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many, lovely, large, and sweet they seem,
So forward roll the years with woe and bliss,
But sick'ning hours, and weariness of breath,
And thus, by inward act and outward led,
Now all confusion spent, and battles o'er,
Reaper, what is a parr? This is its existence, and during which it may the only interrogatory we ever had be said to be continuously within our the honour to address to Lord daily vision, was only determinately Brougham, and we believe it is the ascertained a few months ago. It only one ever put to his lordship, has been the food of millions from the either by ourselves or any body else, earliest periods of our own recordeď which he was unable to answer.
If history ; its capture occupies the time the reader has not yet made up his and rewards the toil of many thoumind on this important point, we shall sands of our most industrious populanot press him for an instantaneous tion; its sale affords a princely addireply; but in case he should be suffi- tion to the income both of lords and ciently candid from the commence- commons; the luxury of sumptuous ment to confess that he knows no- life is incomplete when wanting a supthing whatever of the subject, we ply of this most “dayntous fisshe :" then beg to introduce him to our and yet almost all that has ever been friend Mr John Shaw of Drumlanrig, said or written on the subject of its who will speedily tell him all about it. earlier existence, is founded on the
It is, indeed, both gratifying and grossest error. It is our intention to instructive to find, that in many de- present a brief summary of the expepartments, alike of art and nature, rimental observations and discoveries important discoveries are not seldom of the ingenious enquirer whose achieved by men who make no pre- contributions named below ; tension to philosophical skill or scien. but as there exists a tendency in tific knowledge, but who, following the human nature of a very reprehenbent of a sagacious and observant dis- sible kind, which leads alike to the position, attain to the root of a matter, decrying of discoveries when these while others have been only playing are made, and to the denial of their with stray leaves, or stumbling over claim to the character of novelty, we broken branches. It is gratifying, in shall
, in the first place, with a view as far as it shows, that, in natural his- both to the historical illustration of the tory especially, a fair field for original point in question, and the prevention research is still open to good powers of malice prepense, state the hitherto of observation,
even in reference to prevailing views of scientific authors native productions of the highest va- on the subject of salmon fry. Should lue and importance ; and it is instruc- any one deem this to be a matter of tive to those professing a more pedan- slight importance, let him consider tic knowledge, to be forced to admit that if the salmon itself, in its matured how ignorant they may actually be, in condition, is a noble creature, of vast spite of all their book-learning. value in an economical point of view,
Our innumerable readers need not and if the best mode of effecting its to be told that the salmon is the most early conservation and future increase valuable of all the fishes which ever ought therefore to besedulously sought sojourn in our river waters; but they after, no enquiry regarding its youthdo require to be informed, and we ful history, which results in truth, can therefore take the earliest opportunity be otherwise than interesting. of doing so, that our knowledge of its We shall not attempt to trace the natural history and
habits of life, so history of opinion regarding parr up far as concerns the first two seasons of to the time of Adam or even of Aris
An Account of some Experiments and Observations on the Parr, and on the Ova of the Salmon, proving ihe Parr to be the Young of the Salmon. By Mr John Shaw. Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal for July 1836, vol. xxi. p. 99.
Experiments on the Development and Growth of the Fry of the Salmon, from the Exclusion of the Ovum to the Age of Six Months. By Mr John Shaw. Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal for January 1838, vol. xxiv. p. 165.
Account of Experimental Observations on the Development and Growth of Salmon Fry, from the Exclusion of the Ova to the Age of Two Years. By Mr John Shaw. (Read to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, on 16th December 1839.) Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, vol. xiv. Part II. (1840.)
totle, neither of whom, so far as we siquidem quovis anni tempore apud nos know, was particularly conversant inveniuntur. Fluentis rapidissimis acerwith the subject ; but we may men- rimisque versantur, in quibus nullum tion that in the year 1686, a gentle- aliud genus piscis durare potest. Cum man of the name of Ray, one John adoleverint sex circitur digitos longitudine Ray, among the earliest, and in truth æquant." S the greatest of the naturalists this
The considerate reader will please country has as yet produced, pub- to bear in mind a few of the above lished,' in conjunction with his friend expressions, that he may afterwards Willughby, a work on fishes. *
mark the curious coincidence of Mr In the joint production just alluded
Shaw's observations regarding the to, there is first a description of the spawning of the male parr,-the presalmon,t and then of a small but
cedence of Messrs Willughby and distinct species resembling the river Ray in no way diminishing the merits trout, and which these authors pro- of that sagacious person, who, amid perly regard as identical with the
many more important avocations, can branlin of the north of England ; in scarcely be supposed to have ever other words, the parr. The para- taken cognizance of a now obscure graph is headed (we regret being Latin folio, published above a century obliged, while engaged with a popular and a half ago. and important subject, to refer to one
We proceed to pick out a few more of the unknown tongues,)—Salmu- opinions regarding the extremely ralus, Herefordiæ Samlet dictus, Bran- pid growth of salmon smolts, and their lino D. Johnson inferius descripto, supposed distinctive nature from the ut nobis videtur, idem. " Quem
parr. demissi longitudine erat septunciali; Dr Arthur Young informs us, when sescunciali latitudine: et raro capi- describing the salmon-spawning in untur majores," &c.
