« PreviousContinue »
THE DUTCH FISHERIES.
No. II. CoID FISHERY.
THE Dutch Cod fishery is of less importance than the Herring. Those vessels which during November have been employed in the latter, are repaired and graved, so as to be in a condition for putting out to sea for the former on the 6th of December, that being St. Nicholas' day. No positive obligation attaches to that day, for the government-bounty regulations only require their going to sea before the first of January. The bounty amounts to three hundred florins, or about twenty-four pounds sterling. Far fewer vessels are employed in the Cod fishery. Vlaardingen generally sends out about forty, but of all the other towns already mentioned, one other only, Maasluis, sends any. The Winter Cod fishing is called Beug vaart, from the beug employed in it. This consists of a rope half a league in length, or more, with bouys at certain distances to keep it near the surface of the water, and armed throughout its whole length with lines and hooks, the hooks being baited with lampreys, or, if these cannot be had, with geep. As lampreys make the best bait, no pains are spared in getting them. A vessel with a reservoir for preserving them is sent before the fishing commences to England for a supply, the rivers there being better stored with them than those of Holland are. Each fisherman takes what he requires, and the remainder is deposited in a reservoir at Vlaardingen to serve for future voyages. Previous to the flotilla's putting out to sea, there is appointed what is called the Dank-segging-tag voor de schepens, that is, Thanks-saying-day for the ships. Thanks are offered on the occasion for the expedition that is over, and prayers made for that which is to cominence. * The vessels are not long at sea, returning generally with fresh and salted cod, within five weeks from their departure. The fish are all caught in the North Sea, and the season closes in March. In April the mode of capture is changed, and with it the term applied to the fishery. Lines are then employed; the fishery is called kolreis ; and it closes in May, when the vessels return in order to prepare for the herring fishery. No fresh cod is brought home from the kolreis, the cod at that season being too fat and oily. A third Cod fishing is prosecuted by the Dutch, which is called Islandsche vaart, from being carried on along the coast of Iceland. The vessels set out in May, and return to Holland in August or September. Though often lucrative, it is difficult and dangerous, from the coldness of the climate, and the storms encountered on the Iceland coast. The vessels employed, not above twenty-five in number, are brigs, and are all sent out by the villages on the left bank of the Maas. The cod fish they bring home is of excellent quality, and is known by the softness and delicacy of its skin, and the whiteness of the fibre when cooked. The Whale fishery in Holland is called the Little fishery, to distinguish it from that of Herring and Cod, or the Great fishery. The Whale fishery was very considerable in former times, and was chiefly confined to Rotterdam adventurers. Large threemasted vessels were employed with numerous crews. They sailed either for the South Seas or for the coast of Greenland, and were often called Groenlande-vaarders. This branch of industry used to be so much encouraged that even the public treasury bore the expense of some of the expeditions fitted out. But the same causes which injured the Dutch by reducing their once flourishing Herring fishery, affected that for
Whales also. from putting to sea, and the government preferred employing them and their crews in the defence of the country. Five years ago the whaling vessels which then remained were wrecked, and almost all the harpooners perished; but the government is doing everything in its power to repair this last calamity and to revive the Whale fishery, now successfully prosecuted by the French. Among other things it is forming harpooners at its own expense.
The PLANETARY SYSTEM.
FAIR star of Eve, thy lucid ray
Successive wars prevented the vessels
THE Castle of Crussol, situated in the ancient district of Vivarais, and in that part of it which forms the modern department of Ardèche, is one of the most picturesque of those ruined strong-holds so numerous in the south of France, and so interesting in the eyes of a Protestant, from their connexion with the memorable crusade carried on against the Albigenses, by the Church of Rome and its adherents, in the early part of the thirteenth century. It stands upon a lofty eminence of rock, not far from the right bank of the river Rhone, and nearly opposite to the town of Valence, upon the left bank. Wol. XII.
