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the public, it has not ere now been generally adopted, the explanation is not difficult. In the first place, customwhich is always hard to alter-is against the change. In the second place, all that is overrated by the present system and is secretly doubtful of maintaining its position under the new, all that is stupid and all that is actuated by prejudice or private object, is set vehemently against an alteration that would appraise every man at his true value, and try every composition by open and strict rules. In the third place, the fancied interests of newspaper proprietors array them against the reform. They conceive that as the public would not stand mediocrity, and as able men would be recognized, they would have to pay more to secure the best abilities. Probably they are right. But probably also they are wrong in their deduction, that their interests would permanently suffer. Whatever adds to the character of newspapers, increases their circulation. And if magazine proprietors find their advantage in engaging the best available talent at its own price, and in letting the public know that they have done so, there seems no good reason why highclass journals should not.
It seems evident, at all events, that the idea is gaining ground. The increasing influence of journalism is attended with a rise in the position of journalists, and with at the same time an inclination in the public to discover the individual writers and a desire in the writers to be personally recognised. Novelists, travellers, philosophers, statesmen, are all known to be among the contributors to the columns of leading journals, and even ministers of the crown add to their weight by being understood to write in daily papers. There is no reason that they should not. The function thus exercised is, next to that of addressing the House of Commons, the most powerful means of swaying political opinion. In some respects it even surpasses in influence that more distinguished organ. But the very magnitude of its influence increases the necessity for its being exercised under the chastening influence of direct responsibility. Aspiring to form and to lead public opinion, and in great measure attaining its pretension, there is the
more urgent necessity for its reciprocal subjugation to the salutary constraints which public opinion imposes on the individual depositories of power. And when the best men are ready to accept these conditions, and recognize that by adoption of them their power for good will be enhanced, while they will be freed from the taint of associated and undistinguishable corruption, or foolishness, the establishment of the principle cannot be long deferred.
It only needs to be added, that the course here advocated is not to be measured by the effects of compulsory acknowledgment, combined with a crushing censorship, in France. What is suited for England is the opposite of the French system in both these respects. It would be voluntary instead of compulsory, and subject to the restraint of public opinion, not of the police and the Home Office. But it may be safely asserted that the degra dation of the French press has been accomplished by the law of prosecutions, warnings, and suppressions, and in no degree by the obligation of signature. Rather, perhaps, the latter requirement has saved French journalism from sinking yet lower, by engaging the honor of a few men in the struggle to maintain its position under every difficulty, and by saving them from being confounded in one general contempt. We, under happier circumstances, may reap larger advantages, with less difficulties to contend against. We have in that profession an ability no less, with an independence far greater. What yet remains to be done is that we elevate the tone, and purge out the corruptions that infect the whole with a pervading sentiment of want of uprightness. The way to which is, very obviously, to insist upon every one bearing the open responsibility for his own share in the work.
For this result there is not needed any Act of Parliament. The honorable ambition, and the yet more honorable sensitiveness of public writers will ere long insist on the change being made. Public opinion will sustain and enforce the demand. It will be felt to be an intolerable anomaly that while all our public affairs are conducted by men who come into the light of day, public opinion upon them should be formed and
guided by men who remain in the dark. It will seem monstrous that an author who testifies in his own name to what he believes to be the truth, should have his credit impugned by a critic who offers in his turn no pledge of his own knowledge or fairness. It will be condemned as no less indefensible than cruel that an artist whose bread comes from public appreciation, should be subjected to the attacks of one who shrinks from declaring that he is a rival or an enemy. In politics, in literature, in law, in the church, in art, all who seek to serve the public perform their functions openly, and submit their personal character and position to the judgment of the world. It will not be much longer borne that that judgment should be pronounced or dictated by a secret, irresponsible, self-constituted tribunal, of which the members refuse to give their names as guarantee of their capacity and their honor. Such a system can be defended only on the plea that it is powerless. Where power is assumed, responsibility must be affixed.
J. BOYD KINNEAR.
DONALD G. MITCHELL.
IN connection with the portrait of Mr. Mitchell, we subjoin a brief sketch of his life and literary labors, for the facts of which we are chiefly indebted to Duyckinck's Cyclopædia of American Literature.
