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beginning as coopers and fishermen, have America and others having been put into other raised themselves io the station of curers, build- lots. The people of Oldshores and Keanloching excellent houses and curing-yards, while bervie, however, have of late caught cod and their fathers and brothers have carried their ling for some Billingsgate salesmen and two cultivation up to the top of the lower range of native curers. At Scowrie and in Assynt, in hills. Portskerra on the north coast, and Ar- the latter especially, the people are crowdedi: madale, can now show a regular set of fisher- some fish, and others fish not at all. The men, who have also done much to their land; but herrings, unfortunately, have left them, and the the early herring-fishing having failed, they demand for their white fish has not as yet been are driven to the autumn herring-fishing at sufficient. The activity and judgment of the Wick,* which is less advantageous to them. local factor, Mr. Stewart, was directed to meet They are, therefore, less prosperous. Kirk- this, when his useful career was suddenly artomie and Farr afford fewer good seamen than rested by death more than two years ago, to the other two stations. The population of Sira- the equal loss of landlord and tenant. thy is large and very poor; some have boats Where the lots are large, with considerable but many hire themselves to boats and go to cattle-grazings, the people do not take readily the fishing. The early herring-fishery has 10 the sea ; having ihe land to fall back upon, failed at Tongue for soine years, and some of there is not much suffering among them—but the boats go to Wick, whilst others have an they never become independent. Where the antumn-fishing of their own, as they have at lots are small, if the holders of the land take to Kirktomie and Armadale. There are few ex- the sea, they become excellent fishermen, and cept the Portskerra and Armadale men who enjoy great comparative comfort, as in Armago to the cod and ling fishing, though there is dale, Portskerra, and part of Assynt: if they abundance of both off the coast.
do not take to the sea, they suffer much, as in In the vast parish of Durness a gentleman Farr, Strathy, and, occasionally, in parts of once prosecuted the coil-fishing on an extensive Assynt; but they obtain a good deal of money scale, giving employment to the people of Ris- not withstanding. The absence of a market is pond and other places on the north coast, and the great want, and to that the attention of the of Oldshores and Keanlochbervie on the west; managers of the property is now directed. but by and by the plan was given up, and This we believe to be a fair unvarnished considerable distress ensued. On the west the statement of an experiment full of difficulty, town of Shegra, part of his tenure, had been but made absolutely necessary both to the entirely cleared of people, some having gone to landlord and tenant by the great change of
manners consequent upon advanced civilisation. * The Statistical Account of Caithness says that The result appears to have been the utmost sucthe population of Wick was trebled between 1807 and 1840, and gives the following as the state of the cess in several districts, a more qualified degree herring.fishery there in the latter year :
of it in others, and a failure in some. The subNative boats
422 letting system is happily now almost extinStrange boats
337 guished in Sutherland : the contrast between Total of boats
the condition of tenants still living under that
system and that of those who hold under the Crews of said boats
3,828 landlord is most striking. Coopers
And here we take our leave of Mr. Loch's Women employed as gitters, &c.
Account,' hoping to see it brought down 10 Carters
127 the present day; for sure we are that it will Other labourers employed about the fishing 150 be a valuable guide-book for landlord and te. Seamen in coasting.vessels, supposed 1,200 nant generally, and in Scoiland especially. Fish-curers entered
We now turn to the useful and agreeable Total of persons employed 7,882
· Statistical Account of Scotland, No. XXX.;'
and if what has been already advanced want Total of barrels cured
63,495 corroboration, it is here largely to be found. The same authority says, ' At all seasons of the year This manual contains a fund of valuable local whiskey is drunk in considerable quantities; but duiring the fishing season enormous potations are indul- information-the whole digested and drawn up ged in. It may seem incredible, but it has been as. in a manner most creditable to the parochial certained that during the six weeks of a successful clergy of this remote province and to the facifishing not less than five-hundred gallons a-day were consumed. Let it be remembered, however, ors of its poble proprietor.* Nor is it a little that at that period 10,000 strangers, as boatmen, * We have on various occasions alluded to this gutters, &c., were crowded into the town of Wick important work, which has now for several years Of late years the people have been more temperato. been advancing under the enlightened patronage of Snutling is almost universal among the men, and the Highland Society of Scotland, and will, when both it and smoking are very common among the completed (as it will soon be), form by far the inost
About 3.5001. a-year are spent in the valuable repertory of statistics at the command of parish of Wick on tobacco.