It stands, (says Mr. Hughes,) on a conical cliff on the opposite side of the river, overlooking the town at about two cannon-shots distance. On inquiring into the history of this eagle's-nest, we found that it had been, in days &
| yore, the fastness of a petty free-booting chief, who kept the
inhabitants of Valence in a perpetual state of war ant. annoyance; a history which almost appears fabricated to suit its appearance and character. Seeing it relieved by a gleam of sunshine from a dark evening cloud behind it, we could fancy, without any great effort of imagination, that, like the bed-ridden Giant Pope in honest John Bunyan, it was grinning a ghastly smile of envy at the prosperity which it could no longer interrupt. In a former paper* we brought down the history of the crusade against the Albigenses to the capture of the castle of Minerve, by Simon de Montfort, in the month of July, 1210, when that ambitious per
* See Saturday Magazine, Vol. XII., p. 89. 373
secuting chieftain and his famatical followers, com: pelled one hundred and forty persons, men and women, to leap into the flames, which they had kindied in the square of the castle. , Immediately after, De Montfort proceeded to the siege of the castle of Termes, an extremely strong fortress upon the frontiers of Roussillon. The capture of Minerve and Termes, two of the strongest places in Languedoc, produced a very disheartening effect upon the garrisons of other castles, who feared to put any trust in the strength of their walls against the overwhelming force of the crusaders. As De Montfort advanced from Termes to the northward, he found a large number of their fortresses deserted; the inhabitants had abandoned them in despair, and betaken themselves for security to the woods and mountains. But their flight did not save them from the unrelenting ferocity of their enemies; they were pursued into their retreats, where the greater part of them were put to the sword, the rest being taken captive to the camp, and burned for the edification of the army. The prospect of a great addition to the army of crusaders in the ensuing campaign of 1211, inspired their leader with fresh confidence and boldness. The fervid zeal of the monks, loath to slumber in the cause of persecution, had never ceased to inflame the passions of the credulous vulgar; and the success which had attended their recent preachings, gave promise of a larger crowd of fanatical pilgrims than had visited the country of the Albigenses in either of the preceding years. De Montfort felt that it was no longer necessary for him to keep any measures, or, in the phrase of Pope Innocent, “to employ guile" with regard to the Count of Toulouse; and he prepared, therefore, to commence open hostilities against him. He was prompted to this step by a desire of gratifying not only his own ambition in adding the fine sovereignty of Count Raymond to his former acquisitions, but likewise the hatred which the abbot Arnold, and Fouquet, the persecuting bishop of Toulouse, had contracted for that unfortunate prince. In the month of March, Simon de Montfort, finding himself at the head of a very large army, proceeded to open the campaign, and directed his first effort against the castle of Cabaret. This stronghold had hitherto successfully resisted the arms of the crusaders; but it appears that the continual reverses of the Albigenses during the two years of the war, had broken their spirit and deprived them of the hope of effectually contending with the overwhelming force which avarice and fanaticism had arrayed against them. For Peter Roger, the lord of Cabaret, opened his gates on the approach of De Montfort, and tendered his voluntary submission; and his example was followed by the chiefs of many other castles situated in the mountains, which separate the dioceses of Carcassonne and Toulouse. All these places on surrendering were treated with humanity; De Montfort rarely exercised this virtue, and this departure from his general practice is accounted for by his desire of obviating the delay which would have been occasioned to his progress, if he had driven their defenders to a desperate resistance, by showing them that they would be no better treated if they surrendered. Lavaur, situated on the Agout at the distance of five miles from Toulouse, became now the object of attack. This place, which afterwards rose to be an episcopal city, was then only a strong castle, belonging to a widow named Guirande, whom her brother, Aimery de Montreal, had joined with eighty knights, after having been deprived of his own possessions by
the crusaders. Both the noble lady and her brother professed the doctrines of the Albigenses; and they had opened an asylum within the walls of the castle, for those who were persecuted in other parts of the province. Lavaur was thus regarded by the crusaders as one of the principal seats of heresy; and as the fortress was surrounded by strong walls and protected by deep ditches, besides being well stored with provisions, its capture was deemed an object of great importance. While the crusaders were undertaking the siege of Lavaur, Fouquet, the famatical bishop of Toulouse, repaired to that city and displayed his zeal in the cause of persecution by gathering a band of auxiliaries. He told the inhabitants that the presence of a number of Albigenses in that city had rendered them an object of horror to all Christians; and that to purify themselves from the stigma of being confounded with those heretics, they should exhibit an exceeding zeal in arming themselves against those of their fellowcitizens who had departed from the Catholic Church. He succeeded in enrolling a large number of them in a society which styled itself the “White Company,” and in token of the purity of its faith engaged to destroy the heretics by fire and sword. Five thousand of this body of fanatics he despatched to aid in the siege of Lavaur. This