogrammes, and that in so accomplishing it he 
oxidized / grammes of albumen in his muscles ; 

* For composition of albumen, see p. 357. 


granting also that we know the amount of heat which 
is liberated when a gramme of albumen is changed 
by oxidation into the products of decomposition in 
which the constituents of albumen leave the human 
body ; then if the thermic equivalent of the manual 
labour m be greater than the amount of heat which 
could possibly be produced by the oxidation of p 
grammes of albumen, the question may be negatived 
with the most complete certainty. But if, on the 
contrary, the thermic equivalent of m metre-kilo- 
grammes is less than that of the heat arising from the 
oxidation of / grammes of albumen, the question has 
by no means received an affirmative answer. It is 
only in the former case that the experiment has a 
decisive result. 

Such an experiment has been made by us con- 
jointly. . . . As measurable external labour we chose 
the ascent of a mountain peak, the height of which 
was known. ... Of the numerous peaks of the Swiss 
Alps, the one most suitable for our purpose appeared 
to be the Faulhorn, near the lake of Brienz, in the 
Bernese Oberland. It was necessary that the moun- 
tain which was to serve for our experiment should be 
as high as possible, and nevertheless should permit 
of our passing a night on its summit under tolerably 
normal circumstances ; for had we been obliged 
immediately to descend again, the measurable amount 
of work would have been at once followed by an 
undeterminable but violent exertion of the muscles, in 
which much metamorphosis would occur, the thermic 
equivalent of which would be, however, entirely libe- 
rated as heat. The Faulhorn satisfies all these re- 
quirements - for although its height is very consider- 
able, rising to about 3000 metres above the lake of 


BHenz, yet there is an hotel on its summit Besides, 
it can be ascended by a very steep path, which was, 
of course, favourable for our experiment, because the 
amount of muscular action which is lost and not 
calculable (being reconverted into heat) is thus 
reduced to a minimum. We chose the steepest of 
the practicable paths. . . . [The details of the experi- 
ment are then given.] 

In order to diminish as far as possible the unne- 
cessary consumption (Luxus consmntion) of albumen 
during the experiment, they took no albuminoid food 
from midday on August 29 until 7 o'clock in the 
evening of August 30. . . . 

The experiment proper began on the evening of the 
29th of August at 6 P.M. and ended at 6 A.M. August 
3 1 st. The composition of the products of the body 
leaving through the kidneys during that time was sub- 
sequently strictly analysed, and the results obtained, 
too long to give here, furnished a new testimony to 
the fact, which has often before been experimentally 
proved, that muscular exertion does NOT notably in- 
crease the quantity of nitrogen in such products. 

Note to p. 352. 

In the case of the Great Western Railway referred 
to > P- 35 2 > when in 1872 500 miles of rails were 
shifted within a fortnight, the extra nitrogen, together 
with extra carbon supplied, was in the form of oat- 
meal. The men carried their own bacon, bread, 
cheese, cocoa, &c., as usual ; but a pound-and-a-half 
of oatmeal (see the value of oatmeal on p. 360), and 
half-a-pound of sugar was allowed daily to each man, 
and for each gang of twenty-one men a cook was 


provided. Temporary fire-places of stone were built, 
and the oatmeal was well cooked and served out in 
pannikins. Three thousand men were employed 
working double time, and no case of sickness occurred, 
while it is said the men much appreciated this form 
of extra diet. 

In making the recent extension of railways in 
Sicily the progress was retarded by the slack work 
done by the Sicilian navvies compared with the Eng- 
lish gangs. The former took scarcely any meat, 
preferring to save wages their comrades expended in 
that way. The idea occurred to the contractor of 
paying the men partly in money and partly in 
meat ; and the result was a marked increase in the 
amount of work executed, which was brought up 
nearly to the British average. (See Encly. Brit. 9th 

Note top. 352. Tables of Outgoings and Intakes. 

In most works on foods and diet it is usual to give 
the chemical composition of the human frame, the 
average selected being for 5 ft. 8 in. high, 1 1 stone 
weight, and about 30 years of age. Such an analysis 
is printed below, the figures being taken from the 
' Handbook of the Bethnal Green Museum Food 
Collection,' as revised by Professor Church. 

It is here purposely kept far apart from the daily 
outgoings and intakes mentioned on p. 352 to prevent 
confusion in the minds of those who have not pre- 
viously studied the subject, between the continuous 
needs of the body for work internal as well as ex- 
ternal (see p. 367), and the "balance" between these 
outgoings and intakes. 


Daily variations, even during health, in the amount 
of fibrin (No. 2), fat (No. 4), and albumen (No. 9), are 
often considerable, as the " storage " referred to on p. 
35 1 fluctuates. The fact of such fluctuations is familiar. 
For example, it can be observed with some exactness 
by those who during the training of the University 
crews watch the daily accounts of weights as given in 
all the newspapers, or by those who at Turkish baths 
keep records of their own fluctuations. 

The amount of phosphate of lime (No. 3), probably 
nearly constant, depends mainly on the dimensions 
(partly the density) of the bones, and heredity, feeding, 
habits, and atmosphere, determine this during the first, 
eighteen or twenty years of life. The amount of 
fluoride of calcium (No. 12), and phosphate of mag- 
nesia (No. 1 3) differ from the same cause of individual 

Such a table cannot of course be taken as an exact 
account of the composition of all men of the size, 
weight, and age mentioned. 

The chemical analysis is given first in compounds 
and then as elements. 


Ibs. ozs. grs. 

1. Water, which is found in every tissue and 

secretion, and amounts altogether to .. 109 o o 

2. Fibrin, and similar substances, forming the 

chief solid material of muscular flesh, and 

also occurring in blood .. .. .. 15 10 o 

3. Phosphate of Lime, in all tissues and liquids, but 

chiefly in the bones and teeth .. .. 8 12 o 

4. Fat, a mixture of three chemical compounds, 

distributed throughout the body .. .. 48 o 

Carried forward .. .. 137 14 o 


Ibs. ozs. grs. 

Brought forward .. .. 137 14 o 

5. Ossein, the organic framework of bones and the 

chief constituent of connective tissue; it 

yields gelatin when boiled .. .. .. 47 350 

6. Keratin, with other similar and nitrogenous 

compounds, forms the chief part of the skin, 

epidermis, hair and nails, weighs about .. 42 o 

7. Cartilagin, a nitrogenous substance, is the chief 

constituent of cartilages ; it resembles the 

ossein of bone, and amounts to .. .. i 8 o 

8. Hemoglobin, a very important nitrogenous 

substance, containing iron ; it gives the red 

colour to the blood, and amounts to .. i 8 o 

9. Albumen, a soluble nitrogenous substance, is 

found in chyle, lymph, blood and muscles .. i i o 

10. Carbonate of Lime, is found chiefly in bone .. i o 350 

11. Kephalin with myelin, cerebrin, and several 

other nitrogenised, sulphurised, or phospho- 

rised compounds, is found in brain, nerve, &c. o 13 o 

12. Fluoride of Calcium, is found chiefly in bones 

and teeth .. .. .. .. .. 07 175 

13. Phosphate of Magnesia, chiefly in bones and 

teeth .. .. .. .. .. ..070 

14. Chloride of Sodium, or common salt, occurs 

throughout the body .. .. .. .. 070 

15. Cholesterin, Inosite and Glycogen are com- 

pounds containing carbon, hydrogen and 

oxygen, found in brain, muscle and liver .. 030 

1 6. Sulphate, Phosphate and Organic Salts of . 

Sodium, are found in all liquids and tissues .. 02 107 

1 7. Sulphate, Phosphate and Chloride of Potassium, 

are found in all tissues and liquids .. .. o i 300 

1 8. Silica, occurs in hair, skin and bones.. .. o o 30 

Total.. .. 154 o 



Oxygen, a permanent gas, the great supporter 
of combustion. This gas constitutes f of the 
water and f of the air. The quantity in the 
human body would fill a space of about some 
1290 cubic feet, and would weigh about .. 109 2 335 


Ibs. ozs. grs. 

2. Carbon, a solid, occurs nearly pure in charcoal. 

The carbon in the body is variously combined 
with other elements, and by its burning sets 
free heat, and produces carbonic acid gas .. 18 n 50 

3. Hydrogen, a gas, and the lightest substance 

known. It occurs mainly in water ; the 
quantity in the human body would fill a space 
of some 2690 cubic feet, and would weigh 
about .. .. .. .. .. .. 14 3 150 

4. Nitrogen, a gas without energetic properties. 

It is an essential part of all bones and blood 
and muscle. The quantity in the body 
would occupy about 66 feet cubic, and would 
weigh about .. .. .. .. .. 4 14 o 

$. Phosphorus, a solid. It occurs specially in 
various compounds of the bones and of the 
brain. It burns so readily in air that it is 
here kept in water. In the human body we 
find about I 12 25 

6. Sulphur, a yellow combustible solid, often 

called called brimstone. Like all the pre- 
ceding elements, it is found in all the tissues 
and secretions of the body, but always in 
combination. It amounts to .. .. 08 o 

7. Chlorine, a greenish-yellow gas found in the 

body chiefly with sodium, the compound 
being common salt. The chlorine in the 
human body would fill a space of 2 cubic feet 
and 510 cubic inches, and would weigh .. 04 150 

8. Fluorine, hardly known in the separate state, 

but probably a gas. It is found united with 
calcium in the bones and the teeth. The 
quantity in the body would fill a space 
2 cubic feet and 150 cubic inches. It would 
weigh .. .. .. .. .. .. o 3 300 

9. Silicon, a solid occurring in union with oxygen 

in hair, bones, blood, bile, saliva and skin.. o o 14 

10. Calcium, a metal, the basis of lime. It occurs 

chiefly in bones and teeth .. .. .. 3 13 190 

11. Potassium, a metal, the basis of potash. It is 

lighter than water, and when placed on it 


Ibs. ozs. grs. 

burns with a lilac flame. It occurs mainly 

as phosphate and chloride 03 340 

12. Sodium, a metal, the basis of soda, and must be 

kept from the air. It occurs chiefly in union 
with chlorine as common salt, but also in 
other compounds and bile .. .. .. o 3 217 

13. Magnesium this metal is found in union with 

phosphoric acid, mainly in bones .. .. o 2250 

14. Iron this metal is essential to the colouring 

matter of the blood. It occurs everywhere 

in the body o o 63 

15. Manganese -, a metal much like iron. Faint 

traces occur in the brain, and decided traces 
in the blood. 

1 6. Copper traces of this metal are invariably found 

in the human brain, and probably also in the 

Note top. 359. 

It has been suggested that it is the instability 
the readiness for change of the nitrogen compounds 
which makes them so serviceable for hard work. All 
that can be said at present is, that though the facts 
as to their use seem clear, the explanation has not 
yet been satisfactorily arrived at. 

Note on Dr. E. Smith! s popular form of putting, the 
results of his work, p. 368. 

The following is an example of the way in which 
Dr. E. Smith illustrated that cost and economy in 
foods are different things. 

Two breakfasts are here selected for comparison, 
both of the same cost per head (i-^.) while one gives 
909 grains of carbon and 41 grains of nitrogen more 
than the other. 


Breakfast of tea, bread and butter : 

Tea, i oz. ; sugar, \ oz. ; skimmed milk, i pint ; 
water, \ pint ; bread, 6 oz. ; butter, -- oz. [The 
quantities refer to the share for each person.] 
Amount of carbon, 1081 grains; nitrogen, 46 

Breakfast of oatmeal brose, treacle, bread and 
bacon : 

Oatmeal, 5 oz. ; skimmed milk, -! pint ; water, 
-L pint ; treacle, I oz. ; bread, 3 oz. ; bacon, I oz. 
Amount of carbon, 1,990 grains ; nitrogen, 88 


The table of anatomists and physiologists from 
1500 is given for the purpose of showing how large 
a number of brains have been occupied in finding out 
what our bodily organization is, and in the collateral 
column how many brains have been occupied in 
finding out methods of investigation which have come 
as aid, in explaining ourselves. It may help the realisa- 
tion of the meaning of such an expression as " There 
are many things we do know," being something 
different in significance from the answer of a school- 
boy, "Don't know, Sir," to a question say such as 
what is the aorist of opaco ? or, what is the capital town 
of Northamptonshire ? The table is based, with 
modifications, on one of Professor McKendrick's. In 
the latter part it is meant to be suggestive rather 
than complete. 

VOL. I. H. 2 G 











Anatomists and Physiologists. 

Faliopius, 1523-1562. 
Eustachius, d. 1574. 

1657 (Circulation). 

ASELLI, about 1622 

PECQUET, about 1651 
(Thoracic duct). 

JOLLYFE, b. about 1622 

MALPIGHI, 1628-1694 

(Circulation under the 

LOWER, 1631-1691 

(Transfusion of Blood], 

HOOKE, 1635-1703 

(Artificial respiration). 

MAYOW, 1645-1679 

RUYSCH, 1638-1731 
(A rt of Injecting) . 

Boerhaave, 1668-1738. 
Keill, 1673-1719. 

1761 (Circulation). 

Rdaumur, 1683-1757. 

HALLER, 1708-1777 

(Muscular Irritability]. 
Whytt, 1714-1766. 

Representatives of Collateral 

Stephen Gray, d. 1736. 

Nicholas Bernoulli (I.), 

Maclaurin, 1698-1746. 
Bradley, 1692-1762. 
John Bernoulli (I.), 1667- 

Linnaeus, 1707-1778. 
Maskeleyne, about 1732. 
Hajvksbee, about 1731. 
Dollond, 1706-1761. 
Euler, 1707-1789. 
Dan Bernoulli (I.), 1700- 

Boscovitch, 1711-1787. 
Kastner, 1719-1800. 
Lacaille, 1713-1762. 




Anatomists and Physiologists. 

Representatives of Collateral 






Needham, 1713-1781. 
Trembley, 1700-1784. 
Lieberkiihn, 1711-1756. 

JOHN HUNTER, 1728-1794 

SPALLANZANI, 1729-1799 

(Digestion, respiration, 

GALVANI, 1737-1798 

(A nimal electricity] . 
HEWSON, 1739-1774 

(Blood glands). 

LAMARCK, 1744-1829. 

Blumenbach, 1752-1840. 

BICHAT, 1771-1802 
(Life of tissues). 

1829 (Measurement of 
time, colour). 

J. F. Berard, 1780-1828. 

Rudolphi, 1771-1832. 

John Bernoulli (II.), 1740- 

James Watt, 1736-1819. 
Hutton, 1726-1797. 
Lavoisier, 1743-1794. 
Joseph Black, 1728-1799. 
Coulomb, 1736-1806. 
Bailey, 1736-1 793. 
Franklin, 1706-1790. 
William Hunter, 1718- 1785, 
Biot, about 1774. 

Cavendish, 1731-1810. 
Sir J. Banks, 1743-1820. 
Gmelin, 1748-1840. 
John Bernoulli (1 1 1.), 1744- 


Priestley, 1734-1804. 
Jacobi, 1743-1819. 
Playfair, 1748-1819. 
Berthollet, 1748-1822. 
Scheele, 1742-1786. 
Bramah, 1749-1814. 
D aniel Bernoulli (II. ) 1751- 


Jenner, 1749-1823. 
Fourcroy, 1755-1809. 

Legendre, 1752-1833. 
Count Rumford, 1753-1814. 
James Bernoulli (II.), 1759- 

Chladni, 1756-1827. 

Fourier, 1768-1830. 
Brunei, 1769-1849. 
Leslie, 1766-1832. 
W. Humboldt, 1738-1822. 
A. Humboldt, 1769-1859 
Playfair, 1749-1819. 
Dalton, 1767-1844. 
Cuvier, 1769-1832. 
Ampere, 1775-1836. 

Gauss, 1777-1855. 
Pfaff, 1773-1852. 
Malus, 1775-1812. 
Seebeck, 1770-1831. 
Oersted, 1777-1851. 

2 G 2 







Anatomists and Physiologists. 

CHARLES BELL, 1774-1842 
{Sensory and motor 

Treviranus, 1776-1837. 

Edwards, 1777-1842. 
Purkinji, b. about 1787. 
Sir B. Brodie, 1783-1862. 
MAJENDIE, 1783-1855 

Sir E. Home, 1756-1832. 

Krause, b. 1797. 
BEAUMONT, about 1824 

Gmelin, 1788-1853. 
Serres, 1782-1862. 
E. H. WEBER, d. 1878 

(Circulation, muscles'). 
J. L. Prevost, 1790-1850. 
Von Baer, b. 1792. 

1857 (Reflex action). 
FLOURENS, 1794-1867. 

( The brain). 
Ehrenberg, b. 1795. 
POISEUILLE, b. 1799 

Dupuy, 1774-1849. 


SCHLEIDEN, 1804-1872 

(Cell theory). 

Representatives of Collateral 

Arago, 1786-1853. 
Thomas Thomson, 1773- 

Peltier, 1785-1845. 
Dobereiner, 1780-1849. 
Hare, 1781-1858. 
C. Ritter, 1779-1859. 
Gay Lussac, 1778-1850. 
Fresnel, 1783-1827. 
Niepce, 1765-1833. 
Wollaston, 1766-1828. 
Frauenhofer, 1787-1826. 
Bessel, 1784-1846. 
Nobili, 1784-1835. 
Ohm, 1787-1854. 
Christopher Bernoulli, b. 


Braconnet, 1781-1855. 
Brande, b. 1788. 
Cagniard de la Tour, b. 


Chevreul, b. 1786. 
A. C. Becquerel, b. 1788. 
Berzelius, 1779-1848. 

Basevi, b. 1799. 
Despretz, b. 1792. 
Chasles, 1793-1880. 
Struve, 1793-1864. 
Daniel, 1790-1845. 
Cauchy, 1789-1857. 
Mitscherlich, b. 1794. 
Audouin, 1797-1841. 
Poggendorff, .^1 
Payer, b. 1795. 
Bischoff, b. 1792. 
Moebius, b. 1790. 

Faraday, 1794-1867. 
Colladon, b. 1802. 
Sturm, 1803-1855. 
Lassaigne, b. 1800. 

* The dates of the decease of comparatively recent authorities have not been in all 
cases ascertained. 




Anatomists and Physiologists. 

Representatives of Collateral 



Volkmann, 1801-1877. 
Schroeder van der Kolk, 


( Vaso motor nerves}. 
SCHWANN, b. 1 8 10 

(Cell theory). 
John Reid, 1809-1849. 
JOHN GOODSIR, 1814-1867 

FECHNER, b. 1801 



Von Helmholtz. 




Du Bois Reymond. 








Lothar Meyer. 

Frdmy, b. 1814. 
Listing, b. 1808. 
Melloni, 1798-1854. 
Amici, b. 1786. 
Balard, b. 1802. 
Von Bibra, b. 1806. 
Boussingault, b. 1802. 
Christison, 1779-1880. 
Mulder, b. 1802. 
Gassiot, b. 1797. 
Dumas b. 1800. 

Foucault, b. 1819. 
Gorup Von Besanez, .1817. 
Thomas Graham, b. 1805. 
Lord Justice Grove. 
A. W. Hofmann. 
J. P. Joule. 
Lehmann, b. 1812. 
W. H. Miller, b. 1801. 
J. R. Mayer, b. 1814. % 
Regnault, b. 1810. 
Liebig, 1803-1873. 
Draper, 1811-1882. 
Andrews, b. 1813. 
Bunsen, b. 1811. 
Cahours, b, 1813. 
Kopp, b. 1817. 
Wertheim, 1815-1861. 

A. E. Becquerel. 

A. Beer. 











Lyon Playfair. 

Lawes & Gilbert. 







( I 





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School of Cookery. 

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lll^l fl | 

UJ.1J. I'l J. , 

vO ^O ^O ^^ MD vO O t^N. 

00 00 00 00 00 00 




Though fractions of a grain are important in a chemical 
analysis it is near enough in practical dieting to be within 
i of an ounce. The daily range of nitrogenous compounds 
taken is between 4 and 5^ ounces. 

Calculate 438 gr. to oz. ; 219 to J oz. ; no to i oz. (near 
enough). For ready reference expressed in grains 

4 oz. = 1752 gr. ; 4^ oz. = 1862 gr. ; 4^ oz. = 1971 gr. ; 
4} oz. = 2081 gr. ; 5 oz. = 2190 gr. ; 5^ oz. = 2300 gr. ; 
5J oz. = 2409 gr. (more exact than 2410). 

If the analyses of various nitrogen compounds is ex- 
amined it will be seen that about 15 J or 16 parts per 
hundred (three examples of which are given on p. 357) 
are nitrogen. This is so uniformly the case in all analyses 
that for the convenience of calculation without analysis 
1 6 parts in the hundred of any nitrogenous compound are 
taken as nitrogen. In making calculations in grains every 
100 grains of a nitrogenous compound is taken to contain 
1 6 grains of nitrogen, every 50 contains 8, every 25 con- 
tains 4, and so on. 

Beginning at the 4 oz., that is 1752 grains, there are 17 
hundreds (17 times 16= 272) and one fifty (=8 grains N), 
and the odd 2 may be omitted; so 1752 grains of nitrogen 
compound contain 272+8= 280 grains of nitrogen. 
Working out this way or any other more convenient, the 
results come : 


4 or expressed in grains . 1752 contain . , 280 
4j . 1862 . . 298 
4J 1971 . . 314 
4f 2081 . . 333 

5 2190 . . 350 
5 . 2300 . . 368 
5 2409 . . 385 

This can, of course, be worked the reverse way. Suppos- 
ing a diet is wanted to contain 350 grains of nitrogen, then 
5 ounces of some nitrogen compound must be taken. 



Many curious references will be found in the sixteenth 
and seventeenth century books mentioned in this list. 
Some few are quoted in the previous pages. 



Title of Work. 









Rogers, James E. T. . 

Ballantyne Club . . 

Rogers, James E. T. . 

Vincentius, Bellova- 

Glanvilla, Bartholo- 

meus de. 

Arlunus, Joannes Petnis 

Glanvifla, Bartholo- 
meus de. 

Elyot, Sir Thomas . 

Gibson, Edmnnd, D.D, 
Thevet, Andre' . . 

Holinshed, Raphaell . 
England . 

Buttes, Henry . 

A History of Agriculture and Prices 

in England. (London, 8vo., 1876, 

Scotland, The Accounts of the Great 

Chamberlain of State. (Edinburgh, 

1817, 3 vols., 4to.) 
A History of Agriculture and Prices 

in England. (London, 8vo., 1876.) 
Speculum Naturale. Ventiijs. FoL 

Venerandi patris . . . Opus de pro- 
prietatibus rerum. (Koberger, Nu- 
remberg, 1519, folio.) 

De faciliori alimento summula (Milan, 
1539, fol.) 

Anno MDXXXV. De Proprietatibus 
Rerum (Translated into English by 
J. Trevisa, B.L.) MS. Notes by 
W. H. Ireland. (London, 1835, 

The Castel of Helth. (London, 1541, 

Statutes of the Realm. (Vol. iv. 
Parts i and 2.) 

Codex Juris Ecclesiastic! Anglican!, 
vol. ii. (Oxford, 1761, fol.) 

The New Found Worlde, or Antarc- 
tike (Translated from the French, 
by T. Hacket, B.L.) (London, 1568, 

Chronicles (Hooker). (London, foL, 

A Brief Note of the Benefits that grow 
to this Realme by the Observation 
of Fish Days. (London, Roger 
Ward, 1593, fol., 5 vols.) 

Dyets Dry Dinner. Fish (36). (Lon- 
don, I2mo., 1599. 















Glanvilla, Bartholo- 
meus de. 

Cains, Bernardinus . 
Munday, Anthony 
Castellanus, Petrus . 

Mason, Henry . . 
Mason, Henry 

Somner, William . 
Erswicke, John 

Venner, Tobias 
Trapham, Thomas 

Mundy, Henricus 

Collins, John . 

Valvasor, John Weich- 
ard, R.S.S. 