“ Hujus gene
certain rivers which run into the Ban, ris,” he adds, “omnes (quod mirum) that “young salmon are called grawls, mares esse aiunt. Truttæ persimilis and grow at a rate which I should est, ab ea tamen specie differre vide
suppose scarce any fish commonly tur." | We have next an enumera- known equals; for within the year tion of Pisces fluviatiles et anadromi
some of them will come to sixteen è genere truttaceo in Septentrionalibus and eighteen pounds, but in general Angliæ observati à D. Johnson ; in ten or twelve pounds. Such as escape the course of which the branlin, above
the first year's fishing are salmon, and referred to, is described in more de- at two years old will generally weigh tail, and some very remarkable pecu- twenty to twenty-five pounds." || liarities in its sexual habits are particularized, as follows:
“ About the latter end of March," ob.
serves Mr Pennant, “ the spawn begins to “ Branlins, nonnullis fingerins, i. e.
exclude the young, which gradually indigitales, dicti, quia notas seu areolas
crease to the length of four or five inches, transversas nigricantes quinque aut sex,
and are then called smolts or smoulis. veluti tot digitorum vestigia impressa, in
About the beginning of May the river is lateribus obtinent, cum macula rubra in
full of them-it seems to be all alive and unaquaque areola. Caudæ sunt forcipatæ,
there is no having an idea of their num-salmonum ritu; quodque mirum est, omnes
bers without seeing them ; but a seasonable Cum salmonibus, procreandi food then hurries them all to the sea, causa, misceri eos mihi persuasum est.
scarce any or very few of them being left (He is a perfect Shaw !) Quum pri
in the river.” mum enim salmo ovorum editorum congeriem seu acervum malis dicere, relin
It is indeed true, as expressed by quit, branlinus (oh, fie !) mox ei incum- an ancient couplet, that bit, ovaque (ut verisimile est) spermate
“ Floods in May suo irrigat et foecundat ; nec alibi unquam
Carry smolts away,”inveniuntur branlini quam iis in locis quæ salmones frequentant, Quod ad but nothing is less authentic than the mare descendant non ausim affirmare, entire history of the early life and ad.
* De Historia Piscium. Oxon : 1686.
I Ibid. p. 192.
| Tour in Ireland, 1776. British Zoology, Vol. III. He alludes specially to the river Tweed. He gained most of his information from a Mr Potts of Berwick.
ventures of salmon fry, as given by none of which we need therefore here Pennant, although it accords with, and detail. We shall merely add, that indeed may be taken as a fair sample Pennant's views are adopted by Dr of the stuff with which most zoological Shaw, who describes Salmo salmulus books are crammed.
as a distinct species, adding that “it is
very frequent in the rivers of Scotland, “ About the middle of June," he conti
where it is called the parr.' nues,
the earliest of the fry begin to drop, as it were, again into the river from the
Let us pass over a few years, and sea, at that time about twelve, fourteen, respectfully approach those from or sixteen inches in length; and, by a gra
whom we might have looked for better dual progress, increase in number and size things. till about the end of July, which is at Ber
Baron Cuvier enumerates the parr wick termed the grilse time (the name
(or samlet of Pennant) among the given to the fish at that age). At the end other Salmonidæ. « Il y a aussi dans of July, or the beginning of August, they nos rivières une petite truite, le samlet lessen in numbers, but increase in size- des Anglais-le saumoneau du Rhin some being six, seven, eight, or nine (Penn. Zool. Brit. III., Pl. 59, 1), que pounds weight. This appears to be a sur- plusieurs croient distincte; le verdâtre prising growth; yet we have received from du dos forme, avec le blanc du ventre, a gentleman at Warrington an instance des zigzags dans aucun desquels est still more so. A salmon weighing seven une tache rouge. C'est un petit poispounds three quarters, taken on the seventh
son délicieux." of February, being marked with scissars
Dr Fleming, in his British Ania on the back, fin, and tail, and turned into
mals, allows the name of parr to dwell the river, was again taken on the seven- in dark oblivion ; but the following are teenth of the following March, and then
his views regarding the growth and found to weigh seventeen pounds and a
migration of salmon fry." The roe
becomes perfect, and the young fry, An increase of ten pounds in less samlets, or smolts (smouts), make than six weeks! Pretty well, Mr Snip. their appearance in March or April. We regret being unable to believe this When the samlets leave the gravel, fact, although we doubt not that both where the spawn from which they isMr Pennant and “the gentleman at
sued had been deposited, they begin Warrington " (Reader, he was a tai- to move downwards to the sea. In lor) believed it firmly.
their progress through the river, and The parr is described by Mr Pen- until they reach that point where the nant as a distinct species, under the frith begins (or where the tide is al. name of samlet. He denies that it is ways either ebbing or flowing), they the young of the salmon for the fol. crowd together, and descend in the lowing reasons:-Ist, It is well known
easy water at the margin.”[ (be supposes), that salmon fry never Ďr Knox, in an ingenious paper continue in fresh water the whole read to the Royal Society of Edinyear, but vanish on the occurrence of burgh in January 1833, has favoured the first vernal floods, which sweep us with his views of salmon smolts, and them all into the sea. 2d, The growth he opens that section of his subject of salmon fry is so sudden as soon to
with the following proem. exceed the size of the largest samlet. excellent observers have described, Mr P.then mentions as an example," with more or less accuracy, the gener, (of what? his own statements on the ation of the salmon, the growth and subject ?)—that the fry which have progress of the smolt, and the descent quitted the fresh water in spring not of the kelt or spawned fish to the larger than gudgeons, return to it ocean; but I know of no continued again “a foot or more in length," and series of observations on the subject, he then adds other reasons in support published by any one, of an authentic of his opinion, all of which we now nature, and so as to admit of no doubt. know to be entirely erroneous, and To remove this chasm, and to give to
General Zoology, Vol. V. p. 57. (1804.) † Règne Animal, Tom. II. p. 305. (1817.) The same sentiments are repeated verbatim, in the second edition of 1829.
| Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. X. p. 376. (1824.)