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against the immense losses which result; the
portions of rock and fagots with which they
encircle and cover the artificial banks are
precisely what nature requires to arrest in their
passage the minute floating population, and to
present surfaces on which it can settle, as a
tree on which they rest enables a swarm of bees
to be swept into the hive. When fixed, each of
the little corpuscules, still almost invisible,
begins to form its shells. Shakespeare makes
the fool in Lear ask the old king: "Canst tell
how an oyster makes his shell?" Lear: "No."
Fool: "Nor I neither!" And the question
would, we believe, puzzle even our modern
wiseheads. On raising the twigs, the annual
growth of each of the young brood is distinctly
traceable; but the fishermen, as the breeding
season commences, take care to present fresh
fagots, and, when the fishing begins, they
withdraw from the water the wood on which the
full-grown oysters had settled. After having
gathered the grapes on those artificial vines,
they restore them again to the beds, in order to
become the resting-places of a new generation,
renewing and perpetuating the race by annual
additions. The oysters, when raised, are
deposited in ozier baskets of a spherical or bottle
form, with large meshes gradually enlarging from
the mouth downwardpossibly a preferable
form to our oyster-barreland it is probable that
similar ones were used for carrying the British
oysters to Rome.

"The Italian system having been approved of,
it has been adopted by the imperial government
of France, and extensive artificial oyster-parks
have been laid down under the direction of the
minister of marine on the French coast,
particularly in the Bay of Brieuc, near Brest, in
Brittany. The locality was considered favourable,
for our Kentish dredgers annually expend,
with a view to colonisation, considerable sums
in the purchase of spat at Granville, on the same
south-west shore. The official reports speak
highly of the success of the experiments; fascines
are adopted formed of numerous branches bound
together, and anchored by large stones, so as to
be kept constantly afloat. These fascines, when
raised, have been found covered with oysters in
such profusion as to resemble the trees of an
orchard in spring, in all the exuberance of its
blossoms. We are assured by M. Coste that
twenty thousand young oysters have been counted
on a single fascine, not occupying more space
in the water than a sheaf of corn similarly
bound would in a field, and it is needless to
speculate on their pecuniary value when they
shall arrive at perfection. It has also been
ascertained that by paving the bottom of the
park with oyster-shells, myriads of the floating
monads are attracted and induced to settle. As
it has been found that oysters born in a particular
spot improve in size and flavour on transplantation,
even to other parts of the same bed, it has
been proposed to form the artificial banks so
that they may be floated from one portion of
the feeding-ground to another, by having the
fascines attached to movable frames on the
surface in the nature of buoys. Our insular
position must present many available localities,
and the example of our neighbours ought to
stimulate similar experiments in all the favourable
spots on our extensive coasts, the more
particularly as an act of the last reign (7 and 8
William IV., c. 29) has conferred and secured
territorial rights to the proprietors of all English
oyster-beds. An excellent site for the formation
of new English oyster-beds has been lately
obtained in a grant of shore near Harwich.

Scotland is justly proud of her pandores, so
highly prized in Edinburgh, and an ancient
rivalry exists between our epicures and the
viveurs of the sister island, as to the relative
excellence of the natives in comparison with the
most celebrated Irish oysters. Those from, the
bay of Carlingford, on the coast of Louth, north
of Dublin, were long famous, but such was the
voracity of the public, and the avarice as well as
ignorance of those interested in the beds, that
some years since the race disappeared as if they
had been exterminated. The cause was of
course traceable to over-dredging, as well as to
the want of due precautions to renew the
brood, and as nature makes no provision for
the spontaneous or immediate revival of a
species that has been allowed to become
extinct, the superior merits of the Carlingfords
have become mere matter of history. The Redbank
Burren oysters from the coast of Clare,
bordering on the southern extremity of Galway
Bay, are deservedly extolled; the fin is of a deep
olive green, and the fish smacks of the Atlantic.
The beds lie on a limestone shore, over
subterraneous crevices, through which the fresh water
of the springs from the surrounding mountains
rises and mingles with that of the ocean, and to
this admixture their excellence is attributed.
M. Coste, than whom there cannot be higher
authority, being well acquainted with our natives
in their perfection, adjudged the palm to
the Redbank Burrens, declaring that they were
the best oysters he had ever met. On first tasting
them, he expressed his admiration of their
whiteness and their plumpness by exclaiming,
"Chicken! chicken!" A few barrels occasionally
reach London as special presents, but the demand
is too great in Dublin to permit Londoners
practically to test the judgment of M. Coste.

Some local acts regulate particular English
oyster fisheriessuch, for instance, as those in
the neighbourhood of the Medwayby which a
jury of free dredgers are empowered to make
regulations; but we believe that there is no
general law of that nature applicable to all the
oyster-beds on our coasts. Ireland, however,
possesses a special legislative measure for the
increase and government of her oyster fisheries
the Irish Fisheries Act of eighteen fifty,
the forty-first section of which enables the
owner or occupier of any land bordering on
the sea, or on any estuary, or any person with
the consent of such owner or occupier, on
obtaining a license from the Commissioners of
Fisheries, to form and plant an oyster-bed on
the adjacent shore, and confers on it all the

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