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A Voyage Round the Coasts of Scotland and the Isles
By James Wilson in 2 volumes


Having been requested by the Honourable the Commissioners of the Board of Fisheries to accompany their Secretary throughout the course of his voyage of inspection in the summer of 1841, for the purpose of making certain investigations into the natural history of the herring, I have been since induced, not so much by the “solicitation of friends” as the more weighty arguments of my respected Publishers, to endeavour to impart to others a portion of the interest which that voyage excited in my own mind. The object of the Secretary on this occasion was to acquire a general knowledge of the whole coasts of Scotland, especially of the districts near which fisheries had been or might with advantage be established, and to make himself acquainted with the character and position of the various harbours erected by the Board. We had therefore occasion to visit many localities not within the range of the ordinary tourist, as well as to explore those numerous isles and picturesque inlets for which our western shores especially are so remarkable,—and if there is either truth or intelligence in the following Journal of Observations, it may possibly tend both to instruct those who have not yet examined the coast scenery of their native country, and to recall agreeable remembrances to such as have enjoyed that pleasure.

I have endeavoured to dwell chiefly on whatever matters may be regarded as of general interest,—the special objects of our more professional enquiries being discussed in separate reports, which Sir Thomas Dick Lauder and myself have already had the satisfaction to lay before the Honourable Commissioners.

My best thanks are due to the gentleman just named not only for the use of his Sketch-Books, from which the illustrations of the present volumes have been mostly drawn, but also for access to his Journal. By consulting the latter my own impressions have been strengthened and refreshed, and my chief regret now is that one so much more able than myself to do justice to the subject, both with pen and pencil, should have been prevented by other and more important avocations from undertaking the task. I have also to express my obligations to the Artists who have lent their labour to the work, more especially Mr. Charles H. Wilson, who not only prepared the more finished drawings, but executed the numerous etchings on steel,— a material with which he had not been previously conversant, and the harder surface of which, compared with that of copper, renders the process of etching more difficult and laborious.

Other occupations on my own part, and a prolonged residence in the lake country of the north of England, have postponed the publication of the present volumes to a later time than was intended.

J. W.
Woodville, Edinburgh.
November, 1842.

Volume 1  |  Volume 2

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