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These donations were received with the most grateful feelings, and afforded timely and important relief. In the statements of distress forwarded to the Committee from the manufacturing districts, the leading subject of complaint was the scarcity and exorbitant prices of all the necessaries of life. From the commencement of their labors, the Committee had, therefore, endeavoured so to administer the bounty of the Subscribers as to increase and economise the general stock of food. To promote the consumption of fish among the poor of the interior was thus suggested; and supplies of corned and salted fish were obtained, on moderate terms, by offers to the fishermen to take their surplus quantities of cod and herrings in good condition. The fish procured through this expedient, would, without the encouragement afforded by it, have been thrown overboard.

As soon as these cheap supplies were furnished, the Committee substituted grants of fish for those of money; and the readiness with which the poor received this diet in parts where it was before generally unknown, encouraged the Committee to increase their attention to a sphere of labor connected with so many important objects of general good. By fully promulgating the bounty of the

Subscribers, the Committee had obtained the most ample information as to the wants and sufferings of the manufacturing districts` at the time of the last General Meeting, and lost no time in affording the assistance intended by the liberality of the contributors. The number relieved, very shortly after that period, was thus considerable, and the means of furnishing that relief were greatly augmented by collections, kindly made on the Fast-day following the Meeting, by clergymen and ministers of religion of various denominations, which the Committee avail themselves of this opportunity thankfully to acknowledge. The "Fish Association," formed about the same time, considering that this Committee were efficiently pursuing its own object, has more recently, in the most liberal manner, transferred the whole of its remaining stock, being 5841. 2s. 2d. in further augmentation of their funds.

Happier times for all classes of manufacturers were, however, from that period fast approaching. Trade had begun to revive, the necessaries of life were soon afforded to the manufacturing poor, through the usual channels, and the circumstances, which, in the first instance, had called forth the benevolence of the public, ceased to exist. The Committee have, however, been gratified to observe, that although the measures originally adopted, were intended merely to furnish a particular relief, and to surmount a temporary evil, they were found to be such as were connected with general interests of uniform value and importance. The Committee have been happy to reflect, that the Association approved of the extension of the original objects of the institution to so important a measure of public welfare, as an increase of the consumption of fish, and the encouragement of the British Fisheries. An extension of the original object of relief of the industrious poor it certainly must be considered; but it is one which well provides for them, while it opens a source of benefits to all. The re-instatement of the laboring classes of society, together with the tendency which the efforts of the Committee had, nearly from their outset taken towards assisting and obtaining assistance from the fisheries, are circumstances which thus have necessarily directed their late operations almost exclusively to that important purpose.

It would seem on a cursory view to be a fact, for which no adequate or satisfactory reason could be given, that while so many of the inhabitants of this country are commendably employed in toiling hard for the cultivation of the earth, in the laborious exertions necessary from opening and enriching the soil, gathering in the harvest, and attending to all the detail of labor, even to the ultimate distribution to the consumer, with an ample deduction of expense from their hard-earned profits-an ample supply of ex

cellent nutritious food surrounding our shores, and in a state always ready for our use, should be left comparatively untouched, or left for strangers to possess, and sometimes to collect for us to purchase from them; and that this should be the case when the taking of it secures to us collateral benefits of inestimable impor, tance, and forms a main support of that national dignity and preeminence which is derived from the excellence and bravery of our sailors; initiated to maritime toils by early employment in the fisheries. The Committee repeat that these resources are comparatively untouched; for it is a fact that, with the exception of a small proportion of the country, there is no supply of fish which merits the name of a supply, or it is such a supply as would readily be considered a famine, were it applied to any other article of food in general use among us.

Although no reason can be assigned which can sufficiently account for so little having been effectually done to supply the country with fish, it will not be difficult to point out what has been, and in a measure continues to be, the sources of this evil, as it now presents itself; and we may notice,

I. The unskilful interference which from the earliest times has been practised with the fisheries, in order to promote their interests, and the want of encouragements suited to their nature, and the character of the persons engaged in them.