any country in Europe. In general its superiority
gratifying to mark in it the progress of natural cragsman has here paid the penalty of his life history within the few last years. The fauna for his daring enterprise. We hope her graand flora, as well as the geology of some of the cious Majesty receives a regular tribute from places, are given : and, but that our space is this isle; for certain it is that they have establimited, we could not but quotesome specimens lished a Queen among them; such at least of really masterly description of external na is the title conferred on the eldest widow; 'and ture. The parish of Edderachillis, with its her prerogative is recognised not only by the Norwegian aspect, intersected with arms of islanders, but by visitors from the mainland.? the sea, and chequered with lakes, rivers, glens, The only thing that we have to regret here is, and ravines, has perhaps as much of the wild that the cod and ling fisheries are not more and the wonderful as any district in the prosecuted. A cluster of about twenty islands * Land of the mountain and the flood.'
lies between Edderachillis and Assynt, with In this quarter the great Reary forest or Diru- Highland lochs, by a strange bear-like figure
its inland lake haunted, like many other wild moir has of late been restored by the Duke of of an amphibious animal, which in some of the Sutherland to its original grandeur. No less localities is called by the shepherds a waterthan 69,000 acres, half in this parish and half bull, but in which-at least in the Assynt case in Durness, give harbour to thousands of the Dr. Buckland, with his usual felicity in acantlered race-among which are still to be re. counting for phenomena, and perspicacity in cognised the Arkill deir with forked taills,' solving doubts, detected the Ursus mendaz. recorded as inhabitants of the 'Diru-more' by
But delightful as the ground is, we must by Sir Robert Gordon. This relieves the leave it without entering into the details of whole neighbouring sheep-walks of the great the several districts; yet we cannot quit it er part of the deer that roamed over them, the without giving a picture of the departure and maintenance of which was a considerable bur.
return of the herring-fishers. The scene is off den.' Agriculture and fishing go hand in hand Latheron, in Caithness-shire :in Edderachillis : and we would earnestly call the attention of landlords to the simple plate * The boats used in this parish may contain with which the account of this parish is illus- from 30 to 50 crans or barrels (for both are neartrated. It merely consists of a representation ly alike) of herrings; and it is difficult to say of the modern house of the small tenants of the which of the sights is most pleasingly interest Reay country contrasted with the old habita. ing to a stranger, that of beholding on a fine tion. That is enough, and speaks volumes
evening the whole coast, as far as the eye can for what has been done on the Sutherland es- barks, as they issue forth from every creek, and
reach, covered with human beings in their little tates. The modern house breathes of neatness disperse in different directions, full of life, or that and comfort; the old habitation fills the imagi- of attending at one of the stations in the morn. nation with such musty proverbs and sayings ing, and witnessing the return of 40, 60, or 100 as “The clartier the cosier,' 'It did very boats
, all crowding into one creek, most of them, well for my father before me, and will do perhaps, laden with fish to the gunwale, and
ihen the scene of bustle and animation that sucwell enough for me ;' apophthegins involving ceeds and continues till night! And what ought precisely that species of content that leads to not to be omitted as being still more delightful to a degradation, disease, and beggary. London seriously contemplative mind, it is not unusual, now knows the Edderachillis lobsters well, where there are boats having individuals of acThe island of Handa, with its myriads of sea- knowledged piety, for the crew to engage in worfowl, and basaltic, Staffa-like character, rising ship after shooting their nets. On these occaon the north-west side to a height of 600 feet sions a portion of a psalm is sung, followed with or thereby,' is tenanted by twelve families, who prayer, and the effect is represented as truly soadd to their fishing the dreadful trade of fowl of the Gaelic music, carried along the surface
lemn and heart-stirring, as the melodious strains ing among its precipices. More than one of the waters (several being similarly engaged,)
spread throughout the whole fleet.' - New Sta. to the former • Account' is very decided ; indicating tistical Account of Scotland, No. Xxx., p. 102. a great expansion of curiosity and information in the clerical order of the North. Of course, in so Nor can we omit the darker fate of these large a collection, there are some poor enough con- nurselings of the storm':tributions—and if we were to remark on any prevailing deficiency, we should point to the historical • But not unfrequently the scene is sadly reand antiquarian departments of the inquiry. But versed, for in the midst of the joys of life we often in most cases the task has been sensibly and sagaci. are in death. A storm suddenly arises during ously performed; and in not a few—we may mention the night. The boats are all riding quietly at in particular the accounts of Dundee, Greenock, their nets and unprepared to meet it. Some enand Glasgow-the result could hardly be overpraised.
