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Leonard Maschal, about the year 1514*, to whom we were alio indebted for that excellent apple the pepin. The many good things that our island wanted before that period, ^re enumerated in this old distich:
TurkieSi carps, hops, pickerel, and beer,
As to the two last articles we have some doubts, the others we believe to be true. Russia wains these fish at this day; Sweden has them only in'the ponds of the people of fathion: Polish Prussia is the thief seat of the carp; they abound in the rivers and lakes of that country, particularly in the Fri ch and Cuiisch-hasf, where they are taken os a vail size. They are there a great article os commerce, and sent in well-ooats to Sweden and Ruflia. The merchants purchase them out of the Waters of the noblesse of the country, who draw a good revenue from this article. Neither are there wanting among our gentry, instances of some who make good prosit os their pon-is.
The ancients do not separate the carp from the sea siih. We are credibly informed that they are sometimes found in the harbour of Dantzick, between the town and a smaii placed called Hcla.
Carp are very long lived. Gesner brings an instance of one that was an hundred years old. They also grow to a very great size. On our own knowledge we c:m speak of none that exceeded twenty pounds in weight; but Jovius fays, that they were sometimes taken in the Lacus Lai ius (the Lago di Como) of two hundred pounds weight; and Rziczyn/ki mentions others taken in the Dniester that were five sect in length.
They are also extremely tenacious of life, and will live for a most remarkable time out of water. An experiment has been made by placing a carp in a net, well wrapped up in wet moss, the mouth only remaining out, and then hung up in a cellar, or some cool place s the fish is frequently fed with white bread and milk, and is besides often plunged into water. Carp thus managed have been known, not only to have lived above a fortnight, but to grow exceedingly fat, and far superior in taste to those that are immediately killed from the pond f.
* Fuller's Britisli Worthies, Sussex, 113.
f This was told me by a gmtleman of the utmriil veracity, who had twice made the cxpt-'iiment. The fame fact is related by that pious philosopher Doctor Derham, in his Physico-Theelogy, edit. 9th. 1737, ch. 1. p. 7. a.c.
The carp is a prodigious breeder: its quantity of roe has been sometimes found so great, that when taken out and weighed against the fish itself, the former has been found to preponderate. From the spawn of this fish caviare is made for the Jews, who hold this sturgeon in abhorrence.
These fish are extremely cunning, and on that account are by some styled the river fox. They will sometimes leap over the nets, and escape that way; at others, will immerse themselves so deep in the mud, as to let the net pas? over them. They are also very shy of taking a bait; yet at the spawning time they are so simple, as to suffer themselves to be tickled, handled, and caught by any body that will attempt it.
This fish is apt to mix its milt with the roe of other fish, from which is produced a spurious breed: we have seen the offspring of the carp and tench, which bore the greatest resemblance to the first: have also heard of the same mixture between the carp and bream.
The carp is of a thick shape: the scales very large, and when in best season of a fine gilded hue.
The jaws are of equal length; there are two teeth in the jaws, or on the tongue; but at the entrance of the gullet, above and below, are certain bones that act on each o.her, and comminute the food before it passes down.
On each side of the mouth is a single beard; above those on each side another, but shorter: the dorsal fin extends far towards ttrs tail, which is a littie bifurcated; the third ray of the dorsal fin is very strong, and armed with sharp teeth, pointing downwards; the third ray of the anal fin is constructed in the fame manner.
§ 27. The BarbkI..
This fish was so extremely coarse, as to be overlooked by the ancients till the time of Aosonius, and what he fays is no panegyric on it; for he lets us know it loves deep waters, and that when it grows old it was not absolutely bad.
Lax os exerecs Bakbf natatus,
It frequents the still and deep parts of rivers, and lives in society, rooting like swine with their noses in the soft banks. It is so tame as to suffer itself to be taken with the hand; and people have been known to
4 A 4 take take numbers by diving for them. In summer they move about during night in search of food, but towards autumn, and during winter, confine themselves to the deepest holes.
They are the worst and coarsest of fresh water fish, and seldom eat but by the poorer sort of people, who sometimes boil them with a bit of bacon to give them a relish. The roe is very noxious, affecting those who unwarily eat of it with a nausea, vomiting, purging,'and a slight swelling.
It is sometimes found of the length of three feet, and eighteen pounds in weight: it is of a long and rounded form: the scales rot large.
