Page images

was ever

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

868 An Indian Romance : A Lesson of the Famine. (June rescued from death by starvation railway had been expended upon at an unheard-of cost.

irrigation works scattered over India, If ever there was an authority there is every reason to believe there who has proved his right to be famine at this time. The great rivers

would have been no deaths from heard on such a subject as this, in the worst years bring down abunassuredly it is Arthur Cotton. dance of rich water for food for And the fire of this fruitful genius hundreds of millions more than the is not yet extinguished. It is present population. only four months since the old

“I should remind readers that the lion was roused to write to the statements I have given above re* Times' by the sight of this very entirely free from estimates, being

specting the Godavery district are record of which we speak, and purely facts brought forward in the which must have brought to him Madras Government report.” as pure a pleasure as vouchsafed to a devoted and too

There are those who think 80 little understood public servant.

bare a statement of the truth to Very pithy and characteristic is be injudicious, but there is a time his comment on the situation, in to speak as well as a time to be a letter published in the Times' silent, and unquestionably now is of the 1st February last, and of the time to speak the whole truth which an extract may fitly be

on this momentous subject. Nor is given here:

there any conceivable reason for

silence. At this moment, in his “Surely," he writes, “this is an ninety - fourth year, we do not amazing lesson at this moment. The doubt that the writer of this remedy now proposed for the famine letter could draft for our Indian is to spend 45 millions sterling on authorities, if they would have it, railways, but the question is not one such a programme of hydraulic of carriage for corn, but of corn for carriage.

works for the whole continent-s0 "The railways will not produce a comprehensive, so well thought out, grain of corn, and consequently the so entirely to be trusted—that it world is being searched for grain to might be accepted on his ipse dixit. import.

The skeleton of such a plan might “This sum would irrigate from the indeed be formed from his extant great rivers, which never fail, many writings on the subject—writings million acres, producing in rice sufficient for two persons per acre, besides which we feel confident will one providing some thousands of miles of day be estimated at their true steamboat canal, carrying so cheaply value. as really to meet the needs of India And so we come back in the with its long distances.

end to the point from which we “At present the Government irri

started. For, while India sits gation works in all water 11 million wringing her hands in despair, acres, applying to the land about 3 per cent of the rich water of the great weeping for the dead and hopeless rivers, containing abundance of all for the future, somewhere in the the food which grain crops require folds of the Surrey hills there beside moisture, and the remaining lives a venerable old man who 97 per cent are annually carrying to the sea, and so to waste, hundreds for love of India would gladly

even yet knows the secret, and of millions of tons of water and plant food for want of which hundreds of impart it, if she would only listen, thousands will now perish.

of spinning water into gold, and “If one-fifth of the money expend- cinders into cornfields, and ropes ed upon the small branch lines of of sand into strings of pearl.



ALL classes of Scotsmen from Stewart in his 'Practical Angler' the peer to the peasant, from Shet- states that “he is not worthy of land to the Solway, are devoted the name of angler, who cannot in disciples of Izaak Walton, whether any day of the month (June), when their object is the capture of the the water is clear, kill from fifteen lordly salmon in the pool, or the to twenty pounds weight of trout luring of the more humble trout in any county in the South of from the tiny streamlet. But the Scotland." The largest basket, law does not lend the same pro- however, of which any mention tection in the one case as in the can be found comes from the Meg. other. The salmon is protected gat water :by innumerable Acts of Parlia

" It has been recorded,' says the ment, Scots and British ; for up- author of the ‘Border Angler, that wards of five centuries he has a late famous Peeblean angler capbeen the peculiar favourite of the tured nearly 100 lb. in it with the law. The trout in Scotland, how- worm in one day ; and many anglers ever, has been practically left to have often, long before the day was work out his own salvation for done, found their baskets all too small himself; and the result has been for the captives of their rod and of

their line in the Meggat.'” his gradual deterioration both in numbers and in size. It is a matter The Ettrick Shepherd in the of common knowledge that trout- 'Noctes' says of that once famfishing in Scotland has gone down ous rivergreatly of late years, though it

