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Robert E. Gross 

A Memorial to the Founder 
of the 

Business Administration Library 
Los Angeles 












or THE 






^ad fa tvuiciJ the^ tuere pl'cfed to at^jfidge their Highfjt Frizc* 
Midalfar ihi Year 1790. 





Anno i7yi. 

P R E F A- C E,' 

It has been ufual for perfons 
vvliom the Commonwealth of 
Letters did not recognize, and 
who have mbinitted their opi- 
nions to the ordeal of the Pub- 
lic, to introduce themfelves to' 
thcirRcader with an apology for 
their conduct. This mode of 
a 3 pro^ 

6 Preface. 

proceeding has the refemblance 
of humility and modcfty : It 
may be> however, doubted,, (con- 
fidering the natural pronenefs 
there is in mankind to felf-ap- 
probation,) whether in general 
there is much fincerity in fuch 
apologizing introductions. At 
any rate, there is certainly a de- 
gree of ^bliirdity, and perhaps 
of unfairnefs, in fuch feeming 
lowliaefs : It is unfair, becaufe it 


Preface^ ^ 

IS a kind of befpeaking the Read- 
er's favour, by praclifing upon 
his paffioRS: And it is abfurd, 
becaufe the author is thereby 
taking blame to himfelf before 
any one imputes it to him. For 
thefe reafonS;, the Author of the 
prefent perfonnance has not fol- 
lowed the method ufualiy adopt- 
ed in Prefaces. 

It will be learned from the 

title page of the folio v/ingj[heets, 


9- Preface: 

that they were originally wrote 
for the information and parti- 
cular ufe of the Hi'^hland So- 
eiety of Scotland. It is with 
the permiffion of that Society,- 
that they now come abroad, and 
are fubmitted to the judgement 
of the Public. 

The information upon which 
the arguments made ufe of in 
the prefent tract are founded, 


Preface, 9 

has been acquired by the expe- 
rience of a ten years refidence 
upon the North- Well coafl of 
Scotland ; and is likewife the re- 
fult of a good deal of confide- 
ration bellowed upon the fub- 
jectofthe Fiilieries. Cur Read- 
er will fee, that the inferences 
which we have drawn, are almoft 
totally difFerentfromthofewhich 
have been drawn by others who 
have wrote before us, fo far as. 


jro^ Preface. 

the fubjed refpedsthe Fiflieries. 
We however truft, they will be 
found to be juft, and to merit 
fome degree of confideration. 

^ ^' *^ * 

The Author, in difcuffing hia 
fubjecT, had not any pleafing 
profpe6l of praife before him: 
He was obliged, confiftent with 
truth, and his own ferious con- 

Preface* ^ 11 

vlctloiij to reprefent a fabjecl, 
which had become popular, in a 
iefs favourable point of view 
than it has been treated of by o- 
thers.— As Praife was not, there- 
fore, the Author's aim, Cenfure^ 
he hopes, will the more readily 
fpare him. 

In thefe fentiments, he fub- 
mits his Obfervations to the 

Edinburgh^ 1 
JuLT iSl/jy 1 79 1. J 





The Highland Societt of Scotlaxd. 

X HE Society having, in an advertiie- 
ment figned by their Secretary, and 
publifned in the Edinburgh Papers, de- 
fired information from fuch perfons as 
were willing to give it, as to the Pre- 
fent State of the Scotch Fishery, and 
the bed means of promoting and im- 
proving the fame : And the Society- 

14 Ohfervatlons upon 

htiYing alio, in their advertifeni en t, de- 
iired that it might ht ilated by fuch 
perfons, " vVhat the circumilanc c . were 
** which fhoiild determine the lituatioii 
'* of the villages intended to be built 
'* upon the coafls, and in the inland 
*^ parts of the Highlands ; — the proper 
*' meafures to be adopted by Govern- 
*' ment,-~by the Joint-Stock Com- 
*' panv lately cftabliilied by acl of 
** Parliament, — by the Society, — or by 
*^ the proprietors of lands in the High- 
** lands, in forming fuch eft ablifhments, 
" — the encouragements proper to be 
" given, — the beft method of provid- 
" ing the fettlers with ground for 
** building, and otherpurpofes, — andfcr 
<* fecuring to them a fupply of necef- 
*' faries during the infancy of Tuch 
" eflabliUiment ;" the prefent paper is 


7'he Sxotch fybenes. 15 

meant aa-tin endeaTOur to convey to the 
Society the information deiired : Eat 
the author miiH crave liberty not to 
confine himfelf barely to the quefdonS 
above propofed : and like wife he hopes 
the Society will pardon him, if, in fpeak- 
ing to thefe qiieftions, he fhail depart 
fomewhat from the order in v;hich they 
are dated. It will readily appear, to 
every gentleman into whofe hands this 
paper may come, that in detailing fads^ 
and making obfervations, upon a iah^ 
jecl where the detailer can have no in- 
tereft, and has no intention to miflead, 
the bed way fully to underRand him, 
and to profit by his information, is to 
allow him to deliver the account in fuch 
order as is mod conformable to his own 
train of ideas. The author of the ob- 
fervations now to be on^ered fhall de- 
A 2 tain 

1 6 Qhfervatlons up 


tain the Society with no farther preface 
or apology : If any of his remarks fhail 
be deemed worthy of its attention, or 
.ihall be in any. jdegree conducive to 
the welfare of the Filhery and the 
Goiintry, he attains his whole aim in 
the prefent addrefs. 

To a feeling and rational mind, the 
fubjecl now before us will, appear of 
the greatefi magnitude and importance, 
and replete with matter well worthy of 
the molt ferious inveftigation. Whe- 
ther the fubj.ed: is confidered as affedl- 
ing individuals, or as affeding the com- 
munity at large, it is equally interell- 
ing. It concerns the well-being of near- 
ly two-thirds of the inhabitants of this 
part of the United Kingdom, men who 
are by no means behind their neigh- 
bo un 

'The Scotch lyljcrles. ly 

bours in either the qualities of body or 
mind, but whofe labours are, at prefent, 
of very little ufe to the public, and of 
ilill lefs to themfelves. — It was referved 
for good men, lovers of their country, 
to meet and confult together, for the 
humane, munificent, and patriotic pur- 
pofe, of benefiting their country, and 
cherifliing her ufeful and forgotten Sons* 

The order in which we pfopofe td 
treat the matter nov/ in hand, is, frjl. 
To give a detail of the Frefent State of 
the Scotch Fifiiery ; in which v/e fiiall 
fatisfy ourfelves with a Ihort view 
of that on the Eaft Coafl, as not be^ 
ing the imm.ediate objedl of our en- 
quiry, or affording fo much field for 
obfervation ; but fliail dwell pretty 
largely upon the Fifhery on the Weit 
A 3 Coail, 


Ohfervations upon 

Coafl, as being 1;he major point in view ; 
in the coiirfe of makin<5 our obfcrva- 
tions upon whicli, we will take notice 
of the cii'cumftances which fliould de- 
termine the fituation of the intended 
villages, the encouragement proper to 
be given to the fettlers, and the other 
requiiitions contained in the Socie- 
ty's advertiiement, intermingling, as 
v/e go along, fuch remarks and ftric- 
tures as fhall arife out of the fubjed : 
And to the whole we lliall fuperadd re- 
marks upon the interior parts of the 
Highlands, with a propofai for the im- 
provement of that part of the country. 

We might probably be excufed, w-ere 
we to omit altogether faying any thing 
of the Fifhery upon the coail betwixt 
Ecrwick upon Tweed, and the entrance 


Ihe Scotch Fijljeries, tp 

to the Murray Frith. The coafl of 
that tradt of country is populous and 
rich : there is a conftant market for 
ail the frelh fiHi caught there, and 
the inhabitants hare the command of 
fViipping at all times, to tranfport fuch 
filh as they find it their accourit to fend 
abroad or coaflvvife. Were the coails 
of the Highlands as populous and fer- 
tile as this part of Scotland, the tafK 
would be eafy to improve the Fifh- 
eries there : The coaft we are fpeaking 
of is the bell improved in the kingdom : 
there are, however, feme of its advan- 
tages for carrying on the Filhery trade 
which are neglec^led. At Stirling, Perth, 
Aberdeen, and Spey, the Salmon- Filh- 
ery is profecuted with much attention, 
and a pretty good fupply fent from the 
two firil places to the Edinburgh mar- 

20 Ohfervatiom 'Hf'oTf 

ket ; a much larger of boiled falmon is^ 
'however, fent from all thefe places to 
the London market, preferved in vine- 
gar, and packed in fmall tubs called 
kitts. Sometimes this fifh has fold in 
London at two fliillings and fixpence 
a pound ; at other times it has been 
fold as low as fixpence. When the 
price falls in London, they beghi at the 
falmon-river^to fait their fifh- for expor- 
tation : The ordinary average price 
thefe iifli bring abroad, is about four 
pounds ^<?;' barrel of forty two gallons, 
with the further advantage pf a premi- 
um from Government of 4w^ Hiillings 
and lixpence per barrel. 

At Dunbar, and upon a fmall extent 
of the coail on each fide of the Frith of 
Torth; a llioal of herrings very often 


n^ Scotch Fi/Jjeries, 21 

]c:t in about the beginning of Karyefl, 
the greatefl part of which are fold freih, 
(mollly at Edinburgh) and fetch great 
prices. The Mellrs Falls at Bunbar 
followed this filhery with great induf- 
try. Some of their herrings they fmoah- 
ed in the Yarmouth way, Thefe iifn 
do not feem, however, to be fo fit for 
curing into white or pickled herrings.: 
they have not that fapid oily quality 
which the herrings on the V/eil Coafl: 
lochs poiTefs : When falted and kept for 
any length of time, they become ratliex 
infipid and dry. 

It is perhaps needlefe to mention, 
that within thefe few years great exer- 
tions have been made in the Whale 
trade ; and the towns of Leith, Aber- 
deen;, Dundee, Montrofe, S^c. have 


'-22 Ohjervat'ions upon 

made very- encouraging adventures in 
that way. Lqfily^ Although there are 
few herrings caught in the Frith of 
Forth, or upon thp coaft of the diRridl 
betv>7ixt that and the Murray Frith^ 
yet there are a good many biiffes fitted 
out from that part of the coafl, particu- 
larly from Leith, for the Herring-fifh- 
eryonthe Weil Goad. Abbut the time 
of Charles I. the inhabitants of the 
coafts of tlie Frith of Forth carried on 
a brill?: trade, and fitted out a great num- 
ber of bufles, the cargoes of which they 
exported mofily to theBaltic. Some of the 
towns which enjoyed this trade exhibit 
at this day fpedacles of mifery and 
wietchednefs. The troubles which pre- 
ceded and followed the King's death 
ruined the circumftanceSj and damped 


^'he Scotch Fifo cries, '2j 

the aclventrous fpirit of thefe merchants. 
But there was, and ftili is, amongil their 
fuccelTors, a remain of that fpirit for 
which their forefathers were fo remark- 
able ; and it is only of late years that 
they have totally loft the trade of fend- 
ing herrings to the ports in the Baltic, 
by thefe fiili appearing upon the coails 
of the countries there, of which the in- 
habitants availed themfelves. 

There is no part of Scotland where 
the white fiihery for the frefh markets 
there is carried on with more induftry, 
or better underftood, than v/ithin the 
diftrict we have mentioned : We will 
even venture to go farther, and to aflirm, 
that there is not in any part of Europe, 
(Holland excepted) better white fifiiers 
than tliofe v*'ho follow that profeflion 


t4' Ohfervations upon 

upon the Eaft Coail of Scotland. Is it 
not therefore to be wondered at, that the 
merchants upon that coaft, particularly 
at Aberdeen, Montrofe, &c. have never 
made an attempt to fend haddocks, cod, 
&c. to the London market ? Such a 
trade would cerainly yield great proiit : 
The Ml to be fprinkled with the purefl 
of fmall fait, and might be either bought 
from the boat-fifliers, or caught on 
board the fwift failing fmacks, (in 
which they might le carried feafonably 
to London) as beft fuited circumftances: 
but the fifliing on board the fmacks 
would be the moil certain method, be- 
caufe they could keep the fea to fifli 
when the boats could not. It is the 
more furprifing that this trade is not 
attempted, when it is confidered, that 
the famous fifliing- bank, called the 



The Scotch Fi/Jjcrks, 25 

Long Forties, runs along ft this part of 
the coall. W^z do not know that the 
inhabitants of the call coail of Scotland 
neglecl any other local advantage they 
polTefs from their fliores, excepting that 
we have now mentioned, unlefs, per- 
haps, that they do not pay that atten- 
tion to their lobiler-flfliing which it d-e- 

We fliall now fpeak of the fifliery 
on the ccail of that track of country, 
which lies between the entrance to the 
Murray Frith, and the promontory cal- 
led Cape Wrath, in the county of Su- 
therland ; in which we lliall include 
the Orkney Iflands. Wc iliall omit 
faying any thing of the Shetland filli- 
ing, as probably not being particularly 
f mbraced by the Society, whofe pa- 
C tronage. 

^6 Ohfervations upon 

tronage, if we apprehend right, has 
the Highlands and Iilands adjacent 
thereto, for its more immediate objects. 
Indeed, it is fo far convenient to our 
purpofe, that little remains to be pro- 
pofed, for improving the fiiliery car- 
ried on upon the coaft of Shetland : 
the induliry of the inhabitants is great, 
and their fuccefs not difproportioned to 
it. We hope the day is at no great 
diftance, when we fhall fee the like at- 
tention to the curing of good and mer- 
chantable fiHi among the natives of the 
Highland coaft, as is amongil the inha- 
bitants of Shetland, and their induilry 
.equally rewarded. Much praife is due 
to the gentlemen in Shetland ; they are 
the very foul of the fifliing there ; it 
was firft foflered by them, and they 
maintain it to this day, to the great aid- 

Ihe Scotch Fi/Jjcries, 27 

vantage of themfclves, and the natives 
their dependents, who are amongil the 
bell carers of cod, ling, and other white 
filh in Scotland. The cod-fnliing is 
more certain at Shetland than the her- 
ring, and the inhabitants of courfe turn 
their attention moflly to the former. 
At fame time, fuch herrings as they do 
cure are the bed of this country. This 
is an effecl of their frequent communi- 
cation with the Dutch., 

The only fiiliing carried on in the 
Murray Frith, excepting the white 
fiihing for the frefli markets at the 
towns of Cromarty, Elgin, Forres, 
Nairn, and Invernefs, is the falmon- 
tifhery at the rivers of Nefs and Beau- 
He, and a lelTer falmon-fifliing at the 
nver of Findhorn. There is indeed a 
C 2» fmall 

!28 Ohjer'vations upon 

fmall flioal of lierrings ufually appear 
(at leail once a year) in the Frith ; and 
"for fome years back have conltantly ap- 
peared at a narrow ilrait, which di- 
vides Invernefs-niire from Rofs-fhire, 
called the Ferry of KefTock. Thefe 
fifli are, however, of fo fiTi-all a lizc^ 
and fo poor, as to be altogether imEt 
for curing ; they are therefore fold 
anoftiy at the- market at Invernefs, and 
are, in fome fcarce feafons, a welcome 
fupply to the inhabitants of that coun- 
try. The continuance of thefe fifh is 
Tcry uncertain ; fcmetimes only a few 
days, at other times for a month \ but 
they never appear in any confiderable 
quantities. — The Socrety vvill perceive 
tl>at this account of the KeiTcck her- 
rings is very different from that given 
by a late writer of a neighbourmg Idng- 


Ihe Scotch Tiperles. 29 

flom. He feems throughout to have 
viewed every thing in this country 
through a favourable glafs. But the 
account here given is the truth, which, 
though not always fo pleafant as fi6lion, 
is yet in the end more whole fonie. But 
we return from this digreffion to our 
fubject, and have to obierve, that 
the filliing for falmon in the rivers a- 
bove mentioned, is pufiied with great 
induilry ; and the tackfmen of thefe ri- 
vers, who are fometimes alfo tackfmen 
of part of the falmon rivers in Angus, 
Aberdeen and BanfF-lliires, follow the 
fame plan of boiling for the London 
market, or faking for exportation, at 
Invernefs and Beaulie, as is done at the 
other rivers in Scotland. — It appears by 
the cuilom-houfe books at Invernefs, 
that about the 1743, ten thouilmd bar- 
C 3 rels 

30 Ohfervations upon 

rels of herrings were caught and cured 
in the Murray Frith, near the place 
where Fort George now ftands : Since 
that time there has been no confider- 
able take of herrings^ fit for curing, in 
that Frith. 

Within the Frith of Dornoch, and 
upon the whole of the eail coall of 
Sutherland, there is not any fifhing car- 
ried on that deferves alnioft to be men- 
tioned. We know of no falmon river 
of any note within that diitricl : An in- 
Goniiderable falmon-fifliing is carried 
©n at the Bonar,, at the head of the faid 
Frith ; another one at Brora, and one 
at Helmfdale. Herrings have not ap- 
peared upon the eafl coail of Suther- 
land, in any great number, for a long 
time back : Indeed, fliould they appear, 



The Scotch Fi/heries, ^z 

tciQ natives are not polTefTed of tackling 
to kill them. This part of the coaft a- 
bounds, however^ in excellent white 
fiih, particularly off Tarbett-nefs, and 
in a line from the fouth fide of the 
Murray Frith to the north fide of the 
Frith of Dornoch,, and down towards 
the coaft of Caithnefs. A good fupply 
is afforded for the ufe of the country 
thereabouts. Much profit would arife 
to perfons AAho would employ fmaU 
vefTels in fifliing on that part of the 
coaft for the London market ; the fifh 
to be fprinkled in the way vv^e have al- 
ready mentioned. This is the only 
improvement the filhery will admit of 
upon this part of the coafl ; but the at- 
tainment of it would be of great confe- 
quence to the country. 


32 Ohfervations upon 

The northeail coall of Caithnefs is 
not remarkable for a refort of herrings. 
White fifh are plenty enough in com- 
mon with the reil of the eaft coafh of 
Scotland. Before we fpeak of the 
north- weft coaft of Caithnefs, which 
lies within the Pentland Frith, we fhall 
juft mention the Orkney lilands ; and, 
with regard to them, we have only to 
obferve, that herrings do not ufually 
embay themfelves amongft thefe iflands, 
at leaft not in any coniiderable num- 
bers ; they have white fifh enow there, 
and they have a very clear navigation 
for carrying them to London, if they 
inclined fo to do. It would be no cb- 
jedion to the fale of thefe fifh that they- 
were powdered with fait ; on the con- 
trary, fuch fifh are very agreeable when 
boiled, to the tafte of moft people. 


