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being out of a mackerel, or had ever been to the health, I was ad- .“ Bay.” On my telling him I bad vised, by some never seen a live mackerel, and had friends in C—, never visited that part of the world, he
to try the virtues expressed his regret that he could not Kichardson-Cor
. send the cod-fishing chartered his vessel for the season, and Banks off Newfoundland. According. had paid so high for the charter, that it ly, having made the necessary prepara- was absolutely necessary that his crow tions for an absence of three months, should be picked fishermen, as every I started for Boston, where I supposed fish counted, and if a single berth should I could procure all requisite information be filled by an inxperienced person, his in regard to obtaining a berth as a pas- investment might prove unprofitable. senger on some one of the thousand He recommended me to see the skipcod-fishermen that were daily and al- per of the “George Washington," a most hourly leaving from some port in new vessel of about 83 tops, which was Massacbusetts. _On my way up the not chartered, and said he, “ Brigham sound on the “Empire State," I fell in is a young man, and a good fellow, this company with a Boston pilot, to whom is his first trip as skipper, and he will I applied for advice and counsel. After be anxious to accommodate you, if be looking at me for a moment, he said, can.” So I walked up to Brigham, and “You won't make a cod-fisherman, the addressed him. Skipper, I want to work is too severe, and there is little, if ship with you.” “Ever bin fishin'?" any, sport. Let me advise you to go No, but it is time I should go.” “Sorto Cape Ann, and ship on some vessel ry, can't 'commodate, crew all shipgoing up to St. Lawrence Bay after ped.” But now, skipper, I want to go, mackerel, and, if possible, get a berth in fact, I must, either as a hand or pasas a hand,' as neither crew nor skip- senger."
- Never take passengers, per like
passengers, they are always in crew tumble over them, hurt themthe way.” On my arrival in Boston, selves, always in the way, get sick, therefore, I obtained letters of introduc- have to bring them home, crew swear, tion to some parties in Cape Ann, and trip spoiled. can't take passengers nothe same afternoon found me landed in how." • But, skipper, I will ship as a Gloucester, the “ City of the Cape.” hand, and if I don't do anything useWithin an hour after my arrival, thanks ful, I will pay my board, I will promise to my letters, I was in close communion not to be in the way, and besides I like with John Gott, a lineal descendant the appearance of your schooner, she of the original Peter Gott (the founder looks trim and stiff, and can sail some, of the American mackerel fisheries), I fancy." This flattering notice of his and the skipper of the prettiest craft vessel touched him in the right spot, that ever sailed out of Cape Ann bar- and he replied, “Wby, yes, I had her
berth, and fish 'way aft.” “Oh! yes certainly, anywhere: when do you sail ?" "Fifth July.' • Do you want any help getting ready?" "Why, no, guess we can get along without you, we'll send you word when it's time to come aboard.” And so I shipped on my first trip as a sailor and fisherman.
And now, while the rest of the crow are getting the vessel ready for sea, I will take occasion to say a few words on the Fishery Question.” Cape Ann and Cape Cod are the two points from which three-fourths of the mackerel. catchers sail, about one-third of the whole number of vessels hailing from the former port. There are two divisions of the mackerel fleet, one, the most numerous, but comprising the smaller class of vessels, follow the fish along the Atlantic coast, from the Capes of Delaware to tbe southwestern shores of Nova Scotia. These vessels are al. most constantly together, that is, in sight of each other, and, throwing large quantities of bait, are generally more successful in raising fish than single vessels in the same waters would be.
