am afraid, been too common for the vessels to 
fit out for the sole purpose of catching, not 
the fish, but the bounty. In the year 1759, 
when the bounty was at fifty shillings the ton
the whole buss fishery of Scotland brought 
in only four barrels of sea-sticks. In that 
year, each barrel of sea-sticks cost government, 
in bounties alone, L.113 : 15s.; each 
barrel of merchantable herrings L.159 : 7 : 6. 
Thirdly, The mode of fishing, for which 
this tonnage bounty in the white herring fishery 
has been given (by busses or decked vessels 
from twenty to eighty tons burden), seems 
not so well adapted to the situation of Scotland
as to that of Holland, from the practice 
of which country it appears to have been borrowed. 
Holland lies at a great distance from 
the seas to which herrings are known principally 
to resort, and can, therefore, carry on 
that fishery only in decked vessels, which can 
carry water and provisions sufficient for a 
voyage to a distant sea; but the Hebrides, or 
Western Islands, the islands of Shetland, and 
the northern and north-western coasts of Scotland
the countries in whose neighborhood 
the herring fishery is principally carried on, 
are everywhere intersected by arms of the sea
which run up a considerable way into the 
land, and which, in the language of the country
are called sea-lochs. It is to these sea-lochs 
that the herrings principally resort during 
the seasons in which they visit those seas
for the visits of this, and, I am assured, of 
many other sorts of fish, are not quite regular 
and constant. A boat-fishery, therefore, seems 
to be the mode of fishing best adapted to the 
peculiar situation of Scotland, the fishers carrying 
the herrings on shore as fast as they are 
taken, to be either cured or consumed fresh. 
But the great encouragement which a bounty 
of 30s. the ton gives to the buss-fishery, is 
necessarily a discouragement to the boat-fishery
which, having no such bounty, cannot 
bring its cured fish to market upon the same 
terms as the buss-fishery. The boat-fishery
accordingly, which, before the establishment 
of the buss-bounty, was very considerable, and 
is said to have employed a number of seamen, 
not inferior to what the buss-fishery employs 
at present, is now gone almost entirely to 
decay. Of the former extent, however, of this 
now ruined and abandoned fishery, I must 
acknowledge that I cannot pretend to speak 
with much precision. As no bounty was paid 
upon the outfit of the boat-fishery, no account 
was taken of it by the officers of the customs 
or salt duties
Fourthly, In many parts of Scotland, during 
certain seasons of the year, herrings make 
no inconsiderable part of the food of the common 
people. A bounty which tended to lower 
their price in the home market, might contribute 
a good deal to the relief of a great number 
of our fellow-subjects, whose circumstances 
are by no means affluent. But the herring-buss 
bounty contributes to no such good purpose
It has ruined the boat-fishery, which is 
by far the best adapted for the supply of the 
home market; and the additional bounty of 
2s. 8d. the barrel upon exportation, carries 
the greater part, more than two-thirds, of the 
produce of the buss-fishery abroad. Between 
thirty and forty years ago, before the establishment 
of the buss-bounty, 16s. the barrel, I 
have been assured, was the common price of 
white herrings. Between ten and fifteen years 
ago, before the boat-fishery was entirely ruined
the price was said to have run from seventeen 
to twenty shillings the barrel. For these 
last five years, it has, at an average, been at 
twenty-five shillings the barrel. This high 
price, however, may have been owing to the 
real scarcity of the herrings upon the coast of 
Scotland. I must observe, too, that the cask 
or barrel, which is usually sold with the herrings
and of which the price is included in 
all the foregoing prices, has, since the commencement 
of the American war, risen to 
about double its former price, or from about 
3s. to about 6s. I must likewise observe
that the accounts I have received of the prices 
of former times, have been by no means quite 
uniform and consistent, and an old man of 
great accuracy and experience has assured me, 
that, more than fifty years ago, a guinea was 
the usual price of a barrel of good merchantable 
herrings; and this, I imagine, may still 
be looked upon as the average price. All accounts
however, I think, agree that the price 
has not been lowered in the home market in 
consequence of the buss-bounty
When the undertakers of fisheries, after 
such liberal bounties have been bestowed upon 
them, continue to sell their commodity at the 
same, or even at a higher price than they were 
accustomed to do before, it might be expected 
that their profits should be very great; and it 
is not improbable that those of some individuals 
may have been so. In general, however, 
I have every reason to believe they have 
been quite otherwise. The usual effect of 
such bounties is, to encourage rash undertakers 
to adventure in a business which they 
do not understand; and what they lose by 
their own negligence and ignorance, more 
than compensates all that they can gain by 
the utmost liberality of government. In 1750, 
by the same act which first gave the bounty 
of 30s. the ton for the encouragement of the 
white herring fishery (the 23d Geo. II. chap. 
24), a joint stock company was erected, with 
a capital of L.500,000, to which the subscribers 
(over and above all other encouragements
the tonnage bounty just now mentioned, the 
the exportation bounty of 2s. 8d. the barrel, the 
delivery of both British and foreign salt duty 
free) were, during the space of fourteen years
for every hundred pounds which they subscribed 
and paid into the stock of the society, 
entitled to three pounds a-year, to be paid by