Mr. Mitchell was born in Norwich, Conn., April, 1822. His father was the pastor of the Congregational church of that place, and his grandfather a member of the first Congress of Philadelphia, and for many years Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut.
Mr. Mitchell graduated at Yale College in 1841, and, for the improvement of his health, subsequently passed three years on his grandfather's estate, where he acquired that practical knowledge of agriculture and taste for rural life which make his writings as useful as they are charming.
He next crossed the ocean, and spent some two years in England and on the Continent, writing letters to the Albany Cultivator. On his return, he com
menced the study of the law in New York city. He soon after published Fresh Gleanings; or, a New Sheaf from the Old Fields of Continental Europe, by Ik Marvel. His health suffering from confinement, Mr. Mitchell again visited Europe, and passed some of the eventful months of 1848 in the capital and among the vineyards of France. On his return, Mr. Mitchell published, in 1850, The Battle Summer; being Transcriptions from Personal Observations in Paris during the Year 1848. His next production was The Lorgnette, a periodical in size and style resembling Salmagundi. It appeared anonymously, and although attracting much attention in fashionable circles, the author's incognito was for some time preserved.
During the progress of The Lorgnette Mr. M. published the Reveries of a Bachelor, the most popular, perhaps, of all his writings; and in the year following, Dream-Life. In 1853 he received the appointment of United States Consul at Venice. He retained the office but a short time, and after spending some months in collecting materials for a history of Venice, returned home in the summer of 1865.
Fudge Doings was originally published in the Knickerbocker, and consists of a series of sketches of fashionable life in the city.
During the last few years Mr. Mitchell has varied the routine of farm life at his country-seat near New Haven, Connecticut, by his contributions to Harper's Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, and Hours at Home, and the occasional publication of a volume. Several of his recent works owe their origin to his rural pursuits.
My Farm at Edgewood appeared in 1863, a book pleasantly descriptive of the adventures of a gentleman in search of a farm, and his adventures in maintaining it, reënforced by "curious and valuable information founded on the results of actual experience, and in wise suggestions which indicate a mind of earnest purpose and acute observation." A sequel to this, Wet Days at Edgewood (N. Y., 1864), is a series of sketches reviewing the poetical and other literature and past history of gentlemanfarming and agriculture. Seven Stories,
with Basement and Attic, is the title of another of Mr. Mitchell's recent volumes. Doctor Johns, one of the latest of his publications, appeared first in the Atlantic Monthly, and is a fine, though not in every respect, perhaps, a truthful delineation of New England life fifty
His last book, Rural Studies, embraces the series of articles entitled, "De Rebus Ruris," which appeared last year in Hours at Home, and attracted considerable attention.
Mr. Mitchell's style is simple and severely chaste. He uses the English tongue in its purest forms; and while his writings possess, for the most part, high literary merit, they are at the same time highly suggestive and practical. He is, beyond doubt, the most charming æsthetic and practical writer on rural subjects that our country affords.
Mr. Mitchell is still in the prime of early manhood, and being an industrious man, the public may naturally expect many other productions from his pen, equal to anything that he has yet produced.
THE MAGIC SALMON-PONDS.
THE wonder of the age is Pisciculture. Are you connected with a salmon-river? If so, capture one or two well-grown fish, despoil them of milt and ova, scatter the eggs into a few gravel-filled boxes, let the water flow over them, wait till they grow into table-salmon, and lo, you have a fortune! But let the work be done systematically; and, speaking by the card, I will tell the reader how it can be done, for I have just been visiting a place where fortune is being wooed through salmon-culture. I allude to Stormontfield, on the river Tay, where there is a model suite of breeding-boxes and ponds for the nurture of young salmon; it is a place where they sow salmon eggs like pease, and where the pease expand into living fish. Stormontfield is not altogether unknown to the readers of this Journal, for it was described in these pages seven years ago; but since that time, more and more wonders have been achieved; the breeding-boxes have been augmented, another pond has been
added to the suite, and in consequence, the rental of the river Tay has risen by nine thousand pounds! The whole philosophy of pisciculture is found in the protection that is afforded to the eggs and the young fish. Although a female salmon is a very fecund animal, yielding, in the aggregate, a thousand eggs for every pound of her weight, it was at one time thought that the enemies of the salmon, human and inhuman, would ultimately exterminate that fish, which has been not inaptly designated the "venison of the waters. It has been calculated that, in the natural way of its wandering life, only one salmon-egg out of each thousand ever arrives at the stage of reproducing its kind. What becomes, then, of the remaining nine hundred and ninety-nine eggs? The proportion of eggs that never hatch is very large, and the proportion of young fish annually destroyed by their ever-watchful enemies is equally great. A twenty-pound salmon yields, as a general rule, twenty thousand eggs, but as only twenty of that number arrive at maturity, the total waste of embryo fish-life in a large salmon-river must therefore be enormous. A gentleman, the proprietor of a fine salmon-fishery in Ireland, once deposited seventy thousand salmon ova in a beautiful clear stream for hatching; but when the time had arrived for the vivifying of the eggs, it was found that the whole of them had been eaten by the dragon fly. Out of that immense number of ova, not one living fish was obtained!