About five bundred sail, ranging from seventy to one hundred and twenty tons, comprise the “ Bay fleet," a totally distinct organization. Of these ves
sels, those owned in Cape Ann are the built to suit me, and I guess she can smallest, averaging from seventy to sail a leelle. I will try and accommodate ninety tons, with crews of from ten to you, but you will have to share my thirteen men, and those from Cape Cod
are from pinety to one hundred and twenty tons, with crews of from twelve to eighteen men. There is a great spirit of rivalry between the two capes, it being supposed by many that the Cape-Ann men are the most daring sailors, while, on the other hand, there is less discipline among their crews than is maintained on the large Cape
Cod men. Not having any personal ac- jealousy do exist, and, for aught I know, quaintance with the latter, I shall not will always continue. As to the division seek to compare the merits of the two; of the catch, the pay of the crews, and but all fishermen know that rivalry and whether there be any difference in these respects between the two places, I can- -I say demand, for a good fisherman not say, but will testify what I do know can always get a berth, and being, therein regard to the Cape Ado customs. fore, independent, he is somewhat parThe fishermen receive no wages, but ticular as to the company he keeps. are entitled to one-half of the fish caught Four-fifths of the crews are Yankees by them, deducting out of their share or Nova Scotians—the remainder are their proportion of the expenses for English, Irish, Scotch, and Germans, bait and cook's wages, and also the with, now and then, a Portuguese, charge per barrel for inspecting, repack- Swede, or Norwegian. They are gening and salting, ready for sale. This erally first-rate seamen; for they are on last item is about $1.25 per barrel, and the water almost all the time-seven of course is only chargeable on the part months cod-fishing and five months of the catch belonging to the crew. mackerel-catching—which last is perI should think it safe to estimate each haps the most profitable, as it certainly man's net receipts at a little over three- is the most agreeable. The schooners sevenths of the gross catch. The owners are fitted out in January for the Grand of the vessel furnish all the provisions, Banks, or for “George's;" which last salt, books, lines, lead, pewter, etc., are soundings about two hundred miles and generally reserve to themselves easterly from Boston, in the broad Atthe right to sell the fish on the highest lantic, where there is no lee or shelter, offer that can be obtained at any time and where they ride at anchor through before the vessel is ready to sail on her storm and gale, hauling in cod and halinext trip. The crew, of course, can take but, straining their backs. freezing their their share of the fish, if they desire it, feet and fingers, and trying their powbut they almost universally prefer that ers of endurance to the utmost. It is the owners should sell the whole, and no wonder that they are strong and then take their share in money. The hardy sailors, and that they are always mackerel are generally bought up by welcome in the navy or in the merchant large dealers from Boston or New York, service-and it is no wonder, either, who make their offer to the owners, that so many of them die, long before sometimes two weeks before the vessels old age overtakes them, worn out with come in, and generally to take all the toil and exposure. Those vessels which fish, whether more or less, that may ar- go to the Grand Banks are but little rive, at certain prices for each kind, better circumstanced; but the trip is ones, twos, threes, and extra ones. longer, and is preferred by many sail.
There are eight or ten fitting estab- ors on account of the greater certainty lishments in Gloucester, all owning a of profit. larger or smaller interest in each vessel In June these vessels generally asthat fits out at their wharf, and from semble in port, and are painted, cleanappearances I should judge that very ed, and thoroughly overhauled, preparfow of them are losing money. The atory to making their first trip to the stores furnished are generally very “Bay.” Everybody, employed, then, good-the best mess beef, pork, coffee, seems to be in high spirits, as the tea, chocolate, sugar, rice, molasses, change from the Banks to the Bay is butter, potatoes, lard, four, etc. ; for like that from close confinement over your mackerel fisherman has a very books and slate in school to the careexalted idea of the necessity of living less, happy bour of play. Almost all well, and he wants his hot bread fresh the schooners are painted aliko-black, at each meal, and his pies, and duff with a white streak—and masts scraped (Anglice boiled flour pudding), and or stained yellow. They are rigged sweet cakes whenever he is hungry, alike, also, carrying generally a main and that is all the time. In fact, the but no foretop-mast, jib and Áying-jib, cook is a personage of equal importance fore and mainsails, with gaff-topsail with the skipper in the eyes of these and stay-sail, for light winds. They salt-water epicures, and the first ques- are all built to combine speed with tion asked by one sailor of another is, stiffness and capacity-and the craft " Who is your skipper ?" and the next, that can gain one mile in seven, over “What kind of a cook have you ?" and another, in working to windward, is a then, if the responses are satisfactory remarkably good sailer. To the eye and the questioner wants a berth, he of a landsman all the vessels in the straightway makes his demand in form feet, at a short distance, look exactly
THE POLLY ANN.
