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ing, the descent of the fry, the ascent of the spring fish, the ascent of peal or grilse, and the ascent of harvest spawning fish: these dates were determined for all the rivers. In 1847 and 1848 the Commissioners were employed in alleviating the intense distress by building additional fishing piers, forming curing stations, and encouraging small Fishing Associations. In 1849, the Commissioners have begun to put the Act of 1848 in operation.

A Great Western Irish Fishery Association was formed in London in 1848, by an influential body of capitalists; and arrangements are being made for carrying out the objects of the Association.

Fresh Water Fish Ponds.

We now pass to a subject which has occupied a good deal of attention within the last few years. As certain species of fish live and breed in fresh water, a question arises whether artificial collections of fish might not be made; whether, in other words, a fish farm could be formed, as a means of profit.

"It is with us an old subject of lamentation," says a writer in the Quarterly Review, "that the Celtic tribes still retain those prejudices against fish and fishing which always characterized the uncivilized ancient Grecian; and true it is that they cannot easily be made deep-sea fishers; but the difficulty, though great, is far from an impossibility; and we hope the time will yet arrive when the Irish peasant will diligently search for treasure where he will be sure to find it. But we shall look in vain for this desirable change of character, to any great extent at least, till there is such a steady demand for the article as will ensure a constant and lucrative employment for the poor, and a satisfactory return for the investment of capital by the rich. Now fish, with the exception of some of the more common kind, such as sprats, herring, and mackerel, is looked upon by all classes at present as a luxury, and not as a necessary of life, as it once was. In some of our inland counties the peasantry know not the taste of fresh sea fish: their ideas upon the subject being for the most part limited to the flavour of red herring." (No. 137, p. 229.)

As one of the means of creating a taste for fish among the inhabitants of inland districts, many persons have advocated the stocking of fish-ponds as a species of husbandry-a rearing of live stock in the water, as subsidiary to that on land. One of the most practical treatises on this subject is that of Mr. Gottlieb Boccius, published in 1841. He says that "fresh water fish are equally nutritious with those of the sea; they are much lighter as food, and therefore easier of digestion; and were it not owing to the neglected state of ponds, which, on the old system, cause the fish to be muddy, earthy, or weedy, there is no doubt that fresh water fish would be in greater repute and request." Mr. Boccius gives exact directions for the management of the ponds. We shall present a slight outline of his system.

There should be three ponds in each series or fish-farm; the first

one slightly higher than the others. There must be water-courses and flood-gates from each pond to the adjacent one; so that water may flow from the first to the second, and thence to the third. The ponds ought not to be nearer together than one hundred yards. As clay soils are not congenial to fish, light loamy or gravelly bottoms ought to be chosen for the ponds. The sides of the pond should shelve gradually for about six yards, as the sward will nourish large quantities of insects, &c., the legitimate food of the fish. Trees or shrubs should never be planted on the margins of the pond. The depth of the pond at the centre may vary from three to six feet, according to the available supply of water. A good ratio of dimensions is the following-first pond, three acres; second, four acres; third, five acres; making twelve acres of water surface in all.

Such being the size and arrangement of the ponds, the stocking is the next point; and the following recommendations are given. To every acre of water surface in the first pond, put in 200 brood carp, 20 brood tench, and 20 brood jack-all of one season's spawn. In the next following year the second pond is to be stocked in a similar ratio; and in the third year the last or lowest so that it requires three years to stock all the ponds. The stocking once completed, no similar expense is again required, for the produce will be abundant both for sale and for breeding, under proper regulations. The carp form the main body of the stock; and the tench and jack are introduced chiefly for collateral reasons, which are thus explained :-"It is a well-authenticated fact that no fish of prey will ever touch tench; so it is also understood that tench act medicinally to other fish, by rubbing against them when wounded or sick. This quality is probably attributable to the glutinous slimy quality and properties of its skin; for when fish have been wounded by the fangs of another, or struck by a hook, they have been frequently observed and taken when in close company with tench; and this gives rise to the presumption for so believing, and is the reason for recommending the introduction of a few tench into the stews or ponds. In Germany the fishermen call it the Doctor fish. Jack or pike is well known to be the most rapacious fresh-water fish that exists; but with all its voracity it is absolutely necessary to have a sufficient quantity in the carpstews or ponds, to check increase."-In other words, if there were not jack to devour some of the carp, there would be a superabundant population, and its attendant evils, in the ponds. The two species of carp recommended are the English or round-bellied, and the German or spiegel carp. There is a particular weight of fish found to be adapted to a particular quantity of water; so that if the proper number be exceeded, the fish lose by sickness and leanness what they gain in number.