A sketch of the natural spawning, as compared with the artificial system, will best illustrate the advantage of pisciculture. Let us suppose, then, that a twentypound female salmon is busy on the "redds" about the middle of November, the water running furiously all the time. The fish has been at work for a day or two making a nest, by ploughing up the gravel, and two or three male fish have, during the whole time, been fighting, and watching, and swimming around; meanwhile, the ova are rapidly floating away in hundreds down the stream, twothirds of them never touched by the vivifying milt. A brace of jack are lying in an eddy, feasting on the eggs; while we can see a bull-trout carried away by the force of the stream, so gorged with the toothsome dainty as to be quite un
able to offer any resistance to the current; then, on a deep pool below, two or three water-hens are busy gobbling up all the eggs that escape from the previous depredators; so that out of the twenty thousand eggs that fall from the fish, barely a fifth settle down in the spawning-trough; and whilst these four thousand eggs are about coming to life, a resistless March flood carries away both bed and eggs, leaving most of the latter upon places where they can never come to life; indeed, when the "spate" exhausts itself, they will be found lying high and dry upon the grass, the germ within dead, or likely to prove unfruitful. Of the thousand eggs that are left in their watery nest, the greater portion will no doubt yield fish; but before they are many days old, scores of the tiny animals are killed, and long ere the remainder are seized with the sea-going instinct, only a small shoal remains, and very few of these, after their visit to the great deep-although they are becoming more and more able to protect them selves--ever return to the parental stream, so numerous are the enemies that lie in wait for them. The fishes of the sea and rivers, it has been said, provide their own food; shoals of one kind of fish seem to have been created to live solely upon another kind. A large salmon-river is a scene of boundless destruction, and, as the Ettrick Shepherd said: "The carnage is truly awful'."
By the Stormontfield plan of artificial nursing and protected growing, the percentage of loss, either in eggs or fish, is trivial when compared with the alarming sacrifice which has just been described; a day at a Stormontfield spawning-bout has taught us that. At the proper season, after the fish have mounted to their spawning-beds, on some gloomy, gray November day, when the river is swollen by a more than usual flow of water, and numbers of the largest fish are certain to be seeking a spawningplace, Peter Marshall, the local genius of the ponds, and his assistant manipulators, launch their boat, and we all go out upon the river in search of "milters and "spawners." We find many fine fish, but few of them are in exact condition for our purpose. We bag one or two nearly ripe ones, and place them in an adjoining mill-race, which Peter has con
verted into a "lying-in hospital," and there they are detained till their eggs are fully mature. This is a necessary expedient, as it is not easy at all times to find ripe fish. At length, after a good deal of fatigue, we obtain three fine female salmon and two milters, which Peter pronounces to be in prime condition. We pull ashore; and the boxes being reached, the eggs are shelled out into a tub of water, just like so many pease, the remarkable feature of the process being, that no one of the eggs is lost, or escapes being fecundated by the milt. The ova is tenderly washed, and then the milt is poured over it, the whole being gently stirred together. During the process, the fish are kept in oblong tin-boxes, with just enough of water to keep them afloat. After being deprived of their spawn, which is a very brief process, the old fish are let away into the river, and swim off with great alacrity.