The Scotch Fi/J: erics. '^y 

Upon tiic north- vv'efl coail of Caith- 
nefs, tliere is ufiialiy a good fifning for 
herrings : Thcj appear there ordinari- 
ly in fummer. At Wick and Staxigo, 
fome buildings have been ere died for 
curing red herrings, by merchants from- 
Duubar and Aberdeen. We do not 
know, however, that they have had 
much fuccefs. The coaft there is fo 
dangerous, and tlie weather, even in 
fummer, fo bcifterous^ that it is not fafe 
to fiih in either boats or velTels upon 
that coail, efpecially as there is not a 
proper harbour upon tlie whole of it. 
It is certainly a great objecl, to the gen- 
tlemen of the county of Caithnefs, to 
attempt to get at leafl one good land- 
ing place made upon that coail, which 
v;ould greatly facihtate the filliing 
there, which, in our opinion, v/ill nevei> 


34 Ohfervatlo7is upon 

do much good until tliat happens. It 
is the more to be regreted that there 
is not harbours iipon that coafl, that the 
Caithnefs herrings are a good deal 
larger than any got upon the refl of 
the ^vhole coafl of Scotland. 

We are now arrived upon the v/efl 
coafh of Scotland, which may very pro- 
perly be denominated the Great Fifn- 
mg Grounds of Britain. This appella- 
tion belongs to the fnores of the whole 
track of country, which lies between 
the north-weftern extremity of the 
coafl of Caithnefs, and the Mull of Gal- 
loway, including alfo under that name 
the whole of the Hebrides. It is no 
part of our purpofe in this paper to en- 
ter into geographical or hiilorical ac- 
counts of thefe coafls and iilands, as be- 


Ihe Scotch FiJJjenes. 35 

ing a thing extraneous to the fubjecl. 
Were it indeed allowable to introduce 
fiich defcriptions here, they are already 
anticipated, in the large accounts pub- 
iilhed in the works of Pennant, John- 
lion, Anderfon, Knox, 6^0. In ihort, 
fo much has of late been wrote and faid 
(fome true, fome falfe) about the He- 
brides, that it w^ould be almofl an im- 
pertinent talk, to attempt a farther de- 
icriptioii of them. The geography of 
thefe remote countries and illands is 
now more familiar to fome perfons even 
in England, than that of the county of 

We fliall here, by the way, take the 
liberty to obferve, that it is a pity that 
little benefit has accrued to the filhery 
or the country, from the (probably) 


36 Ohfcrvations upon 

well-meant endeavours of fome of the 
writers above mentioned. There were 
two great reafons for their failure in 
this refpecl : The firfl was, that the 
accounts they publiflied were picked 
up by them in the courfe of their fly- 
ing excurfions, v/hen they neither had 
time nor opportunity to lludy the ge- 
nius and difpofition of the natives of 
that country, to coniider its trade, or to 
weigh its local advantages or difadvan- 
tages. Founded upon information thus 
obtained, voluminous produclions have 
been obtruded upon the world full of 
inferences, as falfe as the proportions 
they flowed from, and containing ex- 
travagant exprelTions and contradic- 
tions. This laft is the other caufe of 
thefe writings not being attended to by 
the great in the other kingdom., and, ol 

courfe J 

Ihe Scotch Yij'heries, 37 

,€Ourfe tlie fabjecl of them not being 
taken up as a national concern. Knox 
fays, in his View of the Britiili Empire, 
Vol. ill. page I2ifi:, " The tenants are 
" opprelfed by the proprietors of lands 
" in the Highlands." — A gain, page 123d 
of fame volume, '' That the proprietors 
^' of lands in the Highlands are Gam- 
blers and Horfe-Jockies," and, page 
127th, fame volumie, ** That Highland 
** eftates are the feats of opprelfion, 
-^* anguifh and wild defpair." 

^We fhall fuppofe an Eng- ifh gentleman, 
a Member of Parliament , ''ttlng in his 
clofet, with Mr Knox's book in his hand: 
when he comes to the pafTages cited, he 
lays down the book for a moment : his 
meditation will be very lliort; and its 
jf)dds but it produces the following foil- 
D loquy : 

38 Ohfervations upon 

loquy : " If what is here faid be tru€, 
(and from the confident manner in 
\vhich t IS afierted, I would incline to 
believe it is true) I think I perceive 
this buiinefs to be a bite. If Parlia- 
ment fhall proceed to give away the 
public money to encourage thofe oppref- 
fed men to fiih, why, what benefit to 
them fliall it be ? it will only increafe 
t,he rapacious de^^ands of the'e gamb- 
lers and horfe-jockies upon them." The 
Englifh member mufes a ittle, perhaps, 
?md begins to get rid of this 4i^^culty, 
by refleding, that, in good policy, a par- 
tial evil may be permitted, when it 
draws along w^ith it a general good. 
That is to fay, no matter, v^^hether the 
^dliial catchers of the fiili ai-e benefited 
r>x not : If they are encouraged, fifh 
,will be caught ; and of courfe the trade 


Tfje Scotch Fi/Jjeries. 39 

^nd profperity of tlie country promoted. 
The gentleman, thus again reconciled 
to the fubjedl, takes up the book, and 
reads on, perhaps, till he cames to page 
377. of it, where the author fays, " That 
" the want of/ale was one of the prin- 
" cipal caufes of the failure of the 
*' Britiih White Herring Company, ef* 
" tablifliedin i750yby men ofunlimit- 
** ed property, aided by a bounty of 
" 50 s. per ton from Government, 
" without the riralfliip of Ireland." 
The Member is flartled, and a fecond 
time lays down the book: He immedi- 
ately fays to himfelf, " I have now read 
377 pages of this author ; and I have 
been all along underitanding, his drift 
to be, to llimulate a fpirit of adventure 
in the Fifliery. — I did not well under- 
ftand him, I confefs, when he enabled 
D 2 me 

40 Ohfervations upon 

me, by his fiatement about the oppref^ 
lions of Highland proprietors, to draw 
a conclulion unfavourable to his own 
(\^^igD.. I thought indeed I had reliev- 
ed myfelf from that difficulty ; but he 
has fnatched the hope, by railing an in- 
fiiperable objedlion ; for he tells me, 
UP equivocally, that there was not a 
market for Britifn herrings, even when 
Ireland caught none. I know that 
now prodigious quantities of herrings 
are caught by the Irilh ; I know, like- 
wife, that nnce the 1750, we have aC' 
quired no new colonies to v»'hich we 
may export our herrings ; nor have we,, 
by any new and fuperior modes of cur- 
ing them, procured to ourfelves a pre- 
ference in the European markets. I 
perceive the whole buiinefs to be a mif- 
take. If v/e have not a proper market 


The Scotch Fipjcrles, 41 

fcr even thef Herrings wc now catch, 
why give money to encourage the 
catching more, until new markets are 
difcov.ered ? That would be needlefs,. 
indeed : I will read no more : This 
author either does not underiland his 
fubjedl, or is endeavouring to impofe 
upon his reader." With this, the well 
meaning gentleman, who probably 
would have given his fupport in the 
Senate, to any proper plan for encou- 
raging the Plighiand Fiflieries, throws 
down Mr Knox's book, never more to 
take it up, or to fpeak favourably of 
the fubjccl of it* 

Inconfiflencies and mif-fcatements 

could like wife be pointed out, in the 

writings of the other gentlemen who have 

yifited that country, but it "would anfwer 

D 3 ao 

42 Ohfervations upon 

no particular purpofe to do fo here. — 
Mr Knox having, however, exceeded 
them all, in the heedlefs and ranting 
manner of his detail, we thought it not 
improper to flep afide a little from our 
fubject to mention him. We are much 
afraid he has done hurt to that, which 
(we have the charity to believe) he 
meant to ferve. At the fame time, it 
may not be improper to obferve, as a 
necelTary caution in reading his perfor- 
mances, that Mr Knox was originally 
a bookfeller in London, in which pro- 
feJ[iion he was very fuccefsful. — After 
having realifed ic,cool. he quitted 
Bookfelling, and commenced Bookmak- 
ing. Mr Knox knew from experience,, 
that the fale of a book did not fo much 
depend upon its containing truth, as 
upon its being judicioufly decorated 

wi th 


Tbe Scotch Fijljeriss. 43 

with matter which would excite curio- 
fity. It is to be feared that his anxiety 
for the fale of his book has kept pace 
with, if not exceeded, his anxiety for 
the Fifhery, ahhough the, latter was his 
great cry. Nothing can ^\^\n this more, 
than the wanton manner in which he 
attacks the charadlers of individuals. — 
Knox knew, as a bookfeller, that fcan- 
dal is always read ; and that plain 
truth is too uniform, to pleafe the talle 
of an age fo remarkable for the purfuit 
of variety. 

Having taken the liberty to make 
this digrellion, we proceed again to 
take notice, that the whole Weil coafl 
of Scotland abounds with fiflx of dif- 
ferent kinds, and, in the proper feafon, 
with iaaumerabie quantities of her- 
rings. — . 

44 Ohfervations upon 

rings. — As the herrings are more eaii- 
ly catched than any other kind of Fifli^ 
are fitter for receiving fait fo as to keep, 
and are to be found in greater numbers 
than any other kind of fiili, of courfe, 
from the very earlieil accounts of civi- 
lization in this country, the catching^ 
thefe fifh has drawn attention from 
the inhabitants of the country; not only 
from thofe reiident upon the coafts where 
they are caught, but from thofe upon 
the Eaft coafl of the kingdom, who have 
failed thither to take them, from very 
early periods of the Scottifli hiilory. It 
is apprehended that it would be a need- 
lefs tafk to defcribe minutely, here, the 
method of catching the herrings'. It~ 
is generally known, ihat it is in the 
night time they are eaiieft killed, by 
means of very long nets, reaching- 


The Scotch Fifieries. 45 

almoilto the bottom of the water : When 
thefe nets are drawn up, the herrings 
>are ordinariy found llrangled in the 
mafhes or loops of them : When thus 
found, they prefent perhaps the moil 
beautiful appearance in all animated 
nature, being enamelled, gilded, painted, 
infinitely beyond every thing which the 
moil glowing colours/and happy pencil 
can defcribe : Thus fecured, they are 
deprived of their guts : the.:nelt and 
roan are however allowed to remain : 
Then they are ialted and barrelled up ; 
and, v/hen fo cured, with cleanlinefs and 
care, are an acceptable boon from the 
all-gracious Author of Nature. — Unhap- 
pily, however, in this country, we have 
not yet learned, or are unwilling to 
learn, how to prcferve, to the greateil 
advantage, this gift of the Creator. 


46 Ohfervatlons upon 

There is as much difference to the- pa- 
late, in eating a herring taken out of a 
barrell at Amflerdam, and one t.ikea 
out of a barrell at Greenock, as is be- 
tween the relilh of a piece of pork, 
part of a fwine fed at a meal-mill in 
Aberdeeniliire, and a piece of the like 
creature, fed amongil the fea wreck 
and fhell-iiih, on the coail of Ireland^ 
On the caufe of this difference, we fhali 
have occalion to fpeak hereafter* 

We now proceed to flate to the So- 
ciety, in a brief manner, the prefent 
pofture of the Fiihery for herrings 
upon the coafts of the Weil-Highlands ; 
but, in doing this, it will perhaps be 
better to go a little back. It is with 
very great pleafure that w^e begin by 
acquainting the Society, that from 


^yje Scotch Fi/heries» 47 

good information, it appears, that the 
inhabitants of ^fe- the town of Stornaway 
in the Iiland of Lewis (a property of 
the Seaforih family,) have, with great 
induftry and perfeverance, followed 
the fiihing ever fince the union 
of the two kingdoms, and with 
exemplary fuccefs. Their anceftors 
followed this buiinefs from very early 
times, of which there are fufficient mo- 
numents remaining : but it was after 
the Union that the merchants in Stor- 
naway had full fcope for their laudable 
purfuits -.then it was, that the herrings 
which they caught, might lawfully b^ 
fent to tiie Britifli Weft-India Iflands, 
a-nd be exported thither, and to all 
other lawful places, attended with the 
x.ncouragement of a bounty : from that 
time, the people of Stornawayhave been 


/L% Ohfervations upon 

gradually advancing. Some twenty* 
five or thirty years ago, all the fifU 
they caught were carried for them to 
their port of deflination by hired vef- 
fels. Now they can fliew in their har^ 
bour, in the fifliing time, upwards of 
thirty fail of flout handfome velTels, 
from twenty to feventy tons burden^ 
all their own property. Their town is 
a pattern of neatnefs and cleanlinefs ; 
and when a ilranger enters their con- 
Tenient manlions, he w^ill have fet be- 
fore him a piece of well-drefTed High- 
land mutton, fome choice fifh, and a 
bottle of port, the produce of the hof- 
pitable landlord's induftry. To the 
everlafting credit of thefe induilrious 
fiihers and merchants, it fails to be re- 
corded, that they have made their plea- 
iant hamlet rife into view, and difplay 


ne Scotch Flffjcries, 49 

upwards of an hundred fiated houfe?, 
belides inferior one$, from their gain 
from the fea. Thus Stornoway flourifn- 
-ed, though it even laboured once under 
fome difadvantages, the particulars of 
which, as they would bring the names 
-of individuals above board, we choofe to 
avoid. But the cafe is widely dif- 
ferent now; Stornoway has for its Lord, 
fuch a one as it long Jias wdilied for 
and defeived ; even the noble gentle- 
man who loves his country and his 
friends. The firft thing, in our opini- 
on, which v/ill interrupt the profperity 
of this rifmg fettlement, will be the 
•overdoing of the Herring Fifhery upon 
.the coafts of Britain, of which there is 
great danger. Of this we will have oc- 
^aiion to fpeak more largely hereafter. 

E Thhs 

50 Ohfervations upon 

Thus Stornoway flood alone for a 
long period, as the only fifliing ftation 
upon that part of the coafl: But in the 
year 1776, certain merchants from Li- 
verpool and the lilc of Man, began to 
erecl houfes at Ifie Martin in Loch- 
broom, in the county of Rofs, and at 
Loch-Inver in the county, of Suther- 
land, for cudng herarings after the Yar- 
mouth way; that is, fmoaking th^m in- 
to red herrings : At fame time, a cuf- 
tomhoufe with proper officers, was ef- 
tablifhed at Ullapool, two miles from 
.the firll mentioned place. Five or hx 
years after wards^ fome merchants at In- 
vernefs ereded houfcs for the like 
purpofe at Gairloch in Roii-ilii-re, and 
alfofhades, and other convenient houfes 
for curing cod, which are caught in 
great numbers upon ^ bank which 


The Scotch Fijh erics. 5 1 

begins at the mouth of that loeh : and 
five years ago, a merchant at Storno- 
way, with fome partners in London, 
erected confiderable buildings upon the 
Ifland Taurera, a fmall hohn upon the 
coafl of the Cromarty eftate in Wefter 
Rofs, about eight miles from the new 
village of Ullapool. Mr Rodrick Mo- 
rifon, the acting partner of this com- 
pany, has great merit, for having plan- 
ned and condudled this undertakings 
which bids fair to be a thriving fiihing 
ftation, being in the centre of the beft 
of the Lochbroom fiiliing grounds. 
Indeed this piece oi fervice done to that 
country, is the leaft part of Mr Mo- 
rifon's merit : the public are indebted 
to him for his general zeal and induf- 
try, which holds forth an excellent ex- 
ample to the inhabitants of that part of 
E 2 the 

52 Ohfervations upon 

the coaft ; and as he carries on different 
branches of trade^ he has introduced in- 
to that neighbourhood a fpirit for deal- 
ing, and has given them, bv his example, 
a pattern of punduality in making pay- 
ments. The good conducl of a man of 
note, is of vail confequence in the High- 
lands. This is well known to every 
one who is acquainted with that coun- 

It would be of little fervice to the views 
of the Society, for tiie author of this paper 
to defcribe to tliem all the different leffer 
lifaing nations upon the Weil coail, with 
which he is acquainted : there are num- 
])ers of fliades for curing filh, and fmall 
llore-houfes for fait, calks, &c. all a- 
long the coaft, and in the iilands of the 
Weft of Scotland ; particularly at Loch- 

Ihe Scotch Tifheries, 53 

Torridon, a little to the fo.uthward of 
Gairloch. In the ifland of Lewis, 
many of the fanners in the remote parts 
of it iifh for cod S^c. which they fell 
to the Stornoway merchants ; thefe 
have convenient houfes eredled upon 
their refpedlive farms for facilitating 
the trade. 

The mofl coniiderable fifhing upon 
all the coafts of Britain, for cod and ling, 
is in the neighbourhood of thefe illands, 
viz. upon that ground called the Mo- 
ther Bank. This bank runs between 
the lHand of Mull on the eaft, and 
Barra and South Uiil on the weiL. 
The bell fifhing is off Barra- head, whe- 
ther a number of veffels refort every 
feafon. The merchants at Peterhead, 
and fjme people at Aberdeen, have 
E \ made 

54 Ohfervations upon 

made confiderable profit of this fifhing. 
The people in Campbeltown and Roth- 
faj, and in the Clyde, rather prefer 
fifhiing for herrings than for cod S^c ; 
whereas on the Eafh coail they prefer 
the white fiihing. The reafons for the 
condud: of each are plain, viz. in the 
Clyde and other places in the weft, the 
demand for herrings, owing to their 
Weft India trade, is brilker than for 
white fifti ; while, upon the Eaft coaft, 
w^here there is no American trade, it is 
vice verfa. The falnion fifliing upon 
the Weft coaft is of no great confequence : 
this is owing to the fhort run of their 
rivers. There may be fome of that 
fifli caught in the river Nith, and in the 
Solway, and at Air ; but they are no 
conliderable objedl. 


Ibe Scotch Fijloenes, 55 

The moil of the herring iiihing trade 
of Scotland, is carried on by means of 
velTels called buffes, fitted out from 
Campbeltown, Rothfay, Greenock, Port- 
Glafgow, and other places in the river 
Clyde and its vicinity. There has been 
confiderable profit derived to thefe 
towns from this trade, which is en- 
couraged by a bounty from Govern- 
ment, of thirty fliillings per ton mea- 
furement of the veffels. — A further 
aid is granted by the public, in a pre- 
mium of 2 s. 8 d. for each barrel of 
wdiite herrings exported to foreign parts, 
and other premiums upon different kinds 
of fiAi, which it would be needlefs 
here to enumerate. 