siege was prosecuted by the crusaders with vigour. Their chieftain possessed a large share of military skill; and his experience had made him conversant with all the resources of the art of war in that age. He himself had served in the Holy Land; and he had in his camp many knights who had fought against the Mohammedans and against the Greeks, and in their eastern campaigns had acquired a knowledge of the attack and defence of fortified places. He was therefore able to employ against the walls of Lavaur ingenious machines, which had been but recently introduced among the nations of the west, and were as yet quite unknown to the inhabitants of the country bordering upon the Pyrenees. The most fearful of these was that called the “cat.” It was a very strong movable wooden tower, which being built out of the reach of the besieged, was entirely covered with sheep's-skins, with the fur outwards to guard it from fire, and then being provided with soldiers at its openings, and on the platform at its summit, was moved on rollers to the foot of the wall. Its side then opened, and an immense beam, armed with iron hooks, projected like the paw of a cat, shook the wall by reiterated strokes, after the manner of the ancient battering ram, and tore out, and pulled down, the stones which it had loosened. De Montfort succeeded in constructing a “cat," but the wide ditches of Lavaur prevented him from bringing it near enough to the walls. The crusaders, under the order of De Montfort, laboured unceasingly to fill up the ditch, whilst the inhabitants of Lavaur, who could descend into it by subterraneous passages, cleared away in the night time all that had been thrown in during the day. At last Montfort succeeded in filling the mines with flame and smoke, and thereby prevented the inhabitants from passing into them. The ditches were then speedily filled, the cat was pushed to the foot of the wall; and its terrible paw began to open and enlarge the breach. On the third of May, 1211, De Montfort judged the breach to be practicable, and the crusaders prepared for the assault.
The bishops, the abbot of Courdieu, who exercised the functions of vice-legate, and all the priests clothed in their pontifical habits, giving themselves up to the joy of seeing the carnage begin sang the hymn Veni Créator. The knights mounted the breach; resistance was impossible, and the only care of Simon de Montfort was to prevent the crusaders from instantly falling upon the inhabitants, and to beseech them rather to make prisoners, that the priests of the living God might not be deprived of their promised joys. “Very soon,” continues the monk of Vaux-Cernay, “they dragged out of the castle, Aimery Lord of Montreal, and other knights, to the number of eighty, whom the noble earl immediately ordered to be hanged upon the gallows; but as soon as Aimery, the stoutest among them, was hanged, the gallows fell ; for, in their great haste, they had not well fixed it in the earth. The earl seeing this would produce great delay, ordered the rest to be massacred; and the pilgrims, receiving the order with the greatest avidity, very soon massacred them all upon the spot. The lady of the castle, who was sister of Aimery, and an execrable heretic, was by the count's order thrown into a pit, which was filled up with stones; afterwards our pilgrims collected the innumerable heretics that the castle contained, and burned them alive with very great joy.” The expression of “very great joy" used by the writer whom Sismondi here quotes, is the phrase which he always employs upon a similar occasion. The writer is Peter de Vaux Cernay, a monk of Citeaux, who followed his lord Simon de Montfort to the crusade, and was doubtless an eye-witness of the enormities which he relates, and in the relation of which he seems to take as much delight as he ascribes to the actors in the perpetration of them.
ON ARTIFICIAL PEARLS.
A Mong those decorations, which have at all times obtained a large share of admiration, may be reckoned Pearls. The delicate hue of these little globules has made them a very favourite ornament in nearly every part of the earth, especially in the East, where personal decoration is carried to a much greater extent than in most European nations. It is evident, from different allusions in the Old Testament, that Pearls were looked upon, several centuries before the Christian era, as the same costly and precious gems that they are in the present day. We will instance one from the Book of Job, chap. xxviii. v. 17; speaking of wisdom, Job says, “The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.” The readers of Roman history are familiar with the story of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, who, as it is said, dissolved in vinegar a pearl, valued at 50,000l., and drank it off. This silly exhibition of extravagance sufficiently shows what an enormous value was placed upon Pearls in those days; and we can scarcely wonder that attempts should have been made, at a very early period, to produce something that should present a similarity to Pearls. * We have already given a description of the Pearl Fishery in Ceylon", so that we need not describe, at any length in this place, the mode of procuring natural Pearls, except so far as we have anything new to say upon the subject. Some of our readers, then, are probably aware, that Pearls are extracted from the shells of a large species of oyster, (about three times the size of common oysters,) which grow in the shallow seas about Ceylon, Sumatra, Japan, the Persian Gulf, and other places on the shores of Asia. These oysters are brought from the bed of the sea, several feet below the surface, by divers, who follow that perilous avocation as a means of living, and are able to remain under water for several minutes at a time. The best Pearls are found imbedded in the soft pulpy substance of the oyster itself, but others, of an