The forty thousand eggs-I will suppose that to be the number obtained from the three fish-are again slightly washed, and then carefully sown among the gravel of the breeding-boxes; and in about one hundred and twenty daysfor the Stormontfield boxes are exposed to the natural temperature of the seasons-they will begin to hatch out; and so certain is the plan, that only a very few hundreds of the batch will be found to have perished. It is interesting to watch the progress of the ova: for perhaps thirty days, no change can be noted in the egg, at least with the naked eye; after that time, a faint prefiguration of the future salmon can be discerned, which, day by day, becomes more distinct. By and by, the eyes begin to glare through the transparent shell; but at first, there is no speculation in them, although we can see that they belong to an animal, for anon, the thread-like tracings reveal to us a skeleton form, which rapidly covers itself with flesh; and lo! the fragile prison bursts, and the little ungainly fish sallies into the outer world, naked and timid, and burdened with the remains of the shell from whence it came. At Stormontfield, the tiny fish, as soon as they are able to swim, have their pretty little pond to repair to, where they are carefully fed on boiled liver and other dainties, including maggots from dead-meat hung over the ponds on
strings. The fry-parr, they are now named-are carefully watched and protected from all enemies for the first twelve months of their life, at which period, a moiety of them will, by various signs, demand their freedom, and be sent away to the sea, where they will grow into grilse with magical rapidity.
It is curious to observe that in a month or two after the fish come to life, half of the quantity hatched begins to outgrow the other half with great rapidity, so that, at the end of a year, one-half of the brood having become smolts-that is, scaled fish, are ready to proceed to the sea, and are tolerably well able to take care of themselves. The remainder of the fish are very small, and are known as parr (a name which was given to them when they were thought to be a distinct fish, and not the young of the salmon): they will remain another year in the ponds before they become coated with the scales of the smolt, and are able to follow their sisters and brothers to the salt water. This discrepancy in the growth of the salmon is a curious but unexplained anomaly in salmon-life-one-half of every brood of that fish remains in the ponds for two years, the other half having assumed the migratory dress at a little over one year after the date of their birth. No naturalist has been able to give a reason for this curious feature of salmongrowth. Some observers say it is owing to the temperament of the fish-some being clever and active, obtain a larger portion of food, and by consequence, grow more rapidly than the animals which are timid and unable to look after "number one." Again, it has been said that it is owing to the imperfect milting of some of the eggs, and that the fish of rapid growth are from those eggs which have come first in contact with the milt. I suspect, however, that Lord Dundreary would be able to give the best explanation of the matter, for "it is one of those things which no fellow can understand."
The change from the parr condition to the smolt condition of salmon-life is rapidly made when once nature gives the signal. The ponds may be visited one day when the fish will be all parrs, little things with the finger-marks down their sides; but at next visit-after, perhaps, the lapse of a week-thousands of then
will be leaping with impatience to get out of their place of confinement into the river, and so onward to the sea. Mr. Buist, the conservator of the Tay, could not believe his eyes at the rapidity with which this change took place. During the first year of the ponds, a party examined the fish, and seeing they were still parr, it was resolved to keep them in the pond for another year, but a few days after, the evidence of the desired change was unmistakable. "It was like magic," said Peter Marshall; "and so we sent the fish away to the sea."
As has already been indicated, the great value of the system pursued at Stormont field is the protection it affords to the young fish at a time when they are so feeble as to be totally unable to protect themselves. It is surprising how few of the eggs are wasted in the protected breeding-boxes. Out of forty thousand ova assumed as having been laid down, not above two thousand, which is a very small percentage, fail to ripen into fish, which by the natural system would very likely be the total of all that hatched. Under the protective system, the percentage of full-grown fish may rise to ten in a hundred instead of one in a thousand, for the salmon, if it can only escape the numerous perils of its earlier days, is, when it has grown a bit, better able to protect itself than almost any other fish, as any man who has ever hooked and landed a twenty-pound fish will testify.
A large salmon-farmer, who is the proprietor of a fine stream in County Galway in Ireland, where he has carried out extensive plans for the benefit of the parent fish, and introduced them, by the cutting of passes through rocky barriers, to new head-waters, is a great believer in the artificial system, for he too has a suit of magic hatching-boxes. It is information supplied by him that gives value to the following statement: The eggs obtained from the parent fish, he knows, from fifteen years' practical experience, may be fecundated and incubated in a box more perfectly, and in greater relative numbers, than when left to chance in the bed of a river; and by using filtered water, as is done at Stormontfield, the destructive insects, as well as the trout and larger fish, may be to a great extent excluded during the period of