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invade it in his turn. The Stoics had shown that force could not injure spirit; the Christians showed that spirit can conquer force. Its invasive charity blessed and converted the persecutors. The most spiritual of the ancient philosophies, Platonism, had presented as the ideal of human excellence one in whom self had died out, and whose action was become the impersonal utterance of reason. But the unselfishness of the ideal Platonic philosopher is negative, and ends in justice; the unselfishness of the Christian saint was positive, and ends in love. How difficult is it now, when Christianity has become familiar, to realize the revolutionary power of her utterances, when in the first freshness of her wonderful faith in God and man, she went forth into the highways and byways, and compelled the outcasts of ancient civilisation, the slaves and the publicans, to come in! One thing is clear, that but for Christianity, the work of fusing all races into one, which the Empire had undertaken, could never have been accomplished.
How the Church and the Roman Empire learnt to adjust themselves to each other, we cannot here describe. It has lately, indeed, been well described in the brilliant Essay of Mr. Bryce. The Roman Empire at first treated the Church with tolerant indifference, then learnt to dread it, and finally committed itself to a long struggle against it. And the Church, in its first purity, as we gather from the New Testament, often looked upon Rome as her mortal enemy. For though both Rome and the Church aimed at the same end, unity, they used opposite means and methods. Rome sought to subdue and mould the spirit through the outward organization of life, Christianity to remodel the outward life by a new spiritual influence. There was natural war between the kingdom of material force and the kingdom of truth. In later times there came a reconciliation. The New Jerusalem, that had descended pure as a bride out of heaven, became encircled by the walls of Babylon the Great. The Church gave vitality to the Empire ; the Empire became the protector of the Church. It was natural and necessary that it should be so. Christianity had to be brought safe to the modern world through ages of barbarism, and it was to the discipline or the tradition of the Empire that the task of protecting it was committed. Yet the earthen vessel could not but corrupt in some degree the heavenly treasure which it preserved. Forms of government and rules of earthly policy alien to the spirit of Christianity tainted its discipline and its doctrines; and even to this day the influence of that materialistic despotism, to which for a time it had to ally itself, has not passed away from the Christian Church.
ART. II.--1. Report of the Royal Commission on the Operation
of the Acts relating to Trawling for Herring on the Coasts
of Scotland, 1863. 2. Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the
Sea-Fisheries of the United Kingdom. 2 vols. London, 1866.
For several years past there has been a growing conviction in the public mind that the supply of fish is declining, that the constantly increasing demand for this valuable article of food-the result of the facilities of transport which the railways now afford—is likely to issue ere long in a great scarcity, unless efforts were made to check certain supposed reckless modes of fishing. In spite of the old proverb, ‘There are more fish in the sea than ever came out of it, certain misgivings have, not unnaturally, arisen in the minds of some who have paid attention to this interesting question, that old Ocean is not inexhaustible, and that we are doing serious mischief to its resources by over-fishing. The question is one of very great national importance, and the Royal Commissioners, amongst other matters of inquiry, have discussed this one of supply with extreme care and discernment. The questions submitted to the Commissioners for investigation were the following: 1. Whether the supply of fish from the fisheries of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is increasing, stationary
or diminishing ? 2. Whether any of the methods of catching fish in use in such fish
eries involves a wasteful destruction of fish or spawn; and if so, whether it is probable that any legislative restriction upon such methods of fishing would result in an increase of the supply of
fish ? "3. Whether any existing legislative restrictions operate injuriously
upon any of such fisheries ?' The Commissioners (2) began their inquiries at Cullercoats in Northumberland on the 22d of September 1863, and concluded them at London on the 25th of March 1865. The Report, with the Minutes of Evidence, was published last January. When we say that as many as eighty-six places were visited, namely, thirty-eight in England, three in Wales, twenty-two in Scotland, two in the Isle of Man, and twenty-one in Ireland, and that the bulky second volume of the Report enibodies no fewer than sixty-one thousand eight hundred and thirty-one questions, we may fairly hope to arrive at some satisfactory conclusions relative to our sea-fisheries.
With regard to the first question, whether the supply of fish is increasing, stationary, or diminishing, the Commissioners state, that though there has been much conflicting evidence on this point, they have had no difficulty in coming to the conclusion, that on the coasts of Great Britain the supply of fish is increasing, and that it admits of progressive increase.' This is encouraging, and is, we think, fairly supported by the evidence. The supply of fish fluctuates according to the locality and the season of the year. Thus in the autumn of 1863, the north-east coast of England yielded a meagre inshore fishing, while in the following year we found,' say the Commissioners, 'on the east coast of Scotland, the haddock-fishing had been one of the best ever known. And at the same time that the inshore fishing was unproductive in 1863, that carried on by the decked vessels farther to sea was yielding an abundant supply. It is important to bear this fact in mind, for fluctuations are no trustworthy evidence of decline.