Lemery, Louis' 
Hecquet, Philippe 

Andry de Boisregard, 

North, Roger . 
Albin, Eleazar 

Title of Work. 

De genuinis rerum .... proprieta- 
tibus libri XVI 1 1. (Francofurti, 
1 60 1, 8vo.) 

De alimentis quae cuique naturae con- 
veniant, de voluptatis natura, de 
saporibus. (Venetiis, 1608, 4to.) 

Chrysanaleia : the Golden Fishing ; 
or, Honour of Fishmongers. (Lon- 
don, 1616, 4to.) 

Vitae illustrium medicorum qui . . . ad 
haec usque tempora floruerunt. 
(Antverpiae, 1617, 8vo.) 

Christian Humiliation, or a Treatise 
of Fasting. (London, 1625, 4to.) 

The Epicure's Fast ; or, a Short 
Discourse, discovering the Licen- 
tiousness of the Romane Church in 
her religious Fasts. (London, 1626, 

The Antiquities of Canterbury. (Lon- 
don, 1640, 4to.) 

A Brief Note of the Benefits that grew 
to this Realme by the Observation 
of Fish-days. (London, 1642, 4to.) 

Via recta ad vitam longam. (London, 
1650, 4to.) 

A Discourse of the State of Health 
in the Island of Jamaica. (London, 
1679, 8vo.) 

Bioxp^oroXoyia seu commentarn de 
casre vitali, de esculentis, de potu- 
lentis, cum corollario de parergis 
in victu. (Oxoniae, 1680, 8vo.) 

Salt and Fishery : a Discourse there- 
of, &c. (London, 1682, 4to.) 

Philosophical Transactions, vols. xv., 
xxi., xxii. (London, 1685, &c., 

Traite des Aliments. (Paris, 1705-04, 
I2mo. Two Parts.) 

Traitd des Dispenses du Careme, &c. 
(Paris, 1709, I2mo.) 

Le regime du caresme, conside're' par 
rapport a la nature du corps et des 
alimens. (Paris, 1710, 8vo.) 

A Discourse of Fish and Fishponds 
. . . done by a Person of Honour. 
(London, 1713, 8vo.) 

A Natural History of English In- 
sects. London, 1720, 4to. 





Title of Work. 












Brookes, Richard . 

Arbuthnot, John, M.D. 
Hilscher, Simon Paul 

Forster, Win., Practi- 
tioner in Physick. 

Brooke, Richard, M.D. 
De Coetlogon, Dennis 

Griffiths, Roger, Water 

pomers .... 
Borlase, William . 

Mackenzie, James 

Lelandi .... 
Brookes .... 

Brichoz, Pierre Joseph 

Arundel Collection 
(MS., No. 344.) 

Thompson, Benjamin 
(Count Rumford). 

Thompson, Benjamin 
(Count Rumford). 

A History of the most remarkable 
Pestilential Distempers that have 
appeared in Europe for 300 years. 
(London, 1721, 8vo.) 

An Essay concerning the Nature of 
Aliments, and the Choice of Them. 
(London, 1731-32, 8vo.) 

Prolusio II. de Methodo Ciceronis 
tuendi Valetudinem. (Jena, 1734, 

A Treatise on the Various Kinds . . . 
of Foods, &c. (Newcastle-upon- 
Tyne, 1738, 8vo.) 

The Art of Angling. (London, 1740.) 

An Universal History of Arts and 
Sciences. (London, 1745, fl' 2 

An Essay to prove that the Jurisdic- 
tion and Conservancy of the River 
Thames, &c., is committed to the 
Lord Mayor. (London, 1746, 8vo.) 

Tracts, vol. ii. (London, 4to.) 

The Natural History of Cornwall. 
(Oxford, 1758, folio.) 

The History of Health, and the Art 
of Preserving it, &c. (Edinburgh, 
1759, 8vo.) 

Feast of Fishes, Archbishops. (Lon- 
don, 1760.) 

A New and Accurate System of Na- 
tural History, vol. iii. ; 6 vols. (Lon- 
don, 1763, I2mo.) 

L'Art Alimentaire, ou Mdthode pour 
pr^parer les alimens les plus sains 
pour I'homme. (Paris, 1783, I2mo.) 

Royal Household. A Collection of 
Ordinances. (London, 1790, 4to.) 

The Gentleman's Magazine, vol. Ixiv., 
Part II. 

Essays, Political, Economical, and 
Philosophical, vol. i. (London, 
1796-1802, 8vo.) 

Essays, Political, Economical, and 
Philosophical, vols. vi. and vii. 
(London, 1797, 8vo.) 

Additional MS. Parlyament Proposal 
to King, as to fishing. 

4 6o 




Tide of Work. 

I 79 8 










Thompson, Benjamin 
(Count Romford.) 

Brookes, Richard, 

Thompson, Benjamin 

" Accounts of the 

Great Seal." 
Tobias, Gentleman . 


Bernard, Sir Thomas 

Lord Somers . 

Ballantyne Cub . 

Brewster, Sir David 
Ballantyne Club . 

Swainson, William 
Martin, Robert 


By a Correspondent 
Bellamy, J. C. . . 
Barral . 

Essays, Political, Economical, and 

Philosophical, vol. vii. (London, 

1798, 8vo.) 
The Art of Angling. (London, 1801, 

Essays, Political, Economical, and 

Philosophical, vol. iii. (London, 

1802, 8vo.) 
Antiquarian Repertory, vol. iv. (Lon- 

don, 1809, 4to.) 
Harleian Miscellany, vol. iii. (' Eng- 

land's Way to Win Wealth.' Lon- 

don, 1809, 4to.) 
Harleian Miscellany, vol. x. (London, 

1813, 4to). No. XIV. Oldy's Cata- 
logue of Pamphlets (237). Soap 
Making, 1631. 

The Pamphleteer, vol. i. An Account 
of a Supply of Fish for the Manu- 
facturing Poor. (London, 1813, 
&c., 8vo.) 

Somers' Tracts, vol. xi. England's 
Path to Wealth and Honour, in a 
Dialogue between an Englishman 
and a Dutchman, p. 371. (London, 

1814, 4to.) 

Scotland, The Accounts of the Great 

Chamberlain of Scotland, 1306-1453. 

(Edinburgh, 1817, 4to.) 
Edinburgh Journal of Science, &c., 

vol. iii. (Edinburgh, 1830, 8vo.) 
J ames V. , King of Scotland. Excerpta 

e libris domicilli Dni. Jac. quinti R. 

Scot. 1525-33. (Edinburgh, 1836, 

The Magazine of Natural History, 
and Journal of Zoology, Botany, 
&c. (London, 1837, &c., 8vo.) 

Cabinet of Natural History. (London, 
1838, 8vo.) 

The History, Antiquities, Topography, 
and Statistics of Eastern India, 
3 vols. (London, 1838, 8vo ) 

Penny Magazine, vol. x. (London, 

1841, 410.) 
Housekeeper's Guide to the Fish 

Market. (London, 1843, I2mo.) 
Statique Chimique des Animaux. 





Title of Work- 

I8 5 I 

Household Words. (London, 1841, 



Lehmann, C. G. . 

Lehrbuch der Physiologischen Chemie. 


5J * 

Physiological Chemistry. (Cavendish 


Society, London.) Translated from 

2nd Edition by G. E. Day, M.D. 


Davy, Sir Humphry . 

Salmonia, or Days of Fly-Fishing. 



Bidder und Schmidt . 

Die Verdauung Safte 1 und der 



Lehmann, C. G. . 

Handbuch der Physiologischen 

Chemie, Leipsig. 


Young, Andrew 

The Natural History and Habits of 

Salmon. (London, 1854, 8vo.) 


Davy, John, M.D. 

The Angler and his Friend. (Long- 




Die Normal-Diet. 



Physiologisch - chemische Unter- 

AO J/ 



Hammond, Edward . 

Researches on Food. (New York.) 


Rankine, W. J. Mac- 

Applied Mechanics. (Black.) 



Simmonds, Peter Lund 

The Curiosities of Food. (Bentley.) 


Vogt, C 

Moleschott's Untersuchungen. 


Henneberg und Stoh- 

Fiitterung der Weiderkauer. 



Parkes . 



Bischoff und Voit 

Die Gesetze der Ernahrung des 



Bellamy (Surgeon) 

Housekeeper's Guide. (Plymouth, 



Couch, Jonathan . 

A History of the Fishes of the British 

Islands. (London, 1860, &c., 8vo.) 



Uses of Food. 


Pettenkoffer und Voit 

Respiration. (Annalen der Chemie 

und Pharmacie.) 


Carpenter, William . 

On the Mutual Relation of the Physical 

and Vital Forces (Quarterly Journal 

of Science) . 


Payen, A. .... 

Des Substances Alimentaires (4th 



Playfair, Lyon. 

The Food of Man in Relation to his 

useful Work. (Lecture.) (Edin- 

burgh : Edmondston and Douglas.) 


Parnell, H. C. 

Fishing Gossip. (Edinburgh, 1866, 



Erdaile, David . . 

Contributions to Natural History, 

chiefly in Relation to the Food of 

the People. 2nd Edition. (Edin- 

burgh, 1867, 8vo.) 




Title of Work. 






Borlase, William 
Denison, Alfred 

Gardener,Samuel Raw- 

New Shakspeare So 

Simmonds, Peter Lund 

All the Year Round, vols. xxv. and 
xxxv. (London, 1871 and 1876, 8vo.) 

Naenia Cornubise : a Descriptive Es- 
say ... on Cornwall (London, 
Truro, 1872, 8vo.) 

A Literal Translation into English of 
the earliest known Book on Fowling 
and Fishing. Translated from 
Flemish of 1492 by A. D. (Lon- 
don, 1872, 8vo.) 

Chambers's Journal. (London, 1874, 

History of England under the Duke 
of Buckingham and Charles I., 
1624 to 1628. 2 vols. (London, 
1875, 8vo.) 

Good Words. 

Description of England (W. Harrison). 
(London, 1877, 8vp.) 

The Commercial Products of the Sea. 
(Griffith and Farran.) 





W. M. ADAMS, B.A. 


VOL. I. H. 















Twas a fat oyster. 

Poverty is the badge of all our tribe. 

Merchant of Venice. 

3RD FISHERMAN. Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea. 
IST FISHERMAN. Why, as men do a-land : the great ones eat up 
the little ones. 


A KAKI or oyster of venerable appearance and high 
reputation for wisdom, whose remarks have been preserved 
by the learned Kiuo in his famous Japanese sermons, was 
lying at ease one day amid the rocks beneath the Eastern 
waters, and was watching the sunlight which played among 
the reeds and grasses of that pleasant retreat. Now it 
needed but a very slight glance down through the blue 
limpid depths to see that this oyster, as we shoulc^ call 
him, with his well-developed beard and general expression 
of cool tranquillity, was a highly distinguished member of 
his order. A gentle murmur proceeded from his half-open 
mouth as he addressed a youthful kurumayebi, or lobster, 
standing respectfully near him ; and any one acquainted 
VOL. I. H. 2 H 


with the mollusc language might have perceived that he 
was comparing the relative advantages of shell-fish and 
their captors for the benefit of his friend " I know quite 
well," whispered the Kaki languidly, "that unfortunate 
human race which cannot even breathe this delicious atmo- 
sphere. They are all an unhappy lot, and have very little 
idea of the pleasures of existence ; but those who are the 
particular enemies of us and of others who dwell in the 
ocean, are worst off by far. Just look at the whole race of 
fishermen I don't care of what country or what age I 
defy you to mention a single man of wealth, or leisure, or 
importance amongst them, unless it was Masaniello and 
how long did he keep his power. They are all as poor as a 
periwinkle, and as unprotected as a jellyfish. As for their 
houses, did any one ever hear of a fisherman living in a 
cottage lined with mother-of-pearl ? And then look at the 
dangers which they are incessantly incurring. There comes 
a little puff and over they go, while I lie here and watch 
their bodies floating about upon the surface." Just at this 
moment a strange shadow passed across the sunlight ; 
quick as thought the Kaki stopped his discourse and closed 
his shell with a snap. At last, when a long period had 
elapsed and he felt that all danger was past, he opened his 
eyes, and found himself deposited upon the cool white 
marble of a fishmonger's stall. 

In the sensations experienced by the hero of this little 
Eastern apologue, that of surprise would doubtless have pre^ 
dominated, but we question whether his astonishment would 
not have been higher in degree, as well as pleasanter in kind, 
if, instead of finding himself upon a stall in the Japanese mar- 
ket, he had awoke amid the magnificence of the International 
Fisheries Exhibition. For many of the remarks made by the 
acute, though rather too self-confident, mollusc were perfectly 


correct. As, standing in the midst of the great palace, we 
look back upon the history of fishing and fishermen from 
the earliest times, it seems as if the abundant wealth and 
devices around us had risen from the ocean beneath the 
wand of an enchanter. Rich and varied as are the products 
here collected, there is no trade or occupation so peculiarly 
distinguished through all times and all nations by the 
poverty of its pursuers as that of fishing. From the boat- 
less, netless, shiftless race of Ichthyophagi, described by 
Arrian and Strabo, to the big-booted and oilskin-coated 
individual who forms to the observant eye one of the most 
picturesque and familiar objects of the seashore, poverty is 
the badge which marks the fisherman. 

Among primitive and unsettled communities the prin- 
cipal pursuits of life consist of fishing and hunting ; yet 
even there the hunter claims the greater share of im- 
portance, since before either agricultural and pastoral 
pursuits have taken root, both food and clothing are alike 
supplied from the produce of the chase, while fishing must 
be content to confine itself to the former of these departments 
of the commissariat. As civilisation advances and the 
growth of agriculture converts hunting from a benefit into 
a detriment, rivers and streams no longer lie open to every 
chance comer, but yield their wealth only to a privileged and 
limited number. But though the waters which formerly 
supplied an industry for the many may now afford only an 
amusement for the few, yet little improvement has accrued 
to those who still follow that calling for their livelihood, no 
longer in the streams and rivers, but on the wild and 
dangerous seas. In character, as in habits, the fisherman 
seems little changed from the days of Oppian. Physically, 
he is still well-made, active and athletic ; morally, he must 
needs be patient and enterprising. No calling indeed 

2 H 2 


demands so severe and constant a strain upon the moral 
virtues of patience and fortitude. His labour is incessant, 
his reward slight and uncertain. He must face the chance 
of sudden and violent end far more habitually than either 
soldier or sailor, yet must hope for no special glory or 
memorial as his recompense. He must be content often 
to leave wife and children with a smiling face, and know 
that as likely as not he may come back to them within 
twenty-four hours only as a corpse cast up by the 
treacherous sea. Death in its . most rapid and startling 
form is his familiar companion, but he never can suffer his 
hardihood or his cheerfulness to be dimmed for a moment 
by that ghastly presence. A sudden gust, a bucket thrown 
carelessly over the side, an awkward movement at an 
inopportune moment, may in an instant snatch him away 
beyond recall, with no further memorial than a simple 
inscription of " Drowned at Sea." The church at which he 
worships is full of such records ; and from his own family 
perhaps, a father, a brother and a son have all perished by 
a sudden death.. Yet nothing daunts his unconquerable 
courage, or wearies out his inexhaustible patience. This it 
is which makes the fisheries of a nation so valuable a 
nursery for their national defences. England is not the only 
country which owes her greatness upon the seas in no slight 
measure to the qualities of her fishermen. The navies of 
Athens and Greece in the olden time, as of Holland and 
France in modern days, were largely recruited from the 
same ranks. Upon their calling, too, was conferred the 
most splendid destiny that has adorned the human race. 
From amongst the fishermen of Galilee came forth the 
spiritual princes of the earth, and the poverty and humility 
in which they lived is the very type of the apostolic life. 
Such a race of men, it is evident, must form not merely an 


integral, but a most vital portion of a nation's strength ; 
and no pains can be too great for the purpose of ascertaining 
their customs and for developing their capabilities to the 
utmost possible degree. No doubt it may not be easy to 
obtain detailed information as to their customs in the earliest 
ages, for the very simplicity of their habits and retirement 
of their lives tends inevitably to create obscurity, though 
when we descend to modern days the copiousness of the 
treatment grows indeed apace. Fully to illustrate so vast 
and intricate a theme would require a lifetime of research 
and a volume or rather a bookshelf of no inconsiderable 
dimensions. Yet even the brief and unpretending sketches 
here presented can scarcely fail to catch some interest 
from the scenes in which they are laid, and the incidents 
by which they are diversified ; and may serve at least to 
indicate new fields or rather oceans for investigation to the 
student of historical philosophy, no less than new tracks of 
sympathy for the general public. Whether we stand by 
the Indian, as, in the glare of his midnight torch, he spears 
the leaping salmon in the reddened waters, or follow our 
own hardy fishermen to their wild and dangerous haunts in 
the northern sea ; whether we note the similarity of thunny 
catching in the heroic days of Greece with the mode pur- 
sued even now in parts of Southern Europe ; whether we 
learn from the Chinese the endless subtleties of device born 
of long observation and yet longer patience, or look back 
upon the efforts of a mediaeval monk as they develope 
slowly through the centuries into a vast system of European 
pisciculture ; whether we descend with the learned Italian 
into the tomb, or inhale the breezes of ocean as we pursue 
the flying whale ; through whatever age and whatever land 
we stray, the same mingled sense of natural and moral 
beauty greets us on everv hand. To the fishes with their 


marvellous forms, their glowing hues, their lovely homes ; 
belongs a world scarce penetrated yet by the eye of man. 
To the fisherman has been assigned the nobler privilege of 
offering an example of patient industry, of unrepining 
poverty, of discipline and self-restraint at least during his 
labours at sea, and of utter insensibility to danger in the 
pursuit of duty, which marks the followers of that craft in 
every country, even, so far as we can trace, from the very 
earliest times. 




She was used to take delight, with her fair hand 
To angle in the Nile. 

Beaumont and Fletcher. 

EGYPT, the China of the Western world, was the cradle of 
piscatorial as of other industrial arts and inventions. So 
prominent a part was played by the fishermen in the 
domestic economy of that country that the prophet Isaiah 
alludes in special terms to their desolation. In the sepul- 
chral monuments of that extraordinary land where the 
living have the appearance of being already dead, and the 
dead vociferously claim to be considered alive, we find 
many allusions to the practice and illustrations of the 
methods pursued. Drag-nets and clap-nets are constantly 
represented full of fish, and bronze harpoons and fish-hooks 
still remain to bear witness to their early ingenuity. The 
tomb of Nevophth, built as early as the seventeenth dynasty, 
contains a representation of two men angling, with the hiero- 
glyph of fishing inscribed above them. Another picture of 
about the same period shows five men engaged in net-casting : 
one standing in the water, and the other standing in the 
middle of the net. At Elethyia in a similar painting, ropes 
are attached to each extremity. One of the hieroglyphs 
collected and conjecturally translated by the learned and 


ingenious Italian, Rosellini, yields a suggestion that the 
device of using cormorants, or at least some kind of birds 
as intermediaries between themselves and the inhabitants 
of the waters, a kind of fish-hawking common enough in 
China, was not unknown to the Egyptians. As, however, 
the special point does not appear to have occurred to the 
professor, it may be as well to quote his own words, 
especially as they will illustrate the nature of the 
records from which our knowledge of these most ancient 
occupations is derived, and the amount of the skill required 
for their interpretation. The author speaks of the hiero- 
glyphic word representing a net, and then, says he, there 
follows the figure of a bird with the signs of plurality. 
Then comes another bird with beak and claws, and that 
character expresses, as is evident from other places, a mode 
of taking fish, and in general the idea of fishing. More 
often one finds this symbol preceded by the phonetic word 
which in the spoken language expresses the same idea with 
the armed hand following the words indicating the action. 
In fact, it is the figure of a fish with the note of plurality. 
From these premises the learned and ingenious author 
concludes that the inscription represents the inspector of 
bird-snaring and fishing. "Si esprime dunque in questa 
iscrizione : f ispettore della caccia colle reti agli uccelli, e delta, 
pescagione del pesci, che e Tuffizio deiruomo in quella scena 
figurato." But with the most sincere deference to so high 
an authority, we cannot help thinking that the representa- 
tion may have relation, not merely to birds and fish, but to 
catching the latter by means of the former. 

Snaring crocodiles was another favourite industry or 
amusement with the people of ancient Egypt, as is shown 
by the tomb of Sciumnes at Kum-el-Ahmer. Men in flat- 
bottomed boats covered with palm or papyrus seduced the 


unlucky reptile into shallow water where he could not dive, 
and speared him then and there. This somewhat resembles 
the process of cockatoo-shooting in Australia, which can 
only be effected by the sportsmen dressing themselves up 
in green boughs, and creeping along with the utmost caution 
so as to elude the vigilance of the two sentinels always 
on the look-out from the highest boughs of a gum-tree. 
As one reads all the various designs for the entrapping and 
destruction of these helpless creatures, one is visited some- 
times with a qualm of compunction on thinking of the 
tremendous catalogue of never-ending treacheries which 
characterise the whole dealings of man with every other 
portion of living creation. Nor was Egyptian ingenuity 
confined merely to capture, but extended also to modes of 
preservation. The art of drying and curing fish, not dis- 
covered in Europe till the fourteenth century, that parent 
period of so many modern employments, was known of old 
in the land of the Pharaohs ; and pictures are still extant 
representing the different stages of the process, and showing 
amongst other things how the big fish were cut in pieces 
previous to being desiccated. In one respect, too, that of 
the wholesale destruction of the fry, the fishermen of Egypt 
seem to have been open to the same charge as the most reck- 
less of modern caterers. Every year, after the inundation, 
there were found in the receding waters numbers of small 
fish from six to nine inches long, which Djewhari calls Sir, 
and identifies with the /JLCUVIS ; while Dioscorides considers 
them to be the same as the Sahnat or Sihna, though Makrizi 
distinguishes the two, as does also Avicenna according to 
De Sacy. This may be true enough, and the species may 
have been one incapable of attaining a larger growth ; 
but when we read of the immense quantities caught after 
the closing of the sluices at high Nile, and find that 
throughout the rest of the year the great river was but 


scantily supplied with inhabitants, and those of very large 
size ; a remembrance of the Stormontfield experiments 
naturally recurs to the mind, and one wonders whether, as 
the parr were formerly distinguished from the salmon, so in 
this instance the Sir may have been nothing else than 
the young of some larger species, and their destruction have 
given rise to the scarcity prevailing in the waters of the 

Holy wars seem to have been as much in fashion in 
Ancient as in Modern Egypt ; and the controversy assumed 
the curious form of one tribe with the utmost irreverence 
eating up the fishes which the inhabitants of the adjoining 
territory held in divine adoration. This was a fertile source 
of recrimination and dispute, and the quarrel between the 
Ombitae and their neighbours on this knotty point attained 
the dimensions of a very respectable war. A very ancient 
exercise of royal prerogative has been preserved for us by 
Diodorus. Mceris or Thothmes IV. made over to his queen 
all rights in the lake which bears his name, for her to buy 
ornaments with the produce ; and if it be correct that 
twenty-two different kinds of fish were found there in great 
abundance, her Majesty had no reason to be dissatisfied 
with the amount assigned for her pin-money. In more 
recent times Ebn Modalbir, according to Abd Alatif, an 
Arab physician of the fourteenth century, was the first to 
lay a tax upon fishing, and for this purpose established 
regular inspectors at Alexandria, Damietta, the Cataract 
of Oswan, and other places. 

Isis, under the form of a fish-tailed woman, the common 
object of adoration to the Egyptians, was also worshipped by 
the ancient Suevi as the discoverer of the sail. Doubtless 
Horace had her image in mind when he penned his famous 
comparison for an incoherent simile. 

" Dcsinit in piscem mulier formosa supcrne." 


Which we may render 

A woman lends the lovely bust, a fish supplies the tail. 

The following hymn in her honour, taken from the 
Magic Papyrus, bears some resemblance to the style of 

" I sis has struck 
With her wing 

And closed the mouth of the rain, 
She caused the fishes to remain lying in the stream, 
Not a jug of water could be drawn out of it. 
Sinking of the water, rising of the water ! 
Her tears fell (like) water, 
Her tears fell into 

The water ; a cubit of fishes at the mouth of the ape ; 
A cubit of wood at the mouth of the star. 
By I sis was uttered the cry : No crocodile ! 
And was effected the act of salvation. 
Come, act of salvation. 

These latter lines form an invocation of the fish-god. 

Akin to this deity, in substance if not in name, was 
Dagon, the fish-god of the neighbouring Phoenicians, whose 
grand temple stood at Azotus. The origin of his apothe- 
osis is attributed by Sanchoniathon to his having been the 
inventor of the plough and the loaf; a noble title indeed, 
which makes one half inclined to look with leniency upon the 
idolatry, especially when it is compared with the heavy fine 
which would now be imposed upon any one who conferred 
such a benefit upon the world at large, unless indeed he con- 
sented to be robbed of all his due. Dagon was probably 
identical with the KIJTCO worshipped at Joppa, and Ae/o^ro) 
at Ascalon, all three towns being close together, and the 
nature of the worship being: identical ; but a doubt may be 
permitted whether the transformation of Dagon on the one 


hand into Straw or Sidon, and on the other into Atergatis, 
is a convolution possible to any except an etymologist of a 
happily extinct period. The two deities however, Dagoda 
(or Zephyr) of the ancient Suevi, and Dagoun, the beneficent 
principle worshipped at Pegu, may indicate some trace of 
earlier connection before historic times. 

One or two points related by ^Elian of Egyptian fish 
may here be cited as curiosities. He observes that the 
Egyptian sea-tortoise hides its eggs in the sand and then 
swims off to sea, and he points out the Darwinian adapta- 
tion of the polypods to their environments in assuming 
the colours of the rocks to which they cling. Egyptian 
frogs also exhibit a remarkable intelligence in the art of 
self-defence. When a frog, he says, sees a river serpent 
coming, he snaps off a piece of reed or cane, and holding it 
tight athwart him presents an impregnable defence against 
his opponents. Sea-foxes in Egypt were, it appears, quite 
equal in intelligence to their brethren on the land ; and the 
angler who was so unfortunate as to make a catch of one 
of them found his line snapped like a flash of lightning 
before ever he could draw bait or prize from the sea. To 
the same author we are indebted for the information 
that fly-fishing was familiar to the Macedonians, and 
that tickling trout was a device by no means uncommon 
amongst the fishermen of that time in general. 

Hard by the eastern borders of Upper Egypt dwelt, in 
ancient times, the tribe of Ichthyophagi, divided in Ptolemy's 
map, which accords with the best classical authorities, into 
two races, both exceedingly poor, one inhabiting the eastern 
coast at the entrance of the Red Sea, and the other to the 
east of the Persian Gulf, close to the land of the Gedrocians, 
and between what is now Cape Malan and Cape Jask. Pliny 
says this coast was thirty days' sail in length, but Pliny's 


statistics are not always precise. To the former of these 
tribes, as Herodotus informs us, Cambyses sent messengers 
before going to war with their neighbours the Macrobians, in 
order to obtain ambassadors who could speak the Macro- 
bian language. From the account both of Diodorus as to 
the Ichthyophagi on the western shores of the Red Sea, 
and from that of Arrian as to the portion of the tribe settled 
towards the east of the Persian Gulf, it is evident that the 
greatest poverty prevailed amongst them. Though they 
lived almost entirely on fish they had neither boats nor 
nets, and their implements, after the very rudest stage of 
industry, were made of stone. 




All the old ones 
He hath sent a fishing. 


MANY allusions to topics connected with fishing are con- 
tained in classical works, though they do not frequently occur 
in the earlier writers. Homer, for instance, merely dedicates 
a short epigram, of no great merit, to some fisherboys who 
had pleased him ; while Hesiod, so far as we remember, 
except in a single line, is altogether silent. Thunnies, in 
especial, afforded excellent sport with the people of ancient 
Greece, and are a frequent subject of reference. Their 
capture was effected by driving them in shoals into the 
harbour, and then battering them to death with harpoons 
and instruments of every kind, after the method still 
practised in Sardinia, where lagoons seven miles in length 
are divided by thick partitions of reeds, and the thunnies 
are beaten to death within the enclosures. This barbarous 
form of proceeding supplied ^Eschylus with a vivid image 
of the destruction of the host of Xerxes, an image placed 
with more' poetic than dramatic aptness in the mouth of 
the Persian messenger, who describes the scene to Atossa. 
" But the Greeks kept striking," says the messenger, 
"hacking us with the fragments of oars and splinters of 


wrecks, as if we were thunnies or a draft of fish." What 
a whirlwind of applause must have greeted that bold and 
glowing picture, which combined in one line the popular 
national pursuit and the most splendid victory ever achieved 
since warfare began ! Aristotle mentions the thunnies, 
saying that they belong to a gregarious and carnivorous 
class, and deriving their Greek name of hamiae, or com- 
panions, from their going always in shoals, a derivation 
which may have been more justifiable than it would seem ; 
and Archestratus gives a poetical receipt for dressing them, 
which has been translated into Italian verse by Signer 
Domenico Scina. According to Pliny, in whose mouth a 
story never grows less, they weighed as much as fifteen 
tons, the tail alone being nearly four feet in width. Fried 
slices of them made a capital dish for the Athenian poor, 
like fried plaice with our own population. " Who do you 
match with me, I'd ask ? " says the Bobadil of Aristophanic 
Comedy. " I'll just eat some hot thunny and drink a gallon 
or so of wine, and then I'll blackguard you every general 
in Pylos." In the Idylls of Theocritus, whose every line 
breathes of pure air and summer skies, and compared with 
whom the idylls of other writers are like plants in a con- 
servatory, occurs more than one allusion to the habits of 
fishermen, one eclogue in particular being especially assigned 
to those characters. Ausonius, too, in his poem on the 
Moselle, after describing the 

" High-crested towns wrought from the hanging rocks, 
Hills green with Bacchus' leaf, and pleasant flow 
Of MosePs silent stream that flows beneath," 

goes on to speak of "the grey crowd" of fishes swimming 
in the pleasant waters. Nor must we here pass over the 
interesting work entitled ' Geoponica,' drawn up, according 


to the best authorities, by Cassianus Bassus at the com- 
mand of the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. This 
curious treatise forms an admirable illustration of classic 
science, containing excerpts from Aratus, Hippocrates, 
Zoroaster, and numerous other writers on rural matters ; 
and together with information of all kinds, botanical, 
agricultural, and piscatorial, it furnishes such items as 
receipts for universal bait, and charms for driving away 
mice from any particular field.* It is, in fact, an encyclo- 
paedia of ancient rural lore. 

Hook, rod, line, and net, every weapon in fact now used 
by man in his finny warfare except that potent instru- 
ment the trawl was apparently common to classic times. 
When the enemy is so easily caught, there is little induce- 
ment to waste ingenuity in devising new means of offence. 
Still, the variety of methods, especially in relation to nets, 
was considerable ; and fishermen, to follow Julius Pollux 
(or rather Polydeikes), might be divided into three classes 
the anglers, the employers of nets and torches for night 
use with the spear, and the divers for sponges, or for the 
purple-fish. The ordinary implements were as follows : the 
nassa, or net, said to be made of twigs ; baskets of various 
kinds ; the casting-net ; the drag-net ; the yasyyapov, or 
sagena, the time-honoured seine ; corks ; bamboo fishing- 
rods ; poles or stakes to fix into the ground ; fishing-lines ; 
flax and sewing-thread ; hooks ; leads and fishing-spears. 
To this list the author adds the boat utensils ; and observes 

* I am indebted for a knowledge of the existence of this curious 
treatise, as well as for many other courtesies, to Mr. Garnet, the well- 
known superintendent of the reading-room at the British Museum ; and 
I am glad to avail myself of this opportunity for expressing my thanks 
to the numerous officials in that department who have aided me in 
my researches. 


that m the night fishing the fishermen propelled the boat 
down the stream with poles, and had ropes for mooring on 
land, machines for drawing the boat, connected with towing, 
the boats being drawn up trenches ; skins used to protect 
their hulls from injuries ; and props, or perforated stones, to 
which they attached the mooring-ropes. Eels were caught 
by letting down into their haunts from the top of a high 
bank some cubits' length of sheep's intestines, the lower 
end of which was seized by the eel. Thereupon the angler 
placed the other end, to which was attached a small wooden 
tube, in his mouth, and by means of inflation caused the 
eel to swell until it was hopeless to attempt escape. At 
Marseilles boats used to be shaped like swordfish, and then 
circled round to drive home the catch. Pilots possessed a 
large measure of influence, for to them was entrusted the 
important duty of determining the omens. 

It is to filial piety that we are indebted for the most 
perfect and poetic description of this 'subject, whether of 
ancient or of modern times. A learned citizen of Anabar- 
sus, being aged and infirm, failed to present himself before 
Severus when the emperor paid a visit to that town. For 
this omission the old man was banished to the island of 
Malta, and his son Oppian went with him into voluntary 
exile. To win his father's freedom was the object of this 
excellent youth ; and the mode he took was as brilliant as it 
was original. He wrote a poem descriptive of the whole 
range of fish and fishing ; and when Severus visited Malta 
recited it before him in the theatre. The emperor, struck 
with the beauty of the verses and the novelty of the idea, 
offered him what would now be considered a very respectable 
sum for a well-known writer in a first-class magazine, and 
upon his declining the money, promised to grant the author 
whatever boon he asked ; whereupon Oppian interceded for 

VOL. I. H. 2 I 


his father, and obtained a remission of the sentence for 
both. The whole incident as it is recorded in history 
illustrates in many points if fresh illustration were needed 
the numerous anomalies inevitably attaching to such a 
system of personal caprice as obtained under the heathen 
emperors ; but it must never be forgotten that even in 
contemporary affairs, and at the present day, men ignorant 
of the inner workings of political machinery constantly set 
down to personal influence that which is strictly governed 
by precedent, and that a more accurate knowledge of the 
Roman organisation might reveal all kinds of subtle limi- 
tations and modifications by which the imperial power was 
bound and restricted. 

Here is a list of fish from Draper's translation which might 
entitle the author at once to take rank with ichthyologists 

" Fish have no common rule of life assigned, 
Not to one place, or to one choice confm'd. 
The sev'ral kinds pursue their proper good, 
Diffrent their dwellings, and unlike their food. 
Some near the shore in humble pleasures blest, 
Approve the sands, and on their product feast. 
The flouncing horse here restiff drives his way, 
And soles on sands their softer bellies lay. 
Sea-roach in ruddy shoals frequent the land, 
And puny black-tails range the shelving strand. 
The clouded mack'rels choose the sandy ground, 
And with their speckled train the beach surround. 
Flat folios here stretch on the shaded seas, 
Here spiny scads and fruitful carps encrease. 
The broad-tail here, and dainty mullet feed, 
Frisk on the sands, or batten on the weed. 
Close to the shore soft slender swaths reside, 
And the gay mormyl shows his spotted pride. 
But what these love the slimy offspring hate j 
The cod and whiting kinds, the prickly skate, 
The thornback-ray an arm'd and hardy race, 
The pois'nous fire-flaire, and the smoother plaice, 


Stretch on soft slime ; in slime the sea-cow hides, 
And on the yielding bed reclines her sides. 
The cramp-fish rightly nam'd from numbing pain, 
And wide-mouthed lizards sandy heaps disdain. 
In grosser filth they pass their wanton days, 
Search the rich mud and wreath thro' hidden ways." 

Or again, to take the account of the diet affected by the 
various kinds of fish given in the third book 

" Sea-crows, the tunnie, shrimps, the wolf approves, 
The bream's voracious gust the gaper moves. 
Ox-eyes excite the sharp-teethed ruff's desire, 
Horse-tails the various rainbow's paint admire. 
The oerve surmullets tempt to certain fate, 
For yellow-tails with bright-ey'd pearches bait. 
Cackrels the gilt-heads glitt'ring race invite, 
And tender prekes the lamprey's taste delight. 
Thus larger kinds ; the fair one of the seas, 
Nam'd from his beauteous form, young tunnies please. 
On the small cod the full-grown tunnie feeds, 
When wolves attract the wounded anthie bleeds. 
To crested horse-tails, hungry sword-fish haste, 
And mullets please the shark's judicious taste." 

Yet one more passage, in which we not only set the net, 
but descend with it into the deep abyss, and watch it 
gather in the frightened prey 

" Down thro' the gloomy regions of the bay 
The leaded snare divides its silent way, 
Impatient till it seize the destined prey. 
The spikes impetuous reach the dark profound, 
At once they reach, and dart the num'rous wound. 
Th' inverted barbs confine in cruel chains 
The captives writhing with the steely pains. 

" The various tortures of the bleeding shoal 
Command a pity from the stoutest soul. 
Here gasping heads confess the killing smart, 
There bleeds a tail, and quivers round the dart. 

2 I 2 


This in his sides receives the rushing wound, 

Hung by the back another twirls around ; 

Another's breast the thirsty steel divides, 

Breaks through the veins and drinks the vital tides. 

But gentler arts ensnare the youthful train, 

Entangled in the thready bosomed seine. 

When gloomy night obscures the frowning deep, 

In oozy beds the scaly nations sleep, 

All but the tunny's brood ; with wakeful care 

Each sound they dread, and ev'ry motion fear, 

Start from their caverns, and assist the snare. 

" The silent fishers in the calm profound 
With circling nets a spacious spot surround, 
While others in the midst with flatted oars 
The wavy surface lash, old Ocean roars ; 
Murm'ring with frothy rage beneath the blow, 
And trembles to remotest deeps below. 
The dreadful din alarms the tim'rous fry ; 
They fondly to the net's protection fly." 

Some notice of an imperial edict published' by Dio- 
cletian may form an appropriate conclusion to this brief 
review of classical fishing. It is remarkable, both because 
it fixes the current price of fish at the time, and also 
because from the form of the titles it favours the belief that 
the empire was not recognised as a formally amalgamated 
entity, but as a collection of separate kingdoms united under 
a single head, like the crowns of Austria and Hungary, and 
not those of England and of Scotland. 

" [Imperator Caesar Caius Aurelius Ualerius Diocletianus Pius Felix 
Invictus Augustus Po]ntifex Maximus Germanicus Maximus VI 
Sarmaticus Maximus nil Persicus Maximus II Brittanicus Maximus 
Carpicus Maximus Armenicus Maximus Medicus Maximus Adia- 
benicus M Tribunicia potestate xvni Consul vn Imperator xvm 
Pater Patriae Proconsul. Et Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius 
Ualerius Maximianus Pius Felix Invictus Augustus Pontifex Maximus 
Germanicus Maximus v Sarm[aticus Maximus ill Persicus Maximus 
Brittanicus Maximus Carpicus Maximus Armenicus Maximus Medicus 
Maximus Adiabenicus Maximus Trijbunicia Potestate xvn Consul vi 


Imperator XVII Pater Patriae Proconsul. Et Flavius Ualeritis Con- 
stantius Germanicus Maximus II Sarmaticus Maximus II Persicus 
Maximus II Brittanicus Maximus Carpicus Maximus Armenicus 
Maximus Medicus Maximus Adiabenicus Maximus Tribunicia 
Potestate vin Consul in Nobilissimus Cassar. Et Galerius Ualerius 
Maximianus Germanicus Maximus II Sarm[aticus Maximus II Persicus 
Maximus II Brittanicus Maximus Carpicus Maximus Armenicus 
Maximus Medicus Maximus Adiajbenicus Maximus Tribunicia 
potestate Yin Consul ill Nobilissimus Caesar. Dicunt. 

Porcelli lactantis ... in po I * sedecim 

Agnus duodecim 


Sevi ital po I * sex 

Buturi sedecim 

Item pisces 

Piscis aspratilis marini . viginti quattuor 

Piscis secundi .... sedecim 

Piscis fluvialis optimi . . po i * duodecim 

Piscis secundi fluvialis . . ital po I * octo 

Piscisalsi ital po I * sex 

Ostrea n centum . . . centum 

Echini n centum . . . quinquaginta 

Echini recentis purgati . ital/unum * 

Echini salsi * centum 

Sphonduli marini . . n centum * quinquaginta " 

Mr. Leake, the editor of this interesting edict, gives a 
translation from which we make the following extract : 


Sucking-pig by the pound 16 

Lamb 12 

Kid 12 

Tallow one Ital. pound 6 

Butter 16 

Item fish 
Sea-fish of the best quality, or from) 

deep water \ 

Second-rate fish 16 

Best river-fish ....... ,, 12 

Second-rate river-fish ..... 8 

Salt fish 6 


Oysters a hundred 100 

Sea-urchins 50 

Salted sea-urchins 100 

Sea-cockles ........ 50 

These latter prices, if we could fix the value of the 
denarius at this epoch, would prove an interesting subject 
for comparison with those now current at Billingsgate. 




May't rain above all almanacks, till 

The carriers sail and the king's fishmonger 

Ride like Arion upon a trout to London. 

Beaumont and Fletcher. 

ALTHOUGH the records of fisheries and fishermen during 
the earlier part of the Christian era are for the most part 
buried in obscurity, yet indications are not wanting of 
the importance attaching to them. For many centuries 
mariners and fishermen continued to be governed by the 
Rhodian Laws, a code originally promulgated by Tiberius, 
and confirmed by the Emperors Hadrian, Antoninus, 
Pertinax and Septimus Severus. Their origin is quaintly 
recorded in the preamble. " When," says Tiberius, " all the 
merchants and sailors petitioned me to furnish them with a 
report upon the general laws affecting maritime matters, 
Nero said to me : ' Most Illustrious Emperor, why not send 
a Commission to Rhodes to find out all about them?'" 
And so the Commission was sent. Some of the regulations 
thereby imposed were of a highly practical and ingenious 
order ; as, for instance, the rule ordaining that when 
seamen quarrel they may fight it out as much as they 
like in words, but are on no account to proceed to blows ; 
a regulation recalling the advice of Athene to the angry 


Achilles. If, however, one hits another on the head he is 
to defray the doctor's bill, and pay his victim's wages until 
the date of recovery. Another proviso alludes to the practice 
of fishing by means of torches, for it forbids fishermen to 
display lights at sea lest they should deceive other vessels. 
About the eleventh century, when respect for the laws of 
Rhodes had in a measure worn out, and civilisation had 
gravitated towards the West, another island supplied the 
laws of mariners and fishermen to Europe ; and no incon- 
siderable tribute to the maritime influence of France 
during the Middle Ages is testified by the wide prevalence 
of the laws forming the code of one of her islands. From 
Oleron off Saintonge in Aquitain, between the Isle De Re 
and the river Charente, proceeded a code of laws recog- 
nised by the wide circle of the Hanseatic towns, though 
not published until the year 1536. 

As for the credit of the work, the French, and espe- 
cially those of Aquitain, assume it to themselves, alleging 
that Queen Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitain (the wife of 
Henry II. of England, and mother to Richard I.), having 
returned from the Holy Land, made the first draft of 
these laws, and called them Roole d'Oleron, by the name 
of this her beloved island. To which laws, says she, her 
son King Richard, having likewise returned from his expe- 
dition to the Holy Land, made some additions still under 
the same title. These assertions are backed by the argu- 
ments, that the laws were written in the old French, after 
the Gascon dialect, and not in English ; that they were 
made particularly for Bordeaux voyagers, for the landing 
of wines, and other commodities in that place, and for trans- 
port and unloading at St. Malo. Caen, and Rouen, seaport 
towns of France ; and lastly that there is not so much as 
any mention made of the Thames, England or Ireland. 


According to these laws, if any man happen to find in the 
sea or sea-shore precious stones, fishes, or the like, of which 
no man was ever a proprietor, it becomes his own ; but as 
to great (or Royal) fishes that are found on the sea-shore, 
regard must be had to the customs of the country where 
such fishes are found and taken. For the lord of the country 
ought to have his share. So a master that has hired seamen 
for voyage, is to keep the peace and to act the part of judge 
at sea. If the master himself gives the lie he shall pay 
8 deniers. If any of the mariners gives the master the lie, 
8 deniers. If the master strike any of his mariners, he 
ought to bear with the first stroke whether it be with the 
fist or open hand. But if the master strike more than once, 
the mariner may defend himself. If any of the hired 
mariners strike the master first, he shall pay an hundred 
sous or lose his hand. 

And again, if two vessels go a fishing in partnership, as 
for mackerel, herrings, or the like, and set nets and lay 
their lines for the purpose, the one of the vessels ought to 
employ as many fishing engines as the others, and so they 
shall divide the profit equally according to the covenant 
made between them. And if one perish, relations and 
heirs may require to have their part of the gain, and like- 
wise of fish and fishing instruments upon the oaths of those 
escaped. But they are to have nothing of the vessel 
if it survive. All these regulations seem to be dictated 
by justice and common sense. Of a similar stamp were 
the laws of Wisby in Gothland, in use with the Great 
International Confederation of the Hanseatic League. 

About the middle of the fourteenth century the right of 
fishing upon our coasts was secured to the Spaniards by 
special treaty, and two hundred years afterwards a like 
privilege was granted as to the north coast of Ireland to 


Philip II. at an annual rent of a thousand pounds. The 
high estimation attaching to this pursuit is evidenced 
more than once. When Richard III. summoned all the 
shipping of England against an anticipated invasion of the 
French, he nevertheless excepted the fishermen of Cromer 
and the neighbouring ports, lest their absence should impair 
the interests of the occupation in which they were engaged. 
For the furtherance too of this vital industry a Statute of 
Herrings was passed by Henry VII., directing that for every 
60 acres of land fit for tillage one rood shall be sown with 
flax or hemp to provide materials for the manufacture of 
nets, as well as for linen ; and a further measure passed in 
the reign of Elizabeth gives the Queen power to revive 
by proclamation the law for the better provision of nets 
and for furtherance of fishing, though in this case the 
manufacture of linen is not mentioned. The gradual dis- 
regard of days of abstinence and fasting during this reign 
much diminished the profits of the fishmongers ; and com- 
mercial probably rather than theological zeal dictated their 
presentment against the butchers for selling flesh meat in 
Lent, which is preserved in one of the Lansdowne manu- 
scripts. Some little time afterwards the decay of the fish- 
ing towns of the eastern coast aroused the alarm of the 
House of Commons, which poured forth its indignation on 
the inhabitants for their lazy and disgraceful practice of 
going half seas over to buy fresh fish from Flemings, 
Hollanders, Picardy men and Normans, instead of catch- 
ing it for themselves, and ordained that any one guilty of 
such a proceeding should forfeit ten pounds every time he 
himself was caught. What a collection of curiosities in 
political economy might be discovered in the efforts of 
Parliament to " improve " the condition of trade ! 