“ Anither day, in the Meggat, I must be admitted that it is not caucht a cartfu'. As it gaed down easy to prove the fact, owing to the the road, the kintra-folk thocht it scarcity of genuine records of takes. was a cartfu' o' herrins-for they Perhaps the most detailed account were a' preceesely o ae size to an of sport in the old days is to be found unce-and though we left twa dizzen in Dryden's 'Hints to Anglers.' at this house, and four dizzen at that

house, and a gross at Henderland, He gives part of a season's fishing in

on countin' them at hame in the 1858 on the Gala, Ettrick, Leader, kitchen, Leezy made them out forty and Tweed : in nine days in June dizzen, and Girzy forty-twa-aught ; of that year he killed with worm sae a dispute ha’in arisen, and o sixty-seven dozen of trout, weigh- coorse a bet, we took the census owre ing 177 lb. Further he says :

again, and may these be last words

I shall ever speak, gin they didna “The largest number of trout I turn out to be Forty-Five." believe which I ever made was in the Leader in the spring of 1840 with fly. This, of course, is one of the ShepI did not note either the number or herd's pleasing exaggerations, but weight, but I filled three large baskets. it gives some idea of what sport They took the fly readily, even when used to be in the Meggat. How the dressing was nearly worn off it. In the Gala, in the month of June, I

are the mighty fallen! The most once killed 51 lb. weight-a statement experienced angler in the country which I can prove by the testimony of would not now get 6 lb. in any credible witnesses."

day on that river, and I am afraid that there cannot now be said to and the new Talla Scheme for be any one in Scotland "worthy of Edinburgh may damage the tributhe name” (to use Stewart's words) taries of the Tweed. "of angler."

Another cause for the gradual The reasons given for this fall- deterioration in the number of the ing off are various. One of the trout caught by individual anglers commonest is that of the pollution is to be found in the overfishing of the rivers, owing to sewerage that takes place, especially in the and manufactories. Certainly a streams in the South of Scotland. great deal of harm has been done That is due greatly to the increase in this way to the trout; but it is of late years in railway facilities. doubtful if the damage has been But the chief reason is that there as much as might have been ex- is no proper protection for trout pected. It is very seldom that afforded by the law, and this ought one sees a dead trout in a river. to be rectified as soon as possible; That would be chiefly in the sum

otherwise there will soon be no mer-time, when one could hardly trout left for anglers to capture. help seeing them if they were In England and Wales the capture poisoned. The fact is that pollu- of trout and char is prohibited tion does not so much kill the from the 2nd of October till the fish as drive them down to the 1st of February, except in Norfolk bottom, where, as a rule, they and Suffolk, where, under a local won't take. Still, good baskets Act, the Conservators have fixed are made even in polluted waters. the close-time, for nets only, from For instance, in the Mid-Lothian the 10th of September till the 25th Esk, where the papermakers work of January, and on the Thames, their own sweet will under the where the close-time runs from the controlling hand of the law, it is 11th of September to the 31st of not an uncommon sight to see in March. Further, the local Boards a heavy spate the angler landing of Conservators have, by an Act a number of trout just below the passed in 1876, the power to vary mills. The modern system of the close-times for trout and char drainage, too, is blamed, to to suit the requirements of their certain extent, for the deteriora respective districts, provided that tion of the trout. It is obvious such close - time does not comthat the rivers in Scotland are mence earlier than the 2nd of Sepnow much less regular in size than tember nor later than the 2nd of in the old days. At times they November, and is not less than are too small, and at others too 123 days.

123 days. In addition to this, , full; and in spates the natural there is a further protection to food of the trout is apt to be trout in England from the fact carried down, and thus the trout that in most of the streams a limit have not sufficient sustenance to is put on the size of the fish, below thrive on as in the earlier days. which they cannot be taken. And The amount of water, too, is much there is a still more important aid less in many of the streams, ow- to the protection of the trout in ing to the water having been taken England in the fact that all packfrom them for the purpose of the ages containing trout or char must, water-supply of the larger cities. between the 3rd of September and That is very much the case in the 1st of February, be distinctly Mid - Lothian and Peeblesshire; so marked. In Ireland, too, the


trout is under the protection of impossible to put a stop to this the law. The close - time for practice in the winter months. salmon applies also to trout. The Even water-bailiffs can do nothing netting close-time must never be to prevent this, as they have no less than 168 days, and neither power of search for trout; and as salmon nor trout can be sold in there is no restriction in the sale Ireland in the close season. The of trout in November, December, close-time for rod-fishing varies in and January, the result naturally the different districts. In the follows that what is taken thus Dublin district it is three months, illegally by the net finds a ready while in other districts the period market. The extent to which is longer. Further, by the Pollen netting is carried on in the Teviot Fishery (Ireland) Act of 1881 a at the present day may be imagspecial close - time for pollen is ined, when I state that the fixed.