There are no means of ascertaining, even approximately, the annual yield of fish on the coasts of the United Kingdom, with the exception of the statistics of the Northern herring fishery, collected by the Scotch Fishery Board. The only facts which the Commissioners say they have been able to obtain are returns of the fish traffic on several great lines of railway by which the fish is transported from the fishing ports to the markets. These show, on the whole, a steadily progressive increase from year to year. If we look at the aggregate supply of fish conveyed by the North-Eastern, the Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire, the Great Northern, and the South Devon Railways, for the last nine years, we find that in 1856 the weight in tonnage was 11,714; in 1857, 15,156 ; in 1858, 21,615; in 1859, 27,440; in 1860, 27,468; in 1861, 33,337; in 1862, 36,869; in 1863, 37,833; in 1864, 40,337,—from which it appears that within the period of nine years, the supply carried by these lines of railway has increased more than threefold.'
The annexed table shows a more full return for the years 1862, 1863, and 1864, and embraces nearly the whole line of coast from the Firth of Forth on the north, by the east, south, and west coasts of England, to the Solway on the west, which is of a very satisfactory character.'
Quantity of Fish forwarded by the undermentioned Railways.
North British (Firth of Forth and adjacent
Yorkshire, and Lincolnshire Ports), .
of Kent), ..
"This return shows, in 1863, an increase of eleven per cent. over 1862, and in 1864, of twelve per cent. over 1863. It is particularly interesting as bearing upon the alleged falling off of the take of fish on the eastern coast of England, where, instead of a decline, there is shown to be an annual increase exceeding 10,000 tons.'
The arguments which have been employed in proof of the assertion that our fish supplies are falling off, will be considered in our examination of the second question submitted to the investigations of the Commissioners. The following sentence deserves special notice :
The evidence, where strongest in favour of a gradual decline in the yield of fish, was nearly always accompanied by statements showing a progressive increase in the number of men and boats engaged in the fishing. And not only have these numbers uniformly increased, but there has also been an increase in the length of each fishing-line and the number of hooks upon it, in the length and depth of the nets, and in the size and sea-going qualities of the boats. The machinery for fishing has been increased in efficiency, while in proportion to that efficiency, the cost of working it is actually diminished.'-Report, vol. i. p. 10.
One of the most important sources of food supplied by the sea is the herring fishery, and it is very satisfactory to know that in this case also there is no evidence whatever to show that
of the in the comi and thick on the
herrings are becoming scarce. It is quite true that fluctuations are felt both on the English and Scottish coasts, but, as was said before, fluctuations are no indication of decline. So plentiful sometimes are the herrings off the coast near Scarborough, 'that 700 to 800 tons are said to be sent thence into the interior of the country by railway in a single day. From Lowestoft vast quantities are distributed in a fresh state among the manufacturing towns during the period of the fishery, Birmingham and Manchester taking the largest share. At Yarmouth, where from 3000 to 4000 men are engaged in the autumn herring fishery, the take of 1862 and 1863 was better than had been known for twenty years. Nor is the benefit confined to our own country. The French boats follow the herring on the British coasts in large and increasing numbers, and the Dutch herrings, which are so much prized in the Continental markets, are mostly caught within sight of the English shores.' The small and uncertain business which the herring fishermen at Howth began with some six or eight years ago, realized last year a gross produce of £94,000. At certain times, we are told, the sea literally teems with herrings, and the state of the weather, or the restrictions enforced by capricious legislation, are often the only causes of a temporary failure in the catch. To give an idea of the extraordinary fecundity of this fish, it is enough to say that 'the weight of herrings annually caught is probably greater than that of all other sea-fish together. When we consider how important an article of nutritious diet the herring is to the poorer classes of the population, we can appreciate the conclusion to which the Commissioners have arrived, that the supply is fairly equal to the demand.
It is curious to read of the effects which the extension of railway communication has had in altering and unsettling the old conditions of the business. Formerly the consumption of fish was principally confined to the inhabitants or neighbouring people of the towns on the coasts. Now, owing to facilities of expeditious transmission of fish by means of our numerous railways, there is not a considerable town in any part of this country which has not a regular supply of fresh fish. The immediate effect of this is to increase the price in the fishing towns, and neighbourhoods which had previously the command of the supply, while any general rise of price is, on the other hand, checked by new fishing stations being brought within the range of supply. It has thus been found that the new demand arising from railway access to the central parts of the country, is to a great extent met by supplies from fishing ports which were formerly comparatively isolated. The result is a greater equality of price, and no material advance in the cost of the coarser