At the clofe of the American war, 
thetrade of fiiliing upon the Weft coaft 


56'. Ohfervations upon 

flood much ill the way- we have defcrib- 
ed it. The troubles of the then pre- 
ceding times, had damped the trade 
of the Weflern fifhing towns ; and at the 
end of the faid war, this country alto- 
gether could reckon but few bufTes up- 
on the fifhing. Since that time, the 
number of buffes are almoft doubled. 
This was partly an effedl of the peace, 
and partly owing to the laudable en- 
deavours of certain patriotic individu- 
als, who, by their talents and influence, 
called forth public attention to the Fifh- 
er} : Hence a meafure arofe, which 
throws a luilre upon the annals of the 
prefent day: This was the eilablifh- 
ment and incorporation of the Joint- 
flock Company, for the fpecial purpofe 
of extending, protedling, and encourag- 
ing the Fiiliery — and the incorporation 


I'he Scotch Fj/J^eries. 57 

of the Society, to \vhich the prefent 
paper is addreiTed. By the exertions of 
the members of thofe aiTociations, both 
in their individual and colleiflive capa-, 
cities, certain laws, which were juftly 
deemed impolitic, as tending to cramp 
the Fifliery, (though meant at iiril to fe- 
ciire the revenue), were abrogated and 
annulled, and fome very liberal indul- 
gences were granted by Parliament to 
the trade, v»'hich have been productive 
of good confequences. What thefe 
were, it is needlefs here to recapitulate ; 
it is prefumed they are known to every 
member of the Society, and therefore, 
we Ihall not here enter upon them. We 
ihall like wife refrain from entering in- 
to a minute defcription of what has 
been done by the Joint- flock Company, 
at their villages of Toppermorry and 


58 Ohfervations upon 

Ullapool, as things already known ta 
the Society, and. therefore needlefs to 
trouble it with. 

Under the appreheniion, that the in- 
tentions of the Society in requiring in- 
formation regarding the Fiihery, would 
be better anfwercd by making remarks 
upon the moil important parts of it, and 
pointing out improvements, than by 
long and minute details of iis prefent ii- 
tuation, we have abridged our accounts 
of it as much as we could, confident 
with our faid purpofe y and we now 
proceed to clofe this part of our defigUy 
by taking notice of the prefent flate of 
the Fifhery in general. 

Thefilliery of mofl importance to Scot- 
land is undoubtedly the herring. We 


llje Scotch Fiji cries. 59 

have afligned our reafcns for this im- 
-controverted opinion, upon the 4 -^d and 
44th pages of this paper. If ever there 
was a game of chance in the world, it 
is in filhing for herrings. To-day they 
ure to be found in fwarms baffling Ihe 
power of numbers to reckon, or ahiioil the 
iiiind to cGnccive : to-morrow they are 
^one, and their place knows them no more. 
How idk then is the doclrine of fome, 
who have lately had the hardinefs to 
advance in their publications this pofi- 
tion, vi:?:. ** That that trade which can- 
** not he carried on without the aid of 
'* aGovernment, ought to he abandoned,'''* 
Some who have brought forth thefe 
dodrines think themfelves philofophers. 
It may be fo : But the world now-a- 
days has more wit, than to allow clofet 
fpeculatiits to fyilemize for it, in matr 


6o Ohfer'vaticns upon 

ters of trade. Has it been out of any 
treatife on trade by any philofopher or 
pbilofophers, that fuccefsful merchants 
have learned their lelTons ? or will any 
miniiler of ftate ever be mad enough 
tcf adopt the maxims of fuch fpphifls ? 
We have happily no ufe for their phi- 
lofophy in this queftion : it is fo plain 
that the fimplell man imderilands it. 
There cannot be a doubt, that if there 
was not an aid from Government, two 
thirds at lead of thofe perfons who fit 
out herring bulTes, would drop the trade. 
If this fuppolition is granted, (and there 
is the bell reafon to think it will,) it 
follows, that by the plan of the pbilofo- 
phers, this country (the independence 
of v/hi-ch, is fo nearly allied to the re- 
fpedlable flate of its navy), would for 
the fake of faving a paltry fum, forgoe 



1'be Scotch FiJIo cries. ()i 

the advantages arifmg from the fupply 
of feamen, which the fiilif ly nurfes up, 
and the advantages which the Communi- 
ty at large derive from the fifhery, as at 
prefent carried on. It is to be hoped 
the wifdom of the Government of this 
country, will avoid the adoption of fuch 
G pernicious meafure. The lofs which 
w^ould thereby .^r fe to the country, 
whether coniidered in a political, cr 
commercial view, is fo plain, that it re- 
quires no philofophy, but only a little 
common undcrflanding, to pronounce 
the pofition advanced by thefe grave 
fages, to be fo abfurd, as not to deferve 
a ferious refutation. 

We have faid, that the fifhing-trade 
is precarious : Our obfervation is veri- 
fied, in the indifferent fuccefs of it for 
^ fome 

62 Obfervatiofis upon 

fome years back. There is no body 
however can doubt, but the bounty paid 
for encouraging the herring-fifnery in 
veiTels, is well compenfated to the coun- 
try, by the ilrength derived to our na- 
vy, from the fervices of the feamen 
nurfed up in the faid trade, although 
a fingle herring was never to be catched 
by thenio 

There has not been any great fludu- 
ation in the price of herrings, for the 
laft feven years. Upon an average, 
"white-herrings may have fold for 24 s. 
per barrel, and red for 30 s. The 
quantity of white-fifli taken for the lafl 
feven years, has been much the fame as 
for the feven years preceding. And 
the average price of mud-fifli, (or bar- 
relled faked cod,) in London^ has been, 


The Scotch FiJJjcries, 63 

in that period, about a guinea and a half 
per barrel. The quantity of dry-fifii 
exported from this country is not very 
conliderable : They may have fetched, 
upon an average for the lail feven years, 
20 s. per cwt* 

We have now finilhed all we mean ts 
fay, in this flagc of our defign, by way 
of detailing the prefent ftate of the 
Scotch Filuery : What will hereafter 
follow, fhall principally contain our 
opinion and obfervations upon the fub- 

In refiecling deliberately upon this 
buiinefs, it will be found to be involved 
in much more difficulty, than at firll 
would be apprehended : The refult of 
a careful confideration of the fubjed:, 
r 2 ia 

64 Obfervations upon 

is not fo flattering as we would wiilu 
Truth ought, however, to be fuperior to 
every confideration y and we are impell- 
ed by it to acknowledge, that after 
weighing all arguments, ^ro and con^ the 
following uncomfortable paradox arifes, 
viz. Mucb farther encouragement given 
to the herring-nfliery, will not at pre- 
fe?it beneiit that fiihery ; and, if the 
encouragements are carried a great deal 
farther, they will utterly ruin the trade. 
But the fame refearch into the fubje(ft:, 
which prefents this gloomy pidure, af- 
fords us, in return, the following plea- 
fing propofition, viz. The encouraging 
the fiilieries, though even carried too fa?\ 
will moil certainly benefit the High^ 
lands and its coails. The latter is a 
very clear pofition, and is fatisfadlory fa 



"The Scotch Fi/heries, 65 

Certainly it was the belief of tliofe 
gentlemen, who compofe the Honourable 
Societies which have taken fo laudable a 
concern in the matter now before us, that, 
while they benefited theHighland-coaft, 
they at the fame time advanced the filli- 
eries ; and their inllitution, purpofe, and 
intention, was to embrace both objeds, 
which were judged to be reciprocal : 
But upon a narrow examination of the 
bulinefs, we are humbly of opinion, that 
thefe two intereils at prefent almoil 
feparate, and that it will require a ileady 
hand to prevent the former from en- 
croaching upon the latter; an event, the 
evil confequences of which the High- 
lands itfeif would (hare in at lait ; this, 
too, may feem paradoxical. 

To come to the point, then, we fiiail 

£rit obferve, that it is perfedly well 

F 3 ' known^ 

66 Ohfervations upon 

known, that the profits ariiirg from the 
trade of catching and barreling, what is 
called pickled herrings, are not very 
great, even although the bufinefs is at 
prefent upheld by an aid from Govern- 
ment, which is a natural confequence of 
the very limited fale for thefe fifh ; ex- 
cepting at home, and in our own Weft- 
India ifiands, we have no market for 
them. The merchants upon the conti- 
nent of Europe will not look at them, if 
there is a Dutch herring in the market ; 
and when there is no Dutch competitors, 
the Danes, Swedes, and other Northern 
fifhers, are always at hand, ready, infi- 
nitely to underfell us. Even the Irifh, 
when their own herring-fiihing fails, do 
not apply to us, but to the Danes, &c. 
who ferve them cheaper. The onlyBritifh 
herrings which can ihew their face in 


The Scotch Fijheries. 6j 

the European markets, (and even the fc 
only within the Mediterranean, for the 
Dutch and our other neighbours have 
plenty of them,) is that manufacture 
of them called red herrings. Before 
however thefe can be cured, confide- 
rable and expenlive buildings nmil be 
eredled, which is very unfuitable to 
the circumftances of the greateft part 
of thofe people, who carry on the 
Scotch Herring Fifhery. 

This account it is impoffible to con- 
trovert; and the refledion which natu- 
rally follows it is, that by too fondly 
giving way to the heedlefs clamour, 
and ill-grounded expedations, which 
the Fifheries, as a popular fubjedl, have 
given rife to, and exceflively encourag- 
ing the trade in queflion, the mark 


68 Ohfervatlons upon 

may be over-fhot, and the child onlj 
meant to be fondled, may be cruflied to 
death in the over eager embrace. 

It is a truth, and it demands the moll 
ferious conlideration, that there is not 
a market for even the filh that are 
caught in fome years under the prefent 
encouragements : even the Dutch them.- 
felves, fuperior as their herrings are, 
find difficulty enough in difpoling of 
them ; it is an undeniable fad, that 
-their herring trade is much upon the 
decline. All Northern Europe is now 
engaged in the herring Filhery : hence 
the market is glutted, and the profits 
gone to almoft nothing. i 

Let it be afi^ed at a bufs-fifher, and he 
will frankly tell you, that in a bad fifn- 


Ibe Scotch Fijheries. 69 

ing year, when he has made only half 
a cargo, he cleared more money by the 
adventure, than when the herrings 
were plenty, and a full cargo has been 
made by him. Thus, the trade may, 
and is in danger of being over- done. 
It would be well if Rich meafures were 
taken, as to make the interells of the 
Highlands and the Fifheries reciprocal ; 
and this we think could be fully efFed:- 
ed, by a v/ife and moderate protedlion 
and encouragement, given to both. It 
is very allowable to fuppofe, that, allur- 
ed by an exceffive encouragement, fuch 
numbers will attempt the fifhing trade, 
that the profits, if any, will be too in- 
conliderable to induce any perfon to fol- 
low it ; of courfe the trade will be loft 
to the country. In this cafe, although 
the Highlands behoved, for ever after, 


70 Ohfervations upon 

to feel the good effeds of what has al* 
teady been done th^re by the Joint- 
ftock Company, in colleding the people 
together in towns, yet the falling off 
of the Fiihery, would be a mortal 
wound to the profperity of thefe young- 
fettlements, in a country where there 
is no great fcope to puQi agriculture, 
and where they muft expedi: to improve 
their capitals, rather out of the fea than 
out of the land. How happy would it 
be, were things carried to the point of 
propriety and no farther; then would 
both the Highland villages and the Fifh- 
ery, live and grow up together, to the 
immortal honour of thofe good patriots, 
whofe virtue firft led them to turn their 
attention to their forgotten fellow-men, in 
thofe remote and uncomfortable regions. 
But even the difaftrous event we have 


Ihe Scotch Fijherits. 71 

been fuppoiing, lliould it ever happen, 
%vould not totally root up the good ef- 
fects of the meafures already taken for 
improving the Highland coafls : indi- 
viduals might lofe by the failure of the 
Fifhing, but the Community at large 
would derive the greateft benefit from 
the civilization of that country, which, 
whether the Fiilieries fucceed or not, 
will in all probability be the confe- 
quence of the experiments now making, 
of colleduig the people there together 
in towns. 

In all the publications which have 
been of late Iported upon the fubjed of 
the Fifhery, the great cry has been — 
Get fifh at any expence, — The country 
will never be right till its Aquatic trea^ 
fares are produced. — Pti/Jj the Fijhery to 


72 Ohfervations upon 

its utmojl extent : it is a mine of national 
wealth ij^c. One of thefe writers, {Mr 
Knox, as we have already flated), awk- 
wardly and inconiiilently, (though very 
truly) blunders out the important fad:, 
that the want of market for our fifh is 
fadly to be apprehended. There is the 
rub. If this is true, all the enthufiafm 
which has been djfplayed about pufh- 
ing the fifhery goes for nothing, and 
only Ihows, that thofe Gentlemen, who 
have wrote fo much upon it, would have 
done better, had they refledled more, 
and wrote lefs. Luckily for the coun- 
try, every body was not fo fanguine as 
thefe gentlemen were, or at leail pre- 
tended to be. The Fiflieries are no 
doubt a nloft important object to this 
country, and every proper indulgence 
and encouragement ought to be given 


71)6 Scotch Fijljeries. 72 

X^ the profecuting them; but every ju- 
dicious per foil will at onc§ fee, from 
the hints we have given, that caution 
is as much neceiTary, in fixing the 
bounds of ihat encouragement, as in ad- 
miniilring a medicine, of which a cer- 
tain quantity would preferve the patient's 
life, but more than that might kill him. 

in this place, it may not be improper, 
in defence of the concluiions we have 
been drawing, to introduce certain ad- 
ditional premifcs, which w,e imagine 
v/ill not be controverted. They are 
thefe: The Americans have p^'^nty of 
herrings upon tkeir coafts : they can 
fail freely to any part of Europe for 
fait ; and their country abounds with 
wood fit for curing red herrings. Thus 
provided, it may be foon looked tor, 
G- that 

74 Ohfervations upon 

that they will attempt to fupply Europe 
with fiih, and ruin our market for the j 
?ibove mentioned herrings in the Italiau 

Thus we arc of opinion, (contrary to 
the current of popular buzz) that it is 
poflible to do too much towards encou- 
Xfiging the Fifheries. But we beg to be 
imderflood, that it is by no means inli- 
iiuated that the fteps already taken for 
that purpofe, are all that the trade de- 
mands, and that the country fhould 
there Hop. At fame time, we freely 
own our opinion, that there is not a 
great deal to do, of all that is necef- 
fary, or even fafe, in the prefent Hate 
of the trade^ towards encouraging th^ 

Having faid thus much, it behoves us 


Ihe Scotch Fij7je?nes, 75 

to fiibmlt to the Society our opinion, a;i 
to the kind of encouragements proper 
to be given to the trade, and the extent 
of thofe encouragements. 

In the hiilorical accounts of popula- 
tion and trade, we find that mankind, 
(not only individuals but nations) 
have ordinarily been benefited by the 
examples of each other, — ^Venice aim- 
ed to be what Carthage once was : 
zndi the feven United Provinces made 
Venice, as much as they could, their 
model, not in Government only, but 
in trade and manufadures, and in 
maxims in trade. No one can doubt, 
that the Dutch are at this day better ac- 
quainted with the methods of curing 
fifh, efpecially herrings vv^ith fait, than 
any other people in the world : we 
G 2 havft 

76 Ohfervations tipon 

have flated that the Britifli herrings 
liave a confined flile \ the firfi reafon 
for this, is, that the Dutch herrings are 
always preferred to ours at market, far 
their goodnefs ; and the fccond, that 
the herrings of ether foreigners get 
preference for their cheapnefs. The 
endeavouring to do away the firfl men- 
tioned evil, (which will virtually relieve 
us alfo of the fecond) is th^efore, iii 
our opinion, a firft flep in the irmprove- 
ment of our Fiflieries ; for, as has been 
faid,, to what purpofe do we catch fifli, 
if we cannot vend them ? although our 
flfli curers were able to fend fuch her- 
rings to market as the Dutch do, there 
would ftill be occalion for the cautio4i 
we have recommended in encouraging 
the Fiflieries ; for even in that cafe, the 
Dutch w^ould ilill get preference by 


Ihe Scotch FiJJjeries, 77 

tinderfelling us. This they are enabled 
to do, from their national genius for 
pariimony and fobriety. Thus, the 
Dutch will always have the upper-hand 
of us in the herring trade. The only 
mark therefore left for us, is to endea- 
vour to beat the Danes, Swedes, &.c. 
out of the market (as the Dutch at pre- 
fent do both us and them) by bringing 
better (for we cannot bring cheaper) 
commodities there. If our fifh-curers 
wiih to iilh, it would be wifdom in 
them to endeavour to learn to cure their 
fiflr ; feeing their doing ^o, is the only 
chance they have to fell them to llran- 
gers, or to induce our Well India plan- 
ters to enlarge their orders for herrings. 
Were the Britifh as good as the Dutch 
herrings, the fugar planters would or- 
der double the quantity they do : net 
C 3 only 

^8 Ohfervatians upon 

only the negroes, but the white people 
in the Weft Indies, would think them 
good food. 