The period for brooding the pond is about the end of October or the beginning of November. The carp and tench lie torpid in the mud during the winter months, secure from the attacks of the juvenile jack, who find sufficient food in worms and animalculæ.

As the spring advances, the carp and tench leave their winter layers; but the jack then become sickly on account of their spawning season, and do not annoy their neighbours throughout the spawning season of April, or the ensuing period till July. The carp and tench are thus left unmolested by the jack for eight or nine months; they spawn in June; and the jack soon afterwards begin to feed on some of the young fry. It is of course a matter for experience to determine the ratio between the devourers and the devoured, in this extraordinary theory of fish population, which shall lead to a proper and medium stocking of the ponds; and this ratio is given by Mr. Boccius as above.—Ño other fish are to be admitted into the ponds: eels especially are found to do mischief.

After three years the fish are fit for the market. At the end of three years those in the uppermost pond have therefore arrived at a sufficient age; while those in the second pond will require another year's growth, and those in the lowest pond two additional years. The ponds are on this account" fished," as it is termed, in succession. The fishing is effected by sluicing off the water from one pond to another; some of the fish go with the stream, but the rest remain behind. The part of the pond near the sluice is twelve or eighteen inches deeper than the rest, in order that when the water is drawn off the fish may be collected into a small space; and that when the sluice is again closed, an accumulation of water may immediately take place, sufficient for the protection of the brood in succeeding store. The reason for making each pond smaller than the one next below it is the following:-At the period of fishing, it is impossible to prevent some of the brood escaping with the flood into the lower pond; and as another year must elapse before this lower pond can be fished, too much of the food of the original store would be consumed, were not the second pond large enough to receive the additional number. In fishing or sluicing the pond, the sluice is opened by small degrees at a time, so as to allow a week to elapse before all the water has flowed out: this precaution is necessary for the safety both of the fish and the ponds; by slowly removing the water, the whole stock approaches the sluice-deep, and much trouble is spared in collecting the fish; whereas by suddenly discharging the water, many fish would be left in the mud in various parts of the pond, and cause them to sicken. When all is ready for taking the fish, three sets of vats or tubs filled with clean water are placed by the side. The fish are taken by a hand-net from the pond, and put into vat No. 1 to cleanse them a little; they are then transferred to No. 2 for a second cleansing; and finally brought quite clean by immersion in No. 3. Carp and tench are easily conveyed from place to place at the fishing season (October or November), in casks having an open bung-hole to admit air; but jack are very tender fish, and soon sicken unless placed in water. When a pond is sluiced for fishing, it is not advisable to clear it of the mud, but only of the rushes and reeds; it should be left to dry for some time before the water is again allowed to accumulate, except near the sluice, where sufficient must be admitted for the existence of the new brood: the mud,

when dried, produces new herbage, which ultimately proves nourishment for the store.

With respect to the size and weight of the fish caught, Mr. Boccius gives some information concerning a large fish-farm in Saxony. The proprietor has an estate of eight thousand acres, of which about one-half is forest. On the estate there are twentytwo ponds, the largest being twenty-seven acres in extent. Two carp in this pond weighed together nearly 100 English_pounds in 1822, and in 1833 they had increased to 115 pounds. These were breeding carp; for it is customary to return a few pairs of the finest carp year after year to the pond, for as they get older they cast the finer and greater quantity of spawn. At the fishing of the next smaller pond, of seventeen acres, in the same year, the weight of carp taken was 4,000 pounds, besides tench and jack. The two large carp in the large pond were known to be more than half a century old. The most rapid growth of carp extends to about twenty years; beyond that period it increases more slowly. Carp in the third year weigh from 3lbs. to 4lbs.; in the sixth year, 8lbs. to 10lbs. ; in succeeding years, 1lb. or 14lb. additional annually; in the twentieth year, about 30lbs. It begins to lose its delicacy as food at about the tenth year; after which it is more valued as a brood carp.

