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The Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 online

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The southwest of Scotland is preeminently
a grazing district; it is the home of two
of the most distinct breeds of cattle, the
Ayrshire, a typical dairy cow, yielding milk
particularly suited for cheesemaking, and
the Galloway, a polled black animal, char-
acterized by its great hardiness and the fine
quality of its beef. For generations the Gal-
loways, either pure, or in the well-known
*blue gray* cross, have been exported to be
fattened in the Midlands and east of England.
The more northern counties of Scotland
naturally, in the main, consist of grazing
land. They have their typical race of High'
land cattle and also carry the Scotch black-
faced sheep, both slowly-maturing hardy
breeds, producing meat of high quality. The
eastern counties, particularly Aberdeen, show
some highly-farmed arable land, noted for



the magnitude and high quality of its turnij>
crops, on which the cattle are stall-fed
through the winter. For this purpose another
race of cattle, now of cosmopolitan distribu-
tion, has been evolved, the polled black Aber-
deen-Angus, massive animals noted for their
rapid growth, symmetry, and quality of flesh.

Irish agriculture is of two classes; on
the one hand there exists, especially in the
west, a great number of small holdings,
worked entirely by the single family, pro-
ducing potatoes for home consumption and
a little oats for sale, in addition to the milk
or butter from a few cows on the rough graz-
ing attached to the holding. The farming"
of these peasant proprietors is naturally of
a primitive character, but the efforts of the
Irish Co-operative Organization Society and
later of the Irish Board of Agriculture have,
during the last ten years, done much to
ameliorate the conditions under which they
are working, particularly by the introduction of
co-operative creameries. The Irish peasant
farmer has quickly learnt to work on co-
operative principles, so that the movement to-
ward co-operation, which has been headed by
Sir Horace Plunkett, has enormously improved
the character of Irish butter, a staple article in
the English market, and must have nearly
doubled the returns to the producer. On the
other hand, Ireland possesses large farms of the
richest grazing land on which are bred great
numbers of store cattle of the Shorthorn breed
for the English market, as well as light horses-
of the best strain, wholly or nearly thorough-
bred. The high quality of the pastures give
these animals a foundation of bone and vigor
of constitution which makes them respond
freely to richer conditions in later life.

Science and Education. — Any survey of Brit-
ish farming for the last century would be in-
complete if it did not take some account of the
scientific and intellectual resources which have
been at the service of the British farmer. Of
these the Rothamsted Experiments form the
main, practically the only, British contribution
to the world's stock of agricultural science.
The foundation of these field experiments
dates back to 1843, in which year J. B. Lawes,
a Hertfordshire landowner, obtained the co-
operation of J. H. Gilbert to carry out experi-
ments upon field crops upon his own estate.
This partnership in investigation lasted for
nearly sixty years, the continuity of the worlc
being secured by a Trust founded and endowed
by Lawes. The main feature of the Rothamsted
investigations has been field experiments
with the various farm crops, conducted on a
large scale and over a jgreat period of time,,
and to them the farming community owes
its knowledge of the principles of the nutri-
tion of our domesticated plants. Rotham-
sted was the forerunner of the many agri-
cultural experimental stations^ which have
been created in other countries; the first
German Station at Mockern dates from 1852,.
the first American station at Middletown,
Conn., having been founded in 1875. It is
noteworthy that though agricultural research
has in every country become the business of
the State, Rothamsted remains the only insti-
tution of its kind in the British Island* and
enjoys no assistance from public funds.



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From about -the same period as the founda-
tion of the Rothamsted Experiments, dates the
establishment of the Royal Agricultural So-
ciety, which, by its institution of national
agricultural shows held year by year
in different parts of the country, has done
much to foster the improvement of English
live stock. For a long time also this society
by its < Journal,* by its appointment of con-
sulting scientific advisers, by undertaking
analyses for its members, was a great educa-
tional factor in the country, but the work of
the society in this direction has of late years
been largely taken over by other and more
widespread agencies, while the society has
no longer found fresh pioneer work to do
but has more and more confined its energies
to its annual show.

