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The payments for debt, army, and other services, were, in 1833, according to a Parliamentary return, £2,910,808.* A portion of this was only apparent expenditure in Ireland, as considerable sums were paid out of it to absentee pensioners, public officers, and others, whose incomes were chargeable on the Irish revenue, as well as to the account of clothing and accoutrements purchased in England for the use of the army serving in Ireland. If we deduct £150,000 for these sums, we shall reduce the amount to £2,760,000; to which, however, we must add payments to Chelsea and other military pensioners, made out of the British revenue, which will thus raise it to a total of £3,160,000. The payments into the Exchequer, in the same year, were, according to the Finance Accounts, £3,534,940. To these we are to add £789,000,
" uncredited revenue.”+ Both sums make £4,323,940, and exceed the actual expenditure by £1,163,940. We speak of 1833, for we have no later return of expenditure. The case is, at present, still more unfavourable to Ireland; for, not only has the expenditure since diminished, but the revenue has increased. It would be far from exaggeration, to assume the present excess of income over expenditure to be £1,500,000; and as the absentee rents amount to £3,500,000, we shall thus have altogether a drain of five millions a-year, and this counterbalanced only by an excess of the value of exports over imports, which, at the date of the last returns, did not amount, in the whole, to more than £647,000.† This, we repeat, is a growing eril. Can it be much longer endured? Has it not claims of undeniable urgency on the earliest attention of Parliament?
Art. X.-1. A History of British Fishes. By William Yarrell,
V.P.Z.S., F.L.S. Illustrated by nearly 400 wood-cuts. 2 vols.
8vo. London. 1836. 2. An Angler's Rambles. By Edward Jesse, Esq., F.L.S. Au
thor of “Gleanings in Natural History.” 8vo. London. 1836. THE
HE reading public—and what portion of the public is now
unworthy of the epithet?--have great reason to be thankful to the author of any work calculated to tempt them forth to the field or the flood, to make them observant of the miracles of
* See last Dublin Review, p. 305.
† Ibid, p. 295. In 1825, the value of Irish exports to all parts was £9,243,000, and of imports froin all parts £8,596,000.- Appendix to the Report on the State of the Irish Poor, ordered to be printed July 16, 1830.
creation, and to instruct and delight them with its beauties as seen on the land, and its wonders as displayed in the phenomena and productions of the mighty deep. There is a spirit of life, and health, and improvement in the contemplation of nature under the direction of a sure guide. It encreases our value to ourselves, and to those who are about us; for it lengthens the number of our days, and encreases the length of each day, by the efficiency of whatever we are called upon to do.
Whatever may be the character of that portion of nature which we visit, it is still fraught with this delightful power of imparting, to us, not only the elements of thought, but the capacity of thinking. The mountain top, high above all vegetation except the last lichen, is gloriously sublime in its mists, its eagles, its towering pinnacles, and its stupendous precipices. The dry moor, and the elevated down, whose chief covering is the purple heath, is sure to sprinkle in a due admixture of wild berries,—for the enjoyment of which the birds make the wild ring with their songs of gratitude; while the countless bees, uniting their mellow hum, in the season of the heath bloom, proclaim to us, that if this is not a land “flowing with milk,” it is, at least, a land “flowing with honey"-honey which man could turn to great profit, if he would skilfully avail himself of it.
Even when we come to what may, in a country like Britain, be regarded as the ultimate sterility of a dry surface, namely, to those accumulations of sand, which, in various places, come between the fertile plain and the sea, we do not find that they are barren. Landward, various kinds of bent rise up with exceedingly strong and firm stems, preventing the sand from being carried, by the influence of the wind, over the cultivated country. Farther to seaward, but still upon the dry surface, we are, ever and anon, coming upon four beautifully mottled eggs, symmetrically arranged in the form of a cross, while the fleet birds, to which they are a treasure, run to and fro, whistling and wailing, as if imploring us not to plunder their small and simple domestic establishment. Then, as the high-water line is approached, a different scene presents itself. Life meets us at every step; and the sand appears to be literally animated, by the countless myriads of flying and leaping creatures of small size, which are constantly rising from its surface, and again descending to their place of rest.
What we have here stated may be considered as descriptive of the three steps upon the most sterile surface of the earth, from the barrenness of the mountain top, to the barrenness, if barrenness it can be called, of the ocean strand. It will readily occur to every one, that the comparative sterility of the several situations, arises chiefly from the absence of water. It follows, therefore, that
both in the beauty and the value of the earth, water is the essential element. The facts tell us so. The first dripping of an infant rill from the mountain rock, will contrive, at least, to foster the green moss, even though the elevation is yet too great, and the cold too habitually intense, to allow it to nourish any other kind of verdure. The little rivulets, which dance down the mountain slopes, now leaping from a little rock, and now expanding in a glassy pool, contrive to seam the darkness of the heather, as if the mountain were clad in a mantle of purple, divided into segments by streaks of emerald. When the stream musters its forces, and swells into a river, we are all acquainted with its varied beauties, with the grandeur of its tide, and the countless uses of its waters, not only in the economy of nature, but in many of the arts of human life. And yet, how much remains to be learned from these “waves that are passing by us!” To how many purposes of utility, still unknown, might these waters be applied ! Were skill employed, for example, in economising the rain which falls upon our uplands, and runs off in the flooding of our rivers, always carrying a portion of the most valuable soil along with it, it is not easy to calculate to what extent the
productions of the field might be encreased, and the labour of the husbandman diminished. This is the grand point of political economy-a point before which all the small and artificial projects of the systematists sink into insignificance-namely—that the whole bounty of heaven, in soil, in water, and in every thing that contributes to growth, shall be made to work equally and harmoniously to the greatest effect, and with the least exertion of human labour. The first portion of this involves the supply of plenty, the second, the existence of leisure on the part of the people, for mental improvement, and healthful recreation.