The Society will probably be furprif- 
ed to be informed, that the fuperiority 
which the Dutch have over us in the 
filli trade, is owing, in great part, to the 
cleanlinefs and care with which they pack 
their fifti, and the want of thefe requi- 
fites in our fifli-curers. To be brief^ 
the whole matter is this: In Holland 
the vrifdom of the Government has ap- 
pointed, at the principal ports in the 
territories of the republic, ofticers 
with fuitable falaries, whofe bufinefs it 
is to fee certain laws of the country, re- 
lating to the packing of fifh duly exe- 
cuted. Thefe jaws ordain, that when 
herrings arrive in Holland from the 


The Scotch FiJJjeries, 79 

lifhing, they fliall be all unpacked out 
of the barrels in which brought, and 
cleaned and afforted. It would only 
confume time, to enter here into a mi- 
nute account of the Dutch procefs of 
curing. Suffice it to fay, it is nmple ; 
and the whole fecret is, cleanlinefs and 
exaclnefs ; cleanlinefs, in refrefliing the 
herrings from all the blood and dirt, 
which the firfl faking had extracted 
from them ; and exaclnefs, in forting 
them into calks, according to their 
feveral qualities and fizes. The calks 
are marked by the proper officers on 
the head, to authenticate their quality, 
contents, and country ; and thus made 
ready for market, they recommend 
themfelves wherever they are fent. 
So wifely jealous are the Dutch, of the 
charader of their fiih, that it is un- 

8o Ohfervations upon 

lawful for any of their fubjedls to carry 
fifli to market from the fifliing grounds, 
without firft landing and repacking 
them in Holland, in the manner de- 
fcribed. The Scotch pra6lice forms a 
complete contrail to that here defcrib- 
ed ; of which any one may fatisfy him- 
felf, w^ho lliall ever fee the dirty me- 
thod of managing herrings at Green- 
ock, the principal mart forthefe fifh in 
the kingdom. In our opinion, an atten- 
tion to this important circumitance, is 
a Hep abfolutely necelTary, in the very 
firfh inftance, for encouraging ths 
Filheries. The neceifity of it, after 
what we have faid upon the confined 
fale of Britiih herrings, mull flrike every 
one : it is clear, from what has been 
faid, that additional encouragements 
bellowed upon the Fifliery, would ope- 

The Scotch Fijheries. 8i 

rate contrary ways, until markets are 
opened for the fifli : It is as clear, that 
markets cannot be found for the fitli, 
until they are able, by their quality, 
to recommend themfelves. Therefore 
we argue, that an attention to the cir- 
cumftance in queflion, muft precede e- 
very farther encouragement of moment. 

In confidering how the purpofe here 
aimed at could be brought about, we 
can fee no plan more feafible, than 
the bringing over into this coun- 
try, and fettling, at the Joint-flock 
Company's villages, a it\N natives of 
Holland, who have had experience 
in curing herrings, for the purpofe 
of inflrudling the cures there in the 
Dutch method. As there would not 
be occafion for many of thefe Dutch, 


$2 ObfervatiGus upoft- 

it. might be clone in a private manner, 
and offence to the Govern incnt of that 
country accordingly avoided. Indeed^ 
fo few would be needed, that the mea- 
fnre, fliould it ever be known ifi Hol- 
land, could hardly excite any jealoufy. 
We fuppofe th€ expence necefTary to 
entice thefe people to come over, and 
to remain in this country, could not be- 
a great inconveniency to the funds of 
the Joint Stock-Con^ipany, efpecially if 
(as is not to be doubted,) the Company 
received the aid of the Society. If 
thefe Dutchmen did their duty, and if 
the curers upon the Wed Coafl paid 
proper attention to the diredlions of the 
foreigners, the probable confequences 
would be, that better herrings would 
foon appear at the Scotch market, from 
the Company's villages, than thofe 


The Scotch Tifi cries. §3- 

caught by the bufles belonging to the 
merchants at Po.rt-Glafgow, Greenock, 
Campbeltown, &.c. ; and this again 
would bring it about, that thefe people 
would, in felf-defence, be obliged to have 
recourfe to alluring fome Dutch curers 
to come in amongfi: them. This lait 
would, be a falutary meafure for the 
country, iind would flow from the plan 
>ve have now recommended. It is natural 
to fiippofe, that it v/ould be only gra- 
duallyy that the curers in Scotland 
would difcover the neccility of procur- 
ing Butch teachers j which would be a, 
convenient, circumftance, as by that 
;means the Dutch could be brought in- 
to this country by piece-meal unnoticed, 
and fo offence to the Government of 
itheir country avoided, 


g^ Ohfervations upon 

We have already declared our fenti- 
ments, that, in the prefent ft ate of the 
trade, more exertions in favours of the 
filliery, are almoft precluded. There is 
very little more left for us to fay upon 
that part of our fubjedl, hy iff elf. As 
has been already ftated, various hin- 
drances and obilru6lions in the way 
of the fiihery, contained in former re- 
venue-laws, are now cleared away. The 
bounty from Government, upon the 
tonage of the bufTes, is equitable and li- 
beral, as is the premiums upon the fifli 
exported : The trade was never lefs 
cramped than it is at this day. The 
encouragements are fitting, and ought 
to animate the fiiliers to aim at curing 
their fifli properly, as the bell means to 
preferve a trade, which, from the com- 
bined circumflances of great indul- 

7he Scotch Fijfjcries. 85 

gences granted to it at home, and the 
indifferent character of our herrings 
abroad, is in fome danger of being over- 
done or loil. 

We noxv come to {peak of the High^ 
land coaft, and that country in general, 
and its concerns, v/hich immediately 
brings to our view, tlie eftabliflinrents 
fet on foot by the loint-llock Company, 
in their villages of Toppermorry and 
Ullapool. And liere we cannot re- 
frain from droping our fubjecl for a lit- 
tle Vv'hiie, to exprcfs our warm and 
hearty approbation of the truly vir- 
tuous condu6l of thofe worthy patriots, 
vrho have thrown luftre on the times 
v/e live in, by their generous and ami- 
nble conduct ; evincing themfelves at 
<Hice the friends of mankind and of their 
H country. 

86- Ohfervations upon 

country. Their names will be men- 
tioned by grateful poilerity, when the 
bleffings which their wife and praife- 
worthy counfels have planted, are ma- 
tured and ripened, and when they 
themfelves are no more. 

The Author of this paper is not ac- 
quainted with the fituation of the vil- 
lage of Toppermorry. The fituation 
of the other fettlement at Ullapool, he 
lias had occaf^on to know well : he has 
traverfed a great part of the Weft coaft, 
and refided ten years in that country. 
He muft certainly fay, that thofe who ad- 
vifed the Company to fet down a village 
at Ullapool, did not miflead it ; for the 
circumftances which fliould determine 
the fituation of a village upon the coafts 
of the Weft Highlands, from our know- 
led ii:g 

H'he Scotch Fi/JjcricT. 87 

ledge of that country, meet ail together 
in the ntuiiticn of Ullapool. 

But to be better underllood, and to 
anfwer in this place one of the requiii- 
tions of the Society's faid advertife.nient, 
we fliali ilatc, what in our opinion are 
th^ circumjlances, which ihould deter- 
mine the utuation of a village on the 
•coails of the Highlands. 

The firjl thing, therefore, in our 
judgment, which fliould determine 
the preference in favours of any one 
place as the fiance of a fifning village, 
upon the coafts of the Weil Highlands, 
-is, that fuch place, or its vicinity, fhall 
be noted, by long experience, as the 
principal refort of fiHi (particularly of 
herrings, upon that part of the coafh). 
H 2 This 

88 Ohfervations upon 

Thia cordideration ought to out-weigh 
every other one ; and though other 
places might poiTefs all other requifites 
for the fiance of a village, yet, if not in 
the neighbourhood of a good fiihing 
ground,, a village, in the prefent flate of 
the Highland coaft, Ihould not be bulk 
there, but at the befl fiiliing place,, 
provided it be not impracticable, from 
the face of the country, (which is tha 
cafe at fome places on the Weft coail)- 
to fet down a village, and to accommo- 
date the fcttlers ^vith even iinall gar- 
dens there. 

Next^ if there are two or more places^ 
equally remarkable for the greatefl re- 
fort of herrings upon that part of the 
coad, furely the preference fhould be 
given to that place, where there is the 


"I he Scotch Fi/Jjcries^ 8q 

greatefl quantity of arable^ or at leail 
improveable, level land* 

Again,, if there are two or more places 
upon any one part of the coafl, equally 
noted for thefe two advantages, the pre-* 
ference no doubt Ihould be given to 
the one, from which a road to commu- 
nicate Vr'ith the Low-country could be 
cheapeil made. Oeconomy is highly 
necelfary: and therefore preference 
ihould be given to the cheapeil road, 
though longeil, provided the difference of 
diflance be not attended with any con- 
liderable difadvanta^e to the inhabi- 


tants of the propofed village. It is al- 
moil needlefs to explain . here how the 
longefl road may be cheapeil. Every 
gentleman of the Society knows that 
the Highland country is incumbered 
H 3 with 

C)6 Obfirvations upon 

with rocks, and interfe(5led by many ri- 
vulets, and that a mile of road in fome 
places, will coil more money than to 
•make twenty in other places. But from 
TiVhat we have find, it mull not be infer- 
ed, that we propofe placing the villages 
at a diilance from the Lovz-country, ra- 
ther than near it. This is the fartheil 
thing imaginable from our meaning. 
V/hat we urge is, that a cheap long 
road, would probably be more conve- 
nient for the funds deftined to the en- 
couragement of the Fifhery, than a 
lliort, but expenlive one : If any place 
upon the Weft coaft is found, poiTelTed 
of the two firft qualificatiors we have 
mentioned, and from whence a road 
could be made, cheaper than from any 
other part polTefTed of like qualifica- 
tions, the fliortnefs of the road would 


^Ihe Scotch Fijhcries, ()t 

enhance the value of the lituation, and 
k ought immediately to be made choice 
of for the iite of a village. 

Next, n there are two or more places 
upon that part of the coafl, v>'hich fhall 
be equally in poiTeilion of all thelocal ad- 
Vantages we have meMion'ed, we would' 
prefer the one for building our village 
upon, which fnouid be know^n to be bell 
frequented b} -haddocks, and other fmall 
fifli ; becauie thefe would afford fome 
fubiillence to the inhabitants of the vil- 
lage, when the herring- fiPning fnouid 
happen in any one year to, fail. 

Lajlly, we reckon the neighbourhood 
of peat-mofs in one place, and not in ano- 
tlier, if both are equally polTelTed of 
the local advantages already mentioned, 


92 Ohfervations upon 

a good reafon for preferring the place 
where mofs is found, to the other, foe 
building a fiiliing village upon. 

Should all thefe local advantages 
meet, in any lituation upon the High- 
land coaft, we may fafely pronounce, 
that fuch lituation is the very place 
proper for building the propofed village 
upon. To the great credit of the ad- 
vifers of the meafure of building there, 
the village of Ullapool will be found 
to be poiTeiTed of all thefe advantages. 
It is not only the bell fituation for a 
village, upon the northern diilridl of the 
Well coaft, but (if we are not mifni- 
formed) it is the very bed, from at lead 
Toppermorry all along the whole range 
of the Weft coaft, to the North-eafter- 
moil; point of this part of the united king- 

The Scotch F'l/heries, Q3 

dom. Ullapool is in the very centre 01 
the beil iilhing grounds for herrings in 
Scotland : there is a fine fiat of land 
there, moil of it arable, and the refl 
very improveable. The making a road 
from it to the Low- country, will be 
cheaper and eaiier, than from any o- 
ther part of the North-Weil: coail we 
know. In the bay of Ullapool (a 
fmooth land-locked corner of Loch- 
broom) feme of the fmefl: haddocks 
and other kind of fifli are to be found at 
almoft all feafons of the year, within 
two or three hundred yards of the doors 
of the refidenters there ; and there is, 
in the hills at the back of the level land 
at Uilapoo], mofs inexhauflible. . If, 
therefore, the village of Ullapool does 
not thrive, there mAifl be very fmall 

hopes, that one built upon any other 


'54 Ohfervations up on 

part of the Weil coafl will fucceecl. 

In what we have faid refpedling the 
circuniftances, which ilioiikl weigh 
principally in letting down a village up- 
on the Weil Highland coail, Vv-e ap- 
pikjhend our reafons for the eftimation 
in which we have held each circum- 
ilance, and the confequent priority of 
t>rder we have placed it in, are obvious^ 
•without any farther explanation ; hut 
our making fo fmall account of mofs, 
for the neceiTary article of fuel, as to 
confider it as the Jajl and leajl objedv 
to be taken into the reckoning, in fclecl:- 
ing a fituation for a village, may re- 
quire to be accounted for. 

The Society is not to be informed, 
that the climate of the whole of the 


^he Scotch Fijheries, 95 > 

Weil coafl of Scotland, is boiilerous, 
and fubjed to great rains. This cir-- 
cumflance is very unfavourable to the 
gaining of peats: The making of fuel 
from mofs is one of the hardeil pieces 
of work the Highlanders have to en- 
counter. They dig their peats to-day : 
Some days after they lift them from the 
ground to dry : next day a hurricane of 
wind and rain throws them all down :. 
They are fct up again, and again fliare 
the fame fate. By this time the feafon 
is gone, and the poor people are oblig- 
ed to put the peats in a wet flate up in- 
to flacks. Thus their time is confumed, 
their bodies toiled, and, after all, their 
purpofe is not attained ; for the peats 
Hacked wet will not burn, and they are 
confequently in great mifery, with 
fmoke and cold, through the winter. 


9^ Ohjervatlons upm 

For thefe reafons, we look upon the 
neighbourhood of mofs, to be the very 
leajl confideration in chooUng the fiance 
of a village. Coals maybe furniflied 
to the inhabitants of fuch village per- 
haps cheaper (every thing confidered) 
than peats, though they fhould even 
have the mofs at their doors. But, at 
any rate, it would be extremely proper 
in the Joint-ilock Company, in the pre- 
fent infancy of their village, to lay in a 
Hock of coals at Ullapool. Were a 
coniiderable fifliing to ftrike up there, 
during the- time the people were at work 
with their peats, (which very often hap- 
pens) they would be reduced to the 
dilemma, of either lofing the fifning, 
or flarving with cold through the win- 
ter ; both thefe inconveniencies would 
be prevented, by the Company having 


The Scotch FIJI) cries. 97 

oji hand a quantity of coals, ready to 
anfwer fuck an emergency. 

We fh all now beg leave to make fome 
obfervations upon what the Joint- flock 
Company has done at its two faid vil- 
lages. The Author of this paper has no 
view in communicating ^his fentiment-s 
upon the m.atters now in hand, but, from 
a hearty wiili for the profperity of his 
native country, to endeavour to put in 
bis mite of fervice, to the laudable de- 
ftgns of the Society. This is not to be 
done, by writing iine iiovv^ery languan-e, 
or fmooth turned periods, but by faith- 
fully ftating his opinian, derived from 
an experience acquired by a reiidence 
in the Highlands. Truth is at all times 
falutary. Burnifhed falfehoods,' (which • 
have been too much ufed upon this fub- 
I jecl 

98 Ohfervations upon 

jecl of the Fiihery,) while they dazzle, 
ure fure to blind and millead. 

The Author of this paper left that 
country fome years ago, and before the 
undertakings were begun at Ullapool, 
From the information he has received, 
he finds that very confiderable build- 
ings are already eret^ed there ; a pier, 
an inn, a place of worfhip, and a fchool- 
houfe; befides.a number of fmall houfes 
for filhers and tradefmen, have been 
ereded by individuals, aided, as we are 
informed, by the funds of the Company. 
Too much praife cannot be bellowed 
upon thofe perfons, who fet on foot and 
encouraged this plan, of civilizing and 
improving that negleded corner of our 
native country. When we refledl upon 
the noble motives by which thefe per- 


The Scotch FiJIjeries, cj^ 

fons were aduated, it is exceeding dif^ 
ficult to find fault with any thing 
which has been done under their 
directions, or to touch upon any thing 
unpleafant to them. Candour, however, 
and our profeffed defire of giving our 
undifguifed opinion, obliges us to ob- 
ferve, that it were to be wifhed the 
Company had proceeded more flowly, 
in the laying out its money, and done 
fome of its v/orj-cs upon a fmaller fcale, 
particularly the inn at Ullapool, which 
is moil unneceiTarily large. Probably 
it would have been better, had the 
Company oecononiiled as much as it 
could, in order that it might be the bet- 
ter enabled to advance the conliderable 
fums which will be wanted for that 
abfolutely neceffary meafure, of making 
and keeping up roads of communica- 
I 2 tioa 

100 Ohfervaticns upon 

tlori betwixt their villages and the Low- 

The eftablilhing feme ufeful manii-» 
faciure in the villages, and the makin^^ 
of thefe roads, we look upon as the 
principal coniiderations in the whole 
buiinefs of thefe new er^dtions, Jo far 
as the Highlands is concerned, Tho, 
failure of the iifhing upon that coaft for 
a tracl of years, (as has been fornieriy 
known to have happened) would have 
the effed to draw off all the adventurers 
in the fifliing upon a large fcale, which 
had fettled there. The only thing, 
therefore, which would be left as an 
inducement to the lower order of people 
to remain at the villages, would be the 
manufaclure mentioned, and the facili- 
ty with which they could communicate 


The Scotch Fijljeries, lOi 

with the Low- country. The poor 
people \Wio remained, would be thus e- 
nabled to carry on fome little trade ; and, 
by maintaining their hold, prevent all 
which the Company fliall do from 
being totally loft, which would other^ 
wife inevitably happen, if the herrings 
ill Old d abandon the Weft coaft for any 
confiderable fpace of time ;_^tliefe fiib 
have been known to difappear upon 
that coaft, for upwards of twenty years. 
Til us, roads would be a great benefit 
to the villages, in cafe of the worft hap- 
pening. If the villages are profperous, 
roads would inanitely increafe their 
profperity, by putting it in the power 
of the lefler fifners in thefe hamlets, to 
convey their filli freftito the towns in 
the Low- country, where they would 
fetch great prices. Upon the fubjecl: 


ic/i Ohfervations upon 

of the manufadlure proper to be intro- 
duced into the fiiliing viUages, we fhall 
referve ourfelves, until we come to 
fpeak of the improvements which the in- 
ferior parts of the Highlands will admit 
of ; becaufe the kind of manufacture 
proper to be eftabliihed there, and the 
manner of conduding it, will equally 
apply to tiie Coails of the Highlands. 

It is a melancholy coniideration, when 
one retletSts, that in a country, famous 
throughout the World for the wifdom 
and liberality of its civil polity, the max- 
ims which that polity Hiould dictate, 
are, in the cafe we are now fpeaking of, 
{o much departed from, that the fettling 
irad civilizing the remote parts of tlie 
Empire, is not done under the direc- 
tion, or at the expence, of the Govern- 


Ihe Scotch Fipj cries, 103 

ment of the country, but is laid upon the 
fhoulders of individuals, who, anxious 
for the public welfare, do it voluntarily 
out of their own eftates, rather than 
fruitlefly apply for the aid of the State. 
A Frenchman or a Swifs, would hardly 
give credit to this relation. In thefe 
countries, even w^hen one of them Vvas 
fliackled under an arbitrary Monarchy, 
works, the carrying on of which would 
bring advantage to the whole Communi- 
ty, were done at the expence of that 
Community. Sorne Fre ich authors 
have, w^ith great fuccefs, fnown in their 
writings, that the fettling remote parts^ 
in a kingdom, and opening communi- 
cations betvven thefe and the more ci- 
vilized parts, ought to be the buiinefs 
of every well-ordered State. 