deavour to haul their nets, others cut from them, Several parishes of Sutherland are done by the same hand, a layman, Mr. Sutherland Taylor, Goldspie; and make for the place of greatest shelter, whilst and he is evidently a man of superior talents—we others, afraid to put up sail and encounter it, presume a factor to the Duke.
abide by their nets in the hope of the storm's 30
abating. In proportion to the danger at sea are ) and tailor migrated from house to house, receive the confusion and anxiety on land. The shores ing their victuals and a small pittance of wages are instantly crowded by inquiring relatives, hur- in return for their labour. There was scarcely rying from place to place in search of husbands, a cart or a plough in the country, excepting on brothers, or sons. Astonishing instances of pre- the larger farms. No man thought of increasservation often occur; but no season passes ing or improving his tillage or pasture lands by without serious losses to individuals, either of trenching or draining. But let any one with an boats or nets, and sometimes of lives. The risks impartial and unprejudiced eye examine the preare very great, and the employment, even when sent condition of the inhabitants. Their wellsuccessful,most trying to the constitution.'—Ibid, built and neatly-kept cottages and inclosed gar
dens far exceed what many taksmen in fornier
days paying from 501. to 100l. possessed. Every We quit this part of the subject with a individual in the family has some resource in a very satisfactory summing up of the great trade or other manual labour-all is a stirring Sutherland change, and, we believe, just cha- scene of industry and positive comfort. The racter of the Scotch Highlander :
father and the sons cultivate the lot, if not
tradesmen ; while the females are engaged with • There is no district of country in Scotland household work, or preparing nets for the next where such an entire change has taken place in herring season. the habits, character, and pursuits of the in- * Persons who are ignorant of the character of habitants as in this and the other parts of the the Highlanders, and many who have never seen county forming the estate of Sutherland. They the country, have ventured to describe them were quite a rural, a moral, and a happy popu- as indolent, idle, and unprofitable members of lation, inhabiting beautifully romantic and se- the community. A more gross fallacy has neve questered glens in the interior, far removed from er been uttered. They are a quiet, sober, brave, the bustle of the world. Strangers to its al- and moral race: attached and confiding while lurements and luxuries, they passed their lives, kindly and honestly dealt by; but reserved, stern, generation following generation, in the same lo- and unbending as their mountain rocks, whercalities, but without ambition to better their ever they suspect injustice, or lose faith in the circumstances, or a desire to improve their pos- acts and professions of their superiors. The exsessions. All passed happily and without care, tensive and perfect improvements on the estate so long as the seasons proved propitious, and of Sutherland bear evidence of their activity, that the produce of their stock was sufficient to industry, and confidence in their landlord, when pay the landlord and to afford the means of sub- their energies are properly directed. Those sistence on their simple fare: but when the who reside in the country can testify that it is a winter storms lengthened into spring, and the rare occurrence to meet with an individual the mildew and the early frosts destroyed the hopes worse of liquor, except occasionally at markets. of the harvest, then indeed came the period of The naval and military annals of ihe nation redistress ; and it is not too much to say ihat they cord their bravery where they have distinguishsuffered the very extreme of want, which often ed themselves in many a desperate onset. The produced contagious fevers and other mortal faithful labours of our clergy have been blessed diseases. This was submitted to, however, in by Providence in rendering them pious and mosilence and with pious resignation : no tumults ral; and their character may be summed up nor risings against the constituted authorities, in these few words,—that they fear God and who, they well knew, could not ward off the honour the Queen.'—Ibid., p. 162-164. general calamity. Thus situated, helpless and without resources, their only course was an ap- Hoping we have not dwelt too long on peal to the compassion of their natural protec- Sutherland, we proceed to another branch tor, the landlord, and this was never done in of our subject-one, however, in which vain. He required often to import meal equal Sutherland too has its share. in value to the rent of two or more years, and generally leaving a large balance never to be re
In 1836 the select committee made covered. This state of things could not conti- their report on the salmon fisheries of nue, whilst the rest of the world were moving Scotland-in as far as related to the al. a-head, and making rapid advances in improve-tering the close times in different disment; consequently the great and deeply im-tricts; the laws for the observance of the portant measure was resolved on to remove the Saturday's slap or opening in all cruives, population to the coast-side, where they would engines, &c., of whatever description used be placed near the sea-become fishermen or artificers, and thus be able to benefit by the in salmon-fishing; the construction and many and inexhaustible resources which Pro- regulation of cruives; the regulation of vidence has placed within their reach. At this mill-leads or courses, and the removal of rime there were but sew bred tradesmen in the dams and obstructions in all rivers, country. When a man found it necessary to streams, or waters. They were also inrenew his rude dwelling, he called the neigh. structed to inquire into the increase or bours to his assistance, and it was only the work decrease in the numbers and weight of of a few days to complete it. Every man was his own carpenter, for few implements were re- salmon, grilse, and sea-trout taken in the quired, and he had little to do with them. One several rivers, &c., of Scotland, since the blacksmith served a district. The shoemaker passing of the act 9 Geo. IV. c. 39.
