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in the persuasion, that we entertain a common sentiment on this subject, that I determined to publish and dedicate to you a Sermon well calculated, as I conceive, to strengthen all those arguments you have advanced in your own publications. Praying God, that it may be only a prelude to a union of sentiments on other points, it is respectfully inscribed to you,
By your very obedient
London, Dec. 1, 1812.
It is a singular but well ascertained fact, that at the very time when there is the greatest quantity of Mackerel to be caught in the part of the British Channel, which supplies the London Market, and when that Fishery is most abun. dant, the Fishermen who frequent Billingsgate, almost wholly discontinue the Mackerel Fishery. This extraordi. nary circumstance is thus accounted for. These Fishermen depend in a great measure for customers on Fishwomen who attend daily at Billingsgate with their baskets on their heads, to purchase the Mackerel, and carry them for sale about the Metropolis. As long as these women continue their attendance on the Billingsgate Market, the Fishermen are secure of a certain degree of custom for their Fish : but as soon as the common Fruit comes into season, they give up dealing in Fish; finding the sale of Gooseberries, Currants, and the like, to produce them a larger and more secure profit, with less risk or trouble.
The Fishermen being thus disappointed of a sale for their Mackerel, at the time when they are most abundant, give up, in a degree, their employment for the season ;
and an immense quantity of palatable and nutritious food is thereby annually withheld from the inhabitants of the Metropolis.
This circumstance of the want of means of sending their Fish generally into the Town, not only prevents the Mackerel being caught, but even after they have been caught and brought up the River, precludes a considerable part of it from ever reaching the Market; for all that arrives at this period beyond the estimated demand of the Fishmongers, however fresh and good, is thrown into the Thames, and destroyed before it reaches Billingsgate; with the consequence of enhancing the price of Mackerel to the opulent part of the Metropolis, and of excluding most of its Inhabitants from a participation in this cheap and plentiful supply of food.
These facts were, in May last, stated to the Committee for the Relief of the Manufacturing Poor, by Mr. Hale of Wood-street, Spitalfields, one of their Members, who had possessed the means of ascertaining their correctness beyond all question. With the authority of the Committee, he entered into an agreement, to take of the Fishermen from ten to twenty thousand Mackerel a day, whenever the price was as low as Ten Shillings the hundred of six score ; a price at which the Fishermen said they could afford to supply the London Market to any extent, were they sure of a regular sale at that price. This engagement was advantageous to the Fishermen; for whilst they had the benefit of the higher prices, as far as the demand of their more opulent customers would extend, they were certain of a Market for any surplusage of Mackerel which they could obtain.
The effect of this agreement was to produce an extraordinary supply of Mackerel in the London Market; attended with such a diminution in price, that the best Mack