•104 Ohfervations upon 

Eat if our Governors are io torpid, 
as not to trouble themfelves about fuch 
public fervices as that we are now 
fpeaking of, but to allow the charge of 
doir.g it to fall upon the virtuous indi- 
viduals, vvhofe Zealand anxiety for their 
country has led them to take the bu- 
linefs upon themfelves, yet furely they 
will, for very fliame, now that they fee 
fo much done, give their confeiit, that 
the expence of making thefe j-ieceiTary 
roads,- fhali be defrayed out of the pu^ 
blic purfe. This is an event devoiatly to 
be wifned for ; and the Society,, and 
all the. friends of the Fiflieries, and of 
the Highlands, iliould ufe their bed en- 
deavours to bring it about. It would 
relieve the Joint-ftock Company of a 
very heavy burden, ^nd lighten tlie 
lofs, which it is not impofuble may a- 


The Scotch Fineries* 105 

rife, when the Company fhall come to 
balance accompts with thefe eilablifh- 
ments it fnall have foilered. 

It will cod the minifler very little 
trouble to do this favour to the Com- 
pany, and this duty to his country. The 
bcfl way for him to do it, v/ould be to 
lay a fmall tax upon the ton of every 
veffel, employed in the herring-fifheries 
in Scotla,nd, for the fpecial purpofe of 
making and maintaining thefe roads ; 
the Company, or a committee of it, to 
be the truftees, under the ad: impofing 
the tax, for feeing the money duly ap- 
plied. No body would grumble at this 
tax. A Ihilling a ton upon the bufles, 
might produce about 800 1. per annum,, 
upon the credit of which, the Compa- 
ny might borrow 6000 1. or 7000 1. ; a. 


ic6 Oof erv aliens upon 

fum, it is apprehended, fufficient to make 
the roads at prefent needed. The roads 
once made, the tax might be mitigated, 
except fo much as was necefiary to lieep 
them in repair. It woukl be bad poli- 
cy in the prefent fiate of that country, 
to propofe a turnpike upon thefe roads. 
We are fenlible, that the fum above 
mentioned is not fufficient to make the 
roads in queilion, aiiii alfo the bridges 
which would be rcvquifite upon thefe 
ro-ad'i ; but the making the roads is the 
firfl thing to be done ; which, if found 
of utility, there v;ill then be encou- 
ragement to build bridges. It may be 
objeded, that a tax upon the buffes 
would be improper ; but as it would be 
but a fmall one, and as the owners of 
the buffes would be much benefited by 
thefe roads, it may be fuppofed they 


'Ihe Scotch FJjljeries, loy 

ivould think the payment of the tax no 
hardfliip. At prefent, v/hen a bufs has 
caught as many herrings as will load 
her, Ihe departs for her port ; and, let 
the fifh be ever fo plenty, fhe can de- 
rive no farther benefit from them ; but 
if the roads in queftion are once made, 
the bulTes will find fale for fuch her- 
rings as they may catch, after they have 
made their cargoes ; for not only the 
country people, but flrangers from the 
Lowlands, will buy their furplus her- 
rings, when they can take them away 
in carts, which at prefent they cannot 
•do. Befides this, by means of good 
roads from the v/ellern fiihing-grounds, 
to Invernefs, &c., any bufs which may 
come by a misfortune, can be fupplied 
with fails, cordage, &cc. from thefe 
^places, inftead of being obliged to go 

. ta 

io8 Obfervations upon 

to her port (at the diftance perhaps o- 
an hundred miles) for that purpofe, by 
which delay fhe might lofe the fifhing 
for that feafon. 

We have already difclofed our fenti- 
ments, that in the prefent fcarcity of 
market for Britifli herrings, by unne- 
ceiTarly pufliing the Fiihery, and la- 
viihing encouragements upon it, an 
evil may arife to the country inftead 
"bf a good : for this reafon, we think the 
Joint-itock Company Hiould proceed in 
their buildings with cautious fteps. 
We do not fay that they have already 
built enow of houfes at their two faid 
villages, but our fmcere belief is, that 
it would neither be for the Com- 
pany's own interefl, nor for that of the 
Community, to proceed very much far- 

Ihe Scotch Fijh€ries, 1 00 

llier, until more markets are fecured for 
Biitilh herrings. A town in a fertile 
country, may be fupported alone by the 
relidence of gentry in it, a retail trade, 
and public hollelaries ; but, in the 
Highlands, it is a manufadure or fifliery 
which muft fupport any appearance of 
a collected focicty ; therefore, inilead 
of expending money upon buildings, 
which may never be inhabited, or which, 
if inhabited, will only help to fill the 
market with a commodity in no great 
requeft ; we would humbly incline to 
think the Company fnould very foon 
fufpend its operations, until the efre(fl:s 
of the experiments it is now making 
fhali be a little known. At the fame 
time, we are under no difficulty in fay- 
ing, that we think the befl application 
of the Company's funds nozv, would be, 
K frji 

a: 10 Ohfervations upon 

jitjl, to encourage Ibme Dutch curers 
to fettle at the two villages, for the pur- 
pofe of teaching the people there the 
true method of preferving herrings: 
Andi,fecondIy, (if no aid can be obtain- 
ed from Government) to apply part of 
thefe funds to the making and up- 
holding proper roads, betwixt the faid 
"villages and the Low-lands. In the pre- 
fent ftate of the fiihing trade, thefe two 
meafures, in our opinion, are what the 
Company fhould dired its principal at- 
tention to. 

Having faid thus much, regarding 
what the Joint-Hock Company have 
with the mofx laudable intentions done 
for this country, it falls next to be con- 
sidered, by what encouragements the 
fcttlements already ellablifhed by the 


The Scotch Fi/heries. iii 

Company, may be befl preferred during 
their infancy, and until full time is gi- 
ven to make a fair experiment of their 

We fliall not hefitate to fay, that, in 
our opinion, the fooner thefe villages 
are left to uphold themfelves by their 
own exertions and induilry, the better 
for the Company and the Community. 
Encouragements do not always produce 
the good effecls they aim at, efpecially 
when beftowed by public bodies ; al- 
though encouragements engage the fo- 
ber and induftrious, they are alfo baits 
for the n^edy, the defperate, and the 
idle. That induflry depends as much, 
if not more, upon the fpirit and difpo- 
iition of the people, as upon the encou- 
ragements held out to them, is fairly 
K 2 exempliSed 

112 Ohjervatloiis upon 

exemplified in the hiflory of the towa 
of Stornoway ?Jready mentioned, which 
has thriven and grown rich, although 
for a coniiderable time, and till of late, 
in the hands of even feverity and ex- 
adion. At the fame time that we fay 
this, we are clearly of opinion, that all 
the individuals who are already invit- 
ed, or whom it would be prudent here- 
after to invite to thefe villages, fhould 
liave liberal inducements held out to 
them, to remain or fettle there. The 
offering a houfe and garden to a fettler 
gratis y may be an inducement to a 
wretch, who rather intends to beg than 
work, and he will be glad of the offer 
without any farther encouragement ; 
.but if the Company wifn for induf- 
trious men, it mufl not only oifer 
them a free houfe and garden, but 



Ihe Scotch FiJJjerles, 113 

filfo a boat, nets, Sec. upon credit : 
Even tills is not enough : The accom- 
phfnment of the Company's purpofe 
(mz\ keeping the fettlers in the vil- 
lages) will never be brought about, un- 
kfs it ill all fmd a market at their doors 
for the hill caught by their fettlers. 
We do not mean by this, that the Com- 
pany iliould claim the pre-emption of 
all fifn fo caught ; on the contrary, the 
fettlers Ihould be encouraged by the 
Company obliging itfslf to take from 
oiT their hands all fach hfli as they 
cannot difpofe of, and that, not at an 
under, bu4: at a medium price. Thus, 
the Company rnuH for fome time be the 
purchafers of hlli : It muil do more : 
for, with the price fo given by the 
Company, to a fcttler for his fifli, 
he cannot; in the prefent ilate of the 
K'3 Yillr.ge5 

114 Ohjervations upon 

villages and the country, procure the " 
neceflaries of life ; therefore the Com- 
pany, to effedt its purpcfe, mud engage 
itfelf to fupply, at moderate prices, the 
fettlers, at all times, for a certain pe- 
riod of years, with meal, butter, cheefe, 
falt-beef, Ihoes, linen, ready - made 
fifher-jackets, Sec. and coals, if demand- 
ed. Coals, it will be abfolutely neceC- 
fary the Company fhould provide, for 
the reafons we have given upon the 
96th page of this paper. Without fuch 
encouragements are granted to the vil- 
lagers for feme time, we are of opinion, 
the fettlements will only languifli, and 
at lait die. It is almcfl needlefs here 
to obferve, that the Company, in its 
mercantile capacity, mnil provide build- 
ings for iheltering, and alfo materials 
for curing fach full as may be fo ofTer- 


. The Scotch FiJJjeries. 115 

ed by the fettlers, as well as ilore-houfes, 
for the articles of confumption we have 
mentioned.. The Company ihould not 
however engage itfelf to thefe condi- 
tions long. If the Fifliery fucceeds, 
and Britiih herrings iliall open a market 
for themfelves, by the improvements 
which may be hereafter made in curing 
them, the confequent profperity of the 
villages will open refources to the fettlers 
for fupplying themfelves, upon perhaps 
better terms than the Company could 
afford. — Upon the whole, we are of o- 
pinion, that the Company, while it on 
the one hand, for the reafons we have 
urged, proceeds with caution, in not 
bringing too great a number of people 
into its villages, it fhould, at the fame 
time, on the other hand, grant due en- 
couragement to thofe pcrfons it may be 


Ii6 - Ohfervations upon 

proper to bring there, to induce them 
to come to, and remain in thefe fettle- 
ments. This laft is a meafure abfokite- 
\y neceflary, being the only chance for 
effecting the Company's purpofe ia 
any degree at all. 

But there is a great difficulty remains, 
\4z. What is to become of fuch of the 
fettlers as live alone by fifhing,.if, unhap- 
pily (as has been often experienced,) 
the herrings fliould defert the coalt for 
fome years running. In fuch a cafe, it 
would be impofTible for the Company 
to purchafe their continuance at the 
yillage, at the dear rate of fubfifling 
them upon the Company's credit all 
that time, in profpedl of being paid by 
the after fiihings of fuch fettlers : 
Even doing fo for one or two years, 


The Scotch Fi/heries* 117 

would be too ereat a riik for the Com- 
pany to run. We own this is a very 
great dilemma. 

The difiiculy here flated, has often 
employed the thoughts of the Author 
of this paper ; he has confidered it with 
great attention, and, after the matured 
deliberation, he can only think of one 
thing, which would provide againll it ; 
Unfortunately, it is almoft impollible 
to procure it : Its name is,. The Li- 
berality of the Government of Great Bf^i- 
tain, to that part of the Kingdom called 

As we before noted, the facilitating 
the improvement of remote and uncul- 
tivated parts of any kingdom is furely 
the proper bufinefs of the Government 


liS Ohfervatlons upon 

that flate or kingdom. It would be 
fortunate for the Communit} , if the ma- 
nagers of ilate- affairs in this country were 
of alike opinion with us. The building 
the villages, making the roads, purchaf- 
ing the fifli, and fuppljing the fettiers,. 
ought in good policy to have been done 
at the expence, and under the dire6lion 
of Government : If any profit accrued 
by the buiinefs, the public revenue 
would have been encreafed by it : If 
any lofs, it would juflly have fal- 
len upon the Community at large. The 
idea of a Government purchaiing her- 
rings from its fubjedrs is not a new one : 
■In Engknd, Edward the 3d did fo ; and 
the pradlice was continued by his fuc- 
ceiTors down to Qiieen Elizabethi 
Should it ever unfortunately happen,, 
that the herring-fifhing fnould fall off, 


"The Scotch Fi/heries, 119 

•owing to there being too many caught 
for the markets, — from the debafement 
of the charader of our fiili, or from o- 
ther circumllances now unforefeen, a 
minifter would be obliged to have re- 
courfe to this meafure, if he meant not 
to lofe the ftrength which is derived to 
our navy from the numbers of feamen 
which the Filhery nurfes up. 

Though we are not fanguire in our ex- 
pedations, that Government will either 
aid the J oint-ftock Company, to enable 
it to retain the fettlers in the villages 
during unfuccefsful fifhing years, or 
appropriate money for making and man- 
taining the roads we have been fpeak- 
ing of, yet it is impoffible for us 
to allow ourfelves for a moment to 
think, that any minifter -of this country 


12® ' Ohfervations upon 

will ever go about to endeavour 
to put a negative upon any motion 
which may be made for indem- 
nifying the Joint-ilock Company for 
fuch loHes, (if any fuch there are) which 
it fhail appear, upon taking leave of the 
faid. ellablilhments, the Company ihali 
have bona fide fuftained. The honour 
and juitice of this country would be en- 
gaged in this meafure, and certainly 
the reprefentatives of this part of the 
kingdom inParliament, will, whether of 
the miniller's party or not, to a man join 
in fupport of fo juft and equitable a pro- 

We have already taken notice of the 
negledl: which every thing relating to 
this country meets with in the Britifh 
Parliament : At whofe door does this 


The Scotch Fineries-, 121 

e»/il originate? We may cliarge it upon 
the indifFerency of the Englifh members 
about Scotch affairs : But candour ob- 
liges us at fame time to fay, that we 
are afraid part of the evil is chargeable 
upon our own members, who are rather 
paffive in matters which concern their 
native country. 

While we thus blame Government 
for being carelefs about the concerns of 
Scotland, it is however no more than 
juflice to fay, that the extravagant 
propofals for taking money out of the 
public purfe, for the particular benefit 
of this country, which has been made, 
might very probably affrighten minif- 
ters at the Vv hole buiinefs of the Scotch 
Fifheries. The Committee of the Houfe 
of Commons upon the Fiftiery, amcngfl 
L other 

123 Ohfervatiojis upon 

other tilings, which in our opinion 
Vt^ould have created a moil needlefs ex- 
pence, reported to the Houfe, that it 
was neceiTary to eftablifh a Board of 
fub-commiffioners of the revenue at 
Invernefs ; and that fundry new She- 
rifflhips were neceiTary in Scotland. 
Surely thefe demands had better been 
let alone : The fadl is, that too much 
has been wrote and faid about the Fifh- 
ery. Every one has it in his mouth ; 
but we may fay (we hope without of- 
fence or arrogance) that, comparatively 
fpeaking, few underfland it. Hence 
the fcheme is diilrafled with the plans 
of every idle projector, who v/ith his 
propofals increafes the mountain of fpe- 
culative fluff, and ilill farther deters 
thofe in power from meddling with a 
bulinefs fo unfliapely. Inilead of the 



7 he Scotch Fijh erics. 123 

Society therefore advertifmg for infor- 
mation, we doubt not but it would be 
more for the benefit of what it yifhes 
to promote, if the Society fliall hereaf- 
ter, without fuch precarious alTillance, 
tliink for itfelf upon the fubje,6l of the 
Fiflieries, and the improvement of the 
Highlands, which moll of the members 
of the Society, from their knowledge 
of that country, are very competent 
to do. 

Before we leave off concerning the 
fifhing villages, v/e ill all beg liber- 
ty to miCntion to the Society a mat- 
ter Vv'hich in our humble opinion de- 
ferves its attention, — It is an improve- 
ment in the power of the Society or the 
Joint-flock Company to compafs. 

L 2 Upon 

124 OhfervatiGiu upon 

Upon the Weft coaft, during the'fifliing 
feafon, when a body of herrings efitei-s 
one of the lochs, it is not long before 
the whole fleet of herring bufles follow 
them. There is not any thing better 
known by the fifhermen, than that her- 
rings are not fond of remaining in a loch 
where they are molefted with the fre- 
quent dafhing of oars, and toa many 
vefTels and boats pafhng and re-pafhng ; 
and that accordingly, when thus treated, 
they foon depart. This evil (and a 
great one it is) might be ealily prevent- 
ed : We think it would be an objedl 
for the Joint-ftock Company or the So- 
ciety, to alk from Government the fer- 
vice of a fmall Admiralty cutter durijig 
the hilling feafon. On board of this 
velTel a fuperintendant fliould be fent, 

who Ihould be a man of charader, of 



The Scotch Fipjsries. 123 

experience and abilities, and whofe or- 
ders the commander of the ciitter fhould 
be obliged to obey. This fuperinten^ 
dant's bufmefs fhould be, to judge what 
number of veiTels and boats ought to be 
allowed to enter any loch, where there 
is a flioal of herrings. He fhould be 
invefted with an authority from the 
vice-admiral of Scotland, to take cog- 
nizance of trefpalTes upon the water, 
and to commit offenders by his own 
warrant : His powers fliould aifo ena- 
ble him to determine upon any difpute, 
which may arife amongft the fiilicrs a- 
bout the fituation of their nets, or other 
difierences. The Author of this pa- 
per has been an eye-witncfs of the ne- 
ceifity of fuch a meafure as he is now 
recommending : He has feen the crews 
of the buffes from the Clyde &c. at-< 
L 3 tack 

126 Obfervatlons upon 

tack the poor natives of the Weft coail 
in their miferable canoes, drive them 
from the beit iifning places, deilrov their 
nets, cruelly maltreat them, and then 
let down their own tackling, in the 
places of which they had thus robbed 
the poor natives. The faperintendant 
might have the benefit of an afiiflant, 
and two or three inferior officers ; and, 
that the public might be as much bene- 
fited as poffible, in return for the ex-^ 
pence whicli falaries to this ellabliHi- 
ment would create, both the principal 
fiiperintendant and his colleague, iliould 
be veiled with powers to lit and a<^ at 
the villages, as ordinary judges, in dif- 
putes about property, to a certain extent : 
And, if it was thought neceiTary, they 
might be farther intrufled with a power 
to judge of, and pronounce fentence 


The Scotch Fi/heries, iij 

upon, leiTer crimes committed at the vil- 
lages and upon the coaft. 

We are not unacquainted, that there 
is at preient an ofhcer appointed, under 
the Board of Truitees for Fiflieries and 
manufadures, called^^zV;^ haillie, with 
authority to fettle difputes amongil the 
fiihers ; but we are afraid his powers 
are too limited, and he has no aihilance 
to enforce the execution of his own a- 
wards. It may be proper for us here 
by the by to obferve, that we doubt if, 
without an exprefs law, the meafure of 
hindering an improper number of^buiTes 
from entering a loch into which a fhoal 
of herrings had got, could be defended* 
But we think the* adopthig fuch a regu- 
lation is of fo much confequence, that 
It is. even m the prejsnt ilate of the her- 

128 Ohfervations upon 

ring-fifliery, an object to endeavour to 
get an enadtment of the Legiflature to 
author ife it. 

It may perhaps be expeded, that mc 
fliould here fay fomething about the 
the queflion which has been broached. 
Whether a deep fea filliing, or a loch 
fiiliing, is the bed ? 

After having already declared our opi- 
nion, that, by the prefent modes of fifh- 
ing, there are at leail as many herrings 
caught as the market demands, it would 
be an unbefitting tafk for us to enter 
upon recommending any particular plan 
as the hejl for catching herrings ; but, 
for the information of fuch of our read- 
ers as may have perhaps never heard of 
the queflioU; we Ihall ilate as briefly 


The Scotch Fi/beries* 129 

as poffible what occurs to us upon the 

Some have vehemently argued for a 
deep-fea fiiliing, as infinitely prefer- 
able to fifhing in lochs. This dodrine, 
upon which much has been faid, af- 
fords a very proper inflance in proof of 
our aiTertion, that more has been wrote 
upon the Fifhery than has been under- 
flood about it. 

The advocates for a deep-fea filhing 
quote the example of the Dutch, who 
fifh in this manner. It is very true the 
Dutch do fo : But when we enquire, 
Why ? we find, it is becaufe they have 
it not in their power to do otherwife 
with profit. The Dutch have only 
two choices ; that is, either to fifli in 


130 Ohfervations upon 

the deep upon the coafl of Shetland, 
or fail throu ',h the Pentland Firth, and 
fifh in the weftern lochs of Scotland. 
This lalt would be fo long a voyage, 
and the navigating the difficult ftrait of 
the Pentland F:rth, fo hard for veirels 
of the conilrutflion of their buifes, that 
this rhethod would not anfwer them. 
Of the two evils, therefore, annexed to 
the fituation of their country for fiih- 
ing, they wifely make eledlion of the 
lealt, viz. fifhing in the deep-fea, bc- 
caufe the ihallow fifhing- grounds are 
too far off for them. The Dutch have 
upon their own coafts no lochs, bays, 
or in-lets of the fea, to which the her- 
rings refort ; they are therefore obliged 
to feek them in the deep, at double the 
rilk and expence at which they could 
fiih them in embayed fliallow places, 



The Scotch Fiffjeries, 131 

fuch as the lochs of Scotland. The in- 
habitants of this country (more efpeci- 
ally thofe upon the Weil coail) would 
be extremely unwife indeed, were they 
to be at the great expence of materials 
for a dcep-fea iifliing, and expofe their 
buiTcs to fo much tear and wear, when 
every purpofe they aim at is better an- 
fwered by their fifningin the lochs uf- 
ually haunted by the herrings with their 
fhort nets, at a lefs expence by one 
half at leaft, layhig cut of the qaeilioa 
the riflv of loiing both veffel and nets 
in the winter time in the open fea ; 
a fate which the Dutch often experi- 
ence. The Dutch would never hunt 
the fiih through feas, which are fome 
times tempeiluous even in Summer, 
were it not impoffibie for them (with. 
any advantage) to fail to tlie Well lochs 


132 Ohfervatlons upon 

Scotland, where (when they fliould 
arrive there) we have fome doubts if 
they v/ould be allowed to fifli. The decp- 
fea fi filing is not only very expenfive 
and perilous, but alfo very uncertain ;* 
for the herrings, while in deep water, 
are for the moft part in an itinerant 
difpoiition. It is well known that ow- 
ing to this, the Dutch are very often 
unfuccefsful ; a fadt, which the gentle- 
men who argue for a dcep-fea fifhing 
pafs over in lilence. It is a ftrange ar- 
gument, indeed, that becaufe the Dutch 
are good fiihers, therefore we are to 
imitate them in all things regarding the 
Fifhery, even in that which they them- 
felves confider as a y^ry great difadvan- 
tage. The doing fo would be as vm- 
wife as the conducl of a perfon, who, 
wifhing to imitate the drefs and exte- 

7he Scotch Fijfjeries, 155 

rior of fome beau, would, in order to 
conform exadly to his pattern, break a 
limb, becaufe the perfon he wilhed to 
copy had come by that misfortune. 

It may be here proper to obferve, 
that the advocates for a deep-fea fifli^ 
ing, have not only quoted the example 
of the Dutch, but alfo that of the Yar- 
mouth people, in inflance of this prac- 
tice. The latter do not however make 
a choice of that method any more thMi 
the former: their doing fo is the effe(?c 
of neceffity, becaufe the herrings, which 
ufually appear once a year upon the 
Yarmouth coaft, do not come into ilial- 
low water. It i-s the peculiar adTanta^e 
of the Highland coail, to be cut and 
indented a;ll along with ■ in-lets and 
bays: to thefe the herrings are fond of 
"""'^ JVI re^ 

134 Ohjervations upon 

reforting : on the coafl of England, there 
are no fuch in-iets : the fifli, accordingly, 
which appear there, keep a coniiderahle 
way from the ill ore in deep water, and 
the fifhers muft take them there or not 
at all. 

If it {liali be faid, that the reafon givea 
for the Dutch not going to the High- 
land lochs, gannot be afligned as the 
caufe vch.j the Yarmouth people do not 
go there, feeing they are almoft as near 
thefe locks as fome of the fifkers on. the 
cad of Scotland, who go ; We anfwer. 
That the Yarmouth people, preferring 
fifliing upon their . own coafl for her- 
rings in deep ,water^: tp; going to the 
Weft lochs for. thefe . ftfn, does by - jio 
jneans prove that ^hey, efteem the de^.r 
fea] pftiing as fupei'ior to tlie Q.ther ;, it- 

M ^^^^^ 

The Scotch Fi/ljcries. 135 

only iliev.'s, that the Yarmouth people 
give preference to that mode, which is 
not only eafieil for them, but aUb (con- 
fidering their great diilance from the 
Weil coad, and the expenfive way in 
which the Englifa vidual their veiTels) 
the cheapefl. Thus we fee, that both 
the Dutch and Yarmouth people follov/ 
that method of iifhing w^hich is Inyl a- 
dapted to their refpeclive fituations. 
The Scotch, by fiihing in fliallow wate.-, 
do the fame. If thefe premifes arc 
granted, (and we think they nuifi) w^a 
are logically entitled to fay, that all 
idea of the fiihers of this country adopt- 
ing any other method of fifhing for her- 
rings is precluded \ for, being already 
in pofTeliion of the hejl, their choice can 
go no higher. We fliall only farther 
obferve on this branch of our fubjecl, 
M 2 that 

1^6 Ohjervaticns upon 

that however fitting it might be for the 
iifners on the Eafl coail of Scotland to 
follow the Dutch and Yarmouth me- 
thods, and avoid the troublefome navi- 
gation of the Pentland Firth, yet fure- 
ij no judicious man will fay, that the 
lilliers upon the Weft coaft ought to 
pradife the deep-fea fifhing. So well 
aware of the expence and riik of a 
deep-fea fifhing are the Eaft coaft her- 
ring fifhers, that they take their chance 
of the Pentland Firth, for the fake of 
the eafy and fafe fiftiing, which they 
iind in the lochs to the weft ward of it. 
The advocates for a deep-fea fifhing re- 
commend their plan to the eaftern and 
weftern Scotch fiftiers alike: How 
improperly they have done (o, we have 
endeavoured to fliow. 


The Scotch Fi/heries. 137 

We fhall here beg permhTion to pro- 
duce another proof of our alTertion, 
that too much has been raflily wrote 
and faid upon the Fiilicry. This is ex- 
emplilied in a perfon of no lefs learning 
and confequence than Dr Adam Smith, 
who maintained, That G overnment ought 
to withdraw the bounty, paid upon the 
tonage of bujfes employed in the Fiih- 
cry, and give it to boats ofily,. fo em- 
ployed. It is not eafy to conceive how 
fuch a notion could enter into the head 
of any man of Dr Smith's abilities and 
informatiom We have no way of folv- 
ing the difEculty, but in fappofmg that 
the Doclor has not been well informed : 
He took up a notion, that the bufs>. 
owners upon tlie Weft coaft fent out 
their veffels on pretence only of fifujng, 
but in reality with an intent to co?n§ at 
M 3 the 

133 Ohjervations upon 

the bounty. Certainly in this cafe Dr 
Smith drew his ccnclufions from fake 
premifes : for, had he fairly informed 
himfelf of the adlual coit of the out- fit 
ofabufs, he would have found that 
fuchavefTel, equipped according to law, 
returning into port without any fifli, 
would take every fhilling of the bounty 
to defray her charges : Where then was 
the temptation to fraud? No matter: the 
Docior, would not part with his opinion : 
He made ufe of a pun, which he thought 
fettled the bufinefs : They don't go out, 
fays he, (meaning the buiTes) to catch 
theft/Jj, but to catch the bounty. Lucki- 
ly for the country, the Dodor's advice 
\vas not wholly taken : He fav^ the boats 
encouraged with a bounty, or at lead 
an indulgence - equal to it; but the 
Legillatare prudently continued the en- 

The S^'otch Fi/heries, 139 

couragenients to the bufs-fiiliing upon 
the old footing, where it at prefent re- 
mains. We lliall reqiiefl of our reader 
to refierl: what the confequences would 
have been, ha,d Dr Smith's advice been 
taken : no lefs^ we may fafely pronounce, 
than the total annihilation of the trade 
of fiiliing in the whole tov/ns in /the ri- 
ver Clyde and its vicinity. The giving 
the bounty to boats only w^as, to be furc, 
well calculated for the Eail coail of 
Scotland, where the Docler refided, and 
Vv'here, it would appear, he obtained ail 
his knowledge concerning the Fifhery , 
becaufc fuch herrings as do appear 
there, come for the mofl part within a 
mile or fo of the doors of the merchants 
ftorehoufes ; fo that boats, in their ^\t\\2i- 
tion, would have anfwered without any 
bulTes y by which means the v/hole Cr 


140 Ohfervations upon 

normous expence of building, equipping^ 
and manning the latter, would havebeeb 
iaved. This however would not have 
anfvvered one of the great purpofes of 
granting a bounty to the buffes, viz* 
breading up feamen ; and therefore the 
Legiflature very properly refilled the 
propofal. Were a bounty given only 
to boats, the fifhers from- Clyde, 6tc. 
would be virtually cut off from the be- 
nefit of it y becaufe, as the herrings 
very feldom appear in the neighbour- 
hood of ^Z?Wr towns, (where their fait 
and cafes are depoiited) but at the dif- 
tance often of an hundred miles from 
thcfe places, they would be under the 
neceffity, in order to reap the benefit of 
a bounty upon- boat fifhing, of fitting 
out and mantaining large veiTels to ac- 
company flich boats to the filliing 


The Scotch Fi/Jjenes* 1 41 

grounds, as a kind of floating llore- 
iioufes and lodging lioufes for their 
men. The boat-bounty would not in- 
demnify this expence. The Doctor's 
meafure would therefore in eifedl have 
cut off the Clyde fiihers from miy boun- 
ty at all to encourage them to fifh; 
which we are well perfuaded would 
have put an end to their attempt^ 
ing it. 

Such we fee has been the giddinefs^ 
with which not only leiTer writers, but 
alfo the luminaries of commercial re- 
fearch, have run on, in writing and 
fpeaking upon the Fifhery, a fubjed, 
as we have already faid, which has 
been much perplexed by the hideous 
fchemes of falfe reafoners, and others 
unqualified to fpeak properly upon it. 


142 Ohfervaticns upon - 

The lucubrations of 'the different at- 
tempt ers to fet the country right about 
its Fifnerv, became at lail io vohimi- 
nous, and tlieir difTerent fchemes, none 
of which hit the point, were fo irrecon- 
cileable, that the whole formed a jumble, 
enough indeed to afrighten miniflers 
from looking into it : of courfc it has been 
parti} negleded by them, as a fathom- 
lefs bulinefs ; a grand Elixir, always ta 
be attempted, but never to be produc- 
tive. From the fame caufes, fome nio- 
derate and feniible men have drawn 
nearly the fame conclufions ; and thus 
unhappily an objccl, undoubtedly de- 
ferving a due degree of national atten- 
tion, has not yielded the benefit which 
might have been reafonably expected 
to accrue to the country from it. 


Jhe Scotch Fyheries. 143 

We have now fin i (lied all we intended 
to fay refpedling the FiHieiy, through- 
out which we have regarded truth, ei- 
ther according to our own particular 
knowledge, or the befl of our informa- 
tion : and have given our opinion after a 
thorough examination of the fubjecl, 
-Recording to thebeil; of our judgement. 

We fliall now clofe our defign, by 
fubmitting to the Society, our obferva- 
tions upon the Utility of vmking fome 
EJlabliJJjments in the Interior Farts of 
the Highlands, the only requifite of the 
Society's faid advertifement which we 
.believe remains to be fpoken to. 













The Society, it is prefumed, are not to 
be informed, that about thirty years a- 
go, and during the lafl reign, no lefs a 
fum than 3000 1. per annum was grant- 
ed by Parliament for nine years, for en- 
couraging the fpinning of yarn and 
making of linen in the Highlands of 
Scotland, and for other purpofes, for 
N 3 thQ 

148 Improvement of the 

tlie benefit of this country. The ma- 
nty, we believe, was granted out of the 
equivalent, which Scotland, at the Uni- 
on claimed from England, for fubjecl- 
ing herfelf to the debts of the lattex. 
The management of this dcfign fell un- 
der the Board eflablifhed in this coun- 
try for conferving and encouraging it? 
Fiflieries and Manufactures : In purfu- 
ance of the intention above mentioned', 
certain buildings were ereded at Glen- 
morrifon in Invernefs-fhire, and at 
Iioch-broom and Loch-Carron in Rofs- 
•jliire. Owing to what caufes we know 
not, but at the expiry of the period li- 
mited by the act which granted the 
inoney, fo little was the defign of giving 
it found to be anfwered, that Govern- 
ment did not think fit to continue the 
encouragement, and the experiment 


tnterlor parts of the Highlands, 149 

has never lince been again tried. Tiio 
hoLifes eredted for the purpofes we havG 
mentioned, which were very expenlive 
(and magnificent for that part of the 
country) are at this day occupied to 
various purpofes, very different from the 
original deii gn of them, and prefent a 
very melancholy pidlure to a perfon of 
refiedion, who iliall happen to pafs by 
them. One cannot help feeling fome 
vexation, upon coniiderirg that fuch ca- 
pital fums have been expended-, with- 
out producing any of the good purpofes 
for which they were granted. The 
people of the country, in the neighbour- 
hood of thefe eilablifn meats, know as 
much at ihis day, and no- more, about; 
fpinning, weaving, flax-raifmg, &c. as. 
they did fifty years ago. Surely (ii; 
we :::ay expr^fi ourfelves fo) tlicre has- 
N 3 beea 

150 Improvement of the 

been bad cookery here ; for, in remote 
places in the Highlands, where women 
may be hired at a very cheap rate,, pro^ 
Jit, inflead of lofs, fliould have arifen 
from their work. However, the fate of 
thefe undertakings is in conformity e- 
nough to pall experience in things of 
the like nature : All encouragements, in 
which third parties mufl be employed 
between the giver and the receiver of 
fuch encouragements, are lefs or more 
liable to the evils of fraud or job- 
bing ; on which account, every mode 
of granting public encouragement, whe- 
ther by the State, or individuals, which 
drav^s after it the necelTity of erecting 
buildings for account of the party 
granting the encouragement, employ- 
ing agents, clerks, &.c. Ihould as much 

as poflible be avoided. 


Interior Parts of the Highlands, 151 

. Having faid thus much, we are now 
to propofe to the fociety our plan of en- 
couraging the population and profpe- 
rity of the interior Parts of the High- 

We enter with real fatisfadion upon 
this part of our defign. What we are 
to propofe, we think a pradicable 
fcheme, which ought to engage in its 
behalf every v^^ell-v/ifher of our country. 
It needs no gilding or falfe reprefenta- 
tion to recommend or fupport it, and a 
trial at leaft may be made of it. It would 
be an impertinent talk to enter here in- 
to a defcription of the vafi: extent of this 
part of the united kingdom, to which the 
appellation of Highlands properly be- 
longs. This, as well as the great popu- 
lation of thofe parts, is perfedly well 


1^2 Improve fuent of the' 

known to every gentleman of the So- 
ciety. We believe we do not exaggerate, 
when we fay, that the inhabitants of thofe- 
parts of Scotland, known by the name of 
the Highlands, make up nearly two thirds 
of the whole of the population of that 
kingdom. What a pity it is, that their 
labours are not more ufeful to them- 
felves, and the community of which 
they are members. No people in 
the ^vorld are apter fcholars at every 
thing which may be aiirgned them to 
do, or difcover more fagacity in the cx- 
ercife of their reafon: They arc, for the 
mofl part, faithful fervants, and prudent 
judicious mailers : The common people 
are fober and Heady, and entire llran- 
gers to the diiTolute and wretched lives, 
which people of the fame rank, in the 
more fertile parts cf the kingdom, are 


Interior Parts of the Highlands. 153 

known to lead : There is not fuch a con- 
tented fet of beings in the whole world, 
(if we except the happy peafants in the 
vallies of S\^ itzerland) as the fmall te- 
nantry of the Highlands. Let us here, 
in fupport of our obfervation, bring to 
the recoliedlion of fome member of the 
Society, the fatisfadlion and peace he 
has feen within the walls of fome poor 
Highlander, to whofe houfe he has per- 
haps been driven by the ilormy night. 
The focial fire, the woman of the cot- 
tage fpinning upon the rock, the fpare 
but whoiefome meal in preparation up- 
on the fire for fupper, the landlord' 3 
little live property fecured from the 
threatening ftorm in the other end of the 
cottage, and within view of the owner, 
who, to chear his wife and little ones, 
beguiles the folitary liour with the re- 

154 Lnprov erne lit of the 

cital of the atchievements of fome va- 
liant anceftor in a fong. To find fuit- 
able employment for thefe poor virtu- 
ous citizens and their progeny, is fure- 
\y an object worthy of public attention. 
Great are the obligations which the 
Community is under to thofe patriotic 
individuals who have generoufiy under- 
taken this talk : we hope that, while 
they thus ferve their country, their 
laudable zeal will at fame time be com- 
penfated, by the increafe in value which 
their property mult experience in con- 
fequence of the meafures taken by 

In the hiflories of civilized coun- 
tries, well adapted for cultivation, we 
find that tillage has ufually been the 
firit thing which has occupied the at- 


interior Parts of the Highlands* 153 

tention of the inhabitants : manilfadu- 
res and trade came afterwards. On the 
other hand, in countries lefs fertile, 
manufactures and trade, inflead of being 
confequences of an improved ftate of 
the country, have therafelves been in 
effedt the caufcs of the cultivation of 
the foil. 