With the general outburst of maritime enterprise which 


followed upon the revelations made by Columbus at the 
close of the fifteenth century, renewing in a more civilised 
form the daring of the ancient Vikings, commenced also 
a new and energetic era in the history of fisheries and 
fishermen. Coast and river no longer sufficed for the 
restless spirits of that adventurous age, and the Atlantic 
and Arctic Oceans became the resort of the daring fisher- 
man. As far back as the fifteenth century England enjoyed 
piscatorial rights in the seas of Iceland, and we learn from 
a reply, preserved in one of the Cotton MS., to a remon- 
strance addressed a hundred years later by the Danish 
Ambassador to the Government of England, that three 
sorts of localities alone were excepted : those which were 
reserved for the King, those which were private property, 
and those which were the subject of special grant. During 
a long period, however, the Flemings held pre-eminence 
upon the seas, but the persecution of the Duke of Alva 
gradually weakened the industries and drove citizens and 
commerce alike into foreign countries, until the victory of 
the Duke of Parma gave a finishing blow to their pros- 
perity. Manufactures migrated to England, fish-curing 
and navigation to Holland, and the traditional contest 
between the Dutch broom and the British whip was the 

Two years before the close of the same century a British 
vessel, with that spirit of mingled business and romance 
specially characteristic of the time, though even yet not 
wholly extinct, went sailing further and further from home 
towards what is now known as the Greenland coast, in 
search, like princes in a fairy tale, of whatever adventures 
might happen to befall them, when they came suddenly 
upon a veritable enchanted ground in the shape of a region 
frequented by schools of whales. This was, indeed, an 


episode which Sinbad himself might have envied. One 
can hardly conceive an excitement more full of fascina- 
tion than a whaling enterprise. As for fox-hunting, it 
pales before it. What is a five-barred gate compared with 
an iceberg, or the cry of " Gone away ! " as against the 
ecstatic shout " She blows ! she blows ! " All the sur- 
roundings are full of spirit-stirring adventure. The wild' 
voyage over the stormy northern seas, the long-continued 
watch for the sign of the first prize, the intense anxiety as 
the harpooner poises his weapon, the shout which hails the 
successful stroke, the mad gallop of the monster through the 
deep, dragging behind him the boat to which he is irre- 
vocably harnessed, the frantic struggles of the indignant 
beast, the troubled sea lashed into foam on every side, the 
imminent peril lest boat and crew should disappear at a 
rush beneath the waves as the creature dives, or rises sud- 
denly high in the air at a blow of his enormous tail, such 
incidents as these afford no common excitement, and are 
not to be found in ordinary occupations. Equally attractive 
to a different and larger class* of minds is the value of the 
take when captured. The Great or Greenland whale is a 
magnificent creature, measuring sometimes some sixty 
feet, but the well-known adventurer, Scoresby, says that 
though he killed 322, he never saw one more than fifty-eight 
feet long. 

A whale of the South Seas, for they exist in both hemi- 
spheres, will bring in from eighty to one hundred barrels of 
oil, at 4 to 5 a barrel, besides whalebone to the value of 
140, and those of the North will fetch double the amount. 
Every portion, too, of the huge fish, or rather beast, is 
available for the service of man. The flesh serves for 
manure, containing 14 to 15 per cent, of azote, its bones for 
charcoal, its intestinal linings give material for travelling 


garments, and its very excrement is used as colouring 
matter. The inhabitants of those savage and desolate 
parts are greatly indebted to fishing for the support of 
their existence. During the whole of the long summer 
day they are engaged either in this pursuit or else in 
hunting. Whales, seals, and dog-fish afford them food, 
clothes, and even shelter, for their summer tents are made 
of the skin of the latter ; and their frocks, their boots, and 
their stockings are manufactured from the entrails. A 
strange taste also leads them to prefer the blood of the 
dog-fish to any other less horrible beverage. The canoes 
of these tribes are of two kinds, and betray some ingenuity 
in construction, for they consist of pieces of wood fastened 
together in thongs, and being covered with sealskin are so 
pliable and elastic that they can weather the roughest 
sea. The larger, called the uniak, is flat-bottomed, and 
serves to convey the families from one place to another. 
The smaller canoe, or rajak, is used for the pursuit of the 
fish. These latter boats have room for one man only, who 
sits in a hole made in the middle of the upper surface, 
which he covers wjfh his frock so as to prevent any water 
from entering. One oar, six or seven feet in length, is his 
only instrument of progression, and yet a man will, in this 
fashion, row sixty or seventy miles a day, about the same 
distance as an Indian will walk in snow-shoes. 

The external concomitants of whaling soon promised to 
become as exciting as the incidents connected with the 
pursuit itself. For fourteen years the English managed to 
keep this splendid gold mine, as they were wont with perfect 
truth to describe it, all to themselves ; but such a monopoly 
could not in the nature of things be made to last for ever. 
In 1 612 the Dutch sent some vessels to work in the adja- 


cent waters not yet occupied by British vessels. Highly 
indignant at what they considered an invasion of their 
rights, the commanders of the British ships attacked the 
Dutch and carried off the contents of two vessels fully 
loaded and valued at 1 30,000 guilders. Nothing daunted, 
the Dutch returned to the charge in the following year, and 
this time succeeded in capturing an English vessel. At 
last the original monopolists were compelled to cede some- 
thing of their pretensions and to confine themselves within 
certain pretty broad limits, while the Dutch settled to the 
North of them, the Danes coming afterwards between the 
two, the Hamburgers to the West of the Danes and the 
French to the North of the Hollanders. Many of the 
names now borne by the bays and islands of that part 
attest the international division of the respective whaling 

Other causes, more particularly the depopulation caused 
by the Civil War, now arose to depress our Greenland 
trade, and by far the greater portion of it fell into the 
hands of the Dutch, who in 1670 sent out 148 ships and 
captured 792 whales. Bad management on the part of the 
principals tended still further to deteriorate the British 
interests. An absurd system or at least a system which 
seems absurd now, though it may have had its origin in 
some necessity of the moment had grown up of allowing 
the captains of vessels to hunt deer, and to have the horns 
and skins for their perquisites ; the result being that the 
whales were left undisturbed, and the ships came home 
laden with cargo for the benefit of the captain, and exceed- 
ingly lightly burdened on behalf of the owners. One would 
have thought that so great an abuse would have been 
sufficient to correct itself. Yet this was not the case ; and 


when the number of vessels sent from Holland had risen 
to 1 80, and those of Bremen and Hamburg to 52 and 24 
respectively, the British trade had left little behind it 
except incessant and well-merited lamentations on the part 
of the British public. 

Very shortly after the Restoration we find these same 
industries occupying the anxious attention of Court and 
Ministry. Before Charles II. had been seated two years 
upon the throne of his father, Lord Sandwich took advantage 
of a great assembly of naval officers at Jermyn Hall gathered 
at the funeral of Sir R. Stayner, to announce that the King 
had determined to give 200 to every man who would 
undertake the equipment of a new-made English buss, or 
fishing smack, by the middle of the following June. Two 
years afterwards a Royal Fishery Company was formed, one 
of its governors being Mr. Pepys, secretary to the Admi- 
ralty, to whom we are indebted for many a glimpse into the 
political and social life of that period, and whom we most 
unjustly and ungratefully call a gossip in return. That Mr. 
Pepys was no mere trifler but a very good man of business, 
is shown not merely by such a suggestion as that the Com- 
mittee should refrain from limiting the number of bankers' 
assignments to the various ports until they had some idea 
as to the number of persons desirous of responding to the 
invitation, but by several of his observations in regard to 
this matter. It seems that a proposal had been made to 
raise money for the undertaking by the coining of farthings, 
and to this measure he readily gave his consent ; but he is 
much displeased with another suggestion that lotteries 
should be established for the same purpose. "I was 
ashamed to see it," he writes indignantly, " that a thing so 
low and base should have anything to do with so noble an 
undertaking." His quaint accounts are, as usual, so full of 


matter and spiced with his usual simplicity and directness, 
that it is impossible to refrain from quotation. 

" loth March, 1664. At the Privy Seal I enquired, and 
found the Bill come for the Corporation of the Royall 
Fishery ; whereof the Duke of York is made present 
Governor, and several other very great persons, to the 
number of thirty-two, made his assistants for their lives : 
whereof, by my Lord Sandwich's favour, I am one ; and 
take it not only a matter of honour, but that it may 
come to be of profit to me. /th July, 1664. To White 
Hall, and there found the Duke and twenty more reading 
their commission (of which I am one, and was also sent to, 
to come) for the Royall Fishery, which is very large, and 
a very serious Charter it is ; but the Company generally 
so ill-fitted for so serious a work, that I do much fear it 
will come to little. I3th September, 1664. To Fish- 
mongers' Hall, where we met the first time upon the Fishery 
Committee, and many good things discoursed of, concerning 
making of farthings, which was proposed as a way of 
raising money for this business, and then that of lotterys, 
but with great confusion ; but I hope we shall fall into 
greater order. loth October, 1664. Sat up till past twelve 
at night, to look over the account of the collections for the 
Fishery, and the loose and base manner that monies so 
collected are disposed of in, would make a man never part 
with a penny in that manner. 22nd December, 1664. To 
the 'Change : and there, among the merchants, I hear fully 
the news of our being beaten to dirt at Guinny, by De 
Ruyter, with his fleet. The particulars, as much as by Sir 
G. Carteret afterwards I heard, I have said in a letter to my 
Lord Sandwich this day at Portsmouth ; it being almost 
wholly to the utter mine of our Royall Company, and 
reproach and shame to the whole nation." 


These records are of the greater interest, because in the 
very next year the Fire of London swept away all the 
books and accounts of the Fishmongers' Company. 

Herrings are another fertile source of wealth and dispute, 
and they have left their traces through many hundreds of 
years. The earliest written record which appears in relation 
to them is a charter, dated 28th September, 1295, granting 
to the Hollanders, Zealanders, and Frieslanders free liberty 
of fishing on the coast about Yarmouth. Again, we find 
them figuring as a staple in the commissariat of the British 
Army, and the battle of the Herrings, fought in 1429, when 
the Due de Bourbon was defeated in an attempt to surprise 
a convoy carrying herrings to the English camp at Orleans, 
is by no means the least celebrated in our military annals. 
A fame of a more lasting and peaceful character was 
conferred upon them in the intervening century by a certain 
Englishman named Will Belkinson, or Belkelzoon, as the 
Hollanders are pleased to call him, who invented the mode for 
pickling and curing the herrings, and who, probably finding 
England as ferocious towards any of her sons possessed of 
original genius in the fourteenth century as she is at the 
present day, set an example still pursued by all wise English 
inventors, and carried his discovery to a foreign land. To 
this English stranger the Dutch are indebted for the 
material foundation of their political celebrity and maritime 
ascendency in after years, and the nation proved grateful to 
their remunerative guest. His memory was honoured by a 
public monument at Bieroleit in Flanders, where he died, 
and no less a personage than the Emperor Charles V. 
considered the tomb of that great benefactor of his adopted 
country not unworthy of a visit. 

With the lapse of time the value of the herring fishery 
continued to increase, and in the days of Elizabeth it was 
VOL. I. H. 2 K 


considered of such importance that a proposal was made 
for the establishment of a fleet around England for its 
protection. Some quaint Dutch plates still preserve for us 
. the full details of the occupation, and illustrate with a 
minuteness worthy of a number of the Graphic each par- 
ticular scene connected with this special industry, from the 
seaside cottage of its pursuers, and the preparing and 
victualling of the buss, up to the grand junketing festival 
and congratulation banquet, with the proprietor and his 
wife looking, like the immortal Mrs. Fezziwig, " one vast 
substantial smile." In the succeeding reign the Dutch 
fitted out in a single season 900 vessels and 1500 busses 
for the benefit of cod and herring, and each of these 1 500 
busses employed three more vessels to supply them with 
salt and empty barrels, and to transport the take, so that 
the number of vessels engaged amounted to little short of 
7000. At the zenith of their prosperity, the Dutch, it is 
said, sold herrings in one year to the value of 4,795,000, 
besides what they themselves consumed, 12,000 vessels 
being engaged in this branch alone, employing about 
200,000 men in their service. Well might they deck the 
steeple of Vlaardingen and ring a merry peal upon the bells 
when the first vessel came in sight of harbour. At this 
time, as we learn from a manuscript account, our own port 
of Barrow-in-Furness possessed a small fleet of five ships- 
two of them, it is curious to remark, being the Vanguard 
and the Swiftsure maintaining together a crew of 660 
men, whose pay and rations amounted to about 13,000 
a year. 

Sir Walter Raleigh, the Paladin of Elizabethan and 
Jacobean adventure, did not allow so tempting an oppor. 
tunity to escape his notice ; and he pointed out to James 
the immense number of foreign vessels and men who took 


advantage of our coasts, adding significantly that twenty 
busses of herrings were sufficient for the maintenance of 
8000 souls, including women and children. M. d'Aitzana, 
President of the Hanse Towns at the Hague and his- 
toriographer of the United Provinces, as well as the 
learned Du Moulin, testify to the Hollanders having 
drawn 300,000 tons of herrings and other fish for salting 
annually from the sea in these parts ; and to the tripling of 
the returns between the accessions of James I. and that of 
Charles II. Under the latter monarch, Dr. Worsley, whose 
position may best be described as that of Secretary of 
State for the Department of Trade and Plantations, was 
sent to Holland to enquire into all matters connected with 
the question ; and on his return reported to the King that 
the Dutch herring fishery, at the lowest computation, 
yielded an annual revenue of three millions sterling. In 
support of this estimate he adduced the number of busses 
employed, the quantity taken by each, the Custom House 
accounts of Holland, Zealand, and Friesland, and the prices 
of each export market ; and he affirmed that the value of 
the herrings and cod yearly taken by the Dutch greatly 
exceeded the produce of the manufactures either of France 
or of England, and more than equalled the sum then drawn 
by Spain from her rich colonies in America. 

Herrings, in truth, were as profitable to the whole people 
of Holland as the great goddess Diana to the silversmiths 
of Ephesus. Portugal and Spain furnished them in return 
for this prolific export with wine, oil, honey, wool, lemons, 
and golden ingots, then familiar to the Spanish Empire. 
Salt, too, was procured in the same way, itself no incon- 
siderable item in the expenses of curing. From the 
Mediterranean came in exchange for the same commodity, 

raisins, oil, silk, velvet, satin, and all that brave apparel 

2 K 2 


which delighted the honest burghers no less than their 
wives. Half the art and glory of the Flemish cities are 
built upon no more substantial foundation than the herring. 
Germany supplied them with iron, wine, and all sorts of 
arms and munitions, while Nuremberg, having nothing 
apparently very attractive in its markets, was forced to 
send large sums in ready money, which is after all not the 
least attractive of commodities. To such a height did this 
industry attain that during the war of the Spanish Succes- 
sion, its promoters were enabled to pay the States-General 
a German crown for every ten barrels of herrings with a 
view to maintaining a sufficient naval force to defend the 
busses from privateers. Sober calculations made with 
regard to the annual revenue derived from these sources 
show that Holland took more by these fisheries annually 
than Sweden could produce in twelve years from all her 
iron mines put together. So much for the expatriated 

During the eighteenth century the current still continued 
to set in the same direction. By an Act of George the First 
it was provided that ^"2000 a year should be applied to the 
encouragement and protection of the fisheries of Scotland, 
and about the middle of the century was founded the Free 
Fisheries Company, which had the Royal Exchange for its 
head-quarters, and transacted considerable business in the 
seas off Yarmouth and the north of Scotland. The letter- 
book of the Company gives a suggestive hint as to the 
political condition of the country, in the shape of a com- 
munication under date July 1756, from the secretary to a 
certain grocer and " considerable magistrate of the good town 
of Salisbury," asking him whether, as there were so many 
German troops quartered in the neighbourhood, he could 
not get the commanding officer to order some of his fine 


herrings just fresh from the Shetlands. At the present day 
German troops quartered at Salisbury would raise some 
very different considerations from that of turning an honest 
penny by the sale of Shetland herrings. From the same 
source we find that no slight care was taken for the comfort, 
and even the caprices, of the crews, for the secretary, writing 
to the contractor who supplied the biscuits, apologises for 
the dissatisfaction which would probably be felt by the 
crews on finding the biscuits to be made of rye. Not that 
there was any fault to be found with the contractor, he 
hastens to say, " but that our men like everything of the 

In France the laws affecting these matters entered into 
very minute and exact details. By an ordinance of 
Henri III., containing a hundred articles for the regulation 
of maritime matters, all pares or artificial fis'uing-grounds 
constructed for forty years at the mouths of navigable 
rivers were ordered to be destroyed. Nearly a hundred 
years later a decree of Louis XIV. defined the foreshore 
as belonging to the crown, and laid down rules as to the 
permissibility of ravoirs, courtines, and vinets, or vonets, 
which are different collections of nets or filets constructed 
upon the foreshore so as to be hidden at high water and 
uncovered when the tide is low. Under the same statute 
amber, coral, whales, poissons-ti-lait, and various miscel- 
laneous productions of the ocean, belonged, if taken in the 
deep sea, wholly to the captor ; if on the strand, then one- 
third went to the King, one-third to the admiral, and one 
third only to the discoverer of the prize. 

At Maremmes the government nets were placed on the 
shifting sands, so that they had to be removed at every 
tide, small boats being used for the purpose. The nets were 
formed into angles, more or less obtuse, following the lay 


of the shore, and exposed at will to the ebb or flow. In this 
kind of fishery, when the net is stretched and the tide coming 
in, the fishermen get into their boats and wait for the turn, 
and as soon as the sea has gone sufficiently out, they pull 
up the stakes and put the nets with their contents into their 
boats. Courtines of this kind are appropriately called 
vagabonds, because of their continual change of position. 
They cannot be used in the winter, because the violence of 
the gales frequently endangers the safety of the nets. 
Another sort of courtine is called volant, or flying courtine. 
A peculiar system of nets also prevailed at Nantes, called 
rets traversants ; and another on the coasts of Guienne, 
which bore the local name of pullet. 

Some allusion to two or three quaint works published at 
various times during the period described in the present 
chapter may not be here out of place. One of the earliest 
printed works, published on vellum in 1496, was that of 
Dame Juliana Berners, a lady celebrated for her love and 
knowledge of masculine sports. This Diana of the English 
gives very practical and exact directions for the making of 
hooks, observing at the same time that that portion of the 
whole outfit was the most difficult to make. Amongst other 
lore she describes twelve manners of impediments that cause 
a man to take " noo fysshe," " Now shall ye wyte," says 
this Rosa Bonheur of mediaeval literature, " that there ben 
twelve manere of ympedyments whyche cause a man to 
take noo fysshe, w e out other comyn that maye casuelly 
happe. I, badly made harness. 2, bad baits. 3, angling at 
wrong time. 4, fish strayed away. 5, water thick. 6, water 
too cold. 7, wether too hot. 8, if it rain. 9, if hail or 
snow fall. 10, if there be a tempest II, if there be a 
great wynd. 12, if wind be east." And so forth through 
twenty-three pages of the best vellum. A somewhat 


similar production was given to the world two hundred and 
fifty years later in the shape of a work entitled 'The 
Gentleman's Recreator.' This remarkable production, re- 
versing the process of the celebrated treatise on tar-water, 
begins the encyclopaedia of a gentleman's instruction with 
a description of astronomy and other sciences and arts, and 
concludes with some instructions in cock-fighting, that 
being an equally essential branch of knowledge in a liberal 
education. Among the various polite accomplishments 
here mentioned, such as horsemanship, hawking, fowling, 
and hunting, fishing is by no means forgotten. Its pages 
are adorned by a chart, exhibiting the various features of 
the art, and some peculiar kinds of nets and methods are 
described in its course. The wolf-net and the raffle are 
both mentioned, the former bearing a resemblance to a 
lobster-pot, and being designed for use in ponds and 
streams ; the latter differing in that it was prevented from 
touching the bottom. A suggestion is given for storing 
and preserving fish in the midst of any river by making a 
warren, as it were, for the fish to retreat ; and the method 
of taking pike with a running noose of horsehair as they lie 
sunning themselves in the sun, is also to be found there. 

A work of a different and far graver stamp, though con- 
taining much matter which would hardly pass current with 
our present knowledge, is the history written by Olaus 
Magnus, the venerable Archbishop of Upsala, who was 
born at Linkopin towards the close of the fifteenth century, 
and after being sent by the Pope to attend the Council of 
Trent, died at Rome in 1568. His ably written and enter- 
taining history, in addition to the information which it 
affords as to the condition of Biarmia and Finland, gives 
many details as to fisheries and fishing. He speaks of 
many kinds of fish being salted, dried, and hardened in 


smoke : such as " pikes, mullets, prasnie and borbochi, and 
those they call syck in Gothland," and he describes a custom 
common in that country, where the rivers are frozen up for 
months together, of fishing through the ice and using horses 
to assist the men. The natives would walk on the ice clad 
in iron-pointed shoes, and in default of these would go 
barefoot rather than use the ordinary oiled leather which 
soon froze and became as slippery as the ice itself. The 
freezing of the river did not hinder them from pursuing 
their favourite occupation. Two great holes were opened 
in the ice some eight or ten feet broad, and distant about 
150 or 200 paces from each other. Between these limits 
thirty or forty lesser openings were made, and cords, 
having nets attached to them, being dropped into the water 
at one extremity, were guided by means of spears penetra- 
ting through the smaller holes to the great opening at the 
further end. Here the cords were drawn out of the water 
and given to men on horseback, who rode off at a smart 
pace in order to drag the net out quickly and prevent the 
fishes from having time to break the mesh. 

Jacopo Sanazzaro, a poet whose fishing eclogues were 
published by Aldus at Venice in 1570, with the well-known 
and appropriate emblem of the dolphin and anchor, had 
already obtained the praises of two Popes for the religious 
sentiment displayed in a former poem. As for his piety 
we readily concede it, but as to poetry we may be permitted 
to exercise an independent judgment. His verses are as 
correct, and about as much worth reading, as those of a 
fourth form schoolboy of twenty years ago. They teem 
with allusions to Melisaeus, and Damon, and Alexis, and all 
the regular stock-in-trade of the Latin eclogue maker, and 
they have not a breath of nature about them. With the 
execrable, if accountable, taste of the time, Sanazzaro 


evidently considered himself bound to produce still paler 
shades of those pale shadows, the Eclogues of Virgil, just 
as their author, the most precedent-loving of poets, rarely 
ventured to introduce an image or an incident without the 
authority of some Greek original. 

All the strong energy and love of maritime dominion 
animating the British nation of that period is well brought 
out in Sir John Burroughes' work on the British Sove- 
reignty of the seas. Caesar, he says, found the islanders 
independent and absolutely repulsive of strangers, a pheno- 
menon not even now wholly unfamiliar to our clubs and 
drawing-rooms. He quotes, too, the grandiloquent decree 
attributed to Edgar, wherein that monarch claims "by 
the wide-flowing clemency of the high-thundering God 
(altitonantis Dei largifluente dementia)" to be the Basileus 
of the English, and of all matters and islands of the 
ocean, and of all the nations which are contained within it. 
But, as the more sober Evelyn observes, the fact that the 
savages of Britain drove strangers from their coasts by no 
means argues any sovereignty over the waters; nor does 
Edgar's decree, even if we grant its authenticity/ assert 
anything more than a dominion over the islands and the 
dwellers within them. Very strong arguments against the 
absurd assumption of an universal jurisdiction possessed 
by England over the waters of every ocean are brought 
forward by the latter author, though he is not ashamed 
to own that he lends it his public support. The licences 
imposed by the Scottish Parliament upon the fishermen 
of England are sufficient in themselves to destroy the 
notion, while the protest of the Danes at Breda against 
the proposed acquisition by the Scotch of the right of 
fishing at Orkney, on the occasion of the marriage of 
James the First and Sixth with the daughter of the 
King of Denmark, is another irrefutable proof that the 


sovereignty of the seas could never have been acknow- 
ledged to be the property of England, or indeed of any 
one nation alone. A matter of greater moment treated by 
Sir John is the disposition of the fisheries around our coast 
about that time. Herrings were caught from July to 
November. Cod visited Lancashire in the spring, the west 
coast of Ireland during the summer, and took up its winter 
quarters near Padstow. Pilchards appeared from May to 
Michaelmas. Hake favoured the Irish seas rather late in 
the year, and ling both the north-east and south-west 
coasts of England. 