** See Saturday Magazine, Vol. II., p. 5 and Vol. VI., p. 178.
inferior quality, are often found imbedded in the shell, from which great care is required to extract them. Respecting the origin of Pearls great diversity of opinion has prevailed, but the most probable conjecture is that of Raumur, a French writer, who, about 120 years ago, paid much attention to this subject. He considered Pearls to be the result of disease, in the same way as stone in the human bladder is known to be ; that they were originally fluid, forming part of the vital system of the animal, but that having burst the vessel or membrane which contained them, they hardened into a little round solid, which became the Pearl. This opinion is supported by a statement which has been made, that if these oysters be pricked while alive, a fluid will be discharged, which on hardening very much resembles a Pearl; and it is further supported by two other circumstances, which we shall presently notice. The love of gain is such a ruling passion, that when men find there is either a large demand for an article, or a high price paid for it, they seldom fail to devise some means by which the supply shall be rendered more abundant. Accordingly many attempts were made to render the oysters more prolific of Pearls. These schemes appear to have been of three kinds. First, to prick the oyster; second, to perforate the shell; and, third, to introduce five or six small beads within the shell. The mode in which these processes acted was as follows. First.—The Indians, after catching the oysters and opening the shells, pierced the oysters with a sharp instrument, when a few drops of glutinous liquid oozed out, which they received in little iron moulds, formed into a globular shape. When the globule had hardened, it assumed all the appearance of a Pearl. This description, which is met with in but one or two ancient authors, is not considered to be of sufficient authority, as nothing of the kind is known at the present day. Second.—When the shell of the oyster is perforated with a small hole, the little inhabitant, to exclude unwelcome intruders, fills or stops the inner edge of the hole with a glutinous matter, which hardens into Pearl, not equal to the natural Pearls, but still possessing some value. This statement rests on better authority than the former, for Linnaeus, the great botanist, announced that he had produced the same phenomena with mussels. It is necessary to remark here, that Pearls have been found in mussels off the coast of France, and that in the museum of the late Sir Joseph Banks, a mussel-shell was deposited, in which a small fragment of iron was found sticking, round which a pearl-like substance had collected. It was supposed that the iron was part of a sharp instrument, broken off in the act of piercing the shell. Third.—The Chinese have a mode of enticing the oysters to the surface of the water, and inducing them to open their shell, (rather more successful, it would appear than the mode of catching birds by putting a little salt on their tails,) the artful fishermen then drop into the cavity of the shell a string of five or six small beads, made of mother-of-pearl, and then allow the oysters to escape. This takes place in the Spring of the year and in Autumn, when the Pearl Fisheries occur, the oeads are found to be encrusted with a sort of enamel, which gives them a close resemblance to Pearls. This deception is believed to be carried on at the present day in the Indian Seas. It may be as well here to state, that mother-of-pearl is the interior surface, or scale, of the shell of another
species of oyster, existing in the same seas; indeed 373—2
it is often seen in the shell of the common oyster, and being therefore much more plentiful than Pearls, can be substituted for them in the above piece of trickery at a small expence. All of these schemes, however, are productive of pain to the poor little inmates, and we cannot but condemn them as cruel modes of providing decorarations for the persons of our fair countrywomen. It is, however, less objectionable than a method practised by the ladies of South America, who cover portions of their dresses with living diamonds, which the light emitted by the fire-flies of the country affords. The poor insects are attached by means of pins. We now propose to show, that very accurate facsimiles of Pearls may be produced, although still, we regret to add, at an immense sacrifice of animal life; but we may previously remark, that attempts have been made to melt or soften small or broken Pearls into one larger one. A large Pearl is worth a great deal more than two Pearls of half the size, and this has induced many to try that transformation. Accounts have been given of a mode of softening the small Pearls, by steeping them in a mixture of strong vinegar and Venice turpentine; but it does not appear that the success was such as to induce a continuance in that plan. In the sixteenth century glass-beads were constructed at Venice, and coated with a kind of pearlcoloured varnish, which gave them a rough resemblance to Pearls; but the result seemed to show that the resemblance was not very good, for they were shortly afterwards superseded by little balls of wax, covered with a pearl-like enamel; but, unfortunately, the enamel was not capable of resisting moisture, and it soon became eaten into small holes, so that these