The committee commence by observ-mittee. This important regulation had ing that the only object of the close from an early period formed part of the season being to afford protection to the Scottish law as to salmon-fishing, but the fish when they are breeding, and during novel modes of fishing, not indeed in rivthe state of exhaustion consequent there- ers themselves, but upon the sea-coast upon, the legal close time ought to be so and near the mouths of rivers, had led to regulated as to coincide, as nearly as the evasion of it, under the impression posible, with the period so defined by na- that it was not strictly or technically apture; and it having been established in plicable to such cases. It appeared quite evidence before them, that in different clear from the evidence given as to the rivers the periods at which the salmon habits of salmon that this regulation was ascend the rivers for the purpose of applicable with equal force to engines spawning and afterwards descend to placed in rivers and in all other situawards the sea vary considerably, they tions; and therefore the committee express their opinion that it would be strongly recommended that all doubt on advantageous to the general interests of the point should be removed by the legisthe salmon fisheries in Scotland to have lature, and that the observance of the the fence months or close time regulated Saturday's slap should be strictly enjoinaccording to the various circumstances ed in the use of all engines, machines, of the respective rivers or districts, in. and devices lawfully used in salmon-fishstead of having one uniform season, as ing, whether in rivers or lakes, or upon was the case when they made their re- the sea-coast. The committee could not port. The witnesses were not all in fa- but see that in particular situations on the vour of this proposal. None of them in- sea-coast and estuaries, especially the deed disputed the facts on which the re- more exposed parts, the stormy state of commendation was founded; but several the weather or roughness of the sea enlarged on the facilities which they ap- might sometimes render it impossible or prehended might thereby be afforded to dangerous to open and re-set nets or poaching.
other engines during the hours of the The committee shrewdly remark on weekly close time; they therefore add this point, that although, by the statute 9 that no penalties should be recoverable Geo. IV. c. 29, a uniform season was, for in such cases. The committee of 1825 the first time, applied to the whole of had recommended in their fourth resoluScotland—with the exception of the tion a measure coinciding in principle Tweed and the rivers running into the with that just adverted to; but, as the Solway Firth, which are regulated by committee of 1836 remark, that recomparticular acts of parliament-yet in all mendation, as well as some others made ihe other parts of the United Kingdom, by the committee of 1825, was not carand especially in Ireland, there are, and ried into effect by the statute 9 Geo. IV. always have been, various seasons suited The committee next advert to the to the different natures of the several riv- great complaints made by the river proers: nevertheless the evils apprehended prietors of the encroachments practised by the objectors to the system proposed by the owners of fixed engines, in staby the committee had not been proved to tioning them within or so close to the result from its adoption in those places. mouths of rivers as materially to prevent The duration of the close seasons ought, the run of fish up the rivers. The eviin their opinion, in no case to be less lence convinced the committee that in. than 139 days, that period being the ex- creased facilities should be given for entent of the close time adopted at the date forcing the law upon this point. of their inquiry. This was a good begin- But the cruives? We are coming to ning: there were, fortunately, on that them, for there lay the villany. The committee some good observers of the committee were led to the conclusion habits of fish, and many practical men, that very extensive abuses prevailed in and the whole body appears to have been the construction and regulation of these convinced of the folly of the old system. engines-abuses attended with serious With their recommendation every physi- injury to the general interests of the fishologist must concur. He who follows eries, and to the proprietors of upper fishnature on such occasions can hardly go ings more especially. The committee wrong.