The crew bave no cares -each
one keeps bis watch in turn, and takes his “trick" at the wheel -beyond this, except when the fish bite or are to be dressed, they have little else to do but to eat, drink, and sleep. The schooners are so strongly manned — having three times the number of hands required for coasting vessels of the same class-that the working of the vessel is only sport; and we could weigh anchor and set all sail, if necessary, as quickly as any
one of the English revenue alike, but the fisherman, from long ex- cutters that we occasionally fall in with perience and practice, can point out a in the Bay. Having premised thus bundred differences in rig and hull, much, I will now proceed to give some totally inappreciable by the “green account of my doings in my now charhand.” In fact I bave often, with the acter of sailor and fisherman. spy-glass, seen on the borizon the peak About 11, A. M., July 5th-as beauof a maidsail, and perhaps a gaff-top- tiful a morning as the sun ever sbone sail, and almost any one of the crow upon-our skipper sent word to me to could say, for a certainty, where that report myself at the wharf in an bour. sail was bent, the name of the schooner Within that time down I trundled with and her “bail,” (i. e., where owned). bag and baggage, books, bed-clothes,
The vessels cost from $3,600 to boots, oiled coats and pants, and every: $5,000 each, and are owned princi- thing that I supposed could be wanted pally in and about Cape Ann, the skip- to clothe, comfort, and console me, on per generally holding a quarter inter- my watery pilgrimage. Our schooner est—the dividends on which, together lay in the stream, and I got aboard with his per centage (from 3 to 5 p. c.) alone, in order to “take an observaon the part of the catch belonging to tion" before the crew showed themthe vessel, make the only difference selves. Matters looked discouraging between his share and that of the crew enough ; everything belonging to every-and it sometimes happens that there body lay promiscuously around on deck are fishermen on board who make more and down below; all was confusion out of the trip than the skipper him- worse confounded. The cook was in self, though such instances are rare, as the forecastle, arranging, his small it is one of the requisites for acting as assortment of crockery and iron-ware ; skipper that he should be A l as a fish- on seeing me he said: “Oh! you are erman. His work is harder by half the green hand, eh? guess you'll be than that of the crew, as he has to be sick enough this time to-morrow.” op at all hours of the night, when there comforting-very. I had a small demiare any indications of an increase or john (not empty) in one hand and a box change of wind-besides which, he has of cigars in the other, which I purposed to throw the bait, to keep the fish near using as my letters of introduction to the vessel, to stand at the helm while the crew. I passed the former to my running into the schools of mackerel, sympathizer, and desired him to give and while going into and coming out an opinion as to the contents. He of harbor--and, in addition to all this, took hold, “ looked down in the mouth” he must be ever watchful of the vessel, a few moments, and, when he had reto see that nothing about the rigging, gained his breath, expressed his entire spars or hull chafes or wears; in short, approval. Got ashore again, and seehis life is one of constant anxiety, and, ing nothing of the crew, went back to I think, inadequately recompensed. the hotel to dinner.
the hotel to dinner. But some way or
sail-boy, loose jib and flying-jib ;" such were the orders issued in quick succession by our skipper, as he took the helm. Great was the confusion. fearful the rush, and go where I would, I always managed to be exactly in the way. 'My hands would get into my pockets, as I did not know what else to do with them, till finally I seized hold of one of the brakes, rapped my knuckles smartly against the cable, developing the inner cuticle to some extent, and then concluded that I would look on a while and see how things were done on board ship.
As we rounded Eastern Point, the skipper passed the word for the crow to come aft, and draw lots for sleeping berths ; this took about ten minutes, and then all hands set to work to make up their beds, stow away their bags, and clear up generally. Our bank (the skipper's and mine) was wide enough for two, but when the bed was made, it left less than six inches space between our noses and the deck plank. There were accommodations for six in the after cabin, and seven in the forecastle. The space, exclusive of berth, in each apart. ment, was about seven by nine feet, and in the forecastle nearly all that was
taken up by the table, lockers, and another I could not eat. I had seen so cooking stove-at that time I thought many curious things on board, and the it impossible that thirteen persons ominous words of the cook rose so fre- could stow themselves away, much less quently to my memory, that my appe- be comfortable, in such narrow quarters, tite was entirely destroyed. About 2, but within very few days I found I was P. M., I went down to the wharf again, mistaken as to both the stowage and the and found skipper and crew all as- comfort. The after-gang was to mess sembled, and a better-looking set of first, and the others made up the second boys I never expect to meet-almost table. all young, strong, and hearty, full of About five o'clock the announcement fun and jokes and all manner of cu- " Supper ready, after-gang," came from rious absurdities. I thought to myself, the forecastle, and down we went, the "Well, I am glad I came." They subscriber last (a position he abandoneyed me narrowly, but said nothing- ed as soon as his sea appetite was esand when we had all signed the ship. tablished, and the importance of being ping articles, we got into our boat and early at table was demonstrated to his sculled off to the schooner. Every one satisfaction), of course I descended the tumbled on deck, and in five minutes wrong way-instead of turning my face one asked me to take a cigar, and an- to the steps, I was walking down quietother suggested a little grog, and to my ly in the manner I had observed was surprise they passed to me my own most in use on land, when presto—the cigars and Jamaica, which they had schooner made a lurch, and I came fished out of the locker where I had down by the run, my head striking the stored them. Telling them to take foot of the foremast, which appeared to hold, as I had intended both cigars and have been placed in that particular spot rum for them, I drank their health, and
on purpose to prevent green hands from we were on the spot sworn friends and upsetting the table. A slight laugh, a sbip-mates. Hoist the mainsail, man few expressions of sympathy, and the the brakes--some of you loose the fore- encouraging assurance, that I would