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manufacturing parts of the island. The object would be, to benefit by the example of what has been lately done ; when, at a trifling expence, a very considerable addition has been made to the supply of the Metropolis, and of our manufacturers; to open the supply of fresh Fish for the benefit of the Capital, and of such other places as are capable of it: and to secure a large quantity of corned Cod and other preserved Fish, for the relief of our manu. facturing districts.
Those who approve of such a Meeting, are requested to signify the same by a Note, directed to the Secretary of the Society for the Poor, at No. 190, Piccadilly; with a view to the fixing of the time and place of the Meeting, and the Measures to be proposed for consideration.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE
MEASURES TO BE ADOPTED
Increasing the Supply and Use of Fish
METROPOLIS, AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.
Draft of an Outline of Report for the Consideration of the
An increasing population, which in the last twelve years has been augmented by nearly a million and a half of inhabitants, -the state of our very extensive manufactories requiring a considerable addition of food,--and the supply of our fleets and armies, of our West India Colonies, and of some other British settlements which do not entirely provide the means of their own subsistence,-call with an imperious voice both on the public and on individuals, to unite every effort to provide more abundant sources of subsistence for the inhabitants of the United Kingdom; and to shake off that annual dependence on the uncertain and ruinous importation 'of wheat corn, and other food, at an expense amounting, in the same period of twelve years, to no less a sum than forty-two millions of money, sent out of the kingdom in quest of the necessary articles of life
Under these circumstances, it is a satisfaction to observe, that of all the countries upon earth, there is no one, the local and political advantages of which do more exempt it from the necessity of submitting to so dangerous and humiliating a dependence. The uncontrolled command of the sea, and the insular situation of Great Britain and Ireland, encircled with inexhaustible shoals of nourishing and gratifying food, afford, at all seasons, an abundant supply of Fish, and require only the easy and congenial occupation of reaping the marine harvest, which the bounty of Provi. dence has supplied. In addition to this, the immense quantities of salt which the surrounding ocean and our own internal salt-mines afford for preserving Fish, at a price exclusive of duty, so low, as not to amount to sixpence a bushel, offer the means of preserving cod, haddock, mackarel, herrings, and other Fish to an indefinite extent, for our own use, and for exportation to Spain, Portugal, and the Mediterranean, in exchange for the corn, wine, and other imports of those countries. In addition to this, it is to be noticed, that the present state of the European world is such, as to leave us the full enjoyment of our Fisheries, without the jealousy, competition, or interference, of any of the neighbouring states.
Impressed with these considerations, the committee announces to the public, as the leading object of the Fish Association, the obtaining of a more unrestricted supply of fresh and corned Fish,- for the relief of our manufacturers, for the better sustenance of our cottagers, by a considerable addition of savoury and salutary food, for the supply of our West India Colonies,—and for exportation to foreign countries, in exchange for wheat, coffee, wine, oil, and other articles of life ; so as to diffuse throughout the country that PLENTY, the enjoyment of which is divested of all party considerations, and free from all exception. VOL. I. No. II.
It is the idea of the Committee, that it will be expedient to commence their operations with the Metropolis ; in the expectation that the increased, use of Fish in London and Westminster and their vicinity, will contribute, by example, to introduce the general consumption of it into other cities and places in Great Britain. It is therefore their opinion that it will be proper to confine this report chiefly to the supply of the metropolis and its vicinity ; which may com. prehend a district of ten miles round, and contain an extent of about 400 square miles, and a population of near two millions of inhabitants.
Shoal fish they propose to be the chief object of attainment; it being conceived, that the removal of the present obstructions to the supply of fish in the metropolis, may render that article of food so plentiful and cheap in every part of it, as to make a meal of good fish, three or four days in the week, an article of economy to every prudent housekeeper, within the bills of mortality, and for some miles round. - In considering the means of attaining this object, it appears to the Committee, that the important thing will be the removal of the present impediments to supply ; . the first in order of which seems to originate in this circumstance,-that the only wholesale fish market which at present exists in the metropolis, is neither adequate in size to even a portion of the necessary supply, nor convenient in point of access or local situation to the immense population, which has been formed in the last century at the west end of the town ; and that the effect of this circumstance is to impede and obstruct the distribution and retail of fish, in all parts of the town, except near that market.
Billingsgate was made a free market, and put under special regulations in 1699, by the tenth and eleventh of