One not unnatural consequence of the fury for adven- 
turous enterprise was an amount of reckless speculation 
which could end at last only in disaster, and which in fact 
collapsed with so wide-spread a deluge of ruin as almost to 
attain the dimensions of a national calamity. During the 
early years of the eighteenth century, the speculation in 
fisheries attained its height, and all sorts of bubble com- 
panies sprang into ephemeral existence. There were 
Greenland companies and Orkney companies, private com- 
panies, such as Cawood's and Garraway's ; there was to be 
a royal company of ten million, a company to fish up coral, 
and another to fish for wrecks off the Irish coast. But of 
all the projects then fostered none attained such importance 
or created such misery as that of the South Sea Fisheries 
Company. The scheme was founded upon grounds not 
unworthy of consideration ; and a similar plan had been 
advocated a hundred years before by Sir B. Rudyerd in 
the House of Commons in order to cut out the King of 
Spain. Its designs, however, were probably too large for 
the machinery of the time, and the economical fallacy of 
the mercantile theory entered too prominently into its 
calculations. Its chief promoter was Sir John Eyles, one 
of the Commissioners for the Estates forfeited in the 



Rebellion of 1715; and it was constituted upon a 
petition for a Grand Fishery Company presented in 
January, 1718, and signed by seven peers and many 
merchants and gentlemen. Many petitions on such 
matters were presented at the same time, and all were 
opposed by counsel, the Fishery alone excepted. On 
this the Crown lawyers reported that a Fishery Charter 
under proper regulations might be very beneficial to the 
nation. In regard to the same, the House of Commons 
passed a resolution on the 27th of April, 1720 : "That the 
undertaking proposed to be carried on by the name of the 
British Fishery, wherein the seaports and royal burghs are 
concerned, may be successfully carried on, and thereby 
prevent great sums from going annually out of the nation ; 
may secure a valuable trade ; and may, upon any emer- 
gency, furnish seamen to man the royal navy ; and there- 
fore highly deserves encouragement." The following ex- 
tract shows an inflation startling enough no doubt to the 
speculators of those days, though they rather pale before 
the records of Ballarat and San Francisco : 

Original Money 
paid in or due. 

Royal Fishery Commis- 

Fish pool, for bringing 
fresh fish by sea to 
London (Sir Richard 
Steele's project). 

Orkney Fishery. 

For a Whale Fishery 
(Sir John Lambert). 

National permits for 
a Fishery (George 
James's) 50,000 per- 
mits at six pounds 

The Grand Fishery. 



o per cent. 

25 o o 
o 10 

500 per share 

Highest sold for 
in 1720. 

s. d. 

25 o o per cent 

1 60 o o per share, 

before any 
money paid 

250 o o 
3 10 o 

60 o o each permit 
before any 
money paid 

o 10 o per share 500 


Another project, of somewhat later date, for conveying 
fish to town by means of post horses, gives us an opportu- 
nity of comparing the rates of carriage existing about this 
time with those current at the present day. The company 
proposed to convey from eight to ten hundredweight of fish 
daily to the Hercules Inn, on the Surrey side of the me- 
tropolis, by relays of post horses, and put forward an 
elaborate calculation of the expenses involved. Taking as 
a basis half a ton, and assuming a rate of six miles with 
fresh relays at every second hour, we get the following 
items for the accomplishment of seventy-two miles in 
twelve hours : 

* d. 

72 miles @ is. a mile 3120 

Post boy @/ i \d. a mile ..090 

Greasing the carriage oio 

Ostler, 6d. a stage 030 

Total, exclusive of turnpikes (which, says the author) 
of the proposal, cannot be ascertained) . . . ) 

Upon this scale, therefore, half a ton could have been 
conveyed 144 miles in twenty-four hours at a rate now 
sufficient to convey an ordinary parcel by goods train for 
400 miles ; a contrast not quite so deep as one might have 
fancied would be the case. 




Ho ! come, and bring away the nets. 


DEEP SEA FISHING, at least in its general form, is a 
creation almost of the last half-century. In Grimsby, for 
example, the capital, if we may so call it, of the deep sea 
trade, thirty years ago the imports of this kind hardly 
equalled those of Southport or Grossmont at the present 
day, and nowhere nearly approached Hartlepool or Filey. 
In 1854 the number of tons conveyed inland was 453. 
Ten years later it had decupled, in 1869 it had become 
sixtyfold, and by 1881 had attained a growth of nearly 
one hundredfold in little more than five-and-twenty years. 
Trawling is the method to which this great increase is 
principally due, and it may be well here to describe the 
peculiarities of the different kinds of nets used in deep 
sea fishing. On the open sea there are two kinds of nets 
chiefly in use : the trawl for those fish, such as turbot, 
which love to hide themselves at the bottom of the ocean, 
and the drag for such as like the herring prefer the 
surface. The trawl is in fact a kind of sea plough, one 
essential object of it being to stir up the inmates of those 
deep recesses, and it is fashioned with a view to effect this 
purpose, no less than to capture them when once driven 


out of their hiding-places. It consists of a single spar, 
called the beam, about as long as from the stern of the 
boat to the mast, fixed upon two large iron supports or 
heads, and having a long flat and pocket-shaped net attached 
to it, the mouth of which is extended by being fastened to 
either end of the spar. These supports keep the trawl off 
the bottom, the apparatus being lowered in such a way that 
the spar always remains uppermost ; and a ground-rope is 
fastened to the lower margin of the net so arranged as to 
clip the bottom, and to cause any prey that may be lurking 
there to pass over it into the meshes. As this rope may by 
chance be caught in some irremovable obstacle, it ought to 
be somewhat old and easily broken, otherwise the more 
valuable part of the apparatus might be in danger of fracture 
from the resistance. It is, however, protected by a series of 
gutta-percha rubbing pieces from immediate contact with 
any rocks or stones, though fair ground only is suit- 
able for trawling. The net itself is shaped in a very 
peculiar way. At its extremity is a smaller sort of bag 
called a purse or a cod, made with a lesser opening and 
with finer meshes; and half-way from the mouth the 
upper and lower portions of the net on either side are 
sewn together for about 16 feet, forming two enormous 
pockets or valves, the mouths of which opening towards 
the cod leave a kind of valve or curtain flapping in front 
of it, on account of the greater resistance of the water due 
to the finer meshes with which that part is made. When the 
trawl is lowered, it is necessary that the vessel should be 
under sail, and proceeding through the water at a greater 
rate than the tide. This is required to keep the net 
extended as it descends, and to prevent it from twisting 
or otherwise getting out of gear. As soon then as the 
ground-rope reaches the bottom the fish disturbed from 


their lurking-places rise up and dart forward, find that the 
head of the net has already passed over, and hurrying back 
are caught in the cod at the end, from whence there is no 
escape, except into the flaps and pockets at the side, 
Many countries are engaged in this modern but highly 
important form of capture. Belgium, Holland, France, all 
have their fleet of trawlers (though the occupation which 
goes by the name of herring trawling in Scotland is nothing 
else than seine fishing), and numerous stations in England, 
more particularly on our east and southern coasts, such as 
Hull, Grimsby, Dover, Ramsgate, Plymouth and Brixham, 
send out their boats to the Inner and Outer Well Banks, 
the Great Silver Pit, the Botney Gut, and other famous 
resorts not yet exhausted. Of late years these vessels have 
been built larger than of old, the length of the boats having 
been increased. A mizen has been added, so that the 
pressure on the sails has been lowered in its centre of 
gravity. Ice is now commonly carried in large quantities 
and wells have been added, so that the fish can if neces- 
sary be kept on board for a week, though their condition is 
undoubtedly deteriorated thereby. Accordingly steam 
cutters attend the different fleets and convey the catch 
either to the nearest port or else direct to London. The 
well is at the bottom of the vessel, the extremities of which 
are pierced with auger-holes in order to allow the sea to 
pass through freely, and it is said to have been imported 
from Holland, and to have been first tried at Harwich in 

These additions have of course increased the cost of 
the smacks employed, and I2OO/. is required now for 
engaging in the trade, where a few years ago fool, would 
have sufficed. A double set of gear is requisite in order 
to provide against mishaps. A net, which should be made 


of cotton, and dressed with cutch, may be reckoned to 
last about three or four years, though different parts will 
require repair from time to time. Carrier pigeons are in 
use with the men of some ports to bring early news 
of the take from the catcher on the ground ; but the 
device has not yet become general. One practice con- 
nected with trawling, that of packing them in boxes, and 
placing them on board a steamer to carry into port, is 
attended with a good deal of danger, particularly if per- 
formed in rough weather, as is not unfrequently the case. 
Much complaint was made with reference to this practice 
before the Royal Commission held last year for the purpose 
of inquiring into the condition of our fishermen ; but it 
seems impossible to suggest a substitute. 

Fish habitually frequenting the surface of the water, 
such as herrings, mackerel, pilchard and the like, are 
caught by drift-net, mackerel being taken by line as well. 
Drift-nets, which catch their prisoners by the gills, are 
probably the oldest form of piscatory implement known to 
society, and are those of which mention is so frequently 
made by the writers of the New Testament. They are 
supported by floats, and at the present day are of enormous 
length, several being joined together so as to form a train 
from one to two miles long towed by a single vessel. The 
nets are kept afloat by small buoys or bowls, of which all 
but five are painted black. These five, called " gay bowls " 
are used for marking the extent of the net as it is hauled 
in, the first or casting bowl being painted wholly red, the 
next three-quarters red and one quarter white, and so forth, 
the last, or " puppy bowl," being wholly white. At the 
close of all is attached a buoy, with a flag, which remains 
always above the water and marks the end of the line of 
nets. Sunset or sunrise are the best times for casting, and 


a slight ripple on the water is of much advantage. Off the 
Scottish coast a good take frequently succeeds a thunder- 
storm, but on the following day hardly any catch is to be 
made except at the verge of the deep sea. Herrings, it 
may be observed, are taken in largest quantities when the 
water has a temperature of about 54 or 55 Fahr., according 
to the best German authorities. 

Two kinds of nets, more of local than of general use, 
may also here be mentioned : the trammel, employed in 
some parts of Devon and Cornwall, on the south coast 
of Ireland, in Guernsey, and on different parts of the Scotch 
coast ; while the kettle-net is confined to the parts about 
Beachey Head and Folkestone. The trammel derived, 
according to Mr. Holdsworth, from the French tremail, or 
tramail, a corruption of trois mailles, consists, as its name 
implies, of a combination of three nets or wallings placed 
side by side and fastened together at the back, foot, and ends. 
Of these three nets the two on either side have their meshes 
wide and exactly corresponding to each other, but that in 
the middle is of much finer make and of nearly double the 
size, the result being a quantity of slack netting between 
the two. When therefore a prisoner having entered the 
first, endeavours to pass through the third net, he carries 
with him a portion of the second, and the more he struggles 
the more hopelessly he becomes entangled. The kettle- 
net is an arrangement of stakes and nets, used principally 
for the capture of mackerel when they come close in shore 
in the locality above mentioned, and not altogether unlike 
the nets in connection with towers on the Rhine, built for 
the purpose of catching salmon. The seine, used for opera- 
tions performed from the shore, must be familiar to many 
who have spent their holidays at the seaside. In shape 
it used to be deeper in the middle than at the sides or 

VOL. I. H. 2 L 


sleeves at Tahiti one was used in the form of a V as 
the fish congregate towards the centre, and its extremities 
are pulled together by two boats rowing towards each other, 
the towing boat being followed by a smaller vessel called 
the follower. On the Cornish coast, when a shoal of 
pilchards is expected, it is customary for a look-out man, 
called the crier, to ascend an eminence overlooking the sea, 
and to give notice of their approach by throwing up his 
arms. Amongst the lines used at sea the principal are 
the spiller and bulter, the former being employed for 
whiting or other smaller fish, the latter for catching cod, 
ling, halibut, and haddock. Fifteen dozen, with twenty-six 
hooks a-piece, are sometimes attached to the Grimsby 
smacks, the whole string being not less than seven miles in 
length, and carrying with it 4680 instruments of death. 

Some years ago a great outcry was raised to the effect 
that trawling was destroying the fisheries by stirring up 
the spawn, and that the fishery grounds themselves 
were undergoing the same process of depopulation as 
the inland waters. In particular, difficulties arose with 
the men of Tarbert and Oban, and a Commission having 
been appointed to inquire into the matter, a sort of 
Melian conference took place, related in a strictly Thucy- 
didean manner by the Commissioners. The drift-net 
fishermen and their supporters urged that immature 
herrings may be caught by the method of seining ; that 
the shoals of fish, being disturbed and dispersed by the 
seine-nets on entering the estuaries from the sea, would 
soon desert the waters, which they would otherwise 
have frequented ; that the shoal once scattered does not 
again unite ; that the seine fishers sweep across the beds 
where the fish are depositing their spawn, and not only 
take the spawning herring, but destroy the spawn which 


has been deposited ; that the herring caught by the seine 
are not fit for curing, on account of the injury received by 
them in their capture ; that the trawlers or seiners are a 
turbulent set of men, who wanton in mischief, and love 
to cut away drift-nets or stab the buoys which float them, 
and thus produce much damage to property ; that the 
two systems cannot be carried on together in narrow 
waters, as the trawlers get foul of the drift-nets, and drive 
away the fish which would have meshed themselves ; and 
that the extravagant gains of the trawlers, monopolised by a 
few, alter the market prices by sudden fluctuations, to the 
great detriment of the drift-net fishermen, who prosecute 
their labour in a more steady and less gambling manner. 
To this indictment the trawlers replied that when the mesh 
is less than that of the legal standard they catch immature 
fish, but that it is not their interest as a class to do so ; that 
larger and finer herrings are caught by the trawl (meaning the 
seine) than can be got by the drift-net ; that the enclosure of 
herrings in a circle by a net drawn gently round them in a 
retired locality on the coast cannot disturb the general shoal 
offish as much as their meeting numerous walls of netting, 
often miles in length, let down into the sea to obstruct their 
progress ; that their nets do not interfere with the spawning- 
beds ; that there is only a small market for full fish on the 
west coast, and for this reason alone it is not their interest 
to catch fish in an immature condition ; that the destruc- 
tion of the spawning-beds was not produced by them, but 
by the drift-net fishermen on the coast of Ayrshire, who 
sink their drift-nets as trammels to catch the fish in the 
act of spawning ; that the fish caught by trawling is, by 
the admission of all, good for the fresh market ; and that 
the fish so caught are quite fit for curing, though there 
may be an occasional inferiority in this respect, on account 

of the rapid and careless handling to which the fish are 

2 L 2 


subjected in the prosecution of an illegal fishing, which 
may at any time be interrupted. They denied too that 
as a class, they injure the nets of the drift-net fishermen ; 
they pointed to the records of collisions between the drift- 
net fishermen themselves before trawling was introduced, 
and averred that the alleged instances of mischief on the 
part of the trawlers have never been substantiated when 
submitted to official investigation. They saw no difficulty 
in carrying on the two systems of fishing together, as the 
trawlers chiefly fish close to the shore in shallows, where 
the drift-nets are rarely placed ; and they further asserted 
that instead of driving the fish away, so that they will not 
mesh in the drift-nets, they drive the shoals out of the 
shallow into deeper water, where the drift-nets are enabled 
to capture them ; and finally that the large hauls got by the 
trawlers are of great benefit to the consumer of fish, by 
enabling him to get herrings at a much cheaper rate than 
he could by the old method of drift-net fishing, so that 
the poor especially benefit by the abundance of fresh fish 
thus thrown into the market. 

After full examination of petitions and evidence on both 
sides, the Commissioners gave an elaborate judgment that 
in their opinion the fishery of Loch Fyne had suffered no 
diminution by the operations of the trawlers, but that, on 
the contrary, it is a steadily progressive fishery, when the 
periods of comparison are made sufficiently long to correct 
the annual fluctuations, which are always considerable in 
this as in all other herring fisheries. In support of this 
statement they adduced the following return for a period 
of thirty years : 

General annual average take from 1833 to 1843 18,994 barrels. 

> 1844 1848 . . 15,427 

1849 1853 . . 19,149 

w 1854 1858 . . 25,744 

* 1859 1862 . . 42,165 


This steady increase of the fishery during the period 
when trawling was practised, they went on to say, could not 
be ascribed to any augmentation in the number of drift-net 
boats ; for these, on the average of the same years, with 
the exception of 1862, show no increase, while the number 
of square yards of netting employed remains also com- 
paratively stationary. Hence they were forced to the con- 
clusion that there were no grounds for the alarm that the 
fishery of Loch Fyne was being destroyed by the operations 
of the trawlers. The same reasoning was found to apply to 
the west coast of Scotland as a whole, viz., that there is a 
steady increase in the fishery during the periods when trawl- 
ing was prosecuted ; and that trawling (or rather seining) 
for herring has been an important means of cheapening 
fish to the consumer, and has thrown into the market an 
abundant supply of wholesome fresh fish at prices which 
enable the poor to enjoy them without having to come into 
competition with the curer. They pointed out also that 
by prohibiting the use of herring for bait during the close 
period from 1st January to 3ist May, the white fish, like 
cod and ling, have been allowed to multiply. A single 
herring used for bait is employed to catch three of those 
fish, each of which if left in the sea would have devoured 
annually at least between four and five hundred herring ; 
so that the cod and ling actually caught and cured on the 
Scotch coasts in 1861, would, if left in the sea, have destroyed 
more herring than 48,000 fishermen. As only 42,75 1 fisher- 
men and boys were engaged in fishing in the year, the 
magnitude of this destructive agency will be readily per- 
ceived. The close time which diminishes the capture of 
such fish must necessarily prove destructive to the herring. 

Nothing can be more satisfactory than to find that so 
far as regards the ocean, no danger of scarcity need be 


apprehended in our day, and that there are still more fish 
in the sea than ever came out of it. According to Prof. 
Huxley, one of the greatest living authorities on these 
matters, the ravages of man are but very trifling in character 
when compared with those arising from other and natural 
causes, and more particularly from the depredations of the 
birds and the larger members of their own tribe. According 
to the illustrious Professor, in the case of the herring at least, 
bird, fish, and man form a kind of joint-stock company, the 
latter having to be content with a modest 5 per cent, of 
the annual dividends. In fact, so far did the trawlers turn 
out to be from destroying the herrings by routing up the 
spawn, that they tended greatly to their preservation 
through the capture of such fish as turbot, brill, sole, and 
plaice, who possess an epicurean appetite for that kind of 
food. Such a declaration is undoubtedly reassuring, but 
yet one cannot altogether repress a certain qualm of ap- 
prehension when we read upon an authority of such great 
practical experience as Mr. Olsen, of ground after ground, 
in which the abundance of fish is a matter of the past. In 
the Off-ground near Grimsby, formerly abounding with all 
kinds of fish, there has been a scarcity of late. In the 
California Ground, a small one no doubt, large quantities of 
soles used to be caught. On the Doggerbank codfish have 
been caught abundantly in former years, but have been 
scarce of late. From the Great Silver Pits large quantities 
of soles were taken for the first three years. The Botney 
Ground formerly abounded with a great variety of fish, but 
of late years it has not been so productive. Off the N.N.E. 
Hole the supply of soles, formerly abundant, is now 
fluctuating, though still occasionally large ; and so on in 
the case of nearly every fishing resort mentioned by this 
high authority, that fatal past tense is continually recurring. 




Others will come, my lord, all sorts of fish. 


LIKE almost every other commodity, fish experienced the 
effect produced upon commerce by the introduction of 
railways, not merely in the increased production of the 
staple, but in the relative importance of the different kinds. 
Freshwater fishing in modern days has sunk almost into 
insignificance in comparison with coast fisheries, hardly 
noticed at the commencement of the present century, from 
the multiplied facilities for sale and transit ; but the increased 
activity in regard to our streams and rivers has by no 
means been followed by the same gratifying results. For 
that the inhabitants of our inland waters have disappeared 
with alarming rapidity in proportion as the numbers of 
fishermen have grown larger, cannot, unfortunately, be 
doubted for a moment. We may or may not give implicit 
credence to the venerable story of the apprentices' objection 
to the salmon, though it is strange that no indenture of 
the kind has ever been brought to light in spite of the 
handsome reward offered for a sight of it ; just as we may 
or may not altogether believe the parallel case of the little 
pauper child who was taken out to Canada, and there ran 
away from an excellent situation, for no other reason than 


that her employers persisted in giving her turkey so fre- 
quently for dinner. But whatever our opinion maybe upon 
the stipulations of the apprentices, there can be no question 
whatever that in former days many of our streams abounded 
with excellent fish, where few or none are now to be found. 
Nor is the evil by any means confined within the limits of 
England, or even of the United Kingdom. Switzerland 
sends forth a lamentation over her failing resources, so 
does Hungary, so does Belgium, so does Norway itself, 
the fruitful mother of cataract and fjord. Many causes, no 
doubt, combine to produce this disastrous result : the 
poisoning of streams by the sewage of towns, and by the 
refuse of manufactories, the greediness of fish-eating birds, 
surpassing, it would seem, even the voracious rapacity of 
fish-selling man, are all elements tending to the destruction 
of the aquatic creation. Rigid rules as to close time and 
prohibitions as to the discharge of deleterious matter en- 
forced by active inspection have done something to arrest 
the wholesale waste of the material of food, but preventive 
measures alone will not suffice to restore the lost fruitful- 
ness to our empty streams. To give back to the rivers the 
stock they once possessed and to vivify with fresh abundance 
our waste and desecrated waters, is a task requiring much 
intelligence, no little capital, and almost infinite patience. 
Yet so widely has it been attempted, and so beneficial 
are its results when carried on under the conditions neces- 
sary for success, that although these breeding-grounds are 
rather nurseries for the spawn than actual fisheries, still no 
history of the latter can have any pretension to complete- 
ness which does not afford some slight indication of the 
numerous efforts made in this direction. 