well remark that the only legitimate obThe Saturday's slap or weekly close time ject in the construction of a cruive is to next engaged the attention of the com- adapt it to the taking of fish above a cer
tain size, and to the free run of the Sat- • There is no reason to doubt that mill-dams, urday's slap :
as at present constructed in numerous salmon
rivers, form most serious obstacles to the ascent "It ought to be so formed that fish of all sizes of the breeding fish, and also occasion the destruccan easily enter it at all times; and that fish tion of vast quantities of the fry. Your comunder a certain size may easily pass through it, mittee are fully alive to the great importance of and ascend the river. It is of the greatest im- the interests which are thus brought into appaportance that fish should enter it with facility, rent conflict with the interests of the salmon because where they cannot do this, the pro- fishery; and they have therefore much satisfacvisions in favour of the smaller fish and the tion in reporting their opinion that these may Saturday's slap become inoperative; and the be reconciled, and the evils suffered by the one cruive acts merely as a barrier for detaining the fish in the river immediately below it, where party in a great measure obviated at a trifling they are destroyed by nets or other means. The real injury. Mr. Smith, of Deanston, in the
expense, without subjecting the other to any fish are thus effectually prevented from reach county of Perth, who is connected with extensive ing the upper parts of the river, even although manufacturing establishments employing waterthe Saturday's slap may be in form observed.-
power on different rivers, has explained to your Report, p. 5.
committee a contrivance called "a salmon stair," The committee were justified in stating that which he finds to be perfectly successful in this crying abuse prevailed to a very great extent facilitating the passage of salmon over dams, in many of the Scotch rivers where cruives were
which were previously almost insuperable used. The Deveron and Rapid Spey, in
barriers to them. This device may be applied
particular, were famous, in the famosus sense of at a small expense to existing dams'; and in the the word, for malfeasances of this description. erected, a form and arrangement may be easily
original construction of any dam hereafter to be After adverting to the cases of the Duke of prescribed, and ought to be enjoined, to secure Queensberry v. Marquis of Annandale and the same beneficial end. On this point the Dirom v. Littles (the former decided by the statements of Mr. Smith are amply confirmed Court of Session in November, 1771, the lat- by the testimony of Mr. Thom, an eminent ter in February, 1797) for the illegality of the engineer, much interested in certain extensive use of devices expressly for the obstruction of manufacturing concerns driven by water-power.' the ascent of the fish, and to the cases of the Report, p. vi. Town of Banff v. the Earl of Fife, and of Sir
Figures of these ingenious devices for help. James Grant v. Duke of Gordon, decided in ing the fish up are given at the end of the Rethe same court in 1774 and 1777, for the port : though Mr. Thom's is good, we humapplication of that equitable principle to the bly think Mr. Smith's is better; and we can construction of cruives, the committee, well innagine how interesting it must be to see it aware of the glorious uncertainty of the law with the fish in full action— Such a getting and its quite certain delay, quietly added,
up stairs !
To this same Mr. Smith the committee were · As, however, the authority of the decisions in the cases above cited, and any similar special indebted for a hint which might be most saliscases (in which the principle has been enforced factorily applied to our southern rivers, and to in the construction of the cruives), may be none more so than our no-longer silver Thames. thought to operate as legal precedents only in reference to the rivers to which they severally • The committee in 1825 reported, as their relate, they strongly recommend that general seventh resolution, “ 'I hat it is indispensable to regulations, founded upon that principle, for guard against the admission into all rivers, the formation and management of cruives, streams, estuaries, and lakes, in which salmon should be framed and made applicable to all exist, of any matter proceeding from manufacrivers on which more than one proprietor has a tories of any description which is known or right of salmon-fishing. '- Report, p. 5. deemed to be poisonous or deleterious to fish."
Your committee are fully persuaded that this And they proceed to give sound practical in- opinion is well-founded ; and although it is structions for these legislative regulations.
thought by some that any general and unqualiThe subject of milf dams next secured the fied regulation on the subject might be producattention of the committee. They conclude
tive of some degree of practical inconvenience that inuch might be done by the owners of extent, yet, with regard to gas-works (the num,
in its bearing upon some manufactories of lesser slich dams and mill-leads in favour of the fish- ber and magnitude of which are so rapidly ing interests, without any injury whatever increasing), and some other manufactories, they to any manufacturing establishments depend- are led to believe that no serious difficulty ent upon water-power; that mill-leads or would prevent the resolution of 1825 from being courses should be kept shut at all times when carried into effect. Mr. Smith, of Deanston, the mill is not at work; and the iron grating or the practicability but the advantage to the
has stated, from his own experience, not only fender, so strongly recommended by the committee of 1825, should be used so as to prevent cess which he details for separating the
owners of the work to be derived from the prothe entry of fish or fry :
deleterious matter from the water of gas-works