Where there is only one pond, it should be fished only every third year; but it is better to have a series, managed on a system somewhat analogous to the rotation of crops. In a severe winter, when the surface of the pond is frozen, a hole three feet in diameter should be cut in it, and filled with a bundle of withs or rushes six feet long, partly in and partly out of the water: this will prevent the hole from being frozen up, and the fish will thus obtain air, which is essential to them. There are two species of weeds which are requisite in the ponds, and on which the carp and tench spawn. These are the Potamogeton natans, or broad-leaved pondweed, sometimes called tench-weed; and the Ranunculus aquatilis, or water-crow-foot.

It is estimated that, with the serial ponds and the triennial fishing, there will be about 700lbs. of carp, 80lbs. of tench, and 70lbs. of jack, per acre per annum. As the fishing takes place at one only period of the year, it is necessary to have a bome-pond of eight or ten yards square, to regulate the supply for the ensuing months; if running water pass frequently through the home-pond, a large number of fish may be conveniently stowed in it; and the carp and tench will live throughout the winter; but the jack can only be kept alive a short time in such ponds.

These fresh-water fish-ponds can only be available for the more delicate kinds of fish, which will command a fair price; but Mr. Boccius has, in a later pamphlet, published in 1848, directed attention to the culture (if we may so term it) of fresh-water fish in rivers; in other words, to the protection and encouragement of broods of fish in rivers.

III.-PUBLIC LIBRARIES.

The report of Mr. Ewart's committee on Public Libraries is one of the most valuable and interesting documents which Parliament has added to the stock of blue-book literature for many years. The topics in which it affords information may be conveniently ranged under two general heads:-1. The present state of our public libraries; 2. Practical suggestions for their improvement. On these two points a great deal of new and useful light is thrown. For the first time the English people are made aware of their wealth and of their poverty in the means of intellectual culture. Other questions of importance arise out of the evidence tendered by the witnesses to the committee-such as the present state of the social habits, the virtues and vices, of the masses of the labouring population, the history and contents of certain rare books and manuscripts, the rise and progress of a new race of itinerant lecturers, and so forth. These things have a near but still only a subsidiary connexion with the chief subject of the report; some of them will be noted as they fall within the radius of our observations on the two topics into which the report divides itself.

Present State of the Public Libraries.

One of the first things which strikes a foreigner with pain when he takes up his residence in London, or in any other of our great towns and cities, is the total absence of free libraries. In every large town on the continent there is a public library (often there are two, four, or six), to which every one is admitted at once, without introduction or guarantee. In the whole of the British islands there is but one such institution-Chetham's Library, in Manchester: and even this is so ill-managed in other respects as to be of hardly any use to the inhabitants of the town in which it exists. But our public libraries are not only difficult of access compared with foreign libraries-they are wretchedly few in number. One of the most striking things in this report is a map of Europe, shaded so as to exhibit the relative provision of books in libraries accessible to the general public in the various states on the continent, excepting Turkey. The small German states-Baden, Hanover, Dresden, and so on-and England are on the two extreme verges. The minor countries are, in this respect at least, white with the light of science and learning, while the British islands appear to be in utter darkness. The gradations run down the scale thus:-For every 100 of the population, there are in the minor states of Germany 450 books; in Denmark, 412; in Switzerland, 350; in Bavaria, 339; in Norway and Sweden, 309; in Prussia, 200; in the Austrian empire and the kingdom of Hungary, 167; in the states of Italy, 150; in France, 129; in Sardinia, 100; in Spain, 100; in Belgium, 100; in Portugal, 80; in Russia, 75; in Holland, 63 to 53; in Great Britain and Ireland, 63 to 53. Look at it how we will, such a table is calculated to put one to the blush; but still it should not have been sent forth by the reporters without some sort of explanation. Such a statement is very likely to mislead continental writers, not well

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