IX. 4. Letter signed Edward Nicholas, by command of the
King (Charles the Second), to the Lord Mayor, stating that the late
King, in the year 1632, established a Society of Fishers, and that
Philip, late Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery and his associates
caused sundry fishing-vessels to be provided, which employed many
families, in making nets. &c., and taught the country youths to be
serviceable mariners, as by the book (fn. 1) called the Royal Herring Buss
Fishing, presented to him, plainly appeared. That being informed
there were a number of poor families and vagrants who, for want of
employment, were likely to perish, unless some speedy care were taken
for their relief, and that the several wards and suburbs of the City
were burdened with a multitude of poor people, he recommended the
Lord Mayor and Aldermen to cause the Wardmote Inquests to give
in particulars of all the poor inhabitants within each Ward, and to
raise by a free subscription a stock to buy hemp and clapboard to
make nets, barrels, &c., for the furnishing and fitting out of one buss
or fishing-vessel for each Ward; and that store-houses should be built
in commodious places about the River Thames, fitted with nets, casks,
salt, and all things in readiness. The busses might all go forth to the
Island of Shetland, to the fishing grounds, according to certain prescribed Orders in the aforesaid Book. He would recommend the
same to all cities and towns throughout the kingdom, so as to make
it a national employment.
23rd July, 1660.
||The Dutch carried on the principal trade in fishing. Sir Walter Raleigh said, in 1603,
that the four great towns on the Baltic in one year realised 620,000l. for herrings, while
England did not send a boat. In 1614, Tobias, a fisherman of some repute, published
a pamphlet, entitled 'The best Way to make England the Richest and Wealthiest Kingdom
in Europe,' in which he recommended the construction of 1,000 busses upon a "national
design," each ward in London to provide one, also each of the civic companies and parishes.
He estimated that a busse measuring sixty to eighty tons, complete with all her fishing
implements and appurtenances, would cost about 500l. In 1662 Charles the Second
promised a reward of 200l. to any person who would set out a busse.