Pisciculture in its simpler form was without question 
commonly practised in ancient times, and the classic writers 


allude almost as familiarly to the fish ponds of the great as 
to the farms of the humbler class of citizen. Attention too 
was paid to the diet of the denizens of these ponds, but 
rather with a view to heightening the flavour to please the 
palate of the rich than to increasing the stock in order that 
the poor might have a more abundant and cheaper supply. 
Civil wars, however, jointly with foreign invasion, destroyed 
all traces of this art in classic lands, so that centuries 
elapsed during which little is heard of pisciculture in the 
western world. Its revival is due, according to the Baron 
de Montgaudry, to Dom Pinchon, a monk of the Abbey of 
Reome, in the C6te d'Or, during the fifteenth century. A 
very simple apparatus was all that the good father used 
long boxes, wooden at top and bottom, and latticed at the 
extremities with osiers, were filled with fine sand as a lining, 
and covered at top and bottom with latticework. After 
the lapse of nearly three centuries, a second step was taken 
by a fisherman of Lippe in the direction of discovering the 
artificial propagation of trout, and a series of experiments 
was carried on for sixteen years by Jacobi, of Hohenhausen, 
the results of which were communicated some time after- 
wards by Sir Humphry Davy to our own countrymen. 
About 1824 Professors Agassiz and Voght had occasion 
to make experiments on a class of the salmonidae in 
Neufchatel, and employed artificial fecundation for obtain- 
ing the eggs required. Next came Shaw's experiments at 
Edinburgh ; and the evidence given at Stormontfield irre- 
fragably established the various stages of parr, smoult, 
grilse, and salmon. To another fisherman of Bresse, a 
village in the Vosges, is due the observation of the causes 
leading chiefly to the destruction of the fry to be found in 
the consumption of the eggs by other fish, the floods, the 
droughts, and the attacks of insects. And from him too 


proceeded the suggestion of pierced tin-boxes for the eggs, 
which has proved so highly successful. A word of com- 
mendation must be paid also to the remarkable institution 
established by the French Government at Huningue in 1863, 
for the artificial stocking of rivers and streams throughout 
France, which has resulted in restoring many of her waters 
to their naturally prolific condition, although the territory 
containing the institution itself has passed into other hands. 
Sweden, no less than France, had recourse to pisciculture 
in order to restore to its waters their exhausted fertility, 
and her efforts have been crowned with equal success. 
A large establishment has been instituted by the Swedish 
Government at Ostan-Beck for the distribution of spat 
through the neighbouring localities, and very happy 
results attended the labours of Monsieur Widegren ; 
while the experiments at CEstersund have also attained 

Norway, once revelling in the wealth supplied by her 
streams, has of late years experienced great sterility, but 
owing to the efforts of Professor Rasch steps have been 
taken toward remedying this terrible calamity. Since 1852 
an Inspector of Fisheries has been instituted, and more 
than one hundred localities are now furnished with the 
means of repairing the loss inflicted by former carelessness 
and greed. Salmon has been restored in various parts of 
Sweden. Eight lakes, situated in Roraas, have been stocked 
with Salmo-Fario, and kindred sqrts. Three lakes in the 
same neighbourhood have received similar advantages, as 
has also the large lake of Stort Jernet, near Sjovold, and 
others in the neighbourhood of Sondrevik, Hitterdaal, and 

Almost the same experience has happened to the 
Russian Empire, which since 1854 possesses at Nikolks, in 


the principality of Novgorod, an establishment of pisci- 
culture, founded by M. Vrasski, whose efforts, though 
unattended at first with success, have since produced the 
very best results. The locality chosen by M. Vrasski is 
admirably adapted for the purpose on account of the 
abundance and the purity of the water, and the establish- 
ment being located at the point of separation between the 
basins of the Volga and the Ladoga, is especially suited to 
the purposes of acclimatisation. From half a dozen other 
countries of Europe the same story reaches our ears. Bel- 
gium and Hungary, Germany and Switzerland, all tell the 
selfsame tale of anxious effort to repair exhaustion caused 
by wanton carelessness ; and in the last-mentioned of the 
countries, at Meilen, near Zurich, 200,000 trout are annually 
produced to repair the ravages of former years. The new 
country too is in the same category with the old, and in the 
United States, to quote a single example, the Commissioner, 
Mr. Atkins, states that the " passage of fish was interrupted 
by building impassable dams for manufacturing purposes on 
the Kennebec and Penobscot, in 1837. On the Kennebec 
the first fall is 17 feet at the head of the tide-waters." 
These two rivers of 500 miles had previously produced 
180,000 salmon, and are now reduced to a catch of 2100 
annually. Two other rivers, the Androscoggin and Saeo, of 
320 miles in length, which had previously produced 50,000 
salmon annually, now produce only 2000. "Most of the 
rivers in the State are in the same condition as the Ken- 
nebec." The three rivers that previously produced 230,000 
fish are 580 miles in length, and now produce only 4100 
annually. We may fairly estimate the loss of 225,900 
salmon, of average weight, 9 Ibs., or upwards of fifty 
thousand pounds, at only 6d. per Ib. value, as the annual 
loss of valuable nutritious food paid for the erection of a 


few mill-weirs for water-power upon the three rivers. Thus, 
from every quarter rises up a chorus of testimony to the 
national injury and loss inflicted by neglecting the care of 
our Fisheries. It may be that we have yet to learn the still 
higher penalty attaching to the neglect of the interests of 
our Fishermea 




Winged ships . . . and thousand fishers. 


FRANCE with her coast-line of 1 500 miles and her traditions 
of adventure, naturally claims to be one of the first rank in 
all matters relating to maritime affairs, and has held no less 
than three special exhibitions at Boulogne, at Arcachon, 
and at Dieppe, with a view to promoting her interests in 
this direction. Out of 90,000 sailors constituting her fine 
navy, not less than 65,000 are fishermen, a proportion well 
illustrating the expression, so often recurring in our own 
annals, to the effect that the fisheries are the nurseries for 
seamen. Whaling is the principal occupation of the major 
portion of this fleet, and a very remunerative employment 
it is. Establishments for the manufacture of fish products 
are found in France, as in Norway and Newfoundland : and 
yield excellent returns. The seas about Iceland and the 
rich banks of Newfoundland attract another large section of 
French vessels. In 1866, no less than 448 ships with lopoo 
to 12,000 men on board, a formidable squadron of the naval 
nursery, left the shores of France for the cod fishing in the 
north-west Atlantic ; the wages of the men varying from 
3 12s. to 4 a month. The preserve of the French in 


these parts is connected with many associations of our own 
history, and one can the better understand the miserable 
antipathy between the two nations, now happily almost for- 
gotten, when we find them fighting tooth and nail over such 
easily comprehensible matters as the pounds, shillings, and 
pence, derived from the fisheries. Some one has, or ought 
to have, already observed that war never yet broke out which 
had not for its real intention a change in the ownership of 
territory; but most persons would be surprised at the number 
of Treaties in which the right of fishing claims the dignity 
of especial mention. Nearer home the capture of herrings 
employs some 4000 or 5000 Frenchmen from July to 
November, but the method of carrying is hardly so suc- 
cessful as that of Holland, and the fish suffer much in con- 
sequence of the want of wells in the boats. In the earlier 
part of the year, or rather during the spring, mackerel are 
obtained on the northern, western, and southern coasts ; and 
what are popularly supposed to be sardines on a holiday 
excursion from their home in the Mediterranean, make 
their appearance in the fashionable month of May. At 
Dieppe there is a school for giving instruction in the 
mending of nets, two of which differ in their action from 
those hitherto described, the carelet being a net for upward, 
and the epervier for downward capture. 

Norway, dotted with its innumerable islands and indented 
by fjords stretching far inland among the mountains, is the 
very home for cod and such like fish. From 20 to 25 
millions are taken every year off the Lofoten district 
alone. Herrings are very capricious in their visits to the 
coast, or at least their movements are subject to laws not yet 
discovered. From 1 650 to 1 699 they stayed away altogether, 
and again from 1784 to 1808, both from the Norwegian and 
the Swedish coasts ; a subject now receiving illustration from 


the labours of Professor Sars. Their favourite resort in 
Norway during the seasons of their advent is Bergen, the 
capital of the south-western district, at no great distance 
from the beautiful Hardanger Fjord. The herrings, however, 
when they arrive make up for their absence by the magni- 
tude of their shoals, giving employment to some 6000 boats 
and 30,000 men. Oysters are found in abundance in the 
Christiana Fjord ; and, as many an English tourist well 
knows, salmon frequent the rivers and rushing streams, 
though even their saltatory powers are not equal to such 
leaps as the Riukan or Voring Voss would require. 

In the mackerel fishery, according to the report of M. Her- 
mann Baars, Special Commissioner of Norwegian Fisheries 
and Navigation, each, boat produces from about 1000 to 
3000 each night, but by the barrage nets the fishermen 
sometimes catch 10,000 to 20,000 in a single haul. This 
fishery has been so much developed the last few years, 
that it now counts about 2500 boats, which have caught 
from 30 to 35,000,000 of fish during a season. This 
immense abundance is preserved in ice and sent to England ; 
and the roe ot the mackerel consumed in Norway, as well 
as the cod roe, are sent to France as bait for sardines. 
Lobsters are of great importance in the northern districts 
of Norway. They not only supply highly-prized food for 
the population, but also an export of commerce amounting 
to not less than from 700,000 to 800,000 francs a year in 
addition to crab fish. Oysters are distributed all along the 
coast from Namsen Fjord to Christiana Fjord. Banks of 
large extent supply the wants of the country ; but through 
ignorance or negligence many have been destroyed or ex- 
hausted. Men are beginning, however, better to understand 
their value. Existing banks are treated with much more 
care ; oyster culture is becoming more general ; and there 


is every reason to believe that it will become one of the 
most important products of the country. 

From time out of mind, or at all events from the close 
of the ninth century, Sweden has been renowned for its 
fisheries and fishermen. A little more than a thousand 
years before Professor Nordenskjold commenced his suc- 
cessful voyage, Flosco, a native of that country, set forth 
for Iceland, or Snowland as it was then called, discovered 
a few years previously by a roving pirate. During the 
middle ages there are various allusions to Swedish fisheries, 
and in 1555 Olaus Magnus published his book entitled, 
' Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus/ to which we have 
already referred. In more modern times Cederstrom's 
treatise which appeared in 1857, ano ^ Christoffel's work, 
published in 1829, may be mentioned as giving informa- 
tion. From the situation of the country and the formation 
of the coast, indented in every part with innumerable bays 
and fjords, Sweden offers a natural resort for fish of almost 
every description frequenting the Northern Waters, except, 
perhaps, the whale ; and her splendid rivers provide a home 
for many of the principal kinds of those inhabiting fresh 
water. Sea-fowl in great numbers are found on the Baltic 
and the coasts of Bothnia ; but though their presence is 
doubtless prejudicial to the development of the spawn, it 
does not perceptibly affect the vast abundance of supply. 
Turbot and cod, salmon and mackerel, ling, herrings, lobsters, 
oysters, and crabs, all find their way from the ocean to the 
Swedish shores, while the rivers are full of perch, pike, roach, 
char, salmon, grayling, bleak and eels. No less than sixty 
kinds of fish are said to be sold in the market of Gothen- 
burg; but this estimate includes different kinds of the 
same fish. Stroemming, about the size of a sprat, visit 
the eastern coasts of Sweden, especially of the province of 


Bohus during certain parts of the year. Herrings, which, 
with salmon, form the staple of the fisheries, are found 
chiefly on the western coasts north of Gothenburg off the 
ports of Uddevallen and Stronstad in the winter months. 
Here also the visits of herrings are subject to considerable 
fluctuation, and in connection with this subject M. von 
Yhlen, Inspector of Swedish Fisheries, has carried out 
some interesting investigations, based on the theory that 
the occurrence is dependent on a natural law ; the shoals 
of anchovies taking precedence, the smaller shoals of 
herrings following them, the larger bringing up the rear ; 
and the return of fish in large numbers indicating the 
advent of another fruitful period of seventy years. Lastly, 
it may be mentioned that Sweden is not wholly at 
liberty to dispose of her fisheries as she may see good, 
at least in one particular direction. By the treaty of 
1855, signed at Stockholm between Great Britain, France, 
and Sweden and Norway, the latter kingdom bound itself 
not to cede or exchange any rights of fishery or pasturage 
with Russia, and to make known to the two former 
monarchies any proposals to that effect which Russia might 
put forward ; and on the other part Great Britain and 
France guaranteed to defend Sweden and Norway in the 
event of insistance on the part of Russia. It may be 
questioned whether this peculiar relic of the Crimean War 
is not liable to create the very complications it was 
originally intended to prevent. 

In the Russian Empire the fishing is chiefly conducted 
upon the five great Inland Seas, or Salt Lakes the Caspian, 
the Azov, the Baltic, the Black and the White Seas. The 
navaga frequents the Gulf of Onega and the mouth of the 
Petchina, while the chimaia prefers the Sea of Azov and 
the Caspian. Fish being the only food allowed on fast- 

VOL. I. H. 2 M 


days, of which the Russian Calendar contains an exceed- 
ingly large number, the demand is very great, the men 
being hired for the season, and bringing their produce to 
the vataga, or central establishment. Throughout the Oural 
districts a guardian is appointed over each yatove or deep 
basin ; and the most stringent precautions are taken to 
prevent the fishes from being disturbed, even fires being pro- 
hibited at certain periods. In the fresh and brackish lakes 
of the Caspian, says Count Danilewsky, President of the 
Russian Commission, everything unites to create an 
abundance of fish : the quantity of organic matter and 
the great growth of vegetable life producing insects and 
infusoria on which the fish are nourished. Both seas are 
extremely shallow, the Caspian having a depth only of 
50 feet, and that of Azov, 6 feet less, whereby a great fertility 
in plants and animal food is obtained for the inhabitants 
of the waters. The mouths of rivers, too, separate into 
many small streams before leaving the lakes, thereby 
affording convenient spawning-grounds where the young 
may be well fed and protected from their enemies. There 
are four species of sturgeons, better known under their 
commercial name of red fish. Again, certain sorts are used 
in the manufactories for oil, and other products, viz. the 
sandre, two kinds of herrings, breme, tarane, and smelts, 
valued at I75,ooo/. Cod, carp, salmon, and white salmon, 
may be estimated at 8/,5oo/. Salmon is found in the 
North Sea and the rivers ; white salmon in the Volga, 
the Dwina, and the Petchora in very large quantities ; and 
lastly, navaga is found in the White Sea, in the Gulf of 
Onega, in the Dwina, in the Mezene, and near the mouth 
of the Petchora. 

Turning from Russia and crossing the Atlantic Ocean we 
arrive at an island the fisheries of which have been the scene 


of what is probably the most extraordinary political history 
recorded of any country whatsoever. About the year 1497 
John and Sebastian Cabot set sail from Bristol with a small 
equipment of five ships and 300 men, furnished by the 
financialist monarch Henry VII., who had just discovered the 
penny wisdom and pound foolishness involved in ignoring 
the dreams of Columbus. On the 6th of June, according to 
some accounts, they sighted the island now called New- 
foundland, destined from that time to be considered, as a 
public writer recently observed, in the light of a ship moored 
in the Atlantic for the benefit of British fishermen ; though 
the country was not formally annexed to the Crown of 
England till Sir G. Peacham took possession in the name of 
Elizabeth in 1583. This was a proceeding which to men of 
the present day bears no slight resemblance to an act of 
unblushing impudence, inasmuch as the French numbered 
150 vessels in those parts, the Spanish 120, the Portuguese 
about one-third of the former number, and the English not 
so many as the Portuguese. But overweening scrupulosity 
was not the most marked characteristic of the worthies of 
Bideford and Barnstaple, and Bristol, who composed the 
crews of that famous Elizabethan era. To Sir G. Peacham 
succeeded Sir Humphrey Gilbert, with the illustrious 
Walter Raleigh as second in command ; but that halcyon 
period soon came to an end, and then commenced what 
may fairly be pronounced to be the most outrageous poli- 
tical experiment ever tried upon a body of helpless colonists. 
By a decree of the Star Chamber the immediate govern- 
ment of the island was placed in the hands of an individual 
dignified with the title of Admiral ; and that officer obtained 
his post neither by nomination of the Crown nor by election 
of the colonists, nor by any other process known to civilised 
law, but simply by being the skipper of the vessel which 

arrived at Newfoundland the first of the season. This 

2 M 2 


extraordinary system of happy-go-lucky administration, 
founded apparently upon the principle of " first come first 
served," gave rise as might be expected to endless struggles 
between the fishermen and the regular settlers, whose inte- 
rests were sacrificed upon every occasion. To such an 
extent did the Government carry out the policy of discoun- 
tenancing settlement a policy absolutely unintelligible to 
modern minds in order to favour the supposed interest of 
the fisheries, that no one was allowed to cut wood for firing 
within six miles of the port. Nay, one of the most promi- 
nent merchants connected with the fish trade in Newfound- 
land, Sir Josiah Child, went so far as to advocate the 
entire displanting of the inhabitants of the colony on 
the ground that, since the growth of the colony, the vessels 
engaged with cod had declined by more than one-half in a 
lapse of less than seventy years, and orders were actually 
issued to put this monstrous decree into execution. After 
the treaty of Ryswick confusion was rendered worse 
confounded by the addition of two fresh officials, styled 
respectively Rear and Vice-Admiral, in the shape of the 
skippers of the second and third ships arriving for the 
annual sojourn ; and the affairs of the colonists continued in 
the utmost depression until in 1728 Captain H. Osborne 
and Lord Vere Beauclerc restored some sort of order and 
justice by restraining the autocracy of those ignorant and 
incompetent despots. Several years later Labrador was 
placed under the same jurisdiction, and the whole colony 
was raised to a Crown plantation. Of late the rights of the 
permanent inhabitants have been suffered to develop them- 
selves with greater freedom from restraint ; but traces of the 
old restrictive policy are still to be seen in the uncultivated 
condition of the rich lands lying almost unknown in the 
heart of the island. 

Passing over to the American coast we arrive at another 


scene of British adventure and another locality teeming 
with associations for the student of history in later times. 
More than two hundred and fifty years ago Massachusetts 
had already twenty sail engaged in this occupation, and a 
century and a half later the fishermen of North America 
left no inconsiderable record in the military annals of that 
country. At Louisberg they took a fortress defended by 
250 cannon ; and in the course of two years of the Revolu- 
tionary War they captured 733 ships together with property 
amounting in value to twenty-five million dollars. The 
records of Marblehead in particular serve as a comment 
on Gray's well-known line upon the path of glory. In 
1772 the voters of that town numbered 1203, in eight 
years afterwards only 544 were left of them. Nor were 
the succeeding generation unworthy of their fathers, and 
the offspring of those fishermen who had perished for the 
independence of their country manned the frigates of 1812. 

Immutable, immemorial China, on the far western coast 
of the Pacific, with its highly developed industries and long 
descended customs, the land from which many a product, 
both of nature and of art, has found its way to western 
countries, forms an appropriate connection between ancient 
and modern times. Amongst other occupations fishing 
received its full measure of attention, and the various forms 
under which it is practised are far too numerous to be here 
described, though a few of the principal must be noticed. 
Rather more than a century and a half ago, the encyclo- 
paedia, Koo Kin Too Shoo Tseih Ch'ing, in one thousand 
volumes, was drawn up by Imperial authority, and two 
articles on fishing are contained in it under the section Shuh 
Teen. A few plates are to be found in connection with the 


article ; but most students will probably prefer to consult 
the French work of M. Dabry de Thiersant, whose abundant 
illustrations are only equalled in interest by the excellence 
of the invaluable information conveyed in his text. There 
are many sorts, both of lines, nets, and modes of capture. 
The Kuen Keon is a line two or three hundred feet in 
length, with several branches. It is made of hemp, and is 
soaked in a strong decoction of oak-bark (ko-chou), or else 
in the blood of a pig. Pe-Chen-Keon, a line of a somewhat 
similar character, differs from the Kuen Keon in having its 
hooks rather smaller, and being suitable for the lesser kinds 
of fish, more especially eels. Amongst the snares may be 
noticed the Pan-ta-tseng, a large net in the form of a square, 
having in its centre a pocket with a bamboo box for the 
reception of the captives. Four pieces of bamboo, fitted to 
the corners of the net, meet at the top, and are fixed to the 
extremity of a lever about ten or twelve feet long, itself 
reposing upon a strong bamboo which forms the fulcrum of 
another lever resembling the first, and intended to keep it 
in equilibrium. This second lever is furnished with leads 
to counter-balance the weight of the nets, and the 
machinery is so devised that these heavy nets can be 
manipulated by the slightest touch. Cormorants are 
another famous means applied by this ingenious people 
to the capture of fish, the bird being trained to release his 
prey at the touch of the rope encircling his neck, with as 
great certainty as hawks are taught to obey the call of the 
keeper or the retriever to secure the game. Domestic affairs 
are conducted with the same strict attention to economy, and 
consequently attain the same astonishing results among the 
fishermen as among all other classes of inhabitants through- 
out the celestial Empire. Although the whole annual family 
expenses do not average more than about 24, or a little 


over IOJ. a week, that is to say, the wages of an English 
agricultural labourer, out of which the head of the family 
has to make provision for medicine, and to procure what 
we should consider luxuries, such as tobacco, and a kind 
of oil (mien-tse-yeou) for the preparation of food, yet he can 
repair his net, set apart something for religious purposes, 
and spend an appreciable portion of his income upon three 
annual festivals. 

Opposite the Chinese coast stands another mighty 
empire, in which the fisheries form an element of almost 
incalculable importance. Somewhere about thirty-five 
millions is considered to be the number of fish consumers 
in Japan, and the persons employed in that trade amount 
to 70,000 in Nagasaki alone. Salmon in particular gives a 
constant dish to their dinner-tables. Triangular nets are 
used for its capture, and the take is said to be sometimes 
10,000 at a time. With their quaint love of symbolism, the 
Japanese use this fish to inculcate morality upon their 
children. When a boy is born, the parents place over the 
house a paper salmon, made with round head and open 
mouth, so that the wind blowing in at the aperture expands 
the entire body. When the feast celebrating the birth of 
the child is over, the fish is taken and preserved among the 
household gods. The boy is bidden to imitate the perse- 
verance of the salmon, which never ceases to make its way 
upwards until it has attained the position it desires. 




Fare you well. 
The fool shall now fish for himself. 

Beaumont and Fletcher 

fjifv yap yaia KCLKCDV, TrXci'j; 8e 8d\a<r(ra. 
Full is the earth of sorrows ; full the sea. 


YARMOUTH, where, as tradition asserts, the first herrings 
were caught in the fifth century of the Christian era, is still 
one of the principal centres of British fisheries ; and fish in 
many forms, but more particularly in that of the herring, 
forms the staple, not to say the totality of its commerce. 
Throughout the eastern counties a peculiar measurement 
prevails. Four herrings go to a warp, and thirty-three 
warps, or 132 fishes, are reckoned as a hundred, the buyer 
getting the benefit of the odd thirty -two ; a method of 
calculation especially to be recommended to the notice 
of publishers, with whom the reckoning of thirteen to the 
dozen goes rather the other way. Perhaps the computation 
may have originated in a custom still prevalent in some 
parts of the kingdom, of permitting the fishermen to carry 
away a certain number of handfuls. A hundred of these 
" hundreds " make up a " last," each of which therefore 
contains not 10,000, but 13,200 herrings. When the 



weather is fine the smacks enter the haven to discharge 
their contents ; but as the bar becomes dangerous if the 
wind be at all strong, ferry boats are then employed, and 
the cargo is conveyed in baskets called " swills," containing 
about 500 fish apiece. The baskets are carried high up on 
shore and placed in ranks two deep. A lively scene 
prevails during the sale, and a good deal of fluctuation is 
found in the returns. In 1869, for instance, the number of 
lasts was about 13,500 ; then it rose rapidly to more than 
19,000 ; then, within four years, it sank to 12,000, and then 
again it commenced to rise. By the latest returns of the 
Board of Trade, it appears that the total number of lasts 
of all kinds of fish was 32,696, a very satisfactory increase 
when compared with the 31,238 of the previous year. 

The work of the crew on board a trawler is distinctively 
assigned to each hand, each man being supposed to be 
capable of performing the duties of all those below him. 
It is the boy's part to cook, to coil the warp, and to steer 
during mealtimes, unless the weather be particularly 
rough. Steering and keeping watch form the business of 
the sixth hand ; mending the nets is the additional duty of 
the fifth, and shooting the nets of the fourth ; while the 
third hand must be able to work the net at all seasons ; 
and the second must be able to determine the position at 
sea and take charge of the vessel. In addition to these 
matters, a more important and peculiar knowledge, that of 
the fishing-grounds, is required for the master, and this can 
only be gained by experience from season to season. 

On the eastern coast, and more particularly in the York- 
shire parts, a good deal of difficulty has lately prevailed with 
reference to the relations between the smack-owners and the 
boys. To investigate these matters another Commission was 
appointed during last year, with the special object of enquir- 


ing into the habits of fishermen ashore and at sea, conse- 
quent upon the terrible fate which befel poor Henry Papper. 
From the evidence then collected out of the mouths of all 
classes of persons connected with the trade skippers and 
smackowners, solicitors and salesmen, managers of societies 
for the protection of fishermen and of associations of pro- 
prietors, casuals and apprentices, aldermen and police 
inspectors it appears that a very considerable difficulty 
exists in determining the status and providing for the 
wants of the younger members of the crew. The system 
of apprenticeship, by which the masters were bound to 
provide food and lodging for the boys ashore as well as 
afloat, is rapidly falling into decay, and in one of our 
ports the number is less than one-twelfth of what it was 
two years ago. Great disorders prevail in consequence 
among the fisher-lads, many of whom live habitually in 
disreputable houses while ashore, so long as their money 
lasts. Very serious damage also is caused to the interests 
of the owners by the habitual desertions of the casual 
hands, the absence of one member of the crew being suffi- 
cient to detain the vessel sometimes for two or three days, 
thereby causing a loss amounting perhaps to some hundreds 
of pounds. Violent remedies are employed to obviate this 
desperate state of affairs, and in one town, which it is not 
necessary here to specify, literally 20 per cent, of the whole 
body of apprentices were imprisoned for desertion in the 
course of less than three years. Such a result, it is clear, 
inevitably tends to defeat its own purpose, inasmuch as 
disgrace, the chief element in that kind of punishment, 
must almost disappear when one person out of every five is 
subjected to it, much as in certain public schools of a 
former generation, the boy who had not been flogged was 
hardly considered to have obtained a respectable footing 


among his fellows. Still it is far easier to make objections 
than to suggest any other process which shall secure to the 
owners their unquestionable rights. Much carelessness, too, 
in regard to the lives of those employed in this dangerous 
occupation, is not unfrequently found even among such as 
believe themselves to be perfectly blameless on this point. 
Thus one witness, having affirmed with evident sincerity that 
smackowners treated apprentices as if they were their own 
children, went on almost in the same breath to describe the 
danger attached to the simple process of drawing water in 
a bucket from the sea while the vessel is in motion, because 
of the sudden and unexpected strain of the current on the 
novice's hands ; and observed that the youngsters have not 
got their sea-legs, and soon tip overboard. Another 
witness again, himself a fisherman, objected strongly to 
being obliged to give a report on his return to shore of any 
death which might have occurred on board during the trip, 
because he wanted the time to land his fish. Not that this 
indifference is universal, or even, perhaps, very general, any 
more than such terrible cruelty as was practised on board 
the Rising Sun. Yet when we learn from the lips of a 
competent witness, himself largely representing the special 
interests of the proprietors, that a skipper dismissed for 
cruelty would probably be engaged by someone else on the 
following day, it is impossible to conceive that any great 
amount of solicitude is habitually given to the welfare of 
these helpless lads. 