The inland parts of the Highlands 
of Scotland are not fertile: they are 
however pretty populous ; which cir- 
cumftance, by due management, might 
be made amply to compenfate both the 
want of foil and climate. The way in 
tvhich this is to be done, is, by introdu- 
cing into thofe parts fome kind of ufe- 
ful manufacture. 

The Highlands at prefent does not reap 


1^6 L}it>rovement of the 

the benefit of its confiderable popuk- 
tion : there are more people there than 
the produce of the land can well main- 
tain : they are on that account obliged 
to wander to other places in quell of 
employment, and to become a kind of 
vagabonds upon the earth. "What re- 
lief, then, fo natural, as to find them em- 
ployment at home, in a manufacture, 
which if well conduclcd, would not only 
make individuals live comfortably, but, 
by means of the money fuch manufac- 
ture would bring into the country, the 
foil would be improved, the value of 
land raifed, and employment found for 
numbers of the natives in agriculture. 

Though there are feme obfiacles in 
the way of effecling this happy purpofe, 
yet they can be removed at an expence 


Interior Farts of the Highhmds. 137 

inconfiderable, when compared to the 
advantages, which would be derived 
from fuch a meafure : The firjl of thefe 
obftacles is, that the people in the in- 
land parts of the Highlands are not at 
prefent collected into towns or villages ; 
and ihQfecond, that there are not pro- 
}>er roads of communication betwixt 
that country and the more populous 
parts of the kingdom. 

Having fatisfied ourfelves with re- 
gard to the practicability of what we 
have propofed, as well as its utility, 
^ve fhall proceed to obferve to the So- 
ciety, that, in confidering the fubjecl be- 
fore us, we have no lielitation in declar- 
ing, that we queflion if it would be ad- 
vifeable to attempt a village in any of 
the interior parts of the Highlands, (or 
O even 

15S Improvement of the 

even if it would be pradlicr.ble to keep 
the people together in fiich village) 
without fome kind of manufadlure were 
efLablilhed in it. A parcel of poor 
people, to be fure, might be brought to- 
gether, allured by the advantage of 
having a houfe and a bit of ground 
gratis, or fuch like encouragements : 
Eut what benefit would t\\Q country 
at large derive from fuch a meafure? 
Even the neighbourhood of a village 
%vithout a manufacture in it, would 
have very little advantage by it, far- 
ther than the convenieaice of being 
near perhaps a fin all retail fliop, or an 
•artificer' part of the earnings of thefe 
tradefmen might probably find its way 
into the pockets of fuch farmers in the 
^neic^hbourhood as coukl frare of their 

O i 

produce to fell to the village : but if 


Interior Parts cf the Highlands, 159 

every fhilling fo earned was to be fpent 
in the fame way (a fuppolition not very 
probable) this would not be bringing 
any money into the country. 

Allowing, however, fuch an inter- 
courfe VfOuld be an advantage to a 
neighbourhood, we doubt if a place 
Gould be found in the inland Highlands^ 
whofe neighbourhood, in its prefent 
iVdte, could afford bufinefs to fupport 
fach a village as we have mentioned. 
In a cultivated country, a town may 
be up-held by its immediate neighbour- 
hood, or by enjoying the benefit of ly- 
ing at the entrance to a Highland 
country; but, in an uncultivated coun- 
try like the inland Highlands, fuch an 
idea is entirely precluded. If a village 
in the inland Highlands in the prefent 
O 2 Hate 

i6o hnproTement of the 

itate of that country, could not "be fap- 
ported by its neighbourhood, it is ft ill 
leis fuppoieable that fiich village could 
fupport itfclf : Therefore, in oar hum- 
ble appreheniion, every idea of erec- 
ting a village in the country in quef- 
tion, without eftablifninga manufaclure 
in it, is a wrong one, and will, we ima- 
gine, be fou-id not lo anfwer. Wem^ay 
lay it down as a maxim, in this cafe, 
that if a village in the inland parts o£ 
the Highlands does not benefit its neigh- 
bourhood more than its neighbourhood 
benefits it, the intention of building 
fuch village {v\%, to find employment 
for the people, and to improve and raife 
the value of the land) is not anfwered. 
We. have feen that a village without a 


Interior Parts of the HigJAands, 1 6 1 

nianufadare could not iupport itfelf, 
far lefs better the country; therefore 
it is clear, that the e reding fuch a vil- 
lage would not anfvver the end which 
undoubtedly the Society aim at. We 
may add, that not only ought a village 
in the country in queflion to be inde- 
pendent of its neighbourhood, in the 
prefent Itate of that country, for trade 
to fupport it ; but alfo meafures iliculd 
be taken to render fuch a village inde- 
pendent of its neighbourhood, for the 
chief articles of fubfiftence ; a precau- 
tion abfolutely neceifary for the prefer- 
vation of a fettlement of this kind, 
until the country around it ihall be 
in fome fort fit to fupply it with ne- 

O 3 Kavin 

l6l liiiprovernent of the 

Having thus, as we imagine, raffici- 
ently proven, that the bringing money 
into the inland Highlands, by means of 
fome manufadure, is the bcfl way in 
which the Society's great endof em.ploy- 
ing the people, and improving the foil-, 
can be brought about ; and having alfo 
endeavoured to fhow, that the eredt* 
VA^ villages without eftablifliing fuch 
manufadures in them, would fall fhort 
of effecting the Society's faid purpofes ; 
vre come next to pronofe the kind of 
manufadlure, in our opinion proper to 
be firfc fo introduced, the fcale it 
fiiould be taken up upon, and the man- 
ner, in our opinion, in which it fliculd 
be conducHied. 

In confidering this fubjed, we are 
not perplexed with many choices: 



Interior Parts of the Highianch 163; 

There are, in our bumble opinion, only 
two manufadtures, wbicb, in the pre- 
fent Hate of the interior part of the 
Highlands, it would be proper to intro- 
duce into thefe parts. The one the. 
linen, — the other that of the woolen. 
We have flvirlv adjufled the balance^ 
and thrown our reafons in favours of 
each of thefe branches of trade, into 
oppoiite fcalcs : thofe in favours of the' 
woolen inanufadure, foon infinitely 
preponderated. It behoves us to give 
feme account of thefe reafons. 

In judging of the matter before us^ 
one of our reafons for preferring the 
ivoolen manufaclure, is, that the High- 
lands itfelf affords great quantities of 
the raw material of that manufacture^ 
the confumption of whichj at home, 


164 Improvement of the 

would be a great attainment to the 
Country. Although this circumflance 
was very favourable, we do not know, 
(confidering the quick market there is 
at prefent for wool,) if it would have 
determined us, had we not been alfo of 
opinion, that of the two manufa^lures 
mentioned, the woolen was the one of 
which an experiment could be made 
in t?ie Highlands, at the leaft expence ; 
in aid of which opinion, the circum- 
flance of the wool's being ready at hand 
in the Highlands comes in. 

For making a fair experiment of the 
trade we have been recommending, it 
is our opinion, that the Society fliould, 
(if it does not choofe to make the trial 
at its own expence,) flrain every nerve 
to obtain public aid, to enable it to 


Lit erior part of the Highlands, 165 

build a fmall village upon a favourable 
jpot in the inland parts of fome of the 
Highland counties. Some of the inland 
parts of Argjlefnire are well adapted 
for fuch a village ; but as that county 
has already a deal of trade, and is in a 
fair way of having more, probably it 
would be as well to favour fome place 
of lefs trade, and farther north, with 
the village ; perhaps fome part in the 
heights of Perth,Rofs,or Invernefs-fbires. 
The local advantages principally to be fe- 
cured, in fetting down fuch a village, 
are fo obvious, that it is almofl walling 
time to mention them. The leading ob- 
jects are, the choice of a place in the 
neighbourhood of a flieep country, in a 
fpot capable of improvement, and from 
whence a road could be cheapeft made, 


i66 Improvement of the 

to communicate with the nearcil fca- 

We fliall be extremel) cautious in 
adviiing the Society to launch out large 
fums of money upon fpeculation. We 
are fenfible that the moil laudable in- 
tentions^ for the wifefl purpofes, and 
proceeding upon the bell grounded ex- 
pe6lations, may, and fometimes have 
been defeated through mifmanage- 
ments, or the intervention of \'^ayv\7ard. 
circumftances, arifing out of the conca- 
tenated train of events beyond the eye 
of human foreiight. The beft way, in 
our opinion, in cafes of the nature now 
before us, is not to proceed altogether 
upon mere hypothelis ; but where it rs 
in our power, (as in this cafe it certain- 
ly is,) to pofTefs ourfeives of fome argu- 

Interior Parts cf the Highlands. iGj 

meiit derived from fad, as a refling- 
place in our fpeculative journey : Hav- 
ing got Jiold of fucli a place, we can 
there breathe a little, and not only look 
to what is before us, but alfo to what is 
behind, and make choice of advancing 
or retreating as is moft convenient. 

Now, in this village, fo to be built by 
way of experiment, we would propofe, 
j/?, To erccl fmall houfes for the recep- 
tion of poor families ; the number of 
thefe not to exceed fifty, and the ex- 
pence of each houfc, not to exceed 25L 
idlj; A better kind of houfes, with 
fmall fliops facing the flreet, not ex- 
ceeding the value of 50 1. each ; the 
mimber of thefe v.e would prcpcfe 
fnould be fix. 3^% Buildings, in vvhich 
7ilay be carried on the kind of woolen 


1-68 Improvement of the 

raanufadure hereafter to be mentioned, 
to the extent in value of 350 1. \ and a 
houfe and offices for the perfon who 
fjiall carry on fuch manufadure, of the 
value of 200 1. Athly^ A houfe for a 
dyer, with a dye- houfe adjoining, to- 
gether of the value of 80 1. 5^/^/v, A 
place of worfhip, with a fmall public 
clock therein ; together of the value of 
200 1. Gthly, A public houfe of the va- 
lue of 150 1. 7^/^/f, A wauk-mill, with 
a houfe adjoining for the waulker, to- 
gether of the value of 60 1. ^tbly, A 
public Well, of the value of 50 1. gtbly^ 
A fchool-houfe,with accommodations for 
the fchool-mailer, of the value of 70 1. 
lothly, A houfe for the preacher, of the 
value of 60 1. And, iithly^ ^nd Iq/llyy 
a flore-houfe of the value of 150 1. The 
exp.ence of inclofmg with a dry-ilone 


Interior parts of the Highlands, 167 

dyke the fmall gardens of the fettlers 
we eilimate at 50 1; and for inclofing 
thofe of the other fettlers we reckon 
20 1. will be neceifary, making toge- 
ther 70 1. We reckon 200 1. would be 
fufficient to defray the expence of fu- 
perintending the building of the vil- 
lage, and 500 1. may be ilated as the 
purchafe-money of a piece of muir- 
ground, for the lite of the village, and 
for a fmall territory about it, upon 
which it might, if needful, be extend- 
ed : and we Hate 460 1. for carrying on 
any other building which may be found 
neceifary, and for incidents and contin- 
gencies; making the whole out-lay for 
the village the fum of 4150 L 

Having given this abilracl of our 

fcheme of building the village, it is 

P next 

170 Improvement of the 

ferred as the firjl upon which thie 
experiment Hiould be tried^ whether miy 
manufa^iire at all in thefe parts would 
anfwer. In mod of the manufadures of 
this country^ coals are neceflary ; but as 
thefe (even although found in the 
Highlands) could not be obtained but 
at a very great expence, we fliould, for 
the reafons above mentioned, think it 
very unadvifcable, to make the experi- 
ment in queilion upon any manufadlure 
in which the ufe of that fuel was abfo- 
lutely neceiTary. The (lockings, we 
would propofe fliould not be manufac- 
tured in the loom, but knitted upon 
wires, as is pradifed in the country of 
Aberdeen-iliire : this method is net on- 
ly beil fuited to the Highlands, as tend- 
ing to anfwer one of the chief purpofes of 
the Society viz. the employing the peo- 
ple ^ 

Interior Parts of the Highlands. 171 

pie • but the ftocldngs fo manufaclurcd, 
though not fo fliewy, are yet more fub-^ 
ftantial than loom (lockings, and have 
accordingly preference in Holland^ 
which is the beft market for flockings 
we know. At fame time, if cireum- 
ftances juftify it, the loom flocking- 
weaving might be tried. 

The next thing for our conlidera- 
tion, is, to fix upon that plan of intro- 
ducing this manufacture into the inte- 
rior Highlands, which fhall be leaft 
liable to abufe or difappointment. We 
own this is not fo ^?Sy to judge of: for, 
on the one hand, Vv'e find that to at- 
tempt it upon cheap, terms would only- 
produce the evils we dread ; on the o- 
ther hand, v/e find the encouragementL^ 
neceflary to do it to purpofe v.'ill be a 
F 3 heavy 

2 7^ Impro'vefnent of the 

heavy expence. We have, however, no 
alternative, as it is clear that that method 
which fhall be found to bring the So- 
ciety's intentions beft about^ though 
moil expenlive at firft, will alfo be found 
in the end to be the cheapeft, and to it^ 
therefore, we give the preference. The 
Society's purpofes can never be brought 
•about by taking the manufadure into 
its own hand, and appointing people to 
fuperintend and conducSl it. Needy or 
defperate men might offer themfelves 
upon eafy terms ; but experience fhews^ 
that the execution of public purpofes^ 
trulled into the hands of fuch people^ 
has not produced any good ; unlefs ad- 
miniitering to the neceffities of the par- 
ties fo employed can be called fo. If 
therefore the Society fhall ever think 
of adopting the meafures we are recom- 

Interior parts of the Highlands, 173; 

mending, if they are to be well ferved^ 
it mutt be by perfons, not only of cha- 
radler and probity, but of known pro- 

The encouragements necelTary, on 
the one hand, to procure the fervices of 
a perfon or perfons of this defcription, 
and the engagements he or they ought 
to come under in return for thefe encou- 
ragements, on the other hand, is what 
we fliall now ft ate. 

To make the Society's intentions in 
this refpecl public, the beft way would 
be, to advertife in the newfpapers the of- 
fers of the Society, which, in our hum- 
ble opinion, ought to be as follows, viz. 
That to any perfon or perfon?, indivi- 
duals or companies, converfant in the 


1/4 Improvemeni of the 

woollen manufadure, who lliall fatisfy 
the Society, that he or they are polfef- 
fed of a capital of at leaft 1500I. and 
who fliall be willing to fet up the faid 
buiinefs in faid village, and to come 
under the conditions hereafter to be 
mentioned, the Society will procure 
the following encouragements to be 
given : Firjl, That there Ihall be paid to 
fuch perfonSy upon the amount of the 
capital employed by him or them, each 
and every year, a clear premium of 15 
per cent, per annum, idly, That the 
Society, for the farther encouragement 
of fuch perfon or perfons, will procure 
accommodations to be built for carrying 
on the fiiid buiinefs, and accommodations 
alfo for the family of fuch perfon or 
perfons, to the extent, together, of at 
leaft 550I. ; fuch buildings to be exe- 

Interior Parts of the Hlihlamh. 173 

cuted according to the plan of the faid 
perfon or perfons, but under the infpec- 
tion of the Society or its agent, '^dly^ 
That the faid perfon or perfons, fhall, 
befides thefe encouragements, be entit- 
led tp the exclulive privilege of carry- 
ing on the faid bufinefs in the faid vil- 
lage, for the term of fourteen years, du- 
ring all which time he fhall be free of 
rent for the faid buildings, and be en- 
titled to the faid i^per cent, and alfo 
the other encouragements herein after 
mentioned, ^thly. That the Society 
fhall engage itfelf to have ahvays upon 
hand in the faid village, a fufficient 
quantity of oat or bear- meal, ready to 
be fold to the people employed in the 
faid manufacture by fuch perfon or per- 
fons, at the average price which it fliall 
appear from the m.odes prefcribed by 


17^ Improvement of the 

law, for fixing the prices which regu- 
late the importation and exportation of 
vidlual, fuch meal fliall bear at the 
time, in the county where the aid 
.village fliall be iituated. S^hly, The 
Society ihould offer, for facilitating the 
trade of fuch perfon or perfons, to pro- 
cure, that good and palTable roads fnall 
be made between fuch village, and the 
fea-port town nearqfl thereto, tthly, The 
Society fhould offer to procure, that fuch 
perfon or perfons fhall be accommodated 
during the currency ofthefaid fourteen 
years, with a quantity of land rent- 
free in the near vicinity of fuch village, 
fufficient for the maintenance of three 
horfes and two cows ; two of the former 
of which, with a proper waggon, the So- 
ciety fnould engage to procure to fuch 


Interior Parts of the Highlands, 177 

perfon or perfons gratis. For the far- 
ther encouragement of fuch perfon or 
perfons, the Society fiiould engage it* 
felf, that, at the expiry of the faid four* 
teen years, it fhould be optional to the 
faid perfon to continue the bargain 
with the Society for feven years more, 
with this dedudlion of circumltances in 
favours of the latter, that at the expiry 
of the faid firil term of years, and 
during the currency of the faid fe- 
ven years, the faid perfon or perfons 
iliould not be entitled to the exclufive 
privilege of carrying on the faid manu- 
facture in the faid village, nor to any 
more than 10 per cent, per annum upon 
the fum employed by him or them in 
each year during the faid feven years. 
And lajlly. For the ftill farther en- 
couragement of fuch perfon or perfons^ 


178 Improvement of the 

it fhould be optional to him or them, to 
continue the bargain with the Society 
for flili feven years more, v/ithout any 
exclufive privilege infavom's of the for- 
mer, and upon a premium of only 5 per 
cent, per annum, upon the fum he or 
they fhall fo employ, fubje6l to a de- 
duction in name of rent, of 5 per cent, 
of the fum the buildings and land occu- 
pied by fuch perfon or perfons, Ihall 
have coft the Society or the public. For 
the additional encouragement of fuch 
*perfon or perfons, the Society ihould en- 
gage itfelf, that T\"ith every apprentice 
the faid perfon or perfons fliall take to 
teach the weaving, dyeing, waulking, 
or wool-combing, for feven years, the 
Society will procure to be paid to fuch 
perfon or perfons the fum of 50 1. in 
name of apprentice-fee, upon th€ maf- 


Interior Parts of the Highlands, 179 

t-er, becoming bound to maintain and 
clothe, in a fiiitable manner, fuch appren- 
tice during the whole time of his faid fer- 
vice ; and the Society ihould farther en- 
gage itfelf to build for the accommodation, 
of the trade of fuch perfon or perfons, a 
dye-houfe, a comb-fliop, and a waulk- 
mill, together with free houfes and gar- 
dens, to each of the perfons w ho fhall 
occupy the faid works ; and to accommo- 
date, alfo in Tike manner, the perfons 
hereafter to be mentioned, which the 
faid perfon or perfons fhall by his or 
their bargain be obliged to bring into 
the faid village for teaching the country 
people. The Society iliould at the 
fame time offer, in like public manner, 
to fuch perfons as are willing to fettle 
in the faid village, and to furnifh out of 
(^ their 

i8o Improvement of the 

their refpe6live familes five people able 
to work at the faid manufadure, a 
houfe and garden, fre€ of rent for 
feven years, and to fupply fuch families 
at all times with meal, at the prices al- 
ready mentioned. To perfors willing 
to carry on any ufeful craft, or a retail 
trade in the village^ the Society Ihould 
offer one of the 50 1. houfes and a gar* 
den, rent-free for three years. 