But if this principle is ever to be carried into operation, in a rational and philosophic manner, the study of the waters must necessarily form an important element in the process. Look only to the composition of our earth. To say nothing of the streams and rivers and lakes which intersect the land, seven-tenths of the whole surface of the globe are covered with seas and oceans, united with each other in one continuous, though irregularly formed extent. And can we look at that wisdom of design, which pervades creation, and yet suppose that, surface for surface, the sea is less valuable in nature's economy than the land ?
It is not, however, with the waters, considered in themselves, but with their living inhabitants, and with the manner in which those inhabitants are drawn from their liquid element for the use of man, that we have to deal in the present instance. As regards these, there is a considerable distinction to be made between the fresh waters and the sea. The former would
appear to have been devoted to amusement. There are some instances, indeed, in which a fresh water fishery is carried on, solely with a view to mercantile profit, and without any enjoyment on the part of those who are actually engaged in it, farther than the hope of earning a subsistence for themselves and their families. This, however, is the exception, not the rule. Fresh water fishing, in the proper sense of the word, is entitled to take its place among what are called “ field sports;" and, in the pleasure which it affords to those engaged in it, as well as in the effect which it appears to have in softening the heart, and rendering the affections bland and kindly, experience has certainly convinced us that it is superior to every other. It is to this subject that Mr. Jesse's light, lively, and most entertaining volume is directed: though we must acknowledge that he points out various modes of capture, which we would feel inclined to exclude from the limits of what may be called elegant and gentlemanly fishing,—we mean that kind of fishing, which derives its pleasure, not from the largeness, but from the glory, of the capture. The highest grade of the art is to fish for salmon, in a broad river, with a clear and rippling current; using no tackle, but an angle, that is a rod and line of the proper size and form, and an artificial fly or flies according to the season. It is not of the highest mode to use gaffering or a landing net, because these imply that the angler has not complete confidence in his own powers; and the pride of an angler, of the true school, consists in drawing out the leviathan of the clear flowing river-a gallant healthy salmon of some twenty to fifty pounds—“ with a hook,” unaided by any such vulgar operations, as snaring or stabbing.
It is true that the landing of a full-sized salmon of vigorous. health (and no other should be landed by any means,) in this truly sportsman-like manner, requires a man of great vigour and experience. He must be prepared to wade breast-high into the current, to endure any quantity of scratching from bushes, to tumble upon slippery stones, and to ply his art under a thousand other casualties. Having hooked his fish, he is to allow it fairly to wear itself out by its own exertions, to toss and beat and tumble, until its strength is exhausted, and he can ground it on a convenient shallow as easily as a piece of floating wood. Then, taking it by the nose and tail
, and lifting it carefully to the bank, let him dispatch it by that single blow, which every experienced fisher knows so well how and where to give, and which leaves every flake in the finest condition, and rich in its natural cream.
This, however, is not every body's work; nay, it is not, perhaps, the kind of fishing, in which there is the most general enjoyment. The ordinary fisher may, therefore, turn away from the broad river, and may ascend one of its feeders, till he reaches some lovely dell, where copse and meadow mingle their sequestered beauties, and where the chiding stream, disturbed, perhaps, by a cascade at the upper end, frets its alternate way, in ripple and pool, between the banks. There let him angle for trout. It is in such a place that he will enjoy that sweetness of nature which conduces so much to the softening of the human heart; and which seldom fails to inspire the angler with a love of nature, and nature's beauteous productions. It has been said that angling is a cruel sport; but in these cases the question is to be tried, not by the real or supposed pain inflicted on the dumb animal, but by the effect produced upon the mind of the party practising it. Now, as we have already hinted, anglers, from old Izaak Walton downwards, have been men of the most kindly and gentle dispositions; and publications, on the practice of angling, have usually more both of warm heartedness and of glee in them, than books on almost any other topic, not even excluding those on the subject of flowers.
The two works, whose titles we have quoted, furnish ample proof of this; for though Mr. Yarrell's takes a wider and more methodical range, than that of Mr. Jesse, yet the buoyancy, and benevolence of the fisher, very often get uppermost even with him, notwithstanding the extent and the profundity of his science. We must, however, defer our particular remarks on these two most competent authors, and their delightfully instructive and entertaing productions, until we have exhausted our privilege of telling our own story.
Sea fishing, we have said, contrasts with fresh water fishing, as a regular trade contrasts with a field sport; and it is remarkable, that the fishermen who live by levying contributions on the riches of the deep, are more exclusively devoted to their calling, and less fitted for any thing else, than almost any class that can be named. This extends, not merely to the fishermen, but to their families; and there are many parts of the country, where, in manners, and even in language, the inhabitants of a fishing village are as different from the peasantry of the adjoining country, as if they lived beyond the sea, and not on its nearer margin.
There is another contrast between sea fishing and fresh-water fishing, which is of still greater importance. The fresh-water fishing, even in those lands of lakes and streams, which are most favourable for it, is comparatively limited, although many of the