To enter upon any lengthy discussion of the relative 
merits of the parties to this question, and, in particular, to 
form any judgment upon the action of particular associa- 
tions or individuals, would be to go outside the province 
of a history ; but none the less should we fall short of the 
design both of this present volume and of the whole vast 


undertaking of which it is an infinitesimal portion, if we 
omitted to draw attention both to the facts themselves 
and yet more particularly to the remedies which, as a 
matter of history, the Commissioners proposed. For enquiry 
is good, discussion is excellent, illustration is admirable, but 
the only fruitful and satisfying result of history is improve- 
ment in administrative action. 

The proposals adopted by the Commissioners were 
simple, and likely to be effectual. They consisted princi- 
pally in the recommendation of four important measures : 
the issuing of a certificate for captains after passing an easy 
kind of examination specially adapted for their require- 
ments ; the imposition of an obligation to keep a rough 
kind of log ; the compulsory requirement of a declaration 
as to any death which may have occurred during the trip ; 
and the endowment of the officer of the Board of Trade 
with parental authority in the interests of the apprentices. 
The first and last of these suggestions, when taken together, 
seem especially suited to effect their purpose, since they 
create an authority sufficient to deal with the master of a 
ship, and an easy means by which that authority may be 

But the space we have measured grows immense, and 
the time approaches to loose the neck of our smoking 
steeds. Yet one more flight awaits us, for there is still 
one kind of fishery or shall we say a dozen kinds of 
which we have made no mention. Down from the 
heights of the Olympus where the Commissioners sit 
enthroned in Whitehall Gardens, let us dive at a plunge, 
like Thetis of the gleaming foot, swift as the flash of 
thought into the azure depths of the Sicilian sea. A 
thousand forms of strange beauty are aro md us ; a million 
insects are at work, building up, as they have done through 


uncounted ages, grottoes and stony ferns, and pinnacles, of 
which each component atom is a gem, and fantastic forms 
of every hue surpassing the pen of man to describe and 
almost the heart to conceive ; which, like the walls of Thebes 
beneath the lyre of Amphion, rise up in a silence unbroken 
save by the music of the southern wave. We are amid 
the coral groves, that marvellous aggregation of living 
animals, so subtly constructed to deceive the sight that 
none dreamed of the pulses of animal life beating beneath 
the tree-like rock until the ill-rewarded labours of Peys- 
sonnel revealed to an unappreciative world the true nature 
of coral, " the daughter of the sea." Surely in so retired a 
spot, and amid such lovely scenes as these, some respite 
may be found for the denizens of the waters. Not at all. 
Not even the repose of coral groves can hope to escape the 
disturbance of the never-resting industry of man. As we 
gaze upwards through the translucent wave a huge, strange 
combination of wood and iron descends, shaped in the form 
of a cross, with two bars strongly lashed and bolted to- 
gether, and seven lines attached to it. An immense stone 
directs its course towards the bottom, and the gentle motion 
of the vessel drags it against the rocks and with a series 
of jerks bears off the coral to be the ornament of some 
bride or matron. 

Enough. We have looked over many lands, down into the 
depths of many an ocean. We have seen our brave toiler 
of the sea struggling everywhere, and taken note of the 
riches he reaps for the benefit of others. Is there no other 
side to the question ? Is there no sight which tells of his 
own condition, and are there no memorials which we may 
finally carry away in our minds as illustrative of the lot ot 
the fisherman ? Alas, such a picture exists ; and sad as 
is the contrast between the tales of national wealth and 


the personal sufferings of those by whose labour that wealth 
is gained, there is nothing we can more profitably impress 
upon the imagination as a farewell picture. At Hibernia 
Chambers, London Bridge, close by historic Billingsgate, 
whither for a thousand years the fish of every sea have made 
their way, stand the offices of the Society brought into exist- 
ence for the relief of shipwrecked mariners and fishermen. 
That admirable Institution, established now for more than 
forty years out of the thousand, and supported by the sub- 
scriptions of fifty thousand fishermen and mariners, has four 
objects in view ; to board, lodge, clothe, and generally assist 
all wrecked seamen or other poor persons of all nations, cast 
destitute upon the coasts ; to help seamen, whether of the 
Royal Navy or Merchant Service, fishermen, coast-guards- 
men, pilots, boatmen and apprentices, subscribers to the 
Society, towards replacing their clothes and boats when lost 
by storms or other accidents at sea, and to relieve their widows 
and orphans, or dependent aged parents ; to award gold 
and silver medals, and other honorary or pecuniary rewards, 
for any praiseworthy endeavours to save life from shipwreck 
on the high seas, or coasts of the colonies ; and to give 
small gratuities to its old and necessitous members in 
extreme and special cases. Already more than three 
hundred thousand persons, including not only mariners, 
fishermen, pilots and boatmen, but, alas, what is yet more 
urgently required, the widows, orphans, and aged parents 
of those whom the sea has claimed, have experienced its 
benefit in their hour of need. How deep that need must 
be, may soon be seen from a brief inspection either of 
that most melancholy of documents, the Annual Wreck 
Chart published by the Board of Trade, or of the equally 
significant statistics oftentimes the blank and passionless 
records of the most passionate and personal sorrows 



that during the single year 1880, 4804 fishermen and 
seamen, and 8330 of their bereaved and helpless de- 
pendents, received the assistance of this society ; or by a 
glance at that simple and stern account of the ratio 
between the number of tons of fish obtained, and the 
number of fishermen's lives destroyed, which is given 
upon the map of H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh. No 
words can be more forcible, or more appropriate for the 
conclusion of a work which deals with the history of our 
fishermen, than those in which the Committee put forward 
their earnest appeal to the public. " They cannot but urge," 
they say, " that the dangers and the hardships of our brave 
sailors the men that is, to whom, under God, England owes 
her proud pre-eminence as Mistress of the Seas amidst the 
Nations of the World have a peculiar and irresistible 
claim upon the hearts and the sympathies of a maritime 
people. It is impossible, the Committee feel, for those not 
themselves involved in the frightful disaster, fully to realise 
all the horror and woe attendant on sudden shipwreck 
men, women, and children, only saved, if saved at all, from 
the terror and dismay of impending death, to be cast naked, 
exhausted, and perhaps grievously injured, ashore ; even 
then, it may be, still to suffer or perish in utter friendless- 
ness, but for the outstretched hand and the speedy relief, 
ready on the spot, through the watchful agency of this 
Society." Surely each object of such a society as this must 
go straight to the heart of a great maritime nation which 
claims the wide ocean for her home and calls her fisheries 
by the endearing title of nurseries. 

And now, patient reader, having fairly sent round the 
plate, it is high time to say farewell. Together we have 
experienced the hardest test which can befall a friendship. 
All the world admits and here at least experience con- 


firms the verdict of all the world that nothing so greatly 
tries and tires sympathy as fellowship in a long and 
indefinite journey. Even those heaven-born twins of 
travel the Pylades and Orestes of tourists to the youth of a 
former generation Lumley Ferrers and Ernest Maltravers, 
found a few years of desultory wandering almost too much 
for their mutual forbearance. Their parting was a mixture 
of fire and of ice. " Is this fair to me ? " cries Lumley, for 
once angry in reality. " Trouble me no more," replies the 
haughty Ernest, as his late companion in not unnatural 
dudgeon turns to leave the room. Let us hope that no such 
stormy ending may attend the conversational stroll which 
we have taken together through some ten or twenty 
thousands of miles and over a range of two or three dozen 
of centuries. 


Acclimisation, 201 
Acipenseridoe, 183 
Actions at Law. See Cases. 
Acts of Parliament relating to fisheries, 20 
Preservation of spawn and fry of fish, 230 
Summary jurisdiction, 233 
Suppression of weirs, &c., 212-214, 217-230 
Aelian, 476 
Agassiz, Professor, 521 
Alexandria, fishing first taxed at, 474 
Allis-shad, 72 
Allowes, 427 
American cat-fish, 202 
American char, 164, 201 
Ammonia, 346 
Amphioxus, 199 
Anacanthini, 150 

Analyses of food, 362, 364, 367, 368 
Analysis, 345 

Anatomists and physiologists, chronological table of, 449 
Anchovy, 170, 427 
Angel-fish, 191 
Angler, 101 

Angling, close season for, 229, 230 
Animal chemistry, 347 

,, heat, source of, 348 

Annual Reports of Inspector of Fisheries, 214, 241 
"Apology for Lent," extract from, 410 
Apparatus for fishing, 207 

,, bag-nets, 221, 254, 317 

,,' beam-trawl, 255 

>, crab-pots, 319 

,, creels, 321 

dredges, 322 

,, drift-net, 278 

,, eel traps, 228, 319 

,, hand-lines, 310 

,, harpoons, 323 

VOL. I. H. 2 N 

54 6 INDEX. 

Apparatus for fishing, kettle-net, 316 
lobster-pots, 319 

,, long-lines, 304 

,, otter trawl, 274 

salmon-nets, 316 

seine-net, 287, 513, 5 14 
set-nets, 254, 299 
shrimp-net, 293 

snap-net, 317 


stow-net, 295 

,, trammels, 299 

Apprentices to fishing trade, 17 
Arctic chimera, 185 
Argentine, 160 
Archestratus, 379 
Armed bullhead, 100 
Armed gurnard, 100 
Arms of the sea, 207 
Artificial baits, 315 

,, cut leading out of salmon rivers, 220 
,, fishing grounds, 501 
,, obstruction to passage of salmon, 220 
Atherine, 141, 416 
Atherinidse, 141 
Atkins, Mr., 523 
Authorities, local, powers of, 230 

BAARS, Mr. Hermann, 527 

Bag-nets, 221, 254, 317 

Bait, 13, 223, 228, 245, 304, 313 

Bank's oar-fish, 140 

Barbel, 168, 404, 432 

Barking as a trawling station, 273 

Barrow-in-Furness, 498 

Basking shark, 189 

Bass, 85, 425 

Batoidei, 192 

Beam-trawl, general description of, 255 

,, ground favourable for use of, 268 

introduction of, at various localities, 273 

,, restriction on use of, 246 

,, steam-power adapted to, 272 

Bearded ophidiom, 154 

Belgian law, 244 

Belgium, 511 

Belkinson, 497 

Bergylt, 95 

INDEX. 547 

Berners, Dame Juliana, 502 
Best season for fish, 398 
Bib, 152 

Billingsgate Market, 52, 56, 70 
Black bass, 201 

,, bream, 92 

fish, 112 

pilot, 116 
Bleak, 168, 367, 365, 399 
Blennies, 134 
Blenniidse, 134 
Bloaters, 35 
Blue Shark, 186 
Boar-fish, 116 
Board of Trade, restrictions by, on oyster and shell fishing, 24$, 246 

drifting, 15, 20 
Boats used for trawling, 261 
Bogue, 92 

"Bomaree." See Middleman. 
Bonito, in 
Boops, 92 
Borer, 199 
Bottom fish, 12 
Bounties, 25 

Branding of fish barrels, 29, 239, 242 
Bream (freshwater), 168 
Bream (sea), 91, 399, 424 
Breeding and migration of young fish, 226 
Bridport net factories, 282 
Brief Note of the Benefits that growe to this Realme by the Observation of 

Fish-daies, 407 

Briggs v. Swanwick, action at law, 228 
Brill, 12, 157 

,, caught by the trawl, 254 

British fishermen subject to conventions with foreign powers, 208 
Fishery, 507 

fishing boats, registration, &c., of, 243 
white herring fishery, 242 
Brixham, 273, 511 

Buckland, Mr., evidence of, before Select Committee, in 1869, 221, 229 
Bullhead, 96 
Bulter or long-line, 303 

Bund, Willis, Mr., on law of salmon fisheries, 222, 231 
Burbolt, 152 

Burroughes, Sir John, 505 
Butter-fish, 138 

Buttes, Henry, 1599, quotation from, 403 
By-laws may be made by local conservators, 233, 241 

2 N 2 

548 INDEX. 

CABOT, John, 531 

Sebastian, 531 
Calaminary, 427 
California ground, 518 
Callionymidse, 126 
Canadian coast fishing, 245 
Canoes, 493 
Carangidae, 114 
Carbon, 337, 351, 355 
Carbon compounds in food, 357 
Carbonic acid, 344, 346, 349>*35o> 35 1 
Carelet net, 526 

Carp, 168, 365, 398, 403, 419, 432 
Crucian, 168 
Gold, 169, 204 
,, Leather, 202 
,, Prussian, 169 
Cases : 

Briggs v. Swanwick, 228 
Leconfield v. Lonsdale, 212, 217 
Pearce v. Scotcher, 209 
Reece v. Miller, 209 
Rolle v. Whyte, 218 
Ruther v. Harris, 224 
' 'Casters" (crabs), 245 
Casting-net, 292 
Cataphracti, 99 
Cat-fish, 134 
Caviare. See Kaviar. 
Cederstrom's treatise, 528 
Centriscidse, 146 
Centrolophus, 112 
Cepolidse, 139 
Ceylon, 292 
Channel Fisheries, 244 
Char, 165 

Char fishing, 223-228 
Charter re herrings, 497 
Chemical nomenclature, 334 
Child, Sir Josiah, 532 
China, 533*534 

fish-hawking in, 472 
Christiana Fjord, oysters in abundance at, 527 
Christoffel's treatise, 528 

" Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland," 418 
Chub, 168 
Circle-net, 288 
Clam and bait beds, protection of, 246 

INDEX. 549 

Climbing perch, 203 

Close times, 215, 226-230, 236, 245, 247 

Clupeidoe, 12, 170 

Coal-fish,. 1 52 

Cobles, 284 

Cockles, 47, 62, 428 

Cod, 12, 13, 22, 23, 42, 150, 304, 308, 425, 506 

"Coetlogon Universal," extract from, 406 

Collier's Poetical Decameron, 405 

Collisions of fishing gear, 18 

Comber, 86 

Commission of inquiry into state of fishermen, 538 

Common law rights of private owners of fishings, 217, 235, 236 

Common right of fishing in navigable portions of tidal rivers, 31, 209, 232, 233 

Compounds of chemical elements, 339-342 

Compulsory purchase of weirs, dams, &c., 220 

Conger, 174, 362, 365, 427 

Conservators, Constitution, &c., of Local Boards of, 215, 219, 224, 227-233 

Constables, powers and privileges of, 233 

Constitution and administrative rules and powers of local authorities, 215, 232 

Consumption and expulsion of chemical dements by the human frame, 352, 

353, 354 

Conventions with foreign powers, 208, 242-245 
Conveyance of fish, 48 
Cooking, effects of, 363 
Co-operation, advantages of, 367 
Coops, 216 
Cormorants, 534 
Cornish sucker, 132 
Cornwall, pilchard fishery of, 239 

,, nets in, 280 

Corregonus, 165 
Coryphcenidae, 113 
Coryphcenoid, 155 

Cost of trawl-smacks and fit-out, 263 
Cottidse, 96 
Cotton drift-nets, 282 
Courtines, rules for use of, 501 
Crabs, 46, 62, 245, 365, 430 
Crab-pots, 319 

Cran (Scotch herring measure), 36-37 
Crawfish, 433 
Crayfish, 399 
Creels, 321 

Crocodiles, snaring, 472 
Crown grant, before Magna Charta, 209 
Crucian carp, 168 
Cruives, 216 

550 INDEX. 

Cultivation of oysters, 245 

Curing processes, 23 

Customary rights of fishing from river banks, 220 

Cut, artificial, leading out of salmon rivers, 220 

Cuttle-fish, 427 

Cyprinidoe, 168 

Cyttidae, 116 

DAB, 158, 424 

Dace, 1 68, 398, 432 

Dagon, fish god of Phoenicians, 475 

Damietta, fishing first taxed at, 474 

Dams, 212, 217, 219, 220, 228, 233 

Danilewsky, Count, President of the Russian Commission, 530 

Dartmouth, fishing port of, 10 

Dear fish, 140 

Decay of Irish Fisheries. See Irish Fisheries. 

Deep-sea fishing, 507, 509 

trawling, 243 
Denison (Alfred), work by, 398 
Dentex, 88 
Dentrice, 397 
Dentriculi, 397 
De Piscatione, 405 
Derbio, 116 

Destruction of fish by pollution of rivers, 22, 224 
De Thiersant, M. Dabry, 534 
Devonshire coast, 273 
Diana-fish, 113 

Diet cannot be calculated with scientific accuracy, 355 
Diminution of fish, reasons for, 520 
Discoboli, 129 
Distribution of fish, 48 
Dog-fish, 1 86, 308, 425 
Dogger-bank, 304 
Dolphin, 415 
Dory, 117, 413, 426 
Dover, 511 
Draft-nets, 223 
Dragonet, 49, 127 
Drayton quoted, 405 
Dredges, oyster, 322 
Dried fish, 22 
Drift boats, 15, 20 
Drift-net, 254, 278, 507, 513 
Drying-nets, 240 
Dusky perch, 87 
Dutch eels, 53 

INDEX. 55* 

Dutch fishermen, 281 

Dynamite or other explosives, use of, prohibited, 225 


Ebu Modalbir, first to lay a tax on fishing, 474 

Echiodon, 154 

Eel-basket and pot, 228 

Eel-bucks, 319 

Eel-pout, 152 

Eels, 40, 53, 61, 394, 397, 399, 401, 432 

,, ancient methods of catching, 481 
Effects of toil on food consumption, 351 
Egypt, 471 
Egyptian frogs, 476 

,, sea-foxes, 476 

,, sea-tortoise, 476 

Egyptians, art of drying and curing fish known to the ancient, 473 
Elasmobranchiata, 185 
Electric eel, 203 
Elethyia, 471 

Engines, fixed, 213, 222, 233, 236 
England, general rules for salmon fishing in, 217, 218 ' 

right of fishing in tidal part of navigable rivers, 211 

,, statute law, 214 

English and foreign trawls, distinction between, 257 
Eperlan. See Smelts, 
Epervier net, 526 

Erswick, J. (1642) extract from, 407 
Erythrinus, 91 

Esk subject to special statutes, 236 
Esocidse, 165 

Estuaries, fishing in, 207, 216, 221, 231 
Exhaustion of fish supply, 66 
Experiments in artificial propagation of fish, 521 
Explosives, use of, prohibited, 225 
Export trade, 22, 27. 

Exportation of unseasonable salmon prohibited, 228 
Expulsion of chemical elements by the human frame, 352, 353 
Eyles, Sir John, 506 

FALMOUTH, fishing port of, 10 
Father-lasher, 97 
Fats, 345 

Fick and Wislecenus experiment, 350, 440 
File-fish, 180 
Filey, 509 
Fish as Food 
preface, 331 

552 INDEX. 

Fish as Food 

chemical preliminaries, 331 
list of works &c. referring to, 457 
Fish in Ancient Egypt, 375 
,, among the Hebrews, 376 
Assyrians, 377 
Greeks, 378, 411 
in the age of luxury, 379 
,, later recognition of its dietetic value, 380 
,, ,, general inferences, 380 
among the ancient Romans, 381, 411, 414 
use as diet in foreign countries at present time, 382 
,, ancient prices of, 485, 486 
,, diminishing in inland waters, 519, 520 
,, found in Swedish waters, 628 
hawking, 472 
species, 528-530 
Fish-diet conducive to health, 383 

., should be practically tried, 366 
,, want of evidence as to value of, 366 
Fish markets, 53, 70 
oil, 23 
passes, 218-220 
,, ponds of Lucullus, 414 
,, roe casein, 365 

,, roe, use of, as bait prohibited, 223 
traps, 315 
Fisheries, value of, n, 46 

Fishermen, commission of inquiry into state of, 538 
divided into classes, 480 

habits of, respecting fishing grounds and number employed, 7-9 
,, how cared for, 501 
perils of, 468, 490, 512, 539 
Fishery Acts, 214, 215, 218, 226, 227, 242, 246 
,, Board, 242 
Commissioners, 222, 223 
,, Districts, 230, 231, 234 
Fishgarths and piles, 213 
Fishing-frog, 101 

,, gear, 12-14. See also Apparatus for Fishing. 

,, implements used in ancient times, 480 

,, licences, 223, 224, 232, 233 

,, lines, description of, 534 

mill dams, 217 

,, nets, description of, 509, 514 

,, on the high seas, 208 

,, snares, 534 

vessels, 9, 18, 45, 53, 243, 261, 310. See also Boats and Smacks. 

INDEX. 553 

Fishing-vessels, total value of, n 

,, ,, description of, and general information respecting, 15, 45 
,, weir, 217, 221-222 
Fixed engines, 213, 221, 222, 233, 236 
Fixed-nets, 254, 295 
Flat fish, 12, 43 
Flax drift-nets, 281 
Flemings, 491 
Floating fish, 12 
Float net and tackle, 222 
Flosco, native of Sweden, 528 
Flounder, 158, 398 
Fly-net, 521 
Flying-fish, 167 
Food collection at Bethnal Green Museum, 360, 362 

,, tables, 367, 368 

,, values, foundation of study of, 347 
Foot-seine, 291 

Foreign and English trawls, distinction between, 257 
Foreign trade (see also Export Trade and Import Trade), 21 
Fork-beard, 152 
Fowey, 10 
Fox-shark, 188 
France, 501, 511, 525 

,, Convention with, 242 
,, fluctuation in supply of oysters from, 247 
,, restrictive legislation, 247 
Frankland, experiments by, 349 
Freedon, Herr Von, 281 
Free Fisheries Company, 500 

gaps, 219, 220 

,, passage offish, 215, 216, 218-220 
French trawls, 259 

Freshwater and sea-fishing, distinction between, 253 
Freshwater fisheries, 208, 209, 222, 223, 229, 230, 248 
Act 1878, 223, 227, 229, 230, 231 
Friendship of tench to pike, 400 
Fry, causes of destruction of, 521 
Fry of fish and spawn, Act for preservation of, 230 


Ganoidei, 183 

Gaps in dams in fishing weirs, 220 

Gar-fish, 166 

Garvies. See Sprats. 

Gasterosteidae, 143 

German See-Warte, Director of, 281 

554 INDEX. 

Gilt-head, 94, 427 
Globe-fish, 181 
Gobies, 124 
Gobiesociedse, 132 
Gobiidae, 124 
Gold carp, 169, 204 

schlei. See Gold Tench. 