Hawick Town Council, as recently But what is the case in Scot- as the 11th of May, resolved to land ? There is no close-time in stake the burgh waters to prevent Scotland for trout or other fresh- such netting. Further, the poachwater fish. They can be, and are, er catches innumerable trout by killed and sold all the year round, means of salmon - roe, In the whether in season or out of season, months of October, November, and thousands of pounds of un- and December they kill in the seasonable fish are sent off during Tweed and its tributaries all the the winter months from the Tweed spawning trout which congregate and other Border streams to glut in thousands at the back of millthe London market. The only dams, or rest at the sides of strong protection that trout receive by streams and pools. On a good the law in Scotland is afforded by fishing day you may see dozens of the Fresh-Water Fishery Acts of men and boys fishing, and catching 1845 and 1860, which are directed fine trout pretty nearly every cast. against netting, double or cross- These so-called anglers never move line fishing, fishing by set lines or more than a few yards down, and otters, burning the water, point- as fast as they pull one trout out ing, striking the fish with any in- another comes in to rest on its strument, or putting into the water way to the spawning - grounds. any substance destructive to the These poachers soon fill their enor. fish. Further, section 18 of the mous baskets, made for the purSalmon Fisheries (Scotland) Act pose to hold 2 or 3 stone-weight 1868 makes it illegal to use any

If any one is seen fish-roe for the purpose of fishing, coming along during the operaor to buy or sell or have in pos- tion, à whistle or sign is passed session any salmon - roe. Even along, and the roe, which is generthese enactments, however, unfor-ally carried in the angler's mouth, tunately, are practically a dead is knocked off the hook and a letter, as the poacher, in divers worm put on. It is thus most ways, manages to ply his nefarious difficult to detect this illegal trade with practically no chance method of capturing the trout; of detection. One of the most and the poacher, as a rule, comes common means of capturing the off scot-free. trout is the use of the net; and, There have been various atas the law now stands, it is almost tempts of late years to improve VOL. CLXI. —NO. DCCCCLXXX.

3 N

or even more.

this unfortunate state of matters exceeding five pounds for every such with regard to trout - fishing in offence." Scotland, but up to the present Further, it was provided that this time these efforts have proved

new Act should be read and conunsuccessful. In 1894 Lord Lam- strued along with and as part of ington introduced in the House of the Trout (Scotland) Act, 1845, Lords a Trout Fishing (Scotland) and the Trout (Scotland) Act, Bill. This bill provided that

1860, which have been already re

ferred to. “it shall not be lawful for any person Lamington's bill was blocked in

Unfortunately Lord whatever, at any time after the

passing of this Act, between the first day the House of Commons, and nothof November in any year and the first ing further came of it. The day of February in the year following, Fishery Board for Scotland, howboth inclusive, to fish for common ever, determined to ascertain the trout (Salmo fario) in any river, water, opinions of all the County Counor loch in Scotland, by net, rod, line, cils in Scotland on the subject or otherwise, or in any way whatever

of a close-time for trout. to take such trout from any such river,

They water, or loch ; or within such dates,

were each asked to state if in both inclusive, to have possession of their opinion a close - time for or expose for sale such trout; and if

trout were desirable, and, if so, any person shall so fish for or take during which months such closesuch trout from any river, water, or time should extend. Herewith loch in Scotland, or shall have possession of such trout, or expose such

are appended the answers to these trout for sale at any time within the questions, which Mr J. B. Balsaid dates, both inclusive, such per- four, the ex-Lord Advocate, kindly sons shall forfeit and pay a sum not gave me liberty to publish :

[blocks in formation]


Approve unanimously, but think it should extend to

1st March. Argyll Ardnamurchan District Approve of proposal.

Committee Cowal do.

Do. Islay


Consider any restriction unnecessary in their district. Kintyre do.

Approve. Mid-Argyll

Approve; but would prefer 1st November to 1st

March. Ayr-

Ayr District Committee . Approve; should be from 1st October to 1st March.
Kilmarnock do.

North Ayr


Close - time for trout should correspond with salmon

close - time; no difficulty would be experienced in

enforcing it. BerwickCounty clerk.

Believes it would be acceptable and could be enforced. East and West Districi


do. Committees Bute

Representative Committee think it would be of advan

tage; public would not object.

County Council think it would be of advantage. Caithness

Resolved by a majority to recommend proposal. Clackmannan

Approve; would meet with general acceptance.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »