Puslapio vaizdai

tus per Thamesiam et Medweyam, et per totam Angliam, nisi per costeram maris." He will find in 9th Henry III. c. 32. "All wears from henceforth shall be utterly put down by Thames and Medway, and through all England, but only by the seacoasts." And in 12th Edward IV. c. 7. "that all kidels by Thames and Medway, and throughout the realm of England, should be taken away (sinoun per les coaster del mear) saving by the sea-banks." In the statute of Robert I. of Scotland, 1318, c. 12, everything in reference to wears or fixtures applies to these, " in aquis ubi mare fluit et refluit," or, as it is expressed in the act 1424, c. 11 of King James I. "in fresche watteris quhar the sea fillis and ebs." It hence appears, in opposition to Sir Humphry Davy's statement, that stake-nets, or engines similar to stakenets, were permitted on the sea coast by the old law of the country, though The reason prohibited elsewhere. given, that, by stake-nets, persons having no interest in the salmon, cut off the supply from the river heritors, to whom in fact they belong, will be found equally untenable. Let us see to what conclusion it would naturally lead us. If stake-nets fishings, in estuaries and on the shore, should be abolished, because fish are taken in these which belong to the place "in which they were spawned," then no fishings should be allowed, even in a river, below the lowest spawning:ford, such as Lord Gray's, where there is no spawning-ground. Again, upon the same principle, no fishing should be allowed, even at the lowest spawning-ford, because the proprietor may capture fish there in which he has no interest, which were not spawned on his ground, but which in fact belong to a higher ford. Hence, the Town of Perth should not be permitted to fish their fords, lest they catch (as

they would do) salmon belonging to the spawning-fords of his Grace of Athole. The proprietor of the uppermost spawning-ford is alone safe from this objection, (though a straggler from a lower ford would occasionally find its way into his net,) and should be the only fisher in the river,— a conclusion which the deservedly celebrated individual did not probably anticipate. It seems necessary to speak freely, lest the influence of name should give currency to mistake.

The determination of the stations where stake-nets may with propriety be erected, near the mouths of rivers, seems not as yet to have occupied much of the attention of the Committee.

Mr Little, indeed, is the only witness who delivers his opinion on the subject. He assumes, as had been proven in the Tay case by that acute engineer Mr Jardine, that the river ends at that point in the head of a frith where the sea is continually ebbing or flowing, or, to speak plainly, at low-water mark; and he says, "above that place, or within half a mile from it, down the estuary, or along the coast, no stakenets should be allowed;" p. 123. This point, we may observe, must vary more or less in different rivers, from the mean level of the ocean, according to the size of the aperture or mouth of the estuary through which the tide enters and retires, and the quantity of water in the ri ver opposed to it. A slight difference must likewise prevail between the lowwater of spring-tides and of neap-tides, though Mr Jardine has proven, that the horizonal lines representing these gradually approximate in retiring from the mouth of an estuary to its head. But these differences do not perhaps deserve any very serious consideration. Indeed, we see no objection to the use of stake-nets everywhere

below this point. The fry and the kelts would not be taken by them; and as the channel or stream would be clear, no fish intent on ascending would be prevented. But it does not appear upon what principle Mr Lit tle wishes to have half a mile, any more than ten miles, kept clear of stake-nets. No two rivers are alike. The half mile would have very different powers, in those rivers which have intervening estuaries, and in such as enter the sea directly. The Spey and the Tweed would be placed in different circumstances from the Tay and the Forth. Besides, by such a rule, the proprietor of a small stream joining the sea directly, would have it in his power to injure the property of his neighbours, through an extent of a mile of coast, by preventing the erection of stake-nets, and probably in the only bay or spot for twenty miles where they could conveniently be placed. We again repeat, that stake-nets could do no injury to fry and foul fish, if not erected in rivers or friths higher than low-water mark. Above this point, the net and coble is an efficient engine; below this point it possesses but feeble powers. Above this point, the stake-net would interfere with the channel or stream; below this point, it could only capture fish floating with the tide. Proprietors would thus be able to avail themselves of the natural advantages of their respective estates, without injury to others.

3. Removal of Obstructions.-Under this head, the condition of damdikes deserves the consideration of the Legislature. Openings should be made, through which the water may flow at stated periods, so as to allow of the ascent of red fish, and the descent of kelts and fry to the sea; p. 119. In reference to the destruction of fry at mills, the following ręcom

mendation by Mr Halliday merits consideration :- "Placing a heck across the narrow part of the dam, and making a sluice through the damdike, at the upper side of the heck, would allow the fry to pass down the sluices into the bed of the river, and the heck would prevent the fry going down the mill-dam."-" If the heck was properly constructed, by placing it slanting, the under part of it inclining up the water, and the upper part of it down, it would raise all the dirt to the surface of the water;" p. 67. No wicker-work, or any similar obstruction, should be allowed to remain on stake-nets or cruives during the close season. The river should be free.

4. Punishment of Poachers.-Many laws occur in the statute-book on this subject, but they seem to be inapplicable. Hence, even the appointment of water-bailiffs is not successful in preserving the fisheries during the close season. Mr Wilson says, "at this very time we are expending about L.600 a-year for the protection of the Tweed, and to very little purpose;" p. 11. Premiums should be offered to encourage fishers to destroy seals, grampuses, and even porpoises, as the latter probably devour the fry.

Judging from the evidence contained in this Report, we have no hesitation in asserting, that were the limits of close time determined by the habits of the fish, stake-nets erected in suitable stations, obstructions removed, and poaching checked, our rivers and shores may be made to yield four times more salmon than they do at present, and the increase of the breed be promoted. We trust the Committee will resume its labours this session of Parliament; and, should the results be as interesting as the present Report, we may feel disposed to lay a digest of the evidence again before our readers. Feb. 17, 1825.



Northern Expedition.Melville Island.-Russian Expedition along the Northern Shores of Siberia.-Subsidence of the Baltic.--China.


On the 12th October, about noon, the Hecla arrived off Peterhead, where Cap tain Parry and two of his officers landed, and soon after proceeded post for London. On the same evening they passed through Aberdeen, stopping only to change horses. From the meagre accounts that have yet transpired, little more is known than that the grand object of the expedition has not been attained, and that, in short, no important discoveries have been made. Captain Parry attributes his failure to the loss of the Fury, which was wrecked at a time when he was led to entertain sanguine hopes of success. Her crew returned in the Hecla. All accounts concur in describing the health of the crews as excellent. Some letters state that no deaths had occurred during the voyage-others that they lost two seamen. By a letter which Captain Knight received on Friday, from his nephew, a lieutenant on board the Hecla, and which he immediately communicated to the Lord Provost, it appears that the ship was off the mouth of the Firth, on her passage to the Thames, on the day Captain Parry landed. The sub

joined extract of a letter, addressed by a principal officer in the expedition to an eminent scientific gentleman in this city, contains the most interesting details that have yet been published :—

"H. M. S. Hecla, Oct. 12, 1825. "DEAR SIR,

"We sailed from the west coast of Greenland on the 4th July 1824. In passing Davis' Straits we were beset 58 days in the ice. On the 9th September we cleared the ice, and on the 13th of the same month entered Barrow's Strait. The winter was now setting in fast; we therefore endeavoured to reach Port Bowen in Prince Regent's Inlet, which we effected with some difficulty on the 28th. By the 6th October we were completely surrounded with young ice. The winter passed more agreeably than could have been expected; we had a good library on board, and managed to raise a tolerable masquerade in one of the ships every fortnight. The winter was what might be called a mild one in that part of the world, the thermometer never exceeding 48 degrees below Zero. During its continuance we had fine sport chasing white bears, 12 of which were

killed. White grouse were abundant in spring; we shot a great number of them. They were excellent, and proved a great luxury to the officers and men. The summer, which commenced on the 6th June, with a shower of rain, was very fine; the thaw went on rapidly. On the 19th July the ice broke up, and we bade farewell to Port Bowen, where we had passed nearly ten months. On the 23d we made North Somerset, and worked to the southward along its coast, until the morning of the 1st August, when unfortunately the Fury was driven on shore by the ice. Every effort was made to save her, but our exertions proving fruitless, she was abandoned on the 19th, and her crew taken on board the Hecla. Thus ended all our hopes of making the north-west passage, which seemed favourable till this accident. On the 1st September we left Regent's Inlet for England, and made the coast of Scotland on the 10th. We have been extremely fortunate during the voyage, not having lost a man either by disease or accident."

At a time when public attention is so earnestly directed to the progress of discovery, it may be interesting to notice some important facts regarding the Antarctic Seas, which have recently been brought to light by private enterprise. While the splendidly equipped expedition under Captain Parry was braving the dangers of the Northern Ocean, two small vessels, fitted out on mercantile speculation, were navigating a sea, hitherto unknown, at the other extremity of the globe. On the 17th September 1822, the brig Jane of Leith, 160 tons, and 22 men, commanded by Mr James Weddell, master in the Royal Navy, and the cutter Beaufoy, of London, 65 tons, and 13 men, commanded by Mr Matthew Brisbane, both provisioned for two years, sailed from the Downs on a sealing adventure in

the Southern Hemisphere. James Mitchell, Esq. of London, and John Strachan, Esq. of Edinburgh, were coowners with Mr Weddell; and to these gentlemen no small share of praise is due, for their liberal and enlightened conduct in making private emolument subservient to public utility. On the 7th November the vessels crossed the equator; on the 7th January 1823, ice islands were seen; and on the 11th they made the South Orkneys, which, on his return from a voyage made the preceding year, Mr Weddell had reported to the Commissioners for the Navy. After ascertaining that no land existed between the South Orkneys and the points of coast termed Sandwich Land, Mr Weddell, early in February, proceeded farther south, determined to prosecute a search beyond the tracks of former navigators. On the 6th and 7th, in lat. 64°. 15. long. 30o. 46. they passed many ice islands, some of which were of an enormous size. One was thickly incorporated with black earth, and had apparently been disengaged from land covered with soil to a considerable depth. On the 14th, in lat. 68°. 20. long. 29° 43'. 15". ice islands were so numerous as almost to obstruct the passage of the vessels. On the 17th the water appeared discoloured. They were accompanied by all the birds common in these latitudes, par-ticularly blue peterels, and by numbers of finned and hump-backed whales. On the 18th, latitude by observation, 72°. 38. "not a particle of ice of any description was to be seen," and the weather was mild and serene. On the 20th the wind blew freshly from the south, and the atmosphere became very clear, but no land was in view-lat. 74. 15'. long. 34°. 16′. 45". Here Mr Weddell, taking into consideration the lateness of the season, and the length of his homeward voyage, which included a thousand miles of sea strew

ed with ice islands, resolved to take advantage of the favourable breeze and return. He named this hitherto unvisited part of the ocean King George the Fourth's Sea. The Jane and Beaufoy wintered at the Falkland Islands, and arrived at Falmouth, after an absence of nearly two years.

These particulars, gathered chiefly from Mr Weddell's account of his voyage, prove that open navigation exists beyond the ice islands which opposed a barrier to Captain Cook, and that, unless land intervenes beyond the 74th parallel, a navigable sea probably extends even to the South Pole. It is to be hoped, that Government will, without loss of time, follow up this interesting discovery by at least attempting to explore the new sea. The enterprise and talent which Mr Weddell has displayed, and the extensive information which he may be supposed to have acquired respecting the South Seas, in two protracted voyages, point him out as a person eminently qualified to accompany any expedition equipped for this purpose. Like Scoresby, in the Arctic zone, he has shown how much may be achieved by individual ability; and he has also given a guarantee, that, with the ordinary advantages which the Admiralty provides in such cases, he would not only meritoriously discharge the difficult duties of a commander, but greatly extend our knowledge of the Antarctic regions.


A letter has been received in Edinburgh from Captain Franklin, dated the 2d of June, at which time the enterprising travellers were 700 miles in advance of Cumberland House. The party were all well, and in good spirits, which had been heightened by the intelligence that the stores had reached the depot at the first wintering station.


This island, which Government has pitched upon as a fit situation for a new settlement dependant on New South Wales, is situated in the gulf of Carpentaria, a vast bay containing many islands, on the north east coast of New Holland. According to the Gazetteer, it is about five miles long, and between one and two in breadth-low, destitute of wood, and with a sandy shelving beach. The south end lies in long. 136°. 52. E. lat. 12o. 81'. S. It is said to be well situated for the encouraging of trade with the Malays, and the islanders of the Indian archipelago; but the importance of its colonization to the settlements at Sidney and in Van Diemen's Land, will arise chiefly from the facilities it will afford for punishing refractory convicts. Many a ruffian at these places, who persists in a career of crime in defiance of all the minor punishments that have been invented, and holds in contempt even banishment to the Coal River, will tremble at the idea of transportation to Melville Island. The great gulf of Carpentaria stretches from Endeavour Strait to Cape Wilberforce. The shore is about 1200 miles in extent. It was formerly supposed that a great river intersected New Holland, nearly in this longitude, and some persons have even gone so far as to speculate on the probability of Macquarrie River, the famous stream discovered beyond the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, being that river. This gulf was accurately surveyed by Captain Flinders, in the beginning of the present century. According to his account, he found the soil on its borders poor, but the country in some places covered with an agreeable intermixture of grass and trees. From the small extent of Melville Island, and the few natural inducements it appears to hold out as a place

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