Its head is smooth: the nostrils placed near the eyes: the mouth is placed below: on each corner is a single beard, and another on each side the nose.
The dorsal fin is armed with a remarkable strong spine, sharply serrated, with which it can inflict a very severe wound on the incautious handler, and even do much damage to the nets.
The pectoral sins are of a pale brown colour; the ventral and anal tipped with yellow: the tail a little bifurcated, and of a deep purple: the side line is strait.
The scales are of a pale gold colour, edged with black: the belly is white.
§28. The Tench. The tench underwent the fame fate with the barbel, in respect to the notice taken of it by the early writers; and even Ausor.ius, who first mentions it, treats it with such disrespect as evinces the great capriciousness of taste; for that fish, which at present is held in such good repute, was in his days the repast only of the canaille.
Quis mn et virides vulgi solatia Tineas
It has been by some called the Physician of the fish, and that the slime is healing, that the wounded apply it as a styptic. Tlie ingenious Mr. Diaper, in his piscatory eclogues, fay., that even the voracious pike will (pare the tench on account of its healing powers:
The Tench he spares a medicinal kind!
Whatever virtue its flime may have to the inhabitant! of the water, we will not
vouch for, but its flesh is a wholesome and delicious food to those of the earth. The Germans are of a d fterent opinion. By way of contempt, they call it Shoemaker. Gesner even says, that it is insipid and unwholesome.
It does not commonly exceed soar or five pounds in weight, but we have heard of one that weighed ten pounds; Saivianas speaks of some that arrived at twenty pounds.
They love still waters, and are rarely found in rivers: they are very foolish, and easily caught.
The tench is thick and short in proportion to its length: the scales are very small, and covered with flime.
The irides are red: there is sometimes, but not always, a small beard at each corner of the mouth.
The colour of the back is dusky; the dorsal and ventral fins of the fame colour: the head, sides, ar.d belly, of a greenish cast, most beautifully mixed with gold, which is in its greatest fplender when the fish is in the highest season.
The tail is quite even at the end, and very broad.
§ 29. The Gudceon.
Aristotle mentions the gudgeon in two places; once as a river fish, and ?gain as a species that was gregarious: in a third place he describes it as a lea fish: we must therefore consider the Ki.£i&c he mentions, lib. ix. c. 2. and lib. viii. c- 19. as the fame with our species.
This fish is generally found in gentle streams, and is of a small size: those few, however, that are caught in the Kenner, and Cole, are three times the weight of those taken elsewhere. The largest we ever heard of was taken near Uxbridge, and weighed half a pound.
They bite eagerly, and are astembled by raking the bed of the river; to this spot they immediately crowd in shoals, expecting food from this disturbance.
The shape of the body is thick and round: the irides tinged with red: the gill covered with green and silver: the lower jaw is shorter than the upper: at each corner of the mouth is a single beard: the back olive, spotted with black: the side line strait; the sides beneath that silvery: the belly white.
The tail is forked; that, as well as the dorsal fin, is spotted with black.
§ 30. The Bream. The bream is an inhabitant of lakes, or the deep parts of still rivers. It is a fi(h that is very little esteemed, being extremely insipid.
It is extremely deep, and thin in propor. tion to its length. The back rises very much, and is very (harp at the top. The head and mouth are small: on some we examined in the spring, were abundance of minute whitish tubercles; an accident which Pliny seems to have observed berals the fish of the Lago Mrggiore, and Lago di Como. The scales are very large: the sides flat and thin.
The dorsal fin has eleven rays, the second of which is the longest: that fin, as well as all the rest, are of a dusky colour; the back of the fame hue: the sides yellowish.
The tail is very large, and of the form of a crescent.
§ 31. The Crucian.
This species is common in many of the fish ponds about London, and other parts of the south of England; but I believe is not a native fish.
It is very deep and thick: the back is much arched: the dorsal fin consists of nineteen rays; the two first strong and serrated. The pectoral fins have (each) thirteen rays; the ventral nine; the anal seven or eight: the lateral line parallel with the belly: the tail almost even at the end.
The colour of the fish in general is a deep yellow: the meat is coarse, and little esteemed.
$ 32. The Roach.
'Sound as a roach,' is a proverb that appears to be but indifferently founded, that fish being not more distinguished for its vivacity than many others; yet it is used by the French as well as us, who compare people of strong health to their gardon, our roach.