In return for thefe encouragements, 
the Society fliould, in xki^firjl place, take 
fuch contrader or contradlers bound by 
iiimfeif or themfelves, and two fufficient 
fecurites, in afum equal to double his or 
their capital, that he or they fliall imple- 
ment everycondition he or they may en-, 
ter into with the Society or the publicw 


Inter-tor Farts of the Highlands, i8l 

Next, the faid perfon or perfons fliouldbe 
taken bound to bring into the faid village, 
and keep there at all times, during the 
currency of his or their faid bargain, 
ten young women from Aberdeen- fliire, 
and as many weavers of ferge from Stir- 
ling, the former for the purpofe of 
teaching the fpinning of woolen yarn, 
and knitting of {lockings; and the lat- 
ter, for teaching apprentices the ferge- 
weaving : And alfo, to bring into the 
faid village, and keep there as aforefaid, 
four wool- combers, one dyer, and one 
waulker, for inllruding apprentices. 
Next, the faid perfon or perfons Ihould 
be taken bound, to keep employed, du- 
ring the currency of his or their faid 
-bargain, within the manufacluring-houfe^ 
the following number of perfons .in each 

0^2. of 

i82 Improvement of the 

of the branches of the manufacture, viz. 
Eleven ferge- weavers, thirty fpmners of 
wool, and as many knitters of llockings, 
including apprentices and women-learn- 
ers : In the comb-fhop, five wool- com- 
bers, including an apprentice : In the 
dye-houfe, three dyers, including ap- 
prentices 5 and at the waulk-mill, two 
waulkers, including an apprentice. 
And moreover, fuch perfon or perfons 
Hiould be obliged to engage himfelf or 
themfelves, to employ at leafl fifty of 
the country people without doors, in 
fpinning w^ool, or knitting {lockings, if 
as many w^ill accept of employment. 
At fame time, there fliould be no re- 
llraint upon fuch perfon or perfons, to 
employ as many more as he or they 

Ihall think proper. Such perfon or 


ihterior Parts of the Highlands, i S 3 

perfons fhould be farther taken bound, 
to take at lead one apprentice each year, 
daring the faid fourteen years, to the 
weaving bufinefs ; one each third year 
to the wool-combing; two every fifth 
year to the dyeing bufinefs ; and one e- 
very feventh year to the vvaulking : 
The faid apprentices to be natives of 
the Highlands. 

Thefe are the outlines of what ap- 
pears to us proper to be done, for mak* 
ing trial of introducing the woollen ma- 
nufadure into the interior Highlands. 
We do not recollect any farther regu- 
lations of confequence, which we ima- 
gine would be necefTary, except the ap- 
pointment of fome proper perfon at faid 
village, with a faitable allowance, ux 
0^3 quality 

1S4 Improvement of the 

quality of agent for the public, to be 
a check upon the nianufa<Slurer, and to 
fell the meal to the villagers out of the 
public flore-houfe. This perfon ought 
to be in the commillion of the peace, to 
enable him to decide any little differen- 
ces which may arife in the village. 
We might have mentioned fundry lef- 
fer regulations, which may be necef- 
fary, but they would have only fwelled 
our paper, already perhaps long enough*^ 
We have, as we imagine, pointed out the 
way to avoid the greatefl difficulties^ 
When fuch a village is eilablifhed for a 
year or two, it will be eafy, by throwing 
out little baits, to allure fmall country 
dealers and others, to come and fettle 
in it ; to obtain a fl:iare of the money 
which the manufadure will circulate, 


Interior Parts of the Highlands, 185 

will of itfelf be a fufHcient inducement 
to fome. 

But the greateil obflacle to our 
icheme yet remai?is. We have been 
all along fpeaking of introducing 
the manufacture in queilion into the 
Highlands, without faying who Ihall 
be at the expence of doing fo. In 
treating of the Filheries, we took occa- 
fion to remark, that a bulinefs of the 
nature before us was in our opinion 
properly the province of the State. We 
refled:, with almoil indignation, upon 
the wafle of money (no lefs than 27,000 L 
in nine years) which toak place in con- 
fequence of the plan for carrying on a 
manufadlure in the Highlands in the 
lafl reign : What amazing things might 
have been done with that money by due 


tS6 Improvement of the 

management? but that is not now a 
matter for confideration : The pomt is, 
to endeavour to find out means where- 
by money could be raifed to make the 
experiment we are fpeaking of: We 
do not think it could be made upon a 
fmaller fcale than that we have propof- 
ed ; fome will perhaps think the fcale 
propofed too fmall ; but if the fchemc 
is found not to anfwer, enough of mo- 
ney will be loll, and if it fucceeds, it is 
eafy to enlarge the undertaking. 

Comparatively fmall as the fum 
needed is^ yet we doubt if minifters will 
go into the meafurc of granting it : It 
would interfere with the plan of oeco- 
nomy which they, it appears, would 
wifli to lay down to themfelves : there- 

Interior Farts of the Highlan ds* 187 

fore, in the worll event, we do not think 
it would be very difficult to raife the 
liim wanted, by private contribution. 

In confidering this, there is no plan 
which it appears to us would anfwer fo 
well, as for the gentlemen in Scotland, 
who have landed property in the High- 
lands, to aiTefs themfelves voluntarily 
in a fmall pondage upon the real rent 
of their refpedive eftates, which would 
raife all that would be needed, without 
falling very heavy upon any indivi- 
dual. We fuppofe a fund rather under 
lOjCOol. would anfwer for building the 
village, paying the premium to the 
manufadurer, the falaries to the minif- 
ter, fchoolmafler, and fuperintendant, 
making the road, and floring meal for 


iE8 Improvetnent of the 

the villagers. There is no doubt, that 
no immediate profit would arife to any 
individual contributer to this plan, (the 
proprietor or proprietors of the land in 
the neighbourhood of the village ex- 
cepted,) but rather lofs ; at lead, for a 
longtime, no money would come in ; 
though, if the village throve, there is^ 
no doubt but in time the fubfcribers or 
their heirs would be indemnified. But 
the confideration, that the objecSt aimed 
at is not fo much immediate profit, as 
the diffufing of general good, (in which 
even individual contributors may even- 
tually Ihare) will, in the opinion of 
every well-wifher of his country, more 
than compenfate any temporary lofs 
fuflained by him in the profecution of 

the plan propofed. 


Interior JParts of the ttigllands, 189" 

After all, aid from Government 
fhould not be defpaired of. The influ- 
ence of the Highland Society is great^ 
and its exertions no lefs fo : perhaps by 
flrenuous efforts, the fum mentioned, 
and probably more, might be obtained 
for the purpofe in hand : That this.. 
may be the cafe, we moil devoutly 

We have now gone over a good deal 
-of ground, and probably from our 
manner, as well as our matter, have tired 
^our reader. All we can fay is that we 


190 Improvement af the 

meant wel], aud fhall be extremely 
happy if any thing we have faid will 
be found ufeful. The truth we have 
made our ftandard ; and in our opinions, 
as well as in our details have had regard 
to that alone. We fliall conclude with 
briefly recapitulating our chief topics. 



Interior Parts of the lUglland:. i o i 





FinsT, we have argued, That there is 
already as much encouragement given 
to the Rerring Fifhery, as, in the pre- 
fent confined fale of that fifh, is con- 
fident with the fafety of the trace : 
That before much farther encou- 
ragement be given, new markets muil 
be found out, or thofe already l:ncv n 
fecured to us by the fuperiority of cur 
fifli: That our herrings, being at 
prefent inferior to cur great rivals the 
Dutch,— therefore, the /r,/?, and almcft 

R only 

192 Ohfervations upon 

only encouragement to be given the 
Fiiliery for them, is, to bring over 
Dutch curers into this country, to teach 
our people their method. This is our 
opinion as to the Herring- Fifhery. 

With regard to the improvement of 
the inland parts of the Highlands, we 
think it very practicable, and that it is an 
objed well worthy of public attention: 
That the introdudion of fome ufeful 
manufadlure would be the bell means 
of attaining that delirable purpofe ; and 
that the woollen manufacture is the one 
bed adapted to the inland parts of the 
Highlands, in the prefent ilate of that 

We have in the foregoing paper faid 

little about the Fifliery for cod, ling, 


The Scotch FiJJjerie^, l^c. 193, 

atid other grav.fifli: The people of 
Scotland can cure thefe kinds of fifli, at 
leaft equally well with any foreigners ;, 
but there are fuch prodigious quantities 
caught by the Dutch, Danes, Swede^-^ 
See. that the markets are generally glut- 
ted ; and beiides, thefe nations un- 
derfell us \ which they are enabled to 
do, from the cheap way in which they 
condudl every thing about the Fifher} . 
There is, however, great room yet to 
profecute the Gray Fillicry to a confide- 
rable extent ; for we have a very good 
market for thefe fifli in the Britilht 
capital: The encouragements given^ 
through the hands of the truilees for 
Fiilieries and manufactures in Scotland, 
to that trade, we think are very liberal, 
as well as the bounty paid by Govern- 
ment upon the exportation of fuch fifh ; 
R 2 and 

104 Ohjcrvations upon 

and both ought to ftimulatc adventu- 
rers in that way. 


We take leave of the whole fubjedl, by 
candidly confefung, that the FiJJjcry 
itfelf, unconneded with the circum- 
fiances of its being a nurfery for fea- 
nien, is by no means fo confiderable 
an objecl as has been imagined. A 
great deal has been faid about our ex- 
cellent fituation for fifhing \ and there 
is no body^ can doubt but our fliorcs 
are frequented by all kinds of fifli. The 
enthufiafis upon this fubjecl have how- 
ever forgot, that a great many countries 
in Europe, efpecially upon the coafls of 
the Baltic, are nearly equally well fltu- 
ated for lifliing. Thefe . people have 


The Scotch Fi/J:feries, i^c. 195 

argued in faA^ours of unHmitedly puflv 
ing the Fiilieiy, in fame manner as if 
there were not a fifli to be fomid upon 
any of the coafts of Europe, except thofe 
of GreatBritain. But the egregious folly 
of fuch advice is apparent, when it is 
well known, that the coafis of great part 
of Europe are as well frequented by lilh 
as ours, and that the natives there can 
meet us at market, fome of them Vv^itli 
better cured, and ail of them withcheap- 
er hill than ours, to the almoil total e» 
clunonof us from any fhare of the trade 

The truth feem& to be, that the mat* 

ter has not been fo well digeiled or un-- 
derilood as was neceiTary, before it was- 
publicly embarked in : This was ow- 
ing to too much confidence having been 
put in the plaufible averments, contain- 
ed in certaia writings with vvhich the 
R 3 public 

Tg6' Ohfervations upon- 

public were entertained, fome time be- 
fore the bufinefs of the Fifheries was 
taken up by Parliament : who thefe wri- 
tings came from, every one knows, as well 
as how much the fplendid conclufions 
therein drawn, and tlie mighty things 
there promiled, have, by experience, 
lince that time been found to fall Ihort, 

If therefore thofe virtuous individuals, 
who have, from the befl of motives, llept 
forward in this bulinefs, wifli to avoid 
mi (lake and difappointment, they will 
read every line of thofe romantic fcrib- 
blers, who have propofed numbers of Fijh- 
ingTowns, (nay, fome of them, Fishing 
Cities !) with caution; and, without re- 
garding their clofet- reveries, judge for 
themfelves, and bellow that pains and 
expence upon, the Fifnery which it 
iliall have a good claim to, and no more. 

The Scotch Fifieriesy Is'c. 197 

We fliould be wanting to the inten- 
tion which we have profeiTed, of giving 
our lincere and undilguifed opinion up- 
on the matters in hand, if we jQiould 
finally conclude thefe our obfervations, 
without recalling to the attention of the 
Joint-itock Company, what we have 
faid concerning the neceffity, which, in 
our opinion, there is, for that Society 
endeavouring to find out fome other 
employment belides fiihing, for the 
people who may fettle at their new vil- 
lages upon the Well coait. Without 
this point is attended to, what has been 
fo nobly and generouily done by them 
for that country will be loft : A few 
years of ill fuccefs. in the fiiliing would 
defolate thefe villages. This evil 
llrikes at the very root of the Company's 
good purpofes -.Indeed, for our part, we 
do not fee how the poor people, who may 


19 3 Ohftrvafions upon 

come to refide in thefe villages, and who 
have no ether means of fubfiftence but 
by the Fiflicry, can remain there even 
during the yearly intervals of the fifli.- 
ing feafuns : We took the liberty, in a 
former part of thefe flieets, to propofe a 
remedy for this inconveniency : It was^ 
that the Company ihould endeavour to 
efiabliih fome kind of manufacture in 
thofe villages : It has been an objedlion, 
(and we think it a good one) that upon 
the Weft coaft, the Mier and the farmer 
are often one and the fame perfon,. by 
"vvliich means juilice is not done to either 
of the profeiTions : But no cbjedion of 
that fort can be made againft the plan 
of fetting up a manufadure in each of 
the new villages ; becaufe, if it is a 
woollen one, (as we formerly propofed 
it ihould be) the work at it would fall 
to the fiiare of the women of the fami- 


"The Scotch FiJJjcrkSy bV. 199 

ly, and not to the men. By means of 
the money fo earned by the women, 
and the occalional fiihing and induftry 
of the men, the families of the fettlers 
would be fabfiiled during the intervals 
of the herring- feafon, — be enabled to 
live in comfort, — and at lafh becom.e at- 
tached to the village, as a place where 
they would be always lure of a living,- 
In fkort, if the Joint-It ock Company are 
to look for fuccefs in their laudable en- 
deavours, it is our moil fmcere opinion,, 
that they muil have a very tender care 
of their new eilabliHiments at their out- 
fet : All will depend on this. To what 
purpofe will it tend, if the Company 
fnould lay out ever fo much money, or 
occupy ever fo large an extent of 
ground, in theerecvtion of buildings? To 
be furc, a town will be foon produced in 
that way \ but a town, without inhabit- 


200 Ohfervations upon 

tants, will make but a woeful appear- 
ance, and do little good to its neigh- 
bourhood, or to the country at large. 
But if the Company fliall proceed up- 
on rational principles, and extend its 
foftering hand to its new eiVabiifhments ;, 
that is to fay, take fuch fteps^ and make 
fuch proyilion'Sj as that no poor man, who 
fhall come to relide in thefe villages^ 
will ever be obliged to leave them foe 
want of employment and fubfiftence,. 
the Company will foon fee tliefe efla- 
blifhments ftand upon their own legs, 
even totally independent of the Fifhery. 
In proportion as the true intereil of the 
new villages is attended to at their 
commencement, in proportion will they 
the fooner relieve the Company of the 
tafk of providing for them: A col- 
lected fociety is what is wanted up- 
on the Weft coaft above all things, 


The Scotch Tlffjeries^ Iffc, 201 

To effed: this purpofe, the Companv 
have taken the firil natural Hep, mz. 
The laying out and encouraging the 
building of a town. But furely it re- 
quires little penetration, to fee that 
this is only doing 'the one half of the 
bulinefs ; and it requires as little fore- 
light to pronounce, that if the other 
part {yi%. Finding employment for the 
people who may come to refide in the 
-towns) does not ihortly accompany the 
iirfl, what is already done will be loll. 
But if meafures are taken to hold out 
advantages to poor people to fettle at 
ihefe villages, by alluring them of con- 
flant employment, the confequence will 
be, that thefe fettlements will foon be 
populous enough. — A Society once col- 
leded, will tend to draw more people 
there to fupply its wants : mutual wants, 
and mutual dependencies, will unite, 


202 Ohjcrvatlons upon 

mix, and increafe this fociety * In ^'i 
iliort time, individuals will ftep in, to 
iliare with the Company the benefit of 
the people's labour, by eilablifhing ma- 
nufadlories upon their own account •, and 
at lad, the Comp>any, and the people of 
-this country, may, even in our own 
•times, have the ine^prelTible fatisfa^ion 
-ofv feeing thefe eftablifaments {landing 
.upon their own bottom, the Company 
relievedof their charge, and their aim of 
ciylUzing, fettling, rmd improving the 
•Weit Highland coail, fairly attained, to 
the comfort and bleffrng of thoufands, 
and to the everlafting honour of thole 
whofe patriotiGii and virtue firft led 
them to undertake the glorious talk of 
.exciting their fellow- fubjedls, and fel- 
low-men, to activity, and relieving thein 
from the pre "ure ci want. 

F I N I s.