Agricultural education in Great Britain was
for a long time restricted to private enterprise,
the Royal Agricultural College at Cireneester
being the first, and for a long time, the onlv
institution giving a systematic training in agri-
cultural science. Edinburgh was the first uni-
versity to give any instruction in agriculture,
until in 1890 the allocation of certain excise
revenues for technical instruction enabled the
country generally to make a start with agricul-
tural education. The last decade has in conse-
quence seen the establishment of a number
of schools and colleges for agricultural in-
struction, so that at the present time prac-
tically the whole country is in touch with
some institution of secondary or university
type, which, as a rule, aims both at educa-
ting the future farmer and at providing
ex pe rt assistance for the current generation.

Summary. — From this brief survey it will
be seen that the characteristic feature of
British farming has been its individuality;



Whether this policy will continue to
answer in the face of the State-trained and
State-directed competition for the English
market of all the other agricultural commu-
nities, will be settled during the coming gen-
eration; it may then turn out that the much
belauded ^principle** of hisses faire is but a
cloak for lack of knowledge and slackness in
the governing class.

Bibliography.—* Annual Report > on the Agri-
cultural Returns, etc., in Great Britain. Board
of Agriculture (London 1906) ; Agricultural
Statistics > for Ireland. Annual Report, Depart-
ment of Agriculture and Technical Instruction
(Dublin 1905) ; <Report of the Royal Commis-
sion on Agnculture> (London 1897); Ireland:
Industrial and Agricultural \ Department of
Agriculture and Technical Instruction (Dublin
1902) ; Prothero, Pioneers and Progress in
English Farming > (London 1888) ; Prothero,
( English Agriculture in the Reign of Queen
Victoria \ Journal Royal Agricultural Society,.
England (1901, p. I) ; Caird, <English Agricul-
ture in 1850 and i85i> (London 1852) ; Wal-
lace, ( Farm Live Stock of Great Britain > (Lon-
don 189J) ; Rew, ( British Live Stock in the
Nineteenth Century \ Trans. Highland and
Agricultural Society (Edinburgh 1901, p. 206) ',
Hall, <The Book of the Rothamsted Experi-
ments } (London 1905).

A. D. Hall,
Director of the Rothamsted Agricultural
Station.

03. Great Britain— Fisheries. The g«eat ex-
tent of seaboard in proportion to the area of
the United Kingdom combines with the wealth
of the surrounding seas in food fishes to render
the fisheries a very important branch of British
industry, as may be seen from the following
table compiled from the returns for 1904.





Regular Fishermen
Employed


Fishermen Occasionally
Employed






In
Trawling
(•xcept for
Shrimps)


In other
modes

of
Fishing


Total


In
Trawling
(except for
Shrimps)


In other
modes

Fishing


Total


Total


Eagland and Wales


■»3W

t.315
ia8
100


16,670

25,560

7.105

497

410


33*3*9

37.939

8,420

025

510


«t39*
59

291


7i»45
10,061
J7>77©

167


8,641
lo,l*e

18,061

231
19a


42,010

S3?

856
702






Channel Islands


*5


Total


20,421


5°»44»


70,863


»i77»


35i474


37**45









its great advances have been made by indi-
viduals; its good qualities and its visible
weakness are alike the result of solitary
work and internal competition. Despite the
apparent diversity of their interests landlord
and tenant have, in the main, pulled together;
the landlord has always been the spokesman
and has represented agriculture in the legis-
lature. But there the farming interest has
been wholly ineffective; the State has never
recognised any responsibilities toward the in-
dustry* either in the way of protection against
competition or in the provision of intelligence
or education.



This table does not include the persons
engaged in the s e con d ary occupations connected
with fishing, such as boat-builders, coopers,
packers, curers, net-makers, etc. These were
estimated in 1904 to number 48,562 in Scotland
alone; if the ratio may be assumed to be the
same in the other parts of the United Kingdom,
the total number of persons deriving a liveli-
hood from the sea fishing industry, exclusive
of salmon fishing, cannot % be far short of a
quarter of a million.

The total weight and value of fish (not in-
cluding salmon) landed in the United Kingdom,
(hiring 1904 is shown in the following table :



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GREAT BRITAIN — FISHERIES





England
and Wales


Scotland


Ireland


United
Kingdon




cwts.

",365.484

^6.489,924

,£309,063


cwts.
7,947,839
^2,331, IOi
,£76,800


cwts.