Were we to judge of the condition of the fisheries from the number of attempts which have been made for their regulation and improvement, we must certainly conclude that nothing could be wanting to render their prosperity complete-the statute book abounds with enactments, intended to give them every sort of encouragement; repeated ordinances, even under Protestant governments, for the eating of fish on particular days; compulsory regulations for entering into the service of the fisheries, and for not deserting them; prohibitions against taking fish, except of proper sizes, and at suitable periods of the year,-companies almost innumerable established with capitals, varying in amount up to the extent of half a million, which for the most part have adopted the measure of becoming themselves concerned in the trade, and engaging in fishing adventures, and which also for the most part have thus completely failed in their purpose, and broken up their establishments. For in this case little of that superintendance can be exercised, which in other cases must serve to promote attention and so quicken industry. Here, there is no inviting spot where the owner of the soil may survey the progress of cultivation, and daily ascertain the sloth or diligence of those who labor in it. The scene of operation is in this instance remote from observation. The produce of these toils is such as baffles

all calculations of its probable amount, and whether his servants have been negligent or industrious, whether they have brought home all their produce, or done that which is known to have been frequently done in these cases, sold it on the opposite coast, he has no means of ascertaining.

The Committee endeavoured to profit by the attempts which have been before made to promote the general supply of fish, and the effects which have followed them, and to avoid, as much as possible, the errors which they had the advantage, not possessed by their predecessors in this sphere of exertion, of having thus suggested for their caution. They have therefore entirely avoided any immediate and direct interference in the obtaining of the fish: they have attempted collaterally to afford the fishermen encouragement, to contribute to their existing and natural inducements to exertion, and not further to connect themselves with their concerns. The nature and effect of these attempts will now be noticed.

Many years since there existed a Cod Fishery, carried on from the shores of this country to the North Seas and Iceland, in which about two hundred vessels were employed; but this fishery, from the operation of the duties on salt, had been nearly if not completely annihilated.

In the year 1782, some gentlemen of Yarmouth represented this public loss to a committee of the House of Commons, and offered to re-establish that important fishery, if this impediment were removed. It not being found expedient that the measure should then be adopted, the fishery was not revived. The wil lingness which had been discovered in the manufacturing districts to receive, and even to purchase supplies of fish, together with the prospect offered of the sale of it in the general market of the metropolis for home consumption, encouraged the Association to propose to the general body of fishermen to purchase, at the rate of 187. per ton, all the corned cod taken and cured at the North Seas and Iceland Fisheries which they could not otherwise dispose of, and should bring to Mr. J. E. Saunders, the agent to the Association, in good marketable condition. It should be understood that the vessels that engage in this fishery are furnished with large wells, in which a considerable quantity of fish is preserved, and brought alive to the London Market. The live fish form about one-third of their cargo; the rest of it consists of the fish which they salt and pile in the holds of the vessels. In the first season that the above inducement was offered to the fishermen, the Committee had the satisfaction to find, that one hundred tons of salted cod, and fifty tons of fresh cod, were brought to the London Market: none of which would have been

otherwise taken. In the next season, the Committee renewed an offer which had before produced so useful an effect: the consequence was, that the supply then brought amounted to two hundred tons of salted, and one hundred tons of fresh cod; and in the year 1813, when the Committee again renewed their offer, no less a quantity than six hundred tons of salt cod, and three hundred tons of fresh cod, were thus added to the common stock of human food. The whole of these large quantities of fish were disposed of in the manner before noticed, and formed a material article of the food of that immense body of French prisoners which have since quitted our shores.

In the last year, the Committee were proceeding again to adopt a measure of encouragement fraught with such important benefits, when an impediment occurred which they mention with deep regret.

The allowances of salt, duty free, for the purposes of the North Sea and Iceland Fisheries, were regulated by the 25th Geo. III. cap. 65; and the curing of the fish in the former instances in which the Committee were concerned, had proceeded with due sanction under this Act. When the fishermen, however, were about to proceed on their voyages in the last year, difficulties arose as to their entering under that statute; and it was suggested that the allowances of salt given by it had been repealed by subsequent enactments. Seventy pounds weight of salt for the dry salting of one hundred weight of cod are barely sufficient for the purpose. But, probably through some obscurities which had incidentally arisen on a multifarious subject, the 38th Geo. III cap. 89, which allows only fifty pounds weight of salt for the cure of one hundred weight of cod; and even the 41st Geo. III. cap. 21, by which twenty-two pounds of salt per hundred weight are allowed, to preserve fish for a few days after its landing, were successively mentioned as the Acts under which their entries should be made. It has been since found, that one of the masters of a fishing boat actually entered under the latter statute, having been directed so to do, and concluding that all was right. An alarm, however, had spread throughout the body of fishermen, and when, by the kind interference of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, an order to the Excise was obtained for the fishermen being allowed the like quantities of salt, duty free, which they had before received, they for the most part wholly abandoned that fishery for the season. The number of vessels which were about to proceed to it was double that of the preceding year, in which nine hundred tons of cod were obtained; and the injury thus produced may be readily estimated, for only about one hundred and fifty tons of live and salted cod were furnished by these fisheries in the

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