It is a common fish, found in many of our deep still rivers, affecting, like the others of this genius, quiet waters. It is gregarious, keeping in large shoals. We have never seen them very large. Old Walton speaks of some that weighed two pounds. In a list of fish sold in the London markets, with the greatest weight of each, communicated to us by an intelligent fishmonger, is mention of one whole weight was five pounds.
The roach is deep but thin, and the
back is much elevated, and sharply ridged: the scales large, and fall oft" very easily. Side lines bend much in the middle towards the belly.
§ 33. The Dace.
This, like tne roach, is gregarious, haunts the fame places, is a great breeder, very lively, and during summer is very fond of frolicking near the surface os the. water. This fish and the roach are coarse and insipid meat.
Its head is small: the irides of a pale yellow: the body long and slender: its length seldom above ten inches, though irt the above-mentioned list is an account of one that weighed a pound and an half: the scales smaller than those of the roach.
The back is varied with dusky, with a cast of a yellowish green: the sides and belly silvery: the dorsal fin dusky: the ventral, anal, and caudal fins red, but less so than those of the former: the tail is very much forked.
§ 34. The Chub.
Salvianus imagines this fish to have been the squalus of the ancients, and grounds his opinion on a supposed error in a certain, passage in Columella and Varro, where he would substitute the word squalus instead of fiarut: Columella says no more than that the old Romans paid much attention to their stews, and kept even the sea-fish, in fresh-water, paying as much respect to the mullet and fcarut, as those of his days did to the mnrœ-na and bass.
That thesarus was not our chuh, is very evident; not only because the chub is entirely an inhabitant of fresh waters, but likewise it seems improbable that the Romans would give themselves any trouble about the worst of river fish, when they neglected the most delicious kinds; all their attention was directed towards those of the sea: the difficulty of procuring them seems to have been the criterion of their value, as is ever the cafe with effete luxury.
The chub is a very coarse fish, and full of bones: it frequents the deep holes of rivers, and during summer commonly lies on the surface, beneath the shade of some tree or bush. It is a very timid 'filh, sinking to the bottom on the least alarm, even at the passing of a shadow, but they will soon resume their situation. It feeds on worms, caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles, and other coleopterous insects that happen to fall into the water; and it will even feed on cray-fifh. This fish will rife to a fly.
This fish takes its name from its head, not only in our own, but inotherlanguagcs; we call it chub, according to Skinner, from the old English, cop, a head; the French, tejlard; the Italians, capitone.
It docs not grow to a large size; we have known some that weighed above si"e pounds, but Salvianus speaks of others that were eight or nine pounds in weight.
The body is oblong, rather round, and of a pretty equal thickness the greatest part of the way: the scales are large.
The irides silvery; the cheeks of the fame colour: the head and back of a deep dusky green; the sides silvery, but in the summer yellow: the belly white: the pectoral fins ofa pale yellow: the ventral and anal fins red: the tail a little forked, of a brownisii hue, but tinged with blue at the end.
§35. The Bleak.
The talking of these, Ausonius lets us know, was the sport of children,
Ai.burnos ptaeJjm puerilibus hamis.
They are very common in many of our rivers, and keep together in large moats. These fish seem at certain seasons to be in great agonies; they tumble about near the surface of the water, and are incapable of swimming far from the place, bnt in about two hours recover, and disappear. Filh thu.i affected, the Thames fiihermen cail mad bleaks. They seem to be troubled with a species of gordius or hair-worm, of the fame kind with those which Arillotle * says that the balleriu and tills are infested with, which torments them so that they rife to the surface of the water and then die.
Artificial pearls a>e made with the scales of this si fit, and we think of the dace. They are beat into a fine powder, then diluted with water, and introduced into a thin glass bubble, which is afterwards silled with wax. The French were the inventors of this art. Doctor Lister f tells us, that when he was at Paris, a certain artist used in one winter thirty hampers full of silh in this manufacture.
The bleak seldom exceeds five or six inches in length: their body is slender, greatly compressed siJeways, not unlike that of the sprat.
The eyes are large; the irides of a pale yellow: the under jaw the longest: the iatei al line crooked: the gills silvery: the b-ckg' een : the sidta and belly silvery: the
* Hist- an. lib. »ilt. c. to.
fins pellucid: the scales fall off very easily: the tail much forked.