951,836

*344»*54

A49i476


cwts.
20,264,749
^9,065, 180

^4»6i339


wet ash ]^* .::::::::::::::::

Shell fish, value..




jC6,779*987


£2,307,902


^393t63«>


,£9,481,519





This result, which may be taken as being
above the average of recent years in weight,
but considerably below the average aggregate
value, was attained by the employment of 26,074
vessels and boats, of which 8,962 were regis-
tered in English ports, with an aggregate ton-
nage of 162,431 ; 10,891 in Scottish ports,
aggregating 140,396 tons; and 6,221 in Irish
ports, of which the total tonnage is not re-
corded.

A notable change in the character of the
British fishing fleet has been in progress during
recent years, owing to the substitution of steam
for sailing power. The result has been a great
extension in the fishing ground.. The North
Sea, of course, remains a most productive
source of supply, and five-sixths of the steam
trawlers working; there are British. Thus in
1904, while foreign steam trawlers registered
at North Sea ports numbered 202, there were
1,282 registered at English and Scottish North
Sea ports. But, outside the North Sea, power-
ful steam trawlers and liners from the east
coast of England and Scotland now carry
on their operations off Iceland and the Faroe
Islands, in the Bay of Biscay, and off the coast
of Portugal. In 1904 a new trawling ground
in 70 fathoms was opened off the coast of
Morocco. Much of the catch in these distant
waters never finds its way into the British mar-
ket, and consequently does not figure in the
returns above quoted. u For instance, one Eng-
lish trawler fishing off the French coast, near
Brest, in 70 fathoms, too 300 kits of fish, which,
in the Lisbon Market, some 600 miles distant,
realized £444. On the next day the same vessel
commenced fishing off Cape Finisterre, in 120
fathoms and in four days returned to Lisbon,
and sold some 200 kits for £37&* *

The rapidity with which steam is taking the
place of sails in the larger English and Scot-
tish boats may be seen by comparing the statis-
tics of different years:



In Ireland, out of a total of 6,221 vessels
actually engaged in sea-fishing during 1904,
there were only one steam beam trawler, and
nine steam otter trawlers against 168 sailing
boats employed in the first and 255 in the second
method of fishing. There were no steam line
fishers.

Steam power, at first employed only in
trawling vessels, is becoming annually more
common in drift net and long line fishing.
Drift nets are employed for the capture of her-
rings, mackerel and pilchard, of which the
relative importance as articles of food and com-
merce may be inferred from the quantities of
each landed in British and Irish ports during
the year 1904:



Herring

Mackerel

Pilchard.






cwts.
3iio9»3<>3
518,569
»75i553



5,432,404
16,493



cwts,

286,496

502,501



cwts,

8,918,293

*.Q37»563
i75»55*



,£1 ,870,219

4x7,070

47»4SO



England and
Wales


1893


1904


Steam


Sailing


Steam


Sailing


First class boats....
Second class Doats. .


564




3» 2 7°
4»«99


1,478
16


L755
4,»95






1895


1904


Scotland


Steam


Sailing


Steam


Sailing


AH classes..... ...


*5«


12,940


474


10,417



•Board of Agriculture and Fisheries: Report 1904, p. xxii.



The development of mackerel fishing on the
west coast of Scotland has "been retarded
hitherto owing to want of curing stations: Thus
in September 1904, one boat landed 60 crans of
line mackerel at Kyie of Lochalsh, of which 40
crans were sold fresh at 8s. a cran, and 20
crans had to be thrown overboard because
there was no means of curing them. A cran of
mackerel contains an average of about 400 fish.

While the local herring fishery is actively
pursued from almost every creek approached by
the fish, powerful boats from Yarmouth, Lowes-
toft, Grimsby, and 10 other principal English
ports, and from Eyemouth, Leith, Fraserburgh,
Buckie, and 14 other Scottish ports seek out the
most productive waters irrespective of vicinity
or distance. In this respect, men of the east
coast are far more enterprising than those of
the west, owing, no doubt, in great measure to
their proximity to the excellent fishing grounds
in the North Sea; but it appears that, of the
three main races contributing to British ethnol-
ogy, men of Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian
descent take more readily to maritime pursuits
than do the Celts. A considerable portion of
the fish landed on the west coast of Britain
and in Ireland are taken by east coast fisher-
men ; and those places on the west coast where
the local industry is most active, such as Storn-
oway in Lewis and Peel in the Isle of Man,
and Morecambe Bay in Lancashire, remained
long under Norse dominion, and contain a
strong Norse element in the population.
Roughly speaking, the Saxon and Scandinavian
blood is stronger in the east, the Celtic in the



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GREAT BRITAIN — FISHERIES



-west, throughout Great Britain, which may ac-
count in some measure, at least, for the great
disparity in fishing enterprise among the local
population on the respective coasts.