artificial Pearls required frequent enamelling. We are not aware that any further improvement took place in these attempts to imitate nature, until about the year 1656, when M. Jaquin, a bead-maker in Burgundy, happening to look into a vessel in which some small fish (the Cyprinus alburnus, called in England the blay or bleak fish,) had been kept, he perceived a pearl-like powder, which had evidently come from the scales of the fish, and, by following this process, he obtained the powder at pleasure. He put a number of the scales into a small quantity of water and washed them well, then poured away the water, and repeated the process with clear water several times in succession, until nothing further could be washed from the scales. The water was then put by ; a sediment fell to the bottom ; and on pouring the water from the sediment, the latter appeared as a thick creamy liquid, having that delicate silvery appearance which distinguishes pearls. It instantly occured to him, that the discovery might be made a source of profit to himself. He therefore constructed small beads of plaster of Paris, and coated them with this new substance mixed with isinglass. The close resemblance to pearls was immediately acknowledged, and a great demand for them quickly arose. But the heat of the fire, as also the moisture of the human body, was found to injure the surface of the beads, and some ladies of Paris proposed to Jaquin that he should make hollow beads of glass, and coat them on the inside with his new pearl composition, which he called Essence d'Orient, or, Oriental Essence. He acquiesced in the proposal, and thus arose the mode of making artificial Pearls, which has existed but with few alterations to the present day. The attempt succeeded, and the manufacture of bead Pearls became an important branch of business.
The mode of making the bead and coating the inner surface may be thus briefly explained. All vessels made of what is called blown glass, such as drinking glasses, bottles, &c., are formed when the glass is in the state of paste. A hollow tube about three or four feet long is dipped into a pot containing melted glass, a portion of which adheres to the tube. The workman then blows through the tube from the other end, and the glassy paste becomes hollow, in a manner similar to the soap bubbles blown from a tobacco pipe. The blowing is continued until the glass has assumed nearly the form requisite, after which the finishing is performed by hand. But in making glass beads a different process is adopted. A very fine and marrow tube of glass is taken, one end is placed in the flame of a lamp, and the operator blows through it from the other end. When the end of the tube is melted, he blows it out into a globular form, breaks it off, and then proceeds with another. This is done with such rapidity, that an expert workman is said to produce from five to six thousand of these glass globules in a day; but, as some attention is paid to the shape and appearance of these beads, a great number are rejected on account of their illshape. In order to resemble nature more closely, these beads are often purposely made with blemishes, and of forms somewhat irregular, such as pear-shaped, oval, or flattened on one side, in imitation of natural Pearls, which are set in such a way as to show only one side. The beads for the mock Pearls, are made in this manner, the glass of which they are formed having a blueish tinge to assist the imitation of Pearl. The Essence d'Orient (or Pearl Essence, we may perhaps call it,) is then heated; a single drop is taken up on the end of a tube and dexterously blown into the centre of the bead through one of the two holes which always exist in them. The bead is then shaken about either in the hand, or in a machine, until the interior surface is completely covered with the paste. It is then left to dry, and the cavity of the bead is then filled up with white wax, which answers two purposes, namely, to strengthen the bead, and to make its weight more nearly equal to that of real pearl. A hole is then bored through the wax to receive the string. Thus has this curious branch of business been brought to perfection, a pleasing instance of the manner in which the manufacture of a mere trifle or toy may be made a source of honourable and lucrative emolument. We believe that, up to a recent period, the descendants of M. Jaquin still carried on the manufacture in Paris, while in different towns of France large numbers of these little mock Pearls are being made daily. The blay, or bleak, is a fish about four inches in length. They are found in great abundance in some rivers, and being exceedingly voracious are taken without much difficulty. The scales of 250 of these fish will not weigh above an ounce, and this again does not afford more than a quarter of an ounce of pearl powder; so that, it is computed, that 16,000 fish are necessary in order to obtain one pound of essence of pearl. The river Seine, although abounding with this fish, does not furnish an adequate suppy. The scales of the fish are therefore sent to Paris from other rivers in large quantities in bottles containing solution of ammonia, which preserves the scales. We may observe in conclusion, that it is remarkable that the only substance hitherto successfully employed in this imitation, is, like the Pearl itself,
derived from fish. And when we observe, (which we