§ 36. The White Bait.
During the month of July there appear in the Thames, near Blackwall and Greenwich, innumerable multitudes of small filh, which are known to the Londoners by the name of White Bait. They are elieemed very delicious when fried with fine fiour, and occasion, during the season, a va:l resort of the lower order of epicures to the taverns contiguous to the places they are taken at.
There are various conjectures about this species, but all terminate in a suppositioa that they are the fry of some filh, but few ap;ree to which kind they owe thar origin. Some attribute it to the sbad.oia.'rstotht sprat, the smelt, and the bleak. That'hey neither belong to the shad, r or the sprat, is evident from the number of branchiofegous rays, which in those are eight, in this only three. That they are not the young of smelts, is as clear, because they want the pinna adipc/h, or raylcis fin; and that they are not the offspring of the bleak is extremely probable, since we never heard of the white bait being found m any other river, notwithstanding the bleak is very common in several of the British streams: but as the white bait bears a greater similarity to this fish than to ar.y other we have mentioned, we give it a place here as an appendage to the ble:>:, rather than form a distinct article of a £sn which it is impossible to class with certainty.
It is evident that it is of the carp or cyprinus genus; it has only three branchiollegous rays, and only one dorsal tr; and in respect to the form of the hody, ;s compressed like that of the bleak.
Its usual length is two inches: the under jaw is the longest: the irides silvery, the pupil black: the dorsal sn is placed nearer to the head than to the tail, and consists of about fourteen rays: the side line is strait: the tail forked, the tips black.
The head, sides, and belly, are silvery; the back tinged with green.
§ 37. The Mi Now.
Thij beautiful silh is frequent in many of our small gravelly streams, where they keep in shoals.
The body is slender and smooth, th« scales being extremely small. It seldom exceeds three inches in length.
The lateral line is of a golden colour: the back flat, and of a deep olive: the fides and belly vary greatly in different fish; in a few are of .1 rich crimson, in others bluish, in others white. The tail is forked, and marked near the base with a dusky spot.
§ 38. The Gold Fish.
These fish are now quite naturalized in this country, and breed as freely in the ppen waters as the common carp.
They were sirtl introduced into England about the year 1691, but were not generally known till 1728, when a great number were brought over, and presented first to Sir Mathew Dekker, and by him circulated round the neighbourhood of London, from whence they have been distributed to most parts of the country.
In China the most beautiful kinds are taken in a small lake in the province of Che-Kyang. Every person os fashion keeps them for amusement, either in porcelaine vessels, or in the small basons that decorate the courts of the Chinese houses. The beauty of their colours and their lively motions give great entertainment, especially xo the ladies, whose pleasures, by
reason of the cruel policy os that country* are extremely limited.
In form of the body they bear a great resemblance to a carp. They have been, known in this island to arrive at the length of eight inches; in their native place they are said * to grow to the size of our largest herring.
The nostrils are tubular, and form a fort of appendage above the nose: the dorsal fin and the tail vary greatly in shape: the tail is naturally bifid, but in many is trifid, and in some even quadrifid: the anal fins are the strongest characters of this species, being placed not behind one another like those of other fish, but opposite each other like the ventral fins.
The colours vary greatly; some are marked with a fine blue, with brown, with, bright silver; but the general predominant colour is gold, of a most amazing splendor; but their colour and form need not be dwelt on, since those who want opportunity os seeing the living fish, may survey them expressed in the most animated manner, in the works of our ingenious and honest friend Mr. George Edwards.
• Du Halde, 316.
A New Chronological Table of Remarkable Events, Discoveries, and Inventions:
Also, the Æra, the Country, and Writings of Learned Men.
The whole comprehending, in one View, the Analysis or Outlines of General History from the.
Creation to the present Time.
4004 'TpHE creation of the world, and Adam and Eve.
4°°3 X. The birth of Cain, the first who was born of a woman.
3017 Enoch, for his.piety, is translated into Heaven.
2348 The old world is destroyed by a deluge which continued 377 days.
2247 The tower of Babel is built about this time by Noah's posterity, upon which God
miraculously confounds their language, and thus disperses them into different
About the fame time Noah is, with great probability, supposed to have parted from his rebellious offspring, and to have led a colony of some of the more tractable into the East, and there either he or one of his successors to have founded the ancient Chinese monarchy.