The British export trade in cured herrings
is very large, amounting to 2,543,873 barrels in
1904. Germany and Russia have long been the
chief customers. Notwithstanding that the
German import duty is 3s. per barrel, and the
Russian 13s. per barrel, the number of barrels
consigned to Germany in 1904 was 1,649,144,
valued at £1,656,921, and to Russia 526,050,
valued at £547417, being together upwards of
four-fifths of the whole export. About 50 per
cent of the herrings landed in Germany are
sent over the frontier into Russia. The United
States took 57,291 barrels in 1904, valued at
£104,883, and that country is the principal im-
porter of pickled mackerel from the Irish fish-
eries.

Pilchards, which are taken only on the
south and southwest coast of England, find
their best market in Italy, which in 1904 took
18,381 hogsheads, valued at £53,953, out of a
total export of 19,272 hogsheads. It requires
from 560 to 600 lbs. of cured pilchards to fill
a hogshead.

It is a singular fact that, notwithstanding
the large export trade in fish from the United
Kingdom, amounting in 1904 to the total value



coast, which line passes within parts of some of
the prohibited areas, such as the Moray Firth,
the jurisdiction of British courts cannot apply
to foreign trawlers working in such areas, pro-
vided they keep outside the three-mile limit.
Consequently, fish may be and are taken by
foreign trawlers upon ground closed to British
trawlers by the act of their own legislature;
and such fish may be landed in British ports to
the natural indignation of those fishermen upon
whom the prohibition is effective. Meanwhile,
disinterested scientific opinion remains sharply
divided upon the question whether the protec-
tion of these areas has any appreciable effect
upon the general stock of fish in the adjacent
seas, though it is undoubtedly in favor of the
line fishermen, to whom the prohibition does
not apply.

The fish taken by trawl and line are tech-
nically divided into round and flat fish; the
principal round fish being haddock, cod, ling,
whitings, saithe, torsk, conger eels, gurnards,
catfish, anglers and hake ; the principal flat fish
being flounders, plaice, brill, halibut, soles,
lemon soles, turbot. The English and Irish
fishery returns do not show the amount of the
total catch of these fish taken by trawl and line
respectively, but the proportion in Scottish
waters is indicated in the following table for
1904:





Line


Trawl


Total




cwts.
628,898
xao, air

4,631


£379,428
80,703

i»o54


cwts.

*» 5*3,949
180,709

1,910


£618,687
221,212

435


cwts.

2,149,847
300,920

6,54'


£898,115
301,915

1,480


Flat fi*h


Unclassified (skate, squid, etc.,
the squid being taken in nets)..




753,74*


£370, 185


1,703, 568


£840,334


2,447,308


£1,201,519



{including salmon) of £3>555>o66, the total im-
ports go far to balance it, amounting in the
same year to the value of £3,332,656, of which
cured and salted fish to the value of £925,793
was re-exported.

Next to drift net and trawl fishing, the chief
branch of sea-fishing is conducted by long lines.
The relative importance of these different
methods varies very much in the three King-
doms. Thus in England, out of 33,369 regular
fishermen, 16,499 are employed in trawling (not
including shrimp trawlers) ; whereas in Scot-
land only 8 per cent, and in Ireland only 15 per
cent of regular fishermen were so employed.
Considerable friction has arisen in the past
between trawlers and line-fishers, owing to the
destruction of lines laid upon ground over
which trawlers worked. Deeming it undesirable
that the more ancient and local industry of line-
fishing, often pursued by men of humble means,
should be sacrificed to the interest of persons
of capital and residing at a distance from the
fishing grounds, and also actuated by a desire
to prevent the destruction of undersized fish
within favorable nursery grounds, Parliament
has conferred powers upon the Fishery Boards
of the three Kingdoms to schedule certain areas
within which trawling , is prohibited. But,
whereas the territorial waters of Great Britain
and Ireland are circumscribed by a line drawn
at a distance of three miles from the nearest



The importance of the fishing industry as a
nursery and reserve of practised seamen can
hardly be overrated in a maritime nation, nor
is it to be feared that the steady displacement
of sails by steam in the fishing fleet will impair
its value in that respect. The same qualities of
mind and bodv which distinguished seafaring
men of the old school are those which best fit
their descendants for handling and managing
modern warships and trading vessels; and the
greater distance from port at which the more
powerful class of vessel now employed enables
men to follow their calling, requires competent
knowledge of navigation as well as skill in
seamanship. Upon the social System of regular
fishing communities the effect of the change is
considerable.