,, tench, 170 
Golden orfe, 202 

Government brand on fish barrels. See Branding. 
Government inquiry into diet of artizans, 369 
Grant by the Crown before Magna Charta, 209 

,, for fish protection, 500 

Gratings in artificial cut to prevent passage of young salmon, 220 
Grayling, 165, 229 
Greeks, 287 
Greenland seal fishery, 248 

shark, 189 
Grey mullet, 142 

Grimsby, fishing port of, 9, 16, 44, 46, 256, 273, 304, 509, 511 
Ground favourable for trawling, 268 
Ground-seine, 288 
Gudgeon, 168, 365, 399, 432 
Guernsey, 301 
Guiniad, 165 
Gunnell, 138 
Gurnard, 98, 424 
Gymnodontidae, 181 

HADDOCK, 12, 42, 62, 152, 254, 303, 420, 425 

Hague Convention (1882), 17, 69, 243 

Hairtail, 122 

Hake, 152, 301, 425 

Halibut, 12, 62, 157, 303, 417, 426 

Hammer trawl, 277 

Hand-line fishing, 303, 310 

Hand or shove-net, 293 

Harbours, construction of, by Government, 69 

Harpoons, 323 

Hartlepool, 509 

Harwich, 306, 511 

Heat and force from carbon and from hydrc gen, 372 

Hebridal smelt, 165 

Hemp used for trawl-net, 261 

Herring branding, 29, 239, 240 

,, fisheries, 238, 239 

,, fishing, 495-501 

nets used in, -512, 513 

INDEX. 555 

Herrings, 12, 22, 26, 31, 62, 66, 170, 278, 299, 362, 363, 364, 392, 395, 406, 

410, 429, 497 

first caught at Yarmouth, 536 
,, 'Norwegian. See Norwegian Herring. 
statute of, 491 
,, when caught, 56 
Hewett, Mr., 273 

Higden " Polychronicon " (Babington's), 418 
Hippocampus, 177 

Historic notes of the former use of fish in England 
temp. Edward IV., 384 
temp. Henry VII., 385 
A.D. 1512 to 1525, 389 
Prices, A.D. 1259 to 1400 
herrings, 392 
lampreys, 394 
eels, 394 
pike, 395 
oysters, 395 
salmon, 393 
stockfish, 392 
Prices A.D. 1401 to 1582 
herring, 396 
eels, 397 
pike, 397 
salmon, 396 
salt conger, 397 

History of prices and agriculture in England, 391, 395 
Holinshed Chronicles, 399 
Holland, 511 
Holocephala, 185 
Hooker, 399 
Home Office, superintendence of salmon fisheries vested in, 220, 221, 229, 230, 

236, 237 
Hoop-net, 295 

,, bait for, 313 
Horned ray, 197 
Horse mackerel, 1 14 

Hull, fishing port of, 16, 44, 46, 256, 262, 273, 511 
Humber, 273 

,, statutes regulating fishing of the, 213 
Huxley, Mr., 70, 230, 247, 518 
Hydro-carbons, 345 
Hydrogen, 338, 355 
Hydrogen oxide (water), 339 


Ichthyophagi in Upper Egypt, 476, 477 

Illegal instrument for catching salmon, &c., 222, 223, 224, 228, 236 

556 INDEX. 

Implements used in ancient fishing, 480, 481 

Impossibility of calculating out daily diet with scientific accuracy, 355 

Influence of thought on digestion, 359 

Inland waters, river, lake, or pond, exclusive right of fishing in, belongs to 

owner of soil under water, 211 
Inspector of Fisheries, 230, 237 

Instrument for catching salmon, &c., unlicensed, 224, 228, 24^ 
International Conference at the Hague 1881-2, 243, 244 
Conventions, 242-244 
law, 208 

Introduction of beam-trawl fishing, 273 
Ireland, coast-guard, 44, 238 

,, constabulary inland, 238 

,, cruisers of Royal Navy, 238 } 

,, dredging for shell fish, 241 

,, duties of Special Commissioners, transferred to inspector, 237 

Fisheries Act, 240, 246 

,, herring fisheries, 240 

,, Inspector of Fisheries, 237, 245, 246 

,, law of freshwater fisheries, 237 

,, Lord Lieutenant, powers of, 237, 245, 246 

,, oyster and mussel fisheries, 246 

,, right of fishing in tidal part of navigable river, 211 
Isis, worshipped by the ancient Suevi, 474 

JACK, 166 
Jacobi, 521 
John Dory, 117 

KAVIAR, 365 

Kerry, coast of, 39 

Kettle-net, 316, 513 

Kinsale, fishing port of, 39 

" Kipper," origin of the word, 36 

Kippered herrings, 35 

Kuen Keon line, description of, 534 

Kullinck, 399 

LABOUR, its effects orj food consumption, &c., 351 
Labridae, 147 
Lam pern, 198, 399 

wheels, 319 

Lamprey, 198, 364, 394, 399, 404, 428 
Lancashire famine, 1862, 369 
Lancelet, 199 

Landing nets and stores, right of, 240 
Last (English herring measure), 37 
Launch. See Sand Eel. 
Leather carp, 202 

INDEX. 557 

Lecky, Mr., opinion on decay of Irish fisheries, 64 
Leconfield v. Lonsdale, action at law, 212, 217 
Lefevre, Sir John, report on branding of fish barrels, 29 
"Liber Domicilii," 1525-1585, extract from, 412 
Leigh, 295 
Lemon sole, 158 
Licences to fish, 224, 232, 233 
Liebig, 348, 349, 439 
Lights of fishing vessels, 19, 69, 223 
Line-fishing, 302 
Lines. See Fishing gear. 
Ling, 12, 22, 23, 62, 152, 307 
Liver of carp, 365 
pike, 365 
trout, 365 
Loach, 169 

Lobster-pots, 221, 319 
Lobsters, 46, 245, 402, 430 

,, in the northern districts of Norway, 527 
Local and general regulations for freshwater fishings, 208, 220, 234 

,, authorities and administration, 240 

,, Boards of Conservators, 215, 219, 220, 222-224 

,, statutes, Humber and Ouse, 213 
Loch Fyne, 516, 517 
London, supply offish to, 51 
Long flounder, 158 
Lophobranchii, 175 
Lord -fish, 151 

Lowestoft, fishing-port of, 10 
Lucky proach, 97 
Luggers, 15 
Lump-fish, 129, 427 

MACKEREL, 12, 14, 38, 61, 108, 278, 286, 311, 362, 363, 365, 399, 420 

,, fishing-grounds, 39 

Macrobians, 477 
Macrundse, 155 
Magna Charta, 209, 212 
Maigre, 121 
Manilla hemp, 261 
Maremmes, 5 

Market (Fish). See Fish Markets. 
Marsipobranchii, 197 
Mason, Henry, 434 
Matties (young herrings cured), 33 
Mease (Irish herring measure), 37 
Mediterranean, 277 
Megrim, 157 

55 8 INDEX. 

Merchant Shipping Act. See Acts of Parliament. 
Meshes of nets, dimensions of, 223, 242 
Meteorological Society of Scotland, 280 
Method of fishing in frozen rivers, 504 
Middleman, 60 

Migration and breeding of young fish, 226 
Migratory fish, 229 
Mill-dams, 217-219, 222 

,, weirs, 217-222 
Miller's thumb, 97 
Minnow, 168 
Mirror carp, 202 

Mischief done by trawlers and seiners, 515 
Modes of fishing, 12 
Monk-fish, 192 
Montgaudry, Baron de, 521 
Moulin, M. du, 499 
Movable nets, 254 
Mud lamprey, 199 
Mugilidse, 142 
Mullet, 404, 425 
Mullidse, 88 
Muraena, 175 
Muraenidae, 173 

Muscular power, source of, 349, 440 
Mussel-bait, 314 
Musselburgh, 282 
Mussel fisheries, 246 
Mussels, 13, 46, 62, 430 
Myxine, 199 

NAVIGATION, hindrances to, 200 
Net fishing, 227, 228 

,, dimensions of meshes, 224, 242 

,, prohibitions applicable to, 223, 224 

weekly close time, 228, 229 

NETS, 12, 13, 14, 40, 509, 510. See also Apparatus for Fishing. 
,, methods of using, 501, 502 
,, periodical renewal of, 263 
Nevophth, tomb of, 471 
Nile, 473 
Nitrogen, 338 

,, number of grains of, in nitrogenous compounds, 354 
Nitrogenous compounds in food, 356, 358, 360 

fish, 361 

Nordenskjold, Professor, 528 

Norfolk fisheries, regulated by special Board of Conservators, 224 
North Sea beam-trawl fishing stations, 273 

INDEX. 559 

North Sea Convention, 243, 244 

long-line fishing stations, 304 

,, trawling grounds, 42, 66 
Northumberland coast, drift-net fishing, 285 
Norway haddock, 95 

,, skiffs, 310 
Norwegian herrings, 34 
Norwich, city of, 224 
Notidanus, 189 
Nurse hound, 189 

OBSTRUCTION of passage offish, 213, 221-223, 2 3& 

" Offal " (meaning of term), 59 

Oke's Handy Book of the Fishery Laws, 230, 231 

Oil. See Fish Oil. 

Olaus Magnus, 503, 528 

Old wife, 92 

Olsen, 518 

Opah, 113 

Ophidiidae, 154 

Ophidiom, 154 

Orders in Council, 243 

Oswan, cataract of, fishing first taxed at, 474 

Otters (instrument so called), 223 

Ouse, fishing statutes, 213 

Oxidation, 336, 348, 351, 439 

,, of nitrogen, the source of muscular power, 349, 440 

Oxygen, 335 

Oysters, 47, 365, 395, 402, 429 

,, and shell-fish, cultivation, &c., of, 245 
,, in abundance in the Christiana Fjord, 527 


Pamphleteer (The), 1813, extracts from, 420 
Paper Mills v. preservation of salmon, 249 
Paradise-fish, 203 

Parliament, action taken by, respecting fisheries, 63, 64 
> suggested action of, respecting fisheries, 68 

Parnell (Dr.), 413 
Paterson, Mr. James, 215 
Pau'ta-tseng snare, description of, 534 
Peacham, Sir G., 531 
Peacock-fish, 203 

Pearce v. Scotcher, action at law, 209 
Pe-chen-keon line, description of, 534 
Pediculati, 101 
Pelamid, ill 

560 INDEX. 

Penalties for infringement of general rules for salmon fishing in England, 218, 

220, 223-229, 233, 234 

Penalties for infringement of prohibitions applicable to the Fisheries of the 
Counties of Norfolk and Sussex, and the City of Norwich, 223 

,, for infringement of prohibitions applicable to net fishing, 224-228 

,, for selling fish in the close season, 228 

for using illegal instruments in fishing, 224-228 
Penzance, fishing port of, 10 
Pepys, Samuel, 495 
Perch, 83, 399, 431, 529 
Percidae, 83 

Perils to fishermen, 468, 492, 512, 539 
Periwinkles, 47, 62 
Pettenkoffer, experiments by, 350 
Pharyngobranchii, 197 
Phoenicians, 287 

Physiologists, chronological table of, 449 
Physostomi, 160 
Picked dog-fish, 187 
Pickled oysters, 430 

Pike, 1 66, 362, 364, 395, 397, 498, 404, 431, 
Pike perch, 201 
Pilchard -seining, 288 

Pilchards, 12, 22, 41, 62, 172, 287, 428, 506 
Piles and fishgarths, 213 
Pilot-fish, 115 
Pinch on, Dom, 521 
Pipe-fish, 176 

Piscatorial rights of England, 491 
Plaice, 12, 158, 424 
Plaice caught by the trawl, 254 
Plectognathi, 180 
Pleuronectidae, 156 
Plymouth, 10, 511 
Pocket-fish, 105 

Poisoning and polluting rivers, 224-226 
Pole, 158 

" Pole or hammer " trawl, 277 
Police, fishery, of high seas, 207, 242-243 
Police regulations suggested for preserving order at sea, 70 
Pollack, 152, 
Pollan, 165, 229 
Polyolbion, 405 
Pope, 85 

Pope's remarks on fisheries, 67 
Porbeagle, 188 
Porpoise, 398, 428 
Powan, 165 

INDEX. 56* 

Power cod, 152 

Powers of Conservators, 234 

,, Fishery Commissioners, 222 
,, owners of private fisheries, 229 
Prawns, 46, 291;, 431 
Present condition of fishermen, 538-543 
Preservation of salmon, prohibitions for, 222 
Prevention of passage and repassage of fish, 212 
Prices of fish in ancient times, 392, 396, 398, 485, 486 
"Prime" fish, 59, 254 
" Prime, "'59 

Private fisheries, powers of owners of, 229, 234 
Proclamation by James I. as to fish, 410 

Charles I., 410 

Prohibitions applicable to angling, 229 

,, ,, fishing for trout or char, 223-225, 237 

,, ,, preservation of salmon, 223, 237 

,, ,, use of fixed engines, 223, 237 

Protection of freshwater fisheries, 229, 230, 234 

,, clam and bait beds, 246 

Provisional order for compulsory purchase of weirs, dams, &c. , 220 
Prussian carp, 169 

Public right of fishing and navigation, 220, 232 
Puffin, 433 

Purse-shaped shrimp net, 293 
Putchers, 221, 319 
Putts, 221, 319 


Raffle net, 503 

Railway Companies and fisheries, suggestions with reference to, 70 

Ramsgate, 273, 511 

Rasch, Professor, 522 

Ravoirs, rules for use of, 501 

Rays, 192 

Ray's bream, 113 

Red band -fish, 139 

herrings, 35, 364, 396 

,, mullet, 88, 414, 425 

,, wrasse, 417 

Reece v. Miller, action at law, 209 
Regulations of fisheries, early attempts at, 212 

of Fishery Acts, 215 

Relative cost of food, 367, 368 , 

Remora, in 

Renewal of nets, periodical, 263 
Report by Fishery Commissioners, 1870, 215 
Report of Select Committee on Herring Fisheries, 1881, 242 

VOL. I. H. 2 O 

562 INDEX. 

Restrictions on freshwater fisheries, 208, 248 

,, modes of fishing, 215, 242 

,, oyster and shell fishing, 245, 246 

times of fishing, 215 

,, weirs, 218 

Retail trade, 57 

Rhodian maritime laws, 487, 488 
Ribbon-fish, 140 

Riparian owners, rights of, 210-212, 217 
River banks, right of fishing from, 210-212 

,, boundary between two landowners, 211-212 
Rivers exempted from control of fishery districts or special local Acts : Der- 

went of Cumberland, Great Ouse, Itchin, Welland, Witham, 215, 234 
,, pollution, 227 

,, subject to special rules : Severn, Thames, 234 
Roach, 1 68, 365, 398, 432 
Rockling, 152 
Rock whiting, 152 
Rod and line fishing, 219, 224, 227 

Rogers' " History of Prices and Agriculture in England," 391, 395 
Rolle v. Whyte, action at law, 218 
Romans, seine known to the, 287 
Roole d'Oleron, 488 
Rosellini, 472 
Rough dab, 157 

,, hound, 189 
Round-fish, 12 
Royal fish, 207 
Royal fishery formed, 495 
Rudd, 1 68, 399 
Ruff, 85 
Ruther v. Harris, 224 


Saithe, 153 

Salmon, 40, 62, 161, 362, 364, 393, 396, 398, 400, 419, 425 

,, fisheries, value of, n, 40 

Fishery Acts, 1871 to 1878, 214, 215, 218, 226, 227, 242, 246 

fishings, 217, 222, 224, 227, 228, 241 

nets, 316 

peale, 426 

,, trout, 163 
Salmonidae, 161 
Sanazzaro, Jacopo, 504 
Sand-eel, 154 
Sand-smelt, 141 
Sandwich, Lord, 495 
Sardines, 364 

INDEX. 563 

Sars, Professor, 527 

Saury Pike, 166 

Scabbard-fish, 123 

Scad, 114, 

Schlei. See Tench, Gold. 

Scina, Signer Domenico, 479 

Sckena, 121 

Scicenidse, 121 

Sclerodermi, 180 

Scombresocidae, 166 

Scombridce, 108 

Scoresby, 492 

Scorpcenidae, 94 

Scotland, Commissions of Salmon Fisheries, 235 

,, District Boards, 235 

,, Fishery Board, 236 

,, herring branding, 240 

,, ,, fisheries, 237, 241 

,, Inspector of Salmon Fisheries, 237 
Scotland, Law of Salmon Fisheries, 235 

Meteorological Society of, 280 

,, right of fishing in tidal part of navigable rivers, 210 

salmon and trout fishing, 211, 235 

,, Salmon Fisheries Act, 235 

,, salmon fishing, special privilege of the Crown, 211 

,, use of seine-net, 290 

,, white fishing, 240 
Scringe-net, 291 

Sea and freshwater fishing, distinction between, 253 
Sea-bream, 92, 399, 424 
Sea-bullhead, 97 

Sea fisheries, 207, 238-242, 246, 248 
Sea Fisheries Act. See Acts of Parliament. 
Seal fishery, Greenland, 248 
Sea-horse, 177 
Sea-snail, 132 
Sean-nets, 287 
Seasons of fish, 401 
Sea-trout, 163 
Seine fishing, 223, 239 
Seine-nets, 287, 513, 514 
Selling fish in close season, penalties on, 228 
Serranus, 86 
Set-nets, 254, 299 
" Several Fishery," 211 
Severn Fisheries, 221 
Sewin, 163 
Shad, 40, 172, 424 


564 INDEX. 

Shanny, 136 
Sharks, 186 
Shaw, 521 
Sheet-fish, 201 
Shell-fish, 245, 364, 429 
" Shoe " of trawl-iron, 256 
Shove-net, 293 
Shrimping boats, 294 

net, 293 

Shrimps, 47, 431 
Silurus, 20 1 
Silver eel, 173 
Silver spots, 160 
Skate, 62, 192 
Skate-toothed shark, 187 
Skiffs, Norwegian, 310 
Skulpin, 127 
Smacks, 18, 45, 53 
Smacks, used for trawling, 261 

Small fish, question of destruction of. See Immature Fish. 
Smear dab, 158 
Smelts, 40, 164, 424 

Smith, Dr. E., experiments by, 350, 448 
Smooth hound, 187 
Snap-net, 317 
Snares, 223 

Society for Relief of Fishermen, 542, 543 
Soft crabs, 245 
Solent, stow-nets in the, 296 
Soles, 12, 158, 254, 362, 365, 424 
Solonette, 159 
South Sea Fisheries Company, 506 

islanders, 492, 493 
Spain, trawling on f, 277 

Spanish bream, 91 

,, mackerel, 109 
Sparidoe, 91 
Sparling. See Smelts. 
Spawn and fry of fish, Act for preservation of, 230 

crabs, 245 

Spears, 223 

Special statutes regulating fisheries of rivers and districts, 233, 234 
Spiller or trot, 303 
Spilliard, 303 
Spinax, 189 
Spinous shark, 189 
Spotted dog-fish, 189 
Spotted gunnell, 138 

INDEX. 565 

Sprat-net, 295 

Sprats, 12, 37, 41, 172 

Stake-nets, 221, 316 

Statistics relating to fish, 3, 19, 37, 39, 42, 46, 498, 499, 5 l6 5 2 5 5 2 7> 537 

want of better, 3, 68, 70 
Statute of herrings, 487 
Statutes (general and special) regulating salmon and other fisheries, 207, 209, 

212, 213, 217-246, 435 
Steam power applied to beam-trawlers, 273 
Sterlet, 203 
Sternoptychidag, 160 
Sticklebacks, 143, 399 
Sting-ray, 196 
St. Ives Bay Fisheries, 239 

,, pilchard seining at, 288 
Stockfish (dried), 364 
(salted), 364 
Stone bass, 87, 414 
Storing of cod, 308 
Stowage, provision for, 263 
Stow-net, 295 
Stromateidae, 1 12 

Structures for obstructing passage and capturing of fish, 216 
Sturgeon, 183, 403, 426 

the property of the Crown, 207 
Suckers, 132 
Sucking-fish, III 

Suffolk fisheries regulated by special Board of Conservators, 223 
Summary Jurisdiction Act, 233 
Sun-fish, 82 

Suppression of weirs, &c., Act of Parliament for, 212-230 
Surmullet, 88 
Sutherland, Duke of, 235 
Sweden, 521 
Sweep-net, 287 
Sword-fish, 119 
Sygnathidse, 176 
System of apprenticeship, 538 


Tedclington Lock, 209 

Teleostei, 82 

Telescope-fish, 204 

Temperature of water, effect of, 281 

,, effect on take of herrings, 513 

Tench, 168, 398, 404, 417, 432 

,, Gold, 170 
Territorial or marginal waters, 208 

566 INDEX. 

Thames (the) in 1593, 418 

Thames fisheries regulated by Conservators, 209, 234 

Thames shrimp nets, 293 

Thiersant, M. Dabry de, 534 

Thirle pole, 402 

Thornback skate, 194, 428 . 

Thunny. See Tunny. 

Thresher, 188 

Thunder-fish, 202 

Thunderstorms, effect of, 281 

Tidal rivers, fishing in, 207 

Title to exclusive fishing rights, 209 

Toper, 187 

Topknot, 157 

Torpedo, 192 

Torsk, 152 

Towing-paths, right of fishing from, 210 

Trachinidee, 107 

Trachypteridse, 140 

Trammel net, description of, 299 

Traps, 216, 221. See also Weirs. 

Trawler, duties of crew, 

Trawl nets. See Nets. 

Trawlers and trawling-grounds, 15, 1 8, 20, 41 

Trawling, ground favourable for, 268 

,, introduction of beam-trawling, 273 
,, restrictions on, 239, 246 
Trawls, beam, 254 

English and Foreign, distinction between, 257 
,, French, 259 
otter, 254, 274 
,, " pole or hammer " 277 
Treatise on fasting, 1623, 434 

Treaty of Washington between England and United States (1871), 244 
Trichiuridae, 122 
Trigger-fish, 181 
Trot or bulter, 303 
Trout, 163, 201, 399, 403, 431 
Trout fishing, 223-229 
Trumpet-fish, 146 
Trunk-net fishing, 320 
" Tucking " fish, 290 
Tuck-seine, 288 
Tunny, no, 428 

afforded sport to ancient Greeks, 478 

,, belongs to a gregarious and carnivorous class, 479 

,, derivation of name, 479 

method of capture, 478 

INDEX. 567 

Turbot, 12, 157, 426 

Twait. See Shad. 

Tweed, river, subject to special statutes, 236 

Tweeddale, Marquess of, 280 


Unclean or unseasonable salmon, trout, and char, 226, 227 

United States, common law of, as to ;_fishing rights of riparian owners, 


,, ,, East Coast fishing, 245 
Unlicensed instruments for catching salmon, 224 
Unseasonable salmon, exportation prohibited, 228 


Variegated sole, 158 

Vendace, 165 

Venner, 1650, extract from, 421 

Vessels (fishing). See Fishing Vessels. 

Vinets, rules for use of, 501 

Viviparous blenny, 138 

Walpole, Mr. Spencer, 214 
Wash, trim-nets used on the, 299 
Washington, treaty of, 244 
Water, 339, 346 

,, bailiffs, powers and privileges of, 233 

,, influence of temperature of, 301 
Weever, 107 

Weirs, 212-222, 228, 234, 318 
Welsh fisheries, 51 

Whales, the property of the Crown, 207 
Whaling, 324 
Whelks, 46, 62 
Whitebait, 36, 38, 41, 171 
White herring fishery, British, 242 
Whiting, 152, 311, 364, 424 

Wilson, Bishop, prayer for restoration of the fisheries, 64 
Winds, effect of, 281 
Wolf-fish, 134, 427 
Wolf-net. See Nets. 
Wrasses, 147 

XIPHIID^;, 119 

YARMOUTH, fishing port of, 9-10, 283-285 

Yarrell, 413, 416 

Young fish, breeding and migration of, 226 





Return to desk from which borrowed. 
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 

JUN 1 9 1952 



JUL 22 

LD 21-95m-ll,'50(2877sl6)476