"Fishing,* wrote Professor Mackintosh
about the Scottish fishers of the east coast,
a was to be carried out no longer by more or
less independent crews, bound together by
blood relationship or other ties, and whose
working hours were largely regulated by the
weather and tides, or their own convenience
and necessities. Yet their whole domestic life
was interwoven with the time-honored pursuit.
Their wives and daughters laboriously baited
the hooks and arranged the lines in the baskets
for Shooting' ; they gathered the bent-grass
for separating the layers of the line, and, with
the sons, dug lob-worms or procured the mus-



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GREAT BRITAIN — THE MINING INDUSTRY



sels for bait . . Now (1883) active and
powerful vessels, propelled by steam, and thus
more or less independent of weather, manned
by a captain responsible to owners or their
manager, a crew bound together only by disci-
pline and pay, and whose fishine apparatus re-
quired no bait, appeared on the held. . . .
Capitalists took up the question, and fitted out
powerful ships in both England and Scotland,
and sent them into Scottish waters, so that
liners met with most formidable rivals." *

The stern realities of their calling have im-
parted a gravity of demeanor upon the class of
sea fishermen on all parts of the coast; statis-
tics, were it possible to obtain them, would
probably reveal them as among the most
orderly and law-abiding of the community.
Among the fish- wives of Newhaven and
Musselburgh is preserved almost, if not quite,
the sole survival of national costume. The
short, heavy-pleated, dark skirt, the woollen
hose and serviceable shoes, the striped a bed-
gown tt or blouse, and the thick pilot coat arc
probably identical in form and material with
those which Queen Mary may have seen on
landing at Leith in August 1561. In those
days, and for long afterward, the fish-wives
used to trudge up to Edinburgh market, with
the heavy "creel" on their backs supported by
the leathern band across the forehead. They
come up by cheap trains nowadays, but their
presence in the streets in their picturesque dress
and archaic equipment affords a welcome note
of local color in the monotonous uniformity of
a modern metropolis.

Notwithstanding this severe competition, the
line-fisher's industry continues to be fairly re-
munerative. In the < Official Report* of the
International Fisheries Exhibition, 1884, the
late W. Spencer Walpole, Inspector of Fish-
eries, combated the idea that the average fish-
erman's lot is harder or his earnings smaller
than that of agricultural laborers. tf I do not
think," said he, "that anyone who has any
acquaintance with the fishing community will
endorse that statement. If you examine an
ordinary fisherman's dress, you will find it
warmer and more costly than the laborer's
he consumes a larger proportion
of animal food than the laborer. . . . You
will find rows of cottages not merely occupied,
but owned, by fishermen, built or purchased
out of the profits of the fisheries.
Many of them own their own nets and lines,
and some of them have a share in the boats
in which they sail . . . Many of the mas-
ters are boat owners, with £250 to £1,500 of
capital, who have begun their lives as ordinary
fishermen." If steam has invaded the indus-
try of local fishermen on the one hand, it "has
extended his opportunities on the other by
giving him access to more distant markets.

Commercially the salmon fisheries of the
United Kingdom are of considerable value, but
the nature of that industry is not such as to
affect the character of the population in dif-
ferent localities in such a marked manner as
do the seafisheries. Some idea of the extent
of the fishery may be had from the consign-
ments of fresh salmon to Billingsgate (Lon-



don) market These have averaged annually
during the eight seasons, 1896-1903:

English and Welsh x»435 boxes

Scottish 13.117 **

Irish 4,a6a **

Total average 18,814 boxes-

Each of these boxes weigh about one hun-
dredweight.

There remains to be noticed the institution
in British water of a new branch of the fish-
ing industry, technically, so caHed, although
the object of pursuit is not a fish, but a mam-
mal. Previous to the invention some twenty
years ago of the bomb-harpoon the mighty
rorqual or finner whale, which abounds in the
North Atlantic, was too powerful a quarry for
whalers to attack. Now, however, steam whal-
ers armed with this formidable artillery, are
sent regularly in pursuit of rorqual, and dur-
ing the present century three whale fisheries



Online LibraryWilfrid RichmondThe Